I love me some Uncharted. I’ll go as far as to say it’s the best game this generation. It helps that I prefer 3rd person games. But there’s no disputing the level of care the four UC games have been given. The settings, voice acting, stories and gameplay are all polished and pristine.
When Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception came out in November, I was disappointed. It did a lot right, let’s clear the air there. However, when looking at its single-player experience, it was inferior to UC2. That’s not a surprise, really, as UC2 is the aforementioned best game of this generation. There was something more though…something more disappointing than the fact the game was disappointing. It failed to move forward in a lot of ways. It failed to make me care.
So, as I started to play Golden Abyss, I knew we were looking at a side entry into the series. They’re never as good. And, once again, to be clear, it is less grand in several ways.
The visuals are clearly not as fantastic as the third game. The controls are lacking both a second pair of shoulders and the clicking of L3/R3, that’s 4 buttons lost. This makes reloading more cumbersome and you cannot zoom in through most gun scopes. The touch-screen controls are totally unnecessary and add zero to the game’s value. And there are never as many enemies on screen as on the consoles, though the endless hordes towards the end of UC3 was apparently one of the only picking points to its stellar scores.
Spoilers To Come BTW!
With those basics out in the open, it appears (about 3/4 of the way through the game) Golden Abyss is better in almost every other way. The story in 3 may have been large, but like I mentioned, I didn’t care about Marlowe and Talbot. Cutter was a grunt and Chloe and Elena were barely in the game. I was really disappointed in the cast and settings of UC3. Right from the get-go, I felt passionate about Dante. He was slimy and deceitful from the outset and I disliked him greatly. However, you are tied with him, which makes you hate him more. Chase started out just so-so, but as I progressed, I actually cared about her search for her grandfather. The Chase/Nate chemistry is there too, replete with his trademark charm and tongue-in-cheek comments. Then…Sully!!! I really didn’t know he’d be in the game. His appearance is perfect. There is a ton of dialogue between him and Drake, the camaraderie and history is blatant. There are jokes about ‘that time when…’ and Nate picks on Sully’s age. It’s all just like it should be. It has virtually everything UC3 has.
We’re talking about a handheld game that is, through its story and gameplay just as good if not better than the huge-budget console brother! I am totally digging Golden Abyss. It is flawed but IMO not as flawed as UC3 was. It’s exciting and delivers a great story and explosive moments. Where UC3 gave me the ‘been-there, done-that’ feeling, this feels fresh and exciting. You may disagree with one being better than the other, but it’s hard to deny this is one of the biggest handheld adventures ever. I’d, once again, go as far as to say it’s the best portable game I’ve ever played. And I’m not even done yet! And, I’ve already thought about subsequent playthroughs.
I figured I’d share some more pics. I love the screenshot option and these sure are beauts.