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75 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2012
I always like to lay my personal personal prejudices out there in the beginning of reviews so that people know where I am coming from and if they can relate and might have the same opinion of a product. So, having said that, please know that I am an Uncharted fan. I am mainly a PC gamer. I didn't own any of the current gen consoles until Uncharted 2 was released. I saw so many previews and reviews, and from what I could tell the game was a modern take on Indiana Jones. I had to play it, so I actually bought a PS3 just to play Uncharted 2. I stopped two levels in and went out at midnight to buy the previous game so I could play through that first. Since then I have used my PS3 mostly to watch movies, until Uncharted 3 came out. I own the collector's edition of that game. I own all the soundtracks. Like I said, I am a fan.

So, when Uncharted: Golden Abyss was announced for the new PlayStation Vita system, I immediately pre-ordered the Vita and Uncharted. (Maybe someday something else will come out on the Vita that I want to play. Vita Uncharted 2, most likely.) I mean, two Uncharted games in less than a year? Sign me up!

Graphics: I am floored by how good this game looks. I am sure there are some technical cheats to make it run well, but you cannot tell on the Vita's brilliant 5" OLED screen that this game looks any worse than any of the other Uncharted games. It looks fantastic. Some of the vistas from mountain side ledges are jaw dropping. The characters are all animated well, and they look like they do in the big screen versions of Uncharted.

Sound: The sound is good, considering it is not surround sound and is being generated by the Vita's tiny built in speakers. A good pair of headphones make the sound much more enjoyable, as the sound is much louder and clearer that way. The sound designer made good use of panning. You can almost hear things circling you, even though it is only stereo sound.

Nolan North is back as the voice of Nathan Drake, and Richard McGonagle returns as Sully. Obviously, both are top notch voice actors, but the new characters in the game are voiced competently as well. (If you are a video game fan, you'll pick out Steve Blum voicing mercenaries in the first 10 seconds.)

Gameplay: I've seen some complaints about gameplay. I have to wonder if these people have played an Uncharted game before. Yes, the touchscreen is new. Yes, you do have to use it for some things. But, for other things, you can completely ignore it if you like in favor of using the analog sticks and the buttons. Yes, it makes you tilt the Vita to the right and left a handful of times to keep Drake's balance on a log. That was also in Drake's Fortune using the PS3 controller. Yes, you have to rub the screen to do charcoal rubbings or clean off archeological finds. Those things happen quite often if you are looking for the hidden loot, otherwise there are only a handful of times where you have to do it in order to advance the game.

Yes, there is 3rd person, cover based shooting. It's an Uncharted game, that's how the combat is in all the other Uncharted games too. The difference here is that you swipe the touchscreen to do the quick-time finishing moves instead of hitting a button. You can touch the screen to melee attack people, but you can also just use the buttons until the finishing moves. Is there more or less combat than other Uncharted games? I don't think so. I found it pretty equitable to all the other games in the series. It's mostly about 3rd person combat, exploring, platforming, and a dash of puzzle solving.

I found the new interface elements to be fun and inventive. I really like using the touch screen to control parts of the game. Aiming is much easier if you use the analog stick to make major adjustments and then fine tune your aim by tilting the Vita left, right, up, and down.

Story: Just like other Uncharted games, the story is a riff on the classic Indiana Jones/pulp adventure style story. There's a girl in trouble, a shady friend, a loyal friend, a fabulous treasure and a host of bad guys trying to stop you from getting the treasure. I didn't find the story any better or worse than the other games in the series. If you really don't like this kind of story, I'm not sure why you would buy an Uncharted game in the first place. The dialogue may be just a tad bit blander than the other games in the series. This game does have a different writer, but the story was overseen by the writer of the other games. I chalked it up to Nate being younger than he is in the other games.

The game actually starts out fairly slow, and then builds to a frenetic ending. I found the pacing to be spot on, and the game is just long enough to make me feel like I got my money's worth, but not long enough to make me feel like they were dragging it out just to make it longer.

Music: The only Greg Edmonson track in the game is the Uncharted Theme song. The rest of the music was composed by another musician whose name flew by so fast in the credits that I couldn't spell it correctly if I wanted to. That's too bad, because I would love to give him credit. He did a great job of keeping the tone and feel of the Uncharted games, but with all his own pieces. Not only does the music give a great action adventure feel to the game, but some of the tracks are just fantastic, featuring booming native chants and creepy strings that made me feel like this extinct native tribe was waiting in the bushes ready to jump out and ambush Drake and friends. I'd buy the score if they ever made it available.

Overall: I was not disappointed in this game. Golden Abyss lived up the Uncharted name, and I feel the job that they did with this game justifies the extra cost of the cartridge. Sure, there's no real multiplayer to speak of (you can trade collectibles on the Vita's NEAR program), but I don't really buy Uncharted games for the multiplayer anyway. If you like the Uncharted games on the PS3, you'll probably like this too.
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79 of 100 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2012
I was hesitant about the hype built up around the PlayStation Vita - WiFi. Handheld gaming is entertaining, but for me nothing beats playing a game on my PS3. Uncharted: Golden Abyss changed that. To start off, this game is gorgeous. Better than a lot of graphics I've seen for console games. The voice acting is top notch, as is the music and sounds throughout the game. The controls are easy to understand and use. There's no doubt in my mind that this will be one of the best games of 2012 and definitely set a new bar for handheld gaming.
Golden Abyss takes place before the events of the first game, Drake's Fortune, and follows Nathan Drake's adventure to uncover a 400 year old mystery about a missing Spanish Expedition. It's worth noting that the game developer's said that Golden Abyss is technically a prequel, they like to think of it as it's own self contained story. This is still the Nathan Drake we all know and love, just a bit younger.
Golden Abyss is a fantastical experience. The story draws you in from the first moment you start the game to the epic conclusion. Couple this with the stunning graphics and you're (literally) holding one of the best experiences in action/adventure gaming so far.
Nathan Drake and his old friend, Jason Dante, are journeying through Central America in an adventure to uncover an ancient secret. Along the way they'll meet Marisa Chase, who plays the damsel in this tale.They'll also run across a former general, Guerro, who is bent on stopping Drake at any cost. For those who played the previous games, you'll see a familiar face "return" also. The story starts off a little slow, but picks up a couple hours into the game. There's plenty of twists and turns to keep a fan enthralled until the end of the game. The cutscenes in this game are very well done, and help to keep the story going at a perfect pace.
The gameplay is typical Uncharted goodness. 3rd person platforming, puzzle solving, and intense shoot outs blend together to form one of the most fun experiences I've ever had playing a handheld game. There's more puzzles than the previous games, but they're fun and not too in-depth. I was never left frustrated trying to figure them out. A few of them are as simple as rubbing your finger across the screen. Others require some serious thinking.
Thanks to Vita's exemplary controls, platforming is made easier. It's as simple as moving Drake into position and swiping your finger and watching him jump. Scaling beautiful vistas and working your way through an ancient temple has the same simple yet fun experience as it did in the PS3 games. Drake has a few moves he didn't have in the other games and he does the old ones better.
The combat is intense, getting into a gunfight is as easy as tapping your finger on a weapon and aiming with the controls. The camera zooms in over the shoulder as you fire, and you can use the motion sensitivity to fine tune your aim. It makes for an incredible experience. You can sneak up on enemies or go in guns blazing, or a mix of both.
A new type of collectible is introduced where you take pictures. Specific vistas and areas are required to be photographed to complete your collection. Also, there are a vast amount of other collectibles to nab while you play through the game. I didn't try to get them all my first time playing through, but I plan too during my second one.
The thing I loved about Golden Abyss is it shows what the Vita has to offer. The graphics are on par with a PS3. Lush jungles and ornately detailed temples really show what the Vita, and the future of handheld systems, are capable of. The controls are easy to pick up on and the dual analog sticks make this feel like a console experience. I didn't have a single issue with them and in fact found myself loving this new way of playing a game.
The graphics are breathtaking. I found myself stopping frequently in the game to stare at a particular valley or scene. They're better than most graphics I've seen for console and handheld games. The characters are expressive and the environments are incredibly detailed. SCE Bend Studio spared no expense in this game and it shows. I will probably end up playing through this game two or three more times this year.
Overall this is an exemplary launch title for the Vita, and is now one of my favorite video games, handheld or otherwise. Golden Abyss surpassed my expectations and beyond. Five stars out of five and a must buy for any Vita owners. This game shows what the Vita is capable of and pushes handheld gaming to new level.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2012
Let me start off by saying that this is my first product review. I enjoyed this game immensely that I had to write a review about it.

I had skepticism about this title because it was being developed by Bend Studios, rather than their parent developer, Naughty Dog. Uncharted 3 underwhelmed me quite a bit, so I didn't have very high expectations for this game. I'm happy to report that I was DEAD WRONG about the quality of this video game. This is what Uncharted 3 should have been.

I don't know what Naughty Dog was thinking when they made Uncharted 3. Uncharted 3 seemed to lack what made Uncharted... Uncharted in the first place. The sarcastic exchanges between Drake and Sully, the lightheartedness, the sassy female co-star, etc. Basically what I am trying to point out is that Uncharted 3 was depressing and most of the settings, sans the cruise ship, were bland and devoid of any vibrance. Naughty Dog made a masterpiece in Uncharted 2, so I believe the expectations were too high for Uncharted 3. Nothing more could be done to improve the Uncharted franchise...

That was until Bend Studios came in to the picture. Naughty Dog should thank Bend Studios for making this wonderful game and revitalizing Uncharted. I am here to spread the word about this game. I fear that the recognition that this game deserves will be overlooked because most people are probably putting off buying the Playstation Vita.

Let's talk about gameplay. What's new?

The "treasure" system has been totally revamped. In the previous installments, treasures were simply collectibles hidden throughout the game. In Golden Abyss, the treasures you find can be categorized in several different ways. Instead of simply picking up a treasure, you can find a surface to make a charcoal rubbing on, which later can be used as a puzzle piece to create a new image. Like photographs? Drake is equipped with a camera and it's your job to find the locations in his journal and try to replicate the sample photograph to the best of your ability. Each photograph is graded with a percentage. Drake needs a grade of 95% or higher for the image to be saved in his notebook. The "examining items" feature present in past video games has been expanded on in Uncharted: Golden Abyss: Along with being able to rotate an object, you can now use the touch screen to wipe away dirt that is currently on the treasure you have found to unlock hidden clues. Some treasures come in the form of ripped up posters, documents, photographs, etc. and it is your job to reassemble the image. Who doesn't like jigsaw puzzles? Lastly, there are traditional treasures, like in the previous Uncharted games, but are categorized in to different sets.

If there were a mistake Bend made with this game, it would be the "bounties". Some enemies drop treasures when killed. Some rare, some scared and some common. I don't think I need to elaborate much on this. This will require a lot of grinding or trading using the "NEAR" feature on the Vita. This was basically an added gameplay feature to make use of the Vita's applications. I can appreciate the developers utilizing Vita's special features as much as possible, except when trophies are tied in to it. I'm not entirely sure how the Black Market works. All I got to say is good luck finding someone who will boost with you. Otherwise, simply grinding it out is an option.

If you're curious about what "Mysteries" are, mysteries are unique sets of treasures that can contain any combination of artifacts, photographs, charcoal rubbings, etc. that span across multiple chapters. Basically what you find is "evidence" that leads up to an ultimate conclusion. Think of a completed mystery as a substory. It's not necessary for the advancement of the main plot, but it's there for those of us who like to feel we got our money's worth.

There are some new gameplay mechanics that make use of the Vita's hardware:
Holding up the Vita against a bright light to see what's on a piece of paper - VERY COOL
Paddling/rowing canoes and boats - brand new to the Uncharted series
Balance beams - forces Drake to maintain his balance using the sixaxis motion sensing
Bamboo/tarp cutting - Drake carries a machete with him that he can use to cut down bamboo and tarps to reveal hidden paths or treasures

Climbing has also been revamped. You can climb up ropes using the back motion sensors. I don't particularly like this feature because too much rubbing causes friction, and friction causes heat, and I don't like the sensation of my fingers burning against the rear of my Vita. Same goes for the charcoal rubbings. From what I can tell, it's also impossible to go down using the same controls in reverse. You can also trace a path for Drake to go on the touch screen. I guess it can save time, but I still prefer to move Drake the old-fashioned way.

Boss fights are administered using the quick-time-event format. I like it. I think it works because Drake can now fist fight the bosses rather than kill his personal entourage and have that be considered the final battle. Simply follow the arrow on the screen. I say simply, but I know it can't be that simple, especially on higher difficulties.

Now, the one thing that really bothered me the get-go was the aiming. I didn't realize it until I was nearly 2/3rds done with the game that precise aiming is actually done with the Vita itself. Trying to get your crosshair precisely where you want it with the analog sticks is impossible. If it isn't impossible, then you're a gaming god. However, the developers didn't intend for the player to get headshots using the analog sticks. This is the Vita we're talking about. I'm so used to playing on a Dualshock 3 that I frustrated myself trying to play the Vita like it's a Dualshock 3. Once I realized I could adjust the crosshair by swaying the Vita around in my hands, I was able to execute headshots better than I could using a Dualshock 3.

The controls were done properly, once I understood them fully.

To summarize, there are many great things about this game. This game is what I felt Uncharted 3 should have been. This game has the charm of the original Uncharted. Perhaps it's a nostalgic seeing lush, green foliage rather than snow and sand. Since this game is a prequel, I felt like I could relate this Drake more to the Drake of Uncharted 1. At the time, he wasn't somebody we knew much about. Even in the face of danger, he still found a way to make us laugh with his sarcastic comments. Uncharted is supposed to be silly and entertaining. As the series has progressed, things have become more dramatic. In Golden Abyss, everything just felt like they did before Uncharted was a sensation everyone placed high expectations on the developers to create a new masterpiece.

I'm sure there are things I'm forgetting, but this game is a masterpiece in my book. I definitely have it up there next to Uncharted 2. If Uncharted 3 received any Game of the Year awards, then this game deserves that many and many times more because this game just has SO much more to offer - story, exploration, graphics (yes, I think the graphics are more appealing than sand, rust, reds, browns and whites), controls, humor and enjoyment.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2012
My first Uncharted game is Uncharted 3 on PS3 when it first came out in late 2011. I enjoyed it so much that I bought the first two games and a GAEMS G155 which allowed me to play them on the road! So when there is a portable Uncharted available that is a full length game and seemingly have equally good graphics as with the first Uncharted, I just got to play it!

And the game definitely did not disappoint. The game has a good story, similar type of humor and style of play. There are a lot of cut scenes, which blend well. I love to play games in story/campaign mode.

The controls are pretty much the same as PS3, thanks to the dual analog sticks. The touch screens are very nice additions. There are times on PS3 that I always mess up on jumping due to perspectives of the screen and the way I use the analog sticks. On Vita, I just need to touch the area to climb or jump. It minimized a lot of my frustrations of killing Drake due to mechanics. Same with fighting a person. Nice to just be able to swipe in direction of swing the fists!

Besides using the touch screen to make certain actions more intuitive, there are few novelties that I found very intriguing! First is the charcoal scratch. In the spirit of scratching a lottery ticket, this is very cool to uncover clues! Second is manifestation of invisible symbols on a "blank" scroll. This requires me to put up vita with a lamp behind, and move around to show each symbols! I assume the developers use the rear (video) camera to recognize light source (blind spot?) Another new control (for Uncharted games) is using the Vita as controller to avoid rocks in a raging downstream river. Any how, as a technologist and a gamer, these novelties are definitely VERY COOL!

The graphics is darn good for hand held. The level of details for water fall (white water) is quite good. I love seeing the sun (during sunset) project soft but defined brightness on one side of a castle, and yet cast shadow on others. And there is no latency as I rotate my 360 viewing! This is a testament to the power of Vita.

The sound is best if you put on a good set of stereo headphones. I get a good amount of bass, and directional (left/right) feel when rotating around a scene. A good example is near water streams,

All in all, it's fabulous to play a full Uncharted game(30+ chapters taking me 12+ hours) on a portable console! It was fun and worth my time! The price is reasonable for game of this caliber and I will likely replay many of the chapters to do better than before.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2012
Since this is game is played in a different context, I didn't rate it in comparison to the console games. On it's own, I generally enjoyed the story and the characters. The scenery is good, overall, and I was unbothered by the fact that most of the gameplay occurred in the jungle. There is underground and water sequences, as well. Great to see Sully in the second half, though he's not there for the main action.

The game play was fine. I enjoyed the option to aim rifles by tilting the Vita rather than always relying on the stick. I also thought the swipe-to-climb options made such sections less tedious (though in a few spots, the touch did not seem to work; I had to use the X button).

There is repetition in the enemies and some obstacles. Drake even refers to this fact at times in regard to some treasures but also when encountering yet another armored machine gun nest.

Despite any flaws, I offer kudos to Bend for a fun game that provided some nice entertainment.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2013
I'm a huge uncharted fan and was really looking forward to this game. Unfortunately you can tell that Naughty Dog did not make this game. Everything besides the graphics are sup-par compared to the ps3 games. Also Sony Bend added a lot of inane touch controls and puzzles that were never fun in my eyes.

So lets talk about the good things. The graphics in this game are awesome. If you squint your eyes a little it's like you are playing a PS3 game. Also the soundtrack is pretty dang good. The tracks usually fit the theme of the location you are in and pumped me up during fights. That's about it for things I thought were on the same level as its bigger brothers.

Now for the mediocre to bad. The biggest thing I play Uncharted games for is character and story, this game falls short at both. The writing is just not as good as the other games, the new characters they introduce are stereotypes and forgettable (except for Marisa Chase. Shes not bad but nowhere near Elaina or Chloe.) The overall story is similar to 1 and 2 but it has none of the great set pieces. (such as the train sequence in 2).

Combat design, it's all over the place. Sometimes it can be fun. The controls work well enough..mostly. The enemy A.I. is a bit crap. They take tons of damage and either stay in cover or run straight at you. The game also relies on this thing where you shoot while climbing way to often. It's just not very fun.

The touch controls. OMG I want to throw my Vita every time they come on screen and that's allot. So yeah be prepared to touch the screen anytime you non stealth melee fight, slip while climbing, doing any puzzle (and they are all crap), and charcoal rubbing. Also remember that dumb sixaxis balance thing from the first game when you walk across narrow things? That's back, I have no idea why.

There's a ton of other things I could gripe and complain about but I did still finish the game. I think what made me the angriest is that this could have been great with only a few tweaks. Add an option for no touch controls. Not hard. Higher better writers. Okay Hard but if you've never done a game like this before c'mon hire pro's.

I honestly hope that Sony Bend learned what they did wrong with this game and gets another crack at it. I believe they could make a great uncharted. They just need to follow in Naughty Dogs foot steps a little more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I've been a fan of the Uncharted series from the very beginning, so much that I never questioned purchasing each game, they all delivered and left me wanting more. So when Uncharted: Golden Abyss was announced, I inmediately pre-ordered my copy and after having played it numerous times, I will give you my honest review.

The Story:
You (Drake) are in Panama, in the middle of jungle, working with Dante, an old friend of yours, but you don't know all the details, so unlike other uncharted games, this one isn't a personal quest, but somebody else's. Later on you meet Chase, a girl know by Dante, whom is pretty interested on whatever is going on in this Jungle, she carries on her an amulate, the adventure begins. You will fight through jungles, high places, all full of action and plenty of gun fire. The traditional atmosphere that made the PS3 games a success is here, the Golden Abyss is a game that not only fans of the series should play, but every Vita owner.

If you look carefuly, you can see some choppy lines and bluriness, but 95% of the game looks absolutely amazing. The backgrounds were always my favourites on previous games, and this is not different, Golden Abyss has some beautiful, carefuly painted and designed levels that show the PS Vita's power. Even during heavy loads such as shooting and running, the frame rate stays balanced, not a single drop. Drake's clothes, weapons, face, etc. They all looks detailed, like I said before, you may see some choppy lines here and there, but you really have to look closely. This is probably, if not, the best looking game on the Vita.

The musical score is top notch. As with previous games, the sound makes this one of those games that can take the player away and immerse him/her into the story like no other. The opening screen has the unmistakeable back track from the other games, the one we all know, so right away, you will feel at home. During the actual game, each music track has been carefuly selected for each scenario. If you have a set of the old Logitech PSP speakers or just some speakers you can hook the Vita to, do it, you can't miss the musical score, it is perfect.
Voices are on par with graphics. Drake's voice is done by the original voice actor and everybody else in the story sounds amazing, each character adds to the story with his/her unique aspects with the perfect sound. Gun fire and other FX, as expected, nothing, but perfection, each gun sounds different; from Desert eagles, to pistols, to assault rifles, plus others, they all sound original. This is the sort of stuff that makes this series, one of the best of this console generation.

They big question...are the controls good? Hell yes! I admit it, I was a bit skeptical when I saw the video of the platforming segments done with the touch screen, but I'm glad to say, they work! and perfectly. The learning curve for touch-based controls is almost zero. But if for some reason, you are still not sure, the game has been programmed to work with both touch and standard controls, meaning, you can use the Vita's buttons and bumpers to pretty much do everything you need to do, with the exception of the machete and others that I won't spoil for you, but don't worry, they are easy to pull off.
The fact that the Vita has 2 joysticks, makes this game a portable triumph. The original sensitivity settings was a bit too high for me, so I had to tweak it on the menu, but veteran console players, should not have any problems. Even though I've played all the Uncharted games, I do not consider myself a pro player, 'cause I'm a PC player and will always suck with a controller, but I digress, the Golden Abyss controls are tight and responsive, each input gave me an acurate output. The only time I had an issue, which I had on previous titles, was when trying to take cover, Drake would roll, jump, etc, but that was mainly me, and not timing the action properly.


If you own a PS Vita and are a fan of the Uncharted series, DO NOT skip this title, it delivers from start to credits. Some may argue that the end felt a bit forced and rushed, but I disagree, it was perfect for this story, which again, does not start and does not end as Drake's personal quest, which is a nice twist for a change. If you played the PS3 games, this will not disappoint you, expect the same level of graphical, sound and control details that make the others so good. Any new comers, get ready for a "true adventure" game, the sort of game that will keep you entertained and asking for more. This is the classic Uncharted game we all know, with plenty of beautiful locations, mistery and an action-packed adventure that every Vita owner should experience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2012
Bought my copy for $39.99 through Toys R Us pre-order. The game looks absolutely gorgeous. This game is probably based on Uncharted 1 Drake's Fortune's engine on the PS3, a great proof is that when you try to climb on something that the game doesn't let you go there, Drake will do a small jump, instead of kicking the wall and bouncing back like he does in Uncharted 2 and 3. The controls are similar to Uncharted Drake's Fortune as well. which is a bit of a let down for me after playing Uncharted 3 on the PS3. But it is alright. And also it took me a while to adjust to VITA's buttons and sticks but that's the case when something brand new came out. If you are an Uncharted fan this game has the power to make you immediately fall in love with the game. I am also looking forward to the additional of any multiplayer patches, maybe a coop DLC?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2012
I can't really compare it to any others, this is the only uncharted i've ever played. I do think this is a very fun game. It has a vast amount of collectibles and trophys to earn. The gameplay is nothing spectacular, however it is very polished. The graphics on this game are amazing and I thought the story was pretty good on it. The dialogue between Nate and the other characters was good and sometimes was actually LOL material. I had a good time with this game, the campaign was lengthy and I would recommend this to anyone who owns a vita. My only complaint is cutting bamboo or obstacles with the machete using the touch screen, after a while it got annoying because it happens often, but really thats not a big deal.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2012
I will start by saying I've never played an Uncharted game before until now because I just wanted to give it a shot and to my great satisfaction I love it. The graphics look very similar to a PS3 game graphics and the sound effects and voice acting are really good like what you'd expect from a console experience. I'm just now getting to chapter 4 and the story has been holding my interest very well unlike with fps games that are online only. So far I'll say Golden Abyss is a fantastic game that honestly deserves a try whether your a fan of the Uncharted series or a newcomer like myself it should satisfy you. Lastly, This game is a nice way to show off the Vita's graphical power and fluid frame rates, but anyways thanks for reading!
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