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Author Topic: [Vita] Uncharted: Golden Abyss  (Read 3606 times)
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TiLT
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« on: February 28, 2012, 08:07:33 AM »

I debated whether or not to post this in the other Uncharted thread that was made a little while ago, but in the end I decided that it wouldn't hurt to have a more general thread for the game in a subforum with not much activity in the first place. If any mods disagree, feel free to merge the threads.

Anyway, I finished this game yesterday, and when I say finished I mean "completed the story mode on Normal difficulty, once". There's so much more to do here, including playing through again on Hard and Crushing.

What most people wonder about when it comes to this game is probably how it compares to the other Uncharted games. Let me sum it up quickly then: This game has a design and story like Uncharted 1, with the combat from Uncharted 2 and story themes from Uncharted 3. Let me expand upon that:

This game is like Uncharted 1 in that it's all set in one location (okay, Uncharted 1 was in two locations, but they were so similar that it hardly counts) and that the stories in the two games are actually related to each other. I don't think Eldorado is mentioned by name, but they're very, very close to doing so at one point. Both games have very few epic spectacles like the kind that U2 and U3 have, so if that's what appeals to you with these games you'll be disappointed.

This game is like Uncharted 2 in that the combat works the same and that stealth is a very viable option (I had somewhere between 60 and 70 stealth kills by the end of the game). There's virtually no difference in how it's treated between the two games, with the same kind of assortment in enemy types and behavior, and the same kinds of weapons and combat moves. Unlike Uncharted 3 you can't toss back grenades and enemies mostly come from one direction during combat (I hated how U3's enemies would attack from multiple directions at once, making cover more of a liability than an aid). Combat control is smooth and familiar. If you've played the other games you'll be popping off headshots in no-time.

This game is like Uncharted 3 in how it reflects upon Drake's purpose. Why does he keep seeking out these lost and incredibly dangerous civilizations when he almost always fails to get much of value out of it? When did he go from thief to altruist?

Like all the other games in the series, the graphics are absolutely stunning, particularly when you consider that this is on a tiny handheld. Don't believe me? Take a look in the spoiler box below for examples. Some of these screenshots may be considered very mild spoilers, FYI. All of them were taken by myself using the Vita's inbuilt screenshot function.

Spoiler for Hiden:






Not all of the game takes place in a jungle btw, despite what most of the screenshots and videos you may have seen indicate. There are some spectacular vistas towards the end of the game that look unique from an Uncharted standpoint.

There are 34 chapters in the game, each one lasting anything from 5-30 minutes. The total length of the game isn't much different from the bigger console versions. However, Golden Abyss has one advantage: Treasure hunting! If you like collectibles you'll love this game. It's filled to the brim with things to collect, and new categories keep being introduced all the way to the end of the game. You've got the traditional treasures we know from the old games, but there are more of them and each one has a bit of history related to it that you may read at your leisure, and there may also be a related sound clip such as Drake making a comment about it. You've also got charcoal rubbings, which are specific locations where you may rub off patterns from walls using the touch screen. Some of these need to be assembled manually to form a larger picture. Then there are puzzles of various kinds. You've also got a bunch of photographs to take across the game in specific spots. You've got a black and white reference photo to go by and have to replicate it as closely as possible by standing in the right spot, aiming at the right point and adjusting zoom. Last but not least, every enemy you defeat has a chance of dropping a bounty. These come in 5 different flavors if I recall correctly, each one related to a specific series of chapters (ie. enemies in a certain chapter will only drop bounties of one specific category. This is also pointed out in the chapter selection screen, making it easy to know which ones to play if you want to hunt for bounties). They also come in different rarities of the standard types: Common, uncommon and rare. You won't get close to completing these sets of bounties when you finish the game. You are instead supposed to trade to get the missing ones, or keep hunting through the chapters on your own. Trading happens automatically through Near. I've received a couple of bounties that way myself. A large portion of the trophies for Golden Abyss are related to treasures and bounties. To put it into perspective: I didn't get a single one of these trophies in my playthrough. Treasures are hidden in very clever ways. Where previous games let you find treasures along your normal path, Golden Abyss often requires you to discover alternate pathways that lead to hidden rooms or areas. Again, each one of these collectibles has a bit of text and possibly voice associated with it, allowing you to delve deep into the history behind the game if you want to.

Speaking of which, the history is the part of the game that is treated a bit poorly. There's just too much of it. Where the other Uncharted games had stories that were easy to follow, with just a few exotic names here and there to keep things interesting, Golden Abyss keep throwing unpronounceable name after unpronounceable name at you, expecting you to remember what they represent and how they relate to each other. I'm still not entirely sure what the story was all about after completing it, but that's partly because the game kept distracting me during cutscenes by having me hunt the backgrounds for treasures (which you can pick up during cutscenes by using the touch screen). Most of the cutscenes are also nothing but dialogue, whereas the other games had a bit more variety.

For the most part you can ignore the fancy Vita-specific controls for this game, with a few exceptions. Occasionally Drake will slip while climbing, requiring you to quickly swipe your finger in a specific direction to avoid falling. Other times you have to tilt the Vita to keep Drake's balance while he's walking across thin bridges. Melee combat almost always ends up requiring a finger swipe to finish off the enemy. Some puzzles require use of the touch screen or other functionality (a particularly brilliant one has you holding the Vita up against a bright light to read hidden text on a parchment). The worst Vita-specific parts are a couple of boss fights towards the end, which consist of nothing but swiping your finger where the game tells you to, with a "three strikes and you're out" policy. They are easy to forgive though since they are such a small part of the overall game.

As always, the acting is awesome and genuinely funny. The bad guys are a little flatter than usual, but still miles above most game villains. I laughed out loud multiple times throughout the game.

All in all, I believe this game has been ranked low simply because it's an Uncharted game and is getting unrealistic expectations loaded onto it. If we hadn't had the previous three Uncharted games, this one would be getting 90%-scores all over the place. As it is, people want to see Drake jumping out of airborne planes, leaping between cars, running along the top of trains and so on. That's not what you're going to get here, so if those are the main appeals of the series to you this might not be your kind of game. If you enjoy the core gameplay the series is known for however, you'll love Golden Abyss.
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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2012, 09:09:00 AM »

Shortest. Post. Ever.

 icon_wink

(It was great!)
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Ridah
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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2012, 08:04:20 PM »

I asked this in the main Vita thread and never received an answer. Are the graphics in the Uncharted demo different than the full game? Because I thought it looked pretty bad; muddy textures, sub-30 framerate occasionally.
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TiLT
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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2012, 08:10:45 PM »

I wouldn't know as I never played the demo. The game feels smooth and sharp to me though. The only times it's not smooth is during grenade explosions, and then only occasionally.
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« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2012, 08:39:58 PM »

I was kind of disappointed when I loaded it up - I thought Vita games were supposed to look like little PS3 games, and the graphics are very jaggy. Not blocky, but no anti-aliasing to speak of. This, of course, was probably my own misconception.

However what it lacks for in sharpness it makes up for in scope. I haven't gotten very far in the game yet, but it doesn't seem confined or limited like the old PSP games were. There are wide views and you climb high up waterfalls, etc.
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TiLT
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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2012, 08:43:14 PM »

Since we're talking about how the game looks, I believe Uncharted, like several other launch titles for the Vita, runs at a lower resolution than the system supports and is then upscaled. This means the graphics look a bit less detailed than they otherwise would, but since this is a common practice on the bigger consoles as well, it doesn't really bother me that much. Rich graphics design is way more important than the resolution.
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« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2012, 07:30:04 AM »

One thing I believe I forgot to mention in the original post above is that the music in Golden Abyss is probably the best in the series history. The music occasionally sticks out more than we're used to from the Uncharted games, but in a good way.
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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2012, 02:27:29 PM »

Broke down and grabbed this last night.  It's my first entry into the Uncharted series, and while it looks and sounds absolutely incredible, I'm not really sure it's my type of game.  I'm absolutely awful at the shooting segments - even moreso on the Vita than a regular console.  I honestly might have to dial it down to "very easy" mode, as I can't hit the broad side of a gorram barn with these controls.  I also seem to be having issues with some of the tilt controls, especially on bridges.  I got frustrated and quit last night on an early segment trying to cross a log.  No matter which way I tilt the Vita, it doesn't seem to have any effect on the balance meter.  The gyro works fine in other games, so apparently I just can't figure out the trick on this one.

The whole package seems very cool, but I'm having a hell of a time getting the hang of it.  Only put in about an hour though...hoping it gets better.
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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2012, 02:47:22 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on March 01, 2012, 02:27:29 PM

Broke down and grabbed this last night.  It's my first entry into the Uncharted series, and while it looks and sounds absolutely incredible, I'm not really sure it's my type of game.  I'm absolutely awful at the shooting segments - even moreso on the Vita than a regular console.  I honestly might have to dial it down to "very easy" mode, as I can't hit the broad side of a gorram barn with these controls.  I also seem to be having issues with some of the tilt controls, especially on bridges.  I got frustrated and quit last night on an early segment trying to cross a log.  No matter which way I tilt the Vita, it doesn't seem to have any effect on the balance meter.  The gyro works fine in other games, so apparently I just can't figure out the trick on this one.

The whole package seems very cool, but I'm having a hell of a time getting the hang of it.  Only put in about an hour though...hoping it gets better.

I had the same problem on probably the same log.  I'm not even sure how I did it, really.  There may be no trick except anticipate the balance moment and use controlled tilting.  But, yeah, that seems to be a little messed up.  On the plus side, I haven't had much trouble with other crossing moments.

As for the shooting, it's never been Uncharted's strong suit.  There is much debate about just how bad it is.  I found the first Uncharted more frustrating than fun because of it.  The second had the best, most balanced shooting of all of them, IMO.  The third game was a step back, but not as bad as the first one.  And the Vita version seems on par with #3.  It's never a good sign when the bad guys show up and my first response is, "Ugh, how long until the next platforming section?"
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« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2012, 02:50:40 PM »

Quote from: Bullwinkle on March 01, 2012, 02:47:22 PM

As for the shooting, it's never been Uncharted's strong suit.  There is much debate about just how bad it is.  I found the first Uncharted more frustrating than fun because of it.  The second had the best, most balanced shooting of all of them, IMO.  The third game was a step back, but not as bad as the first one.  And the Vita version seems on par with #3.  It's never a good sign when the bad guys show up and my first response is, "Ugh, how long until the next platforming section?"

Good to know it might not entirely be my lack of skills.  smile
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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2012, 03:05:33 PM »

Adjust the options to turn off gyro aiming if you're struggling. That's what I did, and I was getting headshots soon after. It's all about those small adjustments using the joysticks and making sure you're not exposed too long while aiming. Remember that if you hide behind cover after aiming, you'll still be aiming at the same spot when you aim the next time.

As for the balancing minigame, you need to hold the Vita in front of you, its screen vertical instead of parallel with the floor. If you tip the Vita carefully to the sides in that position you shouldn't have any problems keeping your balance.
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« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2012, 03:43:35 PM »

That's funny, I've only played the first, and thought the shooting was ok. That may be because I don't play a lot of shooters. I really liked Uncharted until the end, when it simply became too difficult for me.
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« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2012, 11:07:03 PM »

For the balancing sections (they come up again, so you will need to figure it out), Drake will move his arms like he's falling to the right.  Hold the Vita upright and tilt it left (like driving a car and turning left).  Be dramatic with the movement.  There's a good bit of leeway.  Each balancing segment has had 3 moves so far (up to chapter 5 or 6, where I am now).  So left, meter moves, right, meter moves, left.  Drake will not advance until you complete the balancing -- you don't need to try to move forward at the same time you are balancing, it won't make a difference.  Once you get it, it's pretty easy.

Shooting..not so much.
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« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2012, 12:09:36 PM »

Figured out the balancing sections.  I was holding it in my lap as I played, so putting it up in front of me made a big difference.  Just got to the first major scene change (Chap 4, I think).  Still not completely enamored with the gameplay, but the production values are off the chart.
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« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2012, 12:35:44 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on March 02, 2012, 12:09:36 PM

Figured out the balancing sections.  I was holding it in my lap as I played, so putting it up in front of me made a big difference.  Just got to the first major scene change (Chap 4, I think).  Still not completely enamored with the gameplay, but the production values are off the chart.
Thats the only thing annoying about the game (for me at least). Before Drake crosses a log I know what's coming. Like you, I put the vita in front of me and seem to get past the logs that way.
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« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2012, 01:53:58 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on March 02, 2012, 12:09:36 PM

but the production values are off the chart.

That's why it's called "Uncharted".

Thank you, thank you! I'll be here all night.
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« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2012, 01:23:03 PM »

What's the deal with the Black Market?  Is there a point to it?  I know I'm swapping items with other folks from the friend list, but it doesn't seem like the items are useful, they don't flesh out the story, and as far as I can tell, it's just a collection of filler meant to get you to use Near.  I suppose for each collection you complete you get a trophy? 
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« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2012, 01:54:52 PM »

Quote from: DonD on March 03, 2012, 01:23:03 PM

I suppose for each collection you complete you get a trophy?

Yup. There's also a little bit of history related to each item you can collect, as well as some voice from Drake on the most rare items. They are just a way to extend people's enjoyment of the game if they're into collecting stuff and/or getting the platinum trophy. You can get all the collectibles from playing the levels (though you'd have to play the game several times to stand a chance of completing the sets) or by using Near.
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« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2012, 04:34:13 AM »

Bah, I'm done with this.  It's a great game to show off what the Vita can do, but I haven't warmed to the gameplay at all and the story doesn't interest me in the least.  After spending the last 20 minutes (in Chapter 10, I think*) running around a warehouse trying to figure out where the hell I was supposed to go next, along with still not being able to hit a damn thing with these guns...I'm out.

It's up in the trading forum if anyone wants it.

Spoiler for *
Spoiler for Hiden:
After they drove off with Chase in the truck full of dynamite.
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« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2012, 01:11:02 PM »

Gratch, can I ask what difficulty level you're using?  I find it can really make a difference in Uncharted.
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« Reply #20 on: March 05, 2012, 01:33:09 PM »

Turn off motion sensor aiming, turn on auto aiming.
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« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2012, 02:22:06 PM »

Quote from: Bullwinkle on March 05, 2012, 01:11:02 PM

Gratch, can I ask what difficulty level you're using?  I find it can really make a difference in Uncharted.

Easy.  It honestly has more to do with me than the game.  I'm simply terrible at console shooters, and even moreso on the Vita, it seems.

Quote
Turn off motion sensor aiming, turn on auto aiming.

If the story, setting, or characters interested me in the least, I might give that a shot.  I'm sure lots of folks will love it, but I just find the whole thing quite dull, really.
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« Reply #22 on: March 05, 2012, 02:43:29 PM »

The story's not doing much for me, either, honestly, but I'm okay with the shooting on easy, and I like the exploring and love the ramped up collection aspect of this one.
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« Reply #23 on: March 05, 2012, 02:45:35 PM »

Has anyone found that some of the exploration paths just end in dead ends - the next hand or foothold breaks off and you have nowhere to go? I wasn't sure if I just wasn't being fast enough or they are there as red herrings.
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« Reply #24 on: March 05, 2012, 03:11:13 PM »

Quote from: Teggy on March 05, 2012, 02:45:35 PM

Has anyone found that some of the exploration paths just end in dead ends - the next hand or foothold breaks off and you have nowhere to go? I wasn't sure if I just wasn't being fast enough or they are there as red herrings.

The only situations in which I've seen this happen are when you're revisiting an old area and are trying to move in the direction you went the last time you were there. In other words, you've already been where you're trying to go when the path collapses in some way.
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« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2012, 12:43:44 AM »

So I encountered a rather amusing bug this afternoon.  Chapter 9 spoilers below.
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Was trying to figure out where to go after Chase hops in the back of the van loaded with dynamite and Guerro drives off with her. After killing the baddies in the ensuing shootout, I tried going back up to Guerro's office to see if I could figure out how to get out of the building.  Much to my surprise, the previous cutscene (the one where Drake hacks the chest and gets Chase's amulet) starts playing...without Chase being there.  Her VO was playing just like it did before, but there was no character model.  When she hands Drake the combination and takes the amulet from him, they just sort of hovered there in the air without being attached to anything. 

I think this completely borked up my save file as well, since the game is now expecting me to interact with her, and she isn't there.  As if I needed another reason to quit this game...     icon_lol 
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« Reply #26 on: March 06, 2012, 06:08:49 AM »

Quote from: Gratch on March 06, 2012, 12:43:44 AM

I think this completely borked up my save file as well, since the game is now expecting me to interact with her, and she isn't there.  As if I needed another reason to quit this game...     icon_lol 

Just restart the chapter.
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« Reply #27 on: December 15, 2012, 04:43:36 AM »

Arise! I'm playing through Golden Abyss now and I'm absolutely LOVING it. Now, I admit that I was already an Uncharted fan so I'm a little biased but man, this game is just as good as its big brother console versions! I feel like I've been playing forever and I'm only on about Chapter 14.  A big part of that is because finding the hidden items actually has some meaning now either by powering up your cards for the Uncharted card game or by providing a little extra story tidbits through voice overs. I can't believe this game was free. Thank you so much PSN+!
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« Reply #28 on: December 15, 2012, 07:08:36 AM »

Quote from: Canuck on December 15, 2012, 04:43:36 AM

Arise! I'm playing through Golden Abyss now and I'm absolutely LOVING it. Now, I admit that I was already an Uncharted fan so I'm a little biased but man, this game is just as good as its big brother console versions! I feel like I've been playing forever and I'm only on about Chapter 14.  A big part of that is because finding the hidden items actually has some meaning now either by powering up your cards for the Uncharted card game or by providing a little extra story tidbits through voice overs. I can't believe this game was free. Thank you so much PSN+!

Glad to hear you are enjoying it, I did as well. It amazes me that people complained about the launch when it included this game as well as many others. I gave it to a buddy after completion, but I'm gonna get plus soon, so if its still up then I do, Ill play it again, again. icon_wink
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« Reply #29 on: December 15, 2012, 11:21:57 AM »

I love the game too. Just played through it for the third time last week on Hard difficulty, and it was still a great experience. The naysayers mostly had two problems with the game: That you're forced to use touch controls occasionally, and the lack of massive set-pieces that we're used to from Uncharted 2 and 3 (but interestingly, not 1).
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« Reply #30 on: December 15, 2012, 12:50:08 PM »

Most of the touch controls are redundant that is true. But it doesn't really hurt the gameplay. I honestly can't think of a series that has more witty banter than the Uncharted series.  I could just listen to Drake and Sully go back and forth all day long.  There's a couple of great "that's what she said" gags in this latest iteration. biggrin
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« Reply #31 on: December 15, 2012, 02:12:58 PM »

I went back to it recently due to 'Fight for Fortune' having come out and a need to unlock more goodies there. Forgot where I had left off... damn, chapter two. Now happily moving on and having a great time.  icon_cool
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« Reply #32 on: December 15, 2012, 04:05:18 PM »

I generally don't care for touch controls, but I liked the ability to trace across multiple handholds to quickly traverse.
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« Reply #33 on: December 16, 2012, 03:17:53 PM »

Just finished the game tonight. Man, what a game. I loved almost everything. The platforming is mostly fun, treasure finding is pretty addictive, the score is epic, the dialogue is fantastic. It's just as good a game as it's console brothers. My only real complaint is that the final two boss fights are essentially quick time events where you have to swipe the screen in the correct direction. Most anti-climatic boss fights ever. But other than that I had a blast and am looking forward to playing it again. I could probably count the number of games that I've actually completed in the past 3 or 4 years on one hand and 3 of those would be the first two uncharteds and this one. That speaks volumes for me.
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