Every new console, handheld or otherwise, needs a de facto blockbuster to get consumers excited and anxious to pick up their new hardware. Nintendo has it’s lovable plumber, yellow lightning mouse and other stable cast of Nintendo regulars. Sony has chosen Nathan Drake of the Uncharted series to kick off the Playstation Vita’s launch in the right direction.

If there ever was a game to dissolve any preconceived notions that handhelds do not pack the hardware to produce visually stunning games, Uncharted Golden Abyss will make a believer out of even the most staunch critic. From clambering around broken temple ruins to navigating your way through the Panamanian jungles and rivers, Uncharted is just an absolutely gorgeous game. However, for those accustomed to the rest of the Uncharted series there are a couple nitpicks to be had with the eye movement animation. They seem to be a bit out of sync for where they should be at looking during some of cut scenes. This is just a minor nitpick and in no way detracts from the immersion and game as a whole.

Uncharted is responsive and makes full use of the dual analog setup to control just as an Uncharted game feels. You rush towards the nearest yellow ledge and hop, flip and jump from place to place. However, the PS Vita tech allows for interesting ways to add wrinkles to this game play. During quick-time events you swipe the screen in the appropriate direction to stay in the action and dip the console from right to left to avoid falling from ledges. Other new actions introduced include; rubbing dirt off of items to decipher them and camera controlled gun play. Although there were times that I grew weary of having to stop and tilt my Vita from side to side when crossing a ledge for the tenth time, I feel Naughty Dog did find a decent medium between being mandatory and using them to the right effect during tense moments. The gun play was particularly enjoyable since you would use the PS Vita as an aiming camera while zoomed in, this facilitates some easy head shots on the villain henchmen.

The one detractor from Golden Abyss is that the story lacks the globe trotting feel associated with the rest of the Uncharted series since Panama is the main location. I sometimes yearned that Drake would find himself imprisoned in a plane in the middle of the desert. Ah not quite that, but some variety in locales would have been a nice addition.

As the premier launch title for the Playstation Vita, Uncharted: Golden Abyss does not disappoint and introduces not only another explosive Nathan Drake adventure but also a new chapter into how Sony can redefine the handheld market.

9/10

I game. I love.

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