Sony Corp.’s Uncharted: Golden Abyss for the Playstation Vita is a premiere launch title that provides a technology showcase in an epic action adventure. Despite some aiming issues, the title wrangles a firm grip from start to finish.

Developed by Bend Studios, Uncharted: Golden Abyss is a prequel that takes Nathan Drake on a new quest to uncover the mystery behind a 400-year-old Spanish expedition with fellow treasure hunters Jason Dante and Marissa Chase.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss

The title includes standard gameplay from the Uncharted series including large-scale platforming and shooting. The PS Vita entry adds new touch functionality to platforming, melee fights, climbing, and puzzles. In addition, users can employ gyroscopic functionality to help aim and balance Drake over narrow walkways.

Most touch functions, like platforming and puzzles, are well integrated, while required functions like charcoal rubbing and melee fights can grow tedious.

Like prior entries in the franchise, levels are built to an epic scale as Drake leaps and grabs onto cliffs, mountains, and underground chasms with ease using basic or touch controls.

The PS Vita right analog stick allows users to aim and move the camera in dynamic fashion. Aiming, which is critical to the action series, is unrefined. Default sensitivity overshoots most moving enemies, while the highest sensitivity is inaccurate. An adjustment to low sensitivity is a better option for accurate, though slower-paced shots.

The AI is competent, though not too bright. Most grunts will stand in one place, though many will utilize two places to dodge. While aiming at many moving targets can be a chore, touch stealth kills are quick and satisfying.

The graphics engine, mostly at 30 frames-per-second, set a new standard in portable gaming. Golden Abyss relays near Playstation 3 level character models and texture work. Drake and friends are expressive, believable and motion-captured to lifelike proportion in combination with excellent voice work. In addition, the orchestral soundtrack is rich and boastful via the PS Vita speakers.

While the title does not include a multiplayer component at launch, the entry adds a vast array of treasures to collect in each level. Also, users can take pictures of specific objects for further unlocks.

Unlocked items are presented in the Black Market section where users can offer treasure for trade via the near application. The option is a bit rough in execution though adequate for hardcore collectors to complete their digital collection.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss a true epic packed into the portable space. While the aiming nearly misfires, the deft platforming and solid mix of action and adventure is a treasure worth its weight in gold.

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