IT WASN'T too long ago that we were running and dodging bullets in Nathan Drake's shoes in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, yet here we are again with another Uncharted game.
Most games that make the transition to portable systems tend to lose their sparkle so we were concerned to learn that the latest Uncharted game would not be helmed by Naughty Dog but done in collaboration with Bend Studio instead.
But after spending a few hours with the game, I was relieved to find that Golden Abyss (GA) cuts no corners and delivers the same high quality graphics and engaging action as its console counterparts.
GA is set before the events of the first Uncharted game. In this prequel, Drake finds himself under the employ of an old acquaintance, Jason Dante, deep in the forests of Central America in search of treasure.
Along the way he meets Marisa Chase, who is searching of her archaeologist grandfather and runs into trouble with an ex-general who wants the treasure for himself.
The story is genuinely interesting with a plot that sucks you in and its interesting new characters fit nicely into the Uncharted universe.
The game is easily one of THE best looking Vita launch titles and it is just stunning to see the lush foliage of the jungle and detailed characters come to life on the Vita's OLED screen.
GA is also a well-paced game that finds a nice balance between combat, exploration and puzzle solving that makes use of the Vita's controls.
Speaking of which, the touch controls are there to assist you in the platforming sections - you just need drag your finger along obstacles and let Drake automatically traverse it. Admittedly, it makes the game too easy at times but you can opt not to use it.
Still, there were too many activities that tried to force us to use the touch controls, such as rotating to clean debris off artefacts and swiping the screen to perform an action like boosting your companion Chase up a ledge.
But the game does give you interesting ways to solve simple puzzles. One had us holding the Vita up against a strong light source to reveal a hidden message.
Combat in the game is just as engaging as the console versions of the series, with plenty of tense moments such as when you need to climb a cliff and fend off bad guys at the same time.
Our favourite use of the motion controls in the game is the ability to finetune your aim by tilting the system as you aim down the sights. It is a surprisingly intuitive manner that greatly improves your aim.
There's no multiplayer mode in the game though the game's many hidden collectibles will keep you coming back to complete them.
All in all, Uncharted: Golden Abyss is an impressive launch title for the Vita that sets a very high bar for other portable games to follow. This is definitely one adventure all PS Vita owners owe to themselves to embark on. - CHONG JINN XIUNG
Pros: Great looking graphics; engaging story with interesting characters; fully utilises PS Vita's controls.
Cons: Touch controls make platforming too easy.
UNCHARTED: GOLDEN ABYSS
(SCE Bend Studio/ Sony Computer Entertainment)
Third person adventure game for the PS Vita
Review unit courtesy of Sony Computer Entertainment Hong Kong, asia.playstation.com.