I’m a recent fan of the Nathan Drake series of Uncharted games on the PlayStation 3, and like many of you out there I’m sure that a new Uncharted title launching alongside the PlayStation Vita is a defining factor in your considerations to buy the new portable console.
I finished playing through Uncharted Golden Abyss yesterday, and while I’m not about to review it (reviewing games is a slight conflict of interests for me these days), I did want to address what I’ve recently noticed to be a big sticking point with a lot of people who have and haven’t played the game.
Namely the interactive Vita elements integrated into the game.
Some examples include:
- Rubbing the screen to get a charcoal rubbing impression on a piece of parchment.
- Using the back touchpad to rotate an item to view it from all angles.
- Touching the screen to interactive with weapons, items, environments.
- Quicktime events that require slicing movements across the screen.
- Using the accelerometer to aim more precisely.
- Using the gyroscope to balance while walking along thin platforms.
As is the case with any new system that wants to showcase their fancy new hardware, some of these elements work, some don’t, some are gimmicky, some are inspired.
For example; walking across a thin plank of wood prompts an indicator that forces you to rotate the Vita left or right in order to balance Nathan Drake. Sure, I’ve used this mechanic on other systems before. What doesn’t make sense is that it only happens when ¾ of the way across the obstacle, to which is stops the character progression until you’ve gone through the alignment.
Rather than complimenting the action, it detracts and slows down the gameplay.
On the flipside, when using the zoomed in sniper rifle I’m able to physically move my Vita around to change my aim, allowing a much more refined control than the right joystick. Practically every sniper shot was a headshot because of this, and it was a nice touch that I really enjoyed.
New control mechanisms are fine in new hardware, it’s just the new games shouldn’t feel the need to show off ALL of them.
Really though, in the end these issues don’t even matter. Uncharted Golden Abyss is exactly what I wanted from a title in this series, and the extra controls are incidental enough not to detract or enhance to any significant degree.
What do you guys think?