Uncharted: Golden Abyss- Why's The Building On Fire?
Sony turns up the heat in Nathan Drake's handheld adventure.
When it comes to portable video games, the words "console quality experience" get thrown around quite a bit, perhaps unnecessarily. Handheld graphics and controls continue to inch closer to mimicking PlayStation 3 titles, but there's room for growth.
That said, Uncharted: Golden Abyss is the closest the video game industry has come to achieving this goal. Currently in development at SCE Bend Studio, this action tour de force comes with some of the best looking visuals we've seen on a handheld device, with play mechanics that mimic the console adventures. And yet, the game has unique elements all its own.
The most recent demo (too short, in our humble opinion) is entitled, "Why's the building on fire", and takes place...well...a building engulfed in flames. Hero Nathan Drake awakens in a jail cell, and players must find a means of escape.
To be clear, Drake's in no immediate danger. One could simply leave him be and the fire wouldn't consume him, nor would he choke to death from smoke inhalation. Throwing realism out the proverbial window, there's still that sense of panic. Drake needs to exit sooner than later.
Players achieve this goal by searching for a box partially covered by a yellow tarp, signaling that Drake can stand on top of this object. After doing so, gamers instruct Drake to pull himself up onto a wooden platform, and that's when the real fun begins.
Seeking a way out triggers a series of events and special effects. The fire rages, quickly burning through weak pieces of wood and causing much of the second floor to collapse.
Drake barely survives by leaping to a pipe. From there, the player can use the d-pad and action button to jump to more pipes (the path easily laid out), or trace a line across Vita's five-inch screen, watching as Drake auto climbs and then stops at the desired location.
What follows is classic Uncharted, a playable cinematic feast of fire and dramatic set pieces complimented by a segment that utilizes the system's SIXAXIS motion control, where gamers physically tilt the device while Drake balances atop a beam. This appears in the console games, but feels more at home on a handheld, which seems less foreign than the DualShock 3.
With a way out in plain sight, players receive another touch screen prompt, this one involving Drake's machete that he picked up a few seconds earlier. Instead of mashing buttons to slice through a piece of fabric blocking the doorway, they draw lines on the screen that in turn causes him to cut his way out.
Unfortunately for Drake, another problem awaits. Newcomer Marisa Chase is under heavy gunfire, and the only way to protect her is to grab a sniper rifle and kill the handful of attackers, one of which sits behind an armored gun turret.
The player, again, has two choices. He or she can either go with traditional buttons that handle everything, or zoom and then tilt the Vita to search for enemies via the weapon's scope. It's a control scheme that at first feels foreign, but quickly becomes intuitive and fun, upon realizing the player can spin 360 degrees.
How does Drake prevail? By nailing a truck full of explosives, causing a chain reaction that destroys the turret.
That's it. Goodnight. Demo over.
The result? Another fine showing for what should be PlayStation Vita's must have launch game.