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Uncharted: Golden Abyss

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"And there, below the throne of the morning star, great veins of gold coursed through the walls, as blood from the beast of mammon: a golden abyss to guard the gate to hell."
— Nathan Drake

Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Uabboxart
Official boxart
Developer(s) Sony Bend Studio
(overseen by Naughty Dog)
Publisher(s) Sony Computer Entertainment
Native resolution 720x408, upscaled to qHD (960x544)
Platform(s) PlayStation Vita Exclusive
Release date(s) JP December 17, 2011
NA February 15, 2012
EU February 22, 2012
Genre(s) Third-person action-adventure
Mode(s) Singleplayer
Rating(s) CERO: C
ESRB: T
PEGI: 16+
Media PlayStation Vita card
Walkthrough
Uncharted: Golden Abyss is an action-adventure game developed for the PlayStation Vita by SCE Bend Studio. The game is set before the events of Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, but Naughty Dog have made the distinction that it is not necessarily a "prequel", because the events do not lead directly into Drake's Fortune.

The game was released as a launch title for the PS Vita in Japan on December 17, 2011. It was released alongside the PS Vita's launch in North America on February 12, 2012 and Europe February 22, 2012.

Golden Abyss received positive critical reaction, holding 80/100 on Metacritic and GameRankings. Critics praised the title for its unique gameplay, strong visuals and similarity to the its PS3 counterparts, while a major criticism was pointed at the touch-screen gameplay's issues and a rather weak plot.

GameplayEdit

Golden Abyss plays similar to the Uncharted games on PS3. Developers Sony Bend have stated they were keen to make sure the game feels familiar to Uncharted fans, but that it will make use of the PS Vita's extra features such as the touch screen and panel, as well as the sixasis function.

The gameplay is a mix of shooting and platforming elements, including in-depth puzzles which must be solved using various clues from Drake's personal journal. A new feature is the ability to use a camera and photographs to identify certain locales. Exploration and puzzles a major focus of the game.[1]

Plot SynopsisEdit

Spoiler Warning: This Section Contains Plot and Ending Details

"Uncover the dark secret behind the 400-year-old massacre of a Spanish expedition as Nathan Drake follows the murderous trail of an ancient and secret Spanish sect. Caught in the middle of a rivalry between Jason Dante - his old friend - and Marisa Chase - the granddaughter of an archeologist who has mysteriously vanished without a trace - Nate races into the treacherous river basins, undiscovered temple ruins and karst caverns of Central America in search of a legendary lost city, only to find himself pushed to the edge of the Golden Abyss..."
— Plot.[2]

Golden Abyss takes place a few years before Drake's Fortune, and begins in medias res - Nathan Drake is scaling a Temple on the side of a mountain, somewhere in Central America, which is swarming with mercenaries hired by Jason Dante who have orders to kill Nate on sight - orders which they carry out by firing an RPG at him while he climbs the side of the Temple.

The story then flashes back two weeks, revealing that Nate had been hired as an expert by Dante to investigate a dig site on a ridge in central Panama. At the dig site, they encounter Marisa Chase, Dante's 'partner' who as a result of her distrust, had tailed them. Dante receives an erratic radio call from Roberto Guerro, the leader of a revolutionary army based in the surrounding forest, and leaves, while Chase helps Nate examine the dig site, both unimpressed that Dante had not informed them about Guerro's presence. They find the remains of a group of Spanish conquistadors who were murdered via poisoning - by forces unknown. The only clue to why the soldiers were killed is a grave marker carved with a symbol Nate recognises as being of Visigoth origin. Chase reveals to Nate that she possesses an Amulet that Dante doesn't know about, and refuses to let Nate examine it unless he agrees to her offer of partnership, but before they can learn more they are interrupted by the arrival of Guerro's men. As Chase refuses to use a gun, Nate kills them all and the two attempt to escape. It is revealed that Dante has been working with Guerro, and Nate tries to escape by attacking the soldiers, but he is clubbed into unconsciousness.

Nate wakes up in a warehouse that also happens to be on fire. Escaping, he finds himself in a shanty town that acts as Guerro's base, and meets up with Chase. She explains she escaped Guerro after a brief interrogation, and set the warehouse alight as a diversion. Nate decides to resuce Dante and escape, but Chase refuses to leave without her Amulet, so reluctantly Nate agrees to help her retrieve it. After dispatching a number of Guerro's guards, they reach his office where they learn that Dante has already cut a deal with him, and given Guerro all the research he and Chase collected. Nate and Chase retrieve the Amulet from Guerro's office and narrowly escape the compound while being shot at.

Chase takes Nate to the house of Vincent Perez, her grandfather, and explains that he found the Amulet among the ruins on the ridge, and spent twenty years trying to figure it out. The year before, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, which made him desperate to solve the mystery. He contacted Dante, who was able to negotiate with Guerro for access to the site, but three months ago he disappeared, and Dante took over the excavation. In Perez's study, Nate discovers the symbol from the grave marker on the cover of a book about the Sete Cidades, an obscure Christian religious order with roots stretching back to the Visigoths.

When the Islamic Moors invaded Spain in the Eighth Century, legend tells of seven Spanish bishops who set sail with the treasures of Spain. Apparently they went on to found seven cities of gold, and the Sete Cidades was an order dedicated to finding these cities. Using Perez's research, Nate is able to translate the words written around the edge of the symbol, 'The Sword of Stephen shall bear witness to our sacrifice in the Chamber of the Seven Fathers'. Perez also noted that this Chamber would have been a holy place, a sanctum for the secrets of the Order, and a potential location for it. Nate accepts Chase's earlier offer to be partners as they depart.

Arriving at this location - Spanish ruins next to a large sinkhole - Nate and Chase enter catacombs at the bottom of the sinkhole and find the Chamber of the Seven Fathers, along with Perez's camp and his journal. The journal sheds more light on the Sete Cidades, specifically referring to Frair Marcos de Niza, a Spanish priest who was also a High Priest of the Sete Cidades, who was noted for claiming to have discovered the Seven Cities of Gold. As it turned out, Marcos lied, and his seven cities were simply native American villages. While they are investigating, they are ambushed by Guerro's men, who had followed them. Nate kills them and insists they hurry it up.

When the journal refers to Marcos' guide, Esteban the Moor, Nate realises that the Sword of Stephen is the sword of Esteban. After solving a puzzle, Nate and Chase discover Esteban's tomb and find the body of Vincent Perez in there. While Chase mourns for her grandfather, Nate takes the Sword of Stephen. Engraved upon the blade are symbols, which Nate takes charcoal rubbings of before he returns to Chase. He tells her that, when they find Quivira, it will be Perez's discovery, but she turns him down - it will be their discovery, as partners.

They are interrupted by the arrival of Dante, who takes Chase hostage right before Guerro arrives in time to hear Dante insult him. Guerro then calmly drops Dante off a balcony, and forces Nate to hand over the Sword of Stephen while he leaves with Chase as a hostage. Dante regains consciousness, as the fall wasn't fatal, and he and Nate work together to escape the sinkhole that was rigged by Guerro's explosives. They kill a multitude of Guerro's men trying to save Chase before she is taken, but when they finally get out of the sinkhole, they are too late. Dante vows to go hire his own army and go after Guerro while Nate seeks help from Sully.

Nate has assembled the charcoal rubbings of the symbols on the Sword of Stephen, revealing a map to the location of the Temple of the Serpents, which Friar Marcos stated 'guards the gateway to hell'. Nate and Sully make their way to the Temple while Dante's mercenaries fight Guerro's revolutionary army. Along the way, Sully falls down a hole and busts his leg. He suggests that Nate should go on alone, while he steals a helicopter to be their getaway vehicle.

Nate continues alone to the Temple of the Serpents, and repeats the scene at the start of the game. Nate survives the RPG blast, and makes his way into the caves beneath the mountain, where he learns that Dante's mercenaries have Guerro trapped in the lower caverns. Nate descends to a large doorway at the base of the cave where Geurro's men have Chase captive and are setting up explosives on the supporting columns. After Nate deals with them, Chase refuses to leave - Quivira is just behind the door. Nate realises that her Amulet is in fact the key to Quivira, and uses it to open the combination lock on the door.

Beyond the doorway, the caves go deeper until they end with a large lake which they must cross. Beyond the lake is another doorway, again opened with the Amulet, granting access to the Golden Abyss. This cavern has numerous enormous veins of gold all over its walls, and in the centre is the Throne of Gold. Sitting on the Throne is the corpse of Esteban, impaled through the heart with the dagger of Marcos de Niza. Esteban was a Sete Cidades offering, a sacrifice of blood to seal the gates of hell.

Before Nate and Chase can take the dagger to use as evidence to rewrite history, a Geiger counter in her pack indicates that the gold is radioactive. Dante arrives and reveals he knew about the treasure being radioactive and plans to strip-mine Quivira and litter the gold through the black market. Nate and Dante get into a fist-fight with Nate being the victor. Nate and Chase leave Dante by the Throne of Gold, and Chase detonates the bombs in the caverns to seal it. As she and Nate flee, the caverns begin to collapse, presumably killing Dante and any of his mercenaries still in the cave system. As they reach the exit, Guerro appears and fires an RPG into a stone column, causing it to collapse and fall onto Chase's leg. Guerro reloads the RPG - all that is left of his army - and says he has only one cause left without his army: to die with honour. Nate confronts Guerroro and, during a fist-fight, he is able to trick Guerro into charging out onto a burning bridge, which collapses and plunges the General into the abyss.

Nate returns to Chase and manages to lever the stone block off her leg, before the two flee to the exit - where they find Sully waiting with his helicopter to winch them out. They land on the pyramid in the valley to splint Chase's leg, and while Sully checks the chopper has enough gas to get them home, Nate reveals he saved Chase's Amulet. She takes it, and hurls it into the jungle, stating that Marcos was right - it belongs in hell. Sully interrupts before the two can kiss, and as they head back to the helicopter begins telling his story about the nurses in Buenos Aires. Again.

DevelopmentEdit

The game was developed by Sony Bend Studio, who was overseen by Naughty Dog. A brief gameplay demo has been shown.[3] It is known that the game will have an optional touchscreen control feature and motion sensitive controls. In a demo at E3 2011, it was shown that weapons can be picked up and reloaded by tapping the weapon icon on-screen.

Bend studio creative director John Garvin has confirmed that Naughty Dog allowed them to use their mo-cap and voice over studios.[4] It has been confirmed the game will contain over 2 hours of cutscenes.[5]

Nolan North revealed in an interview that he will return to play Drake, lending his voice acting talents along with motion capture work, as in the console games. He also revealed that the story was also being written by Garvin.[6]

Naughty Dog co-president Christophe Balestra confirmed the game's stance in the franchise, as well as suggesting a greater focus on exploration rather than gunplay. It was said that the game will feature "interactions" with Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, though the final game lacks any connectivity features.[7]

MultiplayerEdit

The game doesn't include any form of multi-player functionality on the retail cartridge itself, however, a developer reportedly told Destructoid at a Sony event that an announcement regarding multiplayer will be made soon for the title.

No further details were spared, only that it’ll be “something different,” presumably to complement the portable format. It wasn't released in the launch day, though it could always be added in via a patch later.

ReceptionEdit

Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
Destructoid [8] 9.5/10
Eurogamer [9] 8/10
Just Push Start [10] 4.5/5
PlayStation LifeStyle [11] 10/10
IGN [12] 8.5/10


The first full review of Uncharted: Golden Abyss came from PlayStationLifeStyle.net, a website that gave the game a score of 10/10, saying "Uncharted: Golden Abyss is the very best reason to buy a PS Vita."

Destructoid highly praised the game, awarding it with 9.5/10, telling players "Prepare to be amazed by a portable videogame". PlayStation: The Official Magazine gave the game a 9/10, calling it a "very impressive achievement".

GameTrailers gave an 8.6/10, criticizing the touch screen for being a "little heavy-handed" and the plot for lacking "missing those "wow" moments we're used to getting from the franchise", but ended the review positively by stating "but it's a solid action adventure with production values strong enough to quell any sense of system buyer's remorse".

IGN's Greg Miller, who also reviewed Drake's Fortune and Drake's Deception, gave Golden Abyss an 8.5/10, stating " [the game] is great and an impressive launch title for the PlayStation Vita", but criticized the story for not being as strong as preivous titles.

Gamestyle gave the game an 8/10, stating it "is not without faults, but nothing glaring enough to prevent recommending it, firstly as a very enjoyable game and secondly as an example of what the Vita can do." Guardian also gave it an 8/10, calling the game a "solidly entertaining romp." Game Informer also decided to give 8/10, stating "for the first time, we're able to play a handheld game with the scale and production values of a home console title".

GamesRadar awarded Golden Abyss with 4/5 stars (80 on Metacritic), stating "it's mostly there - the charm, the gameplay, the visual presentation - but there are some key elements missing". Eurogamer gave the game an 8/10, praising the controls.

GameSpot was less favorable, giving the game a 7/10, stating "[Golden Abyss] is full of disappointments. The action set pieces are great, but there's too few of them; the voice acting is exemplary, but the narrative doesn't do it justice; the touch and motion controls work well for some actions, but they ruin others. For every moment of enjoyment you have, something comes along to spoil it". The site, however, ended with "despite its problems, though, Golden Abyss still succeeds in delivering some intense, entertaining action and combat."

Both Edge and Joystiq gave a 7/10, criticizing story and gameplay pieces, but both agreed the title is entertaining, with Edge pointing "The core Uncharted experience is still here... It's stripped a little bare, but it's just about enough".

TriviaEdit

  • Even though the game takes place before Drake's Fortune, which is set sometime around 2007, the description for Vincent Perez's ID card says that it shows that he's been with the issuing agency for "over 20 years", even though the date on the card it self says 1990.
  • The game is the longest Uncharted in the series, with 34 chapters, plus a prologue.
  • As the game is set before Drake's Fortune, this is the only game in the Uncharted series to not feature Elena Fisher.
  • This is the first product of the Uncharted canon not to have some sort of supernatural creature appear (i.e. the Descendants in Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, the Minotaur-like creatures in Uncharted: The Fourth Labyrinth, etc.).
  • This is the first game in the Uncharted series to be released in Japan before the United States of America

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

GalleryEdit

  • Early Nate model
  • Environment concept
  • Possible enemy
  • In-game screenshot
  • In-game screenshot
  • In-game screenshot
  • In-game screenshot
  • In-game screenshot
  • In-game screenshot
  • In-game screenshot
  • The Disk of Gold
  • Marissa Chase in Uncharted: Golden Abyss
  • Nate and Marissa in an underground crypt
  • Nate and Marissa on a cliff's edge
  • Nate and Marissa among various statues
  • Dante and Marissa argue
  • Nate's cold stare in Uncharted: Golden Abyss
  • Dante in Uncharted: Golden Abyss
  • Japanese boxart
  • Title screen

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