Graphics: Normally graphics are not a selling point of a game for me but wow did this game show off what it could do. The promise was a console experience in your hand and they did hit that, it is a shame that if it where on a console it would look like a budget game without the budget price. While the textures and character models look good there is this odd "phase in" thing objects would do, which on a technical level makes sense but from a game play perspective it just make me think we should be hunting for the magic fern that phases in and out of reality instead of a bunch of gold. A major issue I had with the graphics was since the screen is smaller on the PSVita everything else is smaller. Which the developers most have realized seeing how every climbable ledge is bright yellow, and this just raises a question that did this ancient civilization chose this stone knowing some annoying moron would be climbing around hundred of years later. In short while the graphics do look nice and it is something to show off, for a game like this where graphics are a key aspect it needs to be on a TV.
Story: Like I said in the opening paragraph I like how grounded the reason was for why the treasure needed to be lost. In Golden Abyss the treasure is gold, just a lot of gold. But wait what is the reason why it should stay lost? Well the simple reason is that it is radioactive. I was honestly able to enjoy why this was a bad idea, it wasn't that man couldn't control this mystical power. It was because if sold on the market it could be used in a lot of things everyday applications that would expose the world to radiation. This was a real concern, and Dante was pretty much "Won't care got mine" instead of a insane person who his hordes of gun wielding henchmen should have stopped following. As much of a dick he is he is the best written character out of the group sadly. First have Robert Guerro who's sole motivation in this plot is funding his militia for his revolution, but what the hell is he fighting though. We know nothing about his reasons for doing this and his only true role in this story is to be a mustache twirling villain who has a army to send at Drake. Which is a moot point seeing how Dante later on hires a PMC which is swap-able for Guerro's army. But while Guerro has next to no motivation for his actions we have Marisa who's sole motivation is to finish what her grandfather started. That's it, she is just a annoying person who while is knowledgeable in history seems to have no experience in adventuring yet makes smart ass remarks back at Drake. The every punching bag known as Drake is still his Hollywood "flawed" character who while looks and acts perfect seems to be crap at everything he does. And I question if this was done on purpose because my reaction to dying in this game was "haha served him right". I question his motives to because he seems to just want to solve puzzles instead of find artifacts to bring to modern society for others to learn from. Which I question his skills in puzzle solving seeing how when ever someone is with him they tell him when he got a piece right or not.
Game Play: This is where the game falls apart for me. The issue with the game play is that this was a major launch title for the PSVita, and that means shovel in as many features to show off the hardware. I already talked about the graphics and how it showed off what the PSVita can do in that respect, but there is much more that was done poorly. First I'm going to harp on the fact I had to point my PSVita at light to burn a image on paper. One this barely worked and second it was only used once and I kinda burned the image of the light so for a bit I was shooting a light bulb that wasn't their. The fact I had to stand right under a light source and kept moving showed to me that this just doesn't work at all. While that was a one time deal the one thing I hated was having to rub items. Rub the dirt off this, rub the image on to this, rub this rock formation till maggots shoot out, rub your stomach and shoot more of Guerros men. It didn't make the game more immersive for me it just pulled me out knowing I had to keep rubbing objects until the game told me I did well. Which while I felt was show stopping on important cut scenes it wasn't as bad as during hectic action scenes. For some reason the developers thought QTE with buttons was last gen so why not make QSE (Quick Swipe Events) for fight scenes and the two boss fights. So for every melee combo you have to end it with a QSE or you screwed up, which is not bad since it's easier to just cap the guy in the face. It fell apart during the final boss fights where you had to swipe your fat finger over the screen blocking the action. To put it plainly this was a very bad idea because it block the view, and I know the devlopers have shoved their heads up their asses with this because during these "fights" you have 3 misses yet during the middle of the Guerro fight they take away those misses so out of no where so if you fucked up there you start the whole fight all over with him. It's like one game developer got pissed off that he wasn't invited to a party or something and removed the lives out of spite.
Conclusion: I honestly could not recommend this game to someone if I had played this at launch because the price was fifty dollars. Luckily I was able to get this for seventeen dollars used so I didn't regret my purchase that much. But personally at the launch price it would have been more suited to have console controllers and been released as a budget side story for the series. Bottom note if you like the Uncharted series and can find this on the cheap I say go for it. But you could do a lot worse on the PSVita, you could buy a iPad game released for it that was given the full handheld console price.