Aug 182014

Status: Completed

Most Intriguing Idea: Showing off every single input the Vita possesses

Best Design Decision: The “mystery” puzzles, though they could have been harder

Worst Design Decision: Showing off every single input the Vita possesses


Well, Golden Abyss is bad, and I’m glad Nick Burgener wrote this detailed post about its many shortcomings so I didn’t have to.  My single point of departure with his opinion would be on the combat, which I thought was also total garbage, albeit in a completely different direction. Drake’s foes are ridiculous bullet sponges in this game in ways that barely make sense, combat encounters are telegraphed at the start and barely coherent afterwards, and it was not long before I dialed down to easy to make them go by faster. The rhythm of the gameplay and story are both completely rote by now, and on the whole it was such a bore that despite having completed it yesterday evening I could not tell you with any specificity one single thing that happened in its story, platforming, or gunplay. I do remember there was some bullshit rowing.

I can’t really blame SCE Bend studio for the disaster. They were handed a beloved property and did a decent job with it (though there were many areas that showed the Vita’s comparative limitations). They were also evidently handed a mandate to incorporate literally every method the Vita had available for input. Most of it turns out to be a dreadful hash or a source of dire boredom—the dust-clearing and charcoal rubbing were abominations, aiming guns and cameras using the gyroscope was a hideous mistake, and so on. I did like the idea of assembling various collectibles and photos into mysteries to be solved, but this was ruined by the damn card-game tie-in (likely also a mandate from corporate), the too-easy puzzle solving, and the awful turquoise and jade lumps. Every time I veered off the main path and found one of those things was three times I saw a side route and moved along to avoid the wasted effort. The one or two good ideas here don’t outweigh the bad, and all in all I’m glad I got this through PS+ rather than buying it.

Verdict: Not recommended

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