Uncharted: Golden Abyss

Sony wasted no time revealing a new Uncharted game for its powerful handheld, the Next Generation Portable (NGP). The latest entry, Golden Abyss, appears to do two things extremely well: look and feel like an Uncharted title while putting the system's best features on display. If developer Sony Bend (of Resistance Retribution fame) gets the job done, this will be one of the powerful handheld's best titles.

Set prior to the events in Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Golden Abyss sends hero Nathan Drake on the trail of an expedition that mysteriously vanished 400 years ago. Along the way, he teams up with partner Jason Dante (who appears to be a replacement for his old buddy, Sully), and gets involved with Marisa Chase, his new love interest. Even better, the story unfolds through two hours of cut scenes.

For the most part, the action reminds us of previous games in the series. Drake traverses a jungle lush with greenery and tangles with enemies while making use of a handful of weapons, including a handgun, shotgun and AK-47.

On that note, it's how you play that separates this Uncharted from the console hits. Although the dual analog sticks will feel instantly familiar, thereby making platform jumping and popping out from cover a breeze, the developers have taken advantage of the system's tech.

Sneaking up behind an enemy, for example, provides two options. You can use the face buttons to take him down, or tap the character and Drake will attack, either by pummeling the goon or pushing him off a cliff. Similarly, you'll swipe to scramble across ledges and tap to make Drake jump. Then it's just a matter of hitting different points to climb up a mountain.

This also comes into play while throwing grenades. Pressing an on screen button instructs Drake to perform a standard lob. Holding the same button, on the other hand, lets you drag a finger to a specific point, complete with an arc that displays the trajectory. Then you release and watch Drake toss the grenade to the exact location.

On top of that, the game also has tilt controls. Grab a vine, and you can swing by physically maneuvering the device. You'll also need to move it back and forth to maintain Drake's balance, or aim a sniper rifle, tapping the screen to zoom.

All of this is impressive to see. We just hope Sony Bend doesn't overextend itself. It's clear that Uncharted: Golden Abyss is one of the more involving games for NGP, comprised of many different control schemes and elements. It may be too much for the average player.

Of course, one thing not up for debate are the graphics, which look as good as Drake's Fortune. Water soaks through clothes, real time dynamic lighting allows the sun to poke through dense foliage and the characters move fluidly. Great stuff.

We just hope everything comes together, but given the gravity of the moment, we doubt Sony would risk putting a blemish on an otherwise pristine franchise. With this in mind, Uncharted: Golden Abyss should be one the best games the NGP has to offer.