I really just wanted to get my hands on a PlayStation Vita to see how it felt and played, but when I saw an open Vita playing a demo of Uncharted: Golden Abyss, I couldn't resist. In the interest of full disclosure, I've only played a demo of the first game. I enjoyed it, but the two PS3 games never quite reached the top of my purchase list. But I can get through portables a lot faster, so this game would probably be up at the top relatively quickly!
The game looks absolutely stunning, and makes for a perfect showcase for what Sony's upcoming handheld system is capable of. It plays very smoothly with the running and jumping and climbing. Not so much with the aiming. There does seem to be an aiming assist that sticks to the nearest enemy when you press the button to aim your weapon as you duck out of cover. I struggled a bit with the controls, since I wasn't given any instructions, but I quickly figured out the important ones! Having two analog sticks is essential for a game like this, and makes you wonder how we ever manged with just one on the PSP.
I have to say that the touch screen controls are a bit awkward. Tapping an enemy to drag him to his death while hanging from the ledge below him is okay, but taping during platform jumping? Not so much. You're climbing, scaling and jumping along when all of a sudden you reach a gap that's just a bit further than the others, and the prompt tells you to just tap it with your finger to jump to it. It works, but it takes you out of the flow of the button pressing to suddenly involve the touch screen. I don't know how much touch screen usage will be in the final game or what other actions it will control, but right now it feels a little gimmicky, like they just added it in because there was a touch screen to use. (Hopefully not too many games will do that kind of thing!)
But Uncharted on the Vita is clearly going to be the system-seller when it launches, and I can totally see why. It's a completely faithful entry in the series, and with the power of the Vita behind it, it can actually go toe-to-toe graphically with its console siblings. Who would've thought we'd ever see that day?