Uncharted needs no introduction, as it has become one of the most popular IP among the numerous first party PlayStation exclusives. Beginning in the early days of the PS3 with Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, the series has become synonymous with rich narratives, gorgeous graphics and spectacular action set pieces inspired by blockbuster cinema. Its success continued on the PS4 with the conclusion to Nathan Drake's story in Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and then followed up a year later with the stunning spin-off Uncharted: The Lost Legacy.
Nearly every installment in the series has received critical acclaim and been a beloved action adventure for PlayStation fans everywhere. Emphasis, however, on the word "nearly," as there is one game in the series that seems to have been somewhat forgotten by gamers and even Sony. Uncharted: Golden Abyss released in 2012 alongside the launch of the PS Vita, and despite an initial positive reception, is barely mentioned in conversation regarding the Uncharted series as a whole nowadays.
Sony was hyping up the PSP's successor as a big deal at E3 2011, showing off all of the bells and whistles inside the PS Vita. It was an impressive handheld for the time, featuring two analog sticks, impressive graphical capabilities, and a range of social features that all pre-dated the Nintendo Switch by five years. As with any system launch, there needs to be at least one killer app available day one to show off what the machine can do. In this instance, Sony Bend (known at the time for the Syphon Filter series and Resistance Retribution on the PSP) were tasked with translating the massive scale of the Uncharted series into portable form.
This was hardly an easy feat, but Sony Bend succeeded as Uncharted: Golden Abyss was released to positive reviews and widely considered one of the best reasons to rush out and buy a PS Vita. So for the game to be just as well regarded as the other Uncharted games, many may be confused why it hasn't been as remembered as its console siblings. The blame isn't so much on the game itself, but the system it was available on. Sadly, despite the impressive specs and decent array of games available, the PS Vita failed to resonate with audiences and barely managed to sell a total of approximately 15-16 million units.
From this perspective, it wouldn't have mattered how amazing Uncharted: Golden Abyss was, as it had to live in the shadow of the PS Vita's shortcomings and was consequently dragged down by its poor sales. A good comparison is the Nintendo Wii U, which featured a range of excellent games that unfortunately were unable to reach a wider audience due to the system they were released on. The Wii U only sold around 13 million units in its lifetime, falling incredibly short of the total numbers prior Nintendo systems had hit. Because of this smaller consumer base, otherwise excellent games like Bayonetta 2 and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze were limited to how many gamers they could reach.
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