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Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune Review

Originally Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune got compared to Tomb Raider, which is probably unfortunate (no pun intended) because Tomb Raider hasn’t been great in a long time. In fact if there had to be any, even if unfair, comparisons to other games a more likely suspect would be Prince of Persia. The rebirth of Prince of Persia on the PlayStation 2 was genius, with it’s difficult, but not too difficult puzzles and acrobatic gameplay. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune has you playing as a descendant of legendary explorer, Sir Francis Drake, in search of mythical El Dorado. As Nathan Drake you will run, jump, shoot, and solve puzzles by the seat of your pants in easily one of the best looking games on the PlayStation 3 to date. Lush jungle visuals, a smooth combat system, and great platforming action make Uncharted a terrific beginning to what could surely be a great new franchise from Naughty Dog.

As mentioned above, Uncharted looks phenomenal. It’s pretty easy to just stop whatever you’re doing and just stare at the scenery surrounding you. It’s beautifully drawn and immediately will draw you into the mood the game is trying to convey. Exploring the jungle has rarely been this awesome, plus, no mosquitoes make it a double bonus. The team at Naughty Dog paid a great amount of attention into all of the details and it shows. Beyond just the backgrounds, the characters are all very well animated and react differently to various situations, whether that means death animations or ducking behind cover. Some of the graphics are rival to anything currently on the system or any system for that matter.

Now audio wise is a slightly different story. The voice acting is actually good. It’s professionally acted, so it doesn’t sound like a junior college drama club recorded it. No over-the-top anime inspired characters with voices that make blood curdle. Just straight up solid voice acting, which has really become a premium lately. Plus, the dialog stays within itself and works perfectly for the story. Nothing that gets beyond trying to be exactly what it is, the voice acting for a platforming action game. Kudos, to the PG-13 dialog as well, no need to tone it down for children who should not be playing the game in the first place. The sound effects are equally done well especially with the games 5.1 digital soundtrack. That all said, the score is lacking a little somewhat. The music is mostly good, though, most quiet. Maybe it could’ve used a little more excitement as most of the game felt like it was missing the music that’s traditionally found in games like this. Then again, you may not even miss it all that much with all the action and puzzle solving going on.

Where Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune really kicks it into high gear is in the area of gameplay. As mentioned before, it’s very much akin to Prince of Persia, only with a gun. Your exploring all involves the most perilous obstacles the development team could possibly imagine, while still maintaining some semblance of realism. So, climbing ledges is the order of the day. Jumping from one precarious position to the next is the norm for Nathan. What’s more is that at times you’ll run into enemies all ready to take you out at every jump. Worry not, though, because it’s never frustratingly difficult. You may encounter some instances where the game gets hard and you’ll have to replay a small section over again, but Uncharted is very forgiving and never sends you too far back. Thankfully. Controls are tight, the SIXAXIS is used mostly sparingly with some exceptions of balancing “tight rope” style over various objects, but the camera is generally in a good position and won’t keep you guessing what direction you should be heading in. Now, the game is fairly linear and like many recent games heavy on the cinematic and dramatic feel. It’s pretty short, somewhere in the area of 11-12 hours, but it’s a great ride for the entire time. The story keeps moving even if it gets a little weird towards the end and seems to keep throwing one monkey wrench into the machine at every chapter. Still, for all it does right it’s definitely worthy of praise. Non-stop action, a good story, and visuals that will put other current generation games to shame, Uncharted is definitely a game you need to try out if you like action, adventure, and platforming.

Normally, this is where the negative stuff goes, but there’s really not a lot of bad things to say about Uncharted. Pressed for something though, you could say that in all reality, the game is over a little quick, just when you really feel like you’re getting into the character the game is over. To counter that, Naughty Dog has implemented a nifty “reward” system that gives you points which you could use to unlock extras and *ahem* cheats for the game on the next play through. Think of this as achievement points that actually serve a function. Hopefully, more games will use features like this for their games while PS3 owners await their trophies. The story seemed to keep winding and winding maybe because the developer wanted to extend the game another hour or two, but hey it’s nothing we’ve not seen before. At least it doesn’t resort to needless fetch-quests to extend the game any further, instead the game continues to proceed even if the story gets a little convoluted towards the climax. Also, the hand-to-hand combat is lacking that something special, but now it’s just getting nit-picky. Really the only thing that might even remotely have made this game any better is the ability to play co-op as the love interest, Elena, who by the way isn’t the usual dumb partner just standing there getting shot at. Well, maybe she is, but she at least fires back and kills enemies. One can hold out hope that Naughty Dog includes some sort of local and online co-op play for the sequel because let’s face it a game like this deserves a good sequel.

Final Verdict

PlayStation 3 owners listen up! This is the action adventure game that you’ve been waiting for. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune takes a tried and true model, improves on it and makes it so cohesive that you could only like or love this game. If you feel otherwise, you’re just heartless and you’re not the gamer you portray yourself to be. If you haven’t given this game a try yet, you have no reason to cry foul about the lack of great games on the system. Don’t let this game fly under the radar and definitely don’t wait until the sequel comes out to give this a spin. Drake’s Fortune comes highly recommended. Skip the rental and go straight to the store for a purchase. Unlike so many other games that promise intense action, Uncharted delivers with pretty wrapping paper and a shiny bow on top.


9.5 out of 10

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Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune Review

Related Information

Posted by: Redeema
Date: June 27, 2008
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Naughty Dog
Release Date: 11/20/2007
Genre: Adventure
Number of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: Teen
System Reviewed: PlayStation 3

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Categories: PlayStation 3 Reviews, PlayStation 3, Reviews

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