Searching for the fabled treasure of El Dorado, Nathan Drake stumbles into the fight of his life as he is forced to survive against mercenaries’ forces and the dangerous terrain of the jungle. Naughty Dog is out of the pound offering up their first next-generation experience in Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, excusive to the Playstation 3.
Every gaming generation leap, Naughty Dog bites down and creates a new gaming prosperity that becomes a successful franchise. Their rich history of success starts on the original Playstation as Naughty Dog releases Crash Bandicoot and then follows up with the invention of Jak and Daxter for the Playstation 2 platform. It’s now 2007 and Naughty Dog is goes into uncharted territory in their latest creation, Drake’s Fortune. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune has treasure in its future, as it’s sure to launch another successful series of games following the exploits of the down to earth adventurer, Nathan Drake.
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune throws the player into the shoes a treasure hunter who is searching for El Dorado, the Golden Man. Drake stumbles on the 400 year note book a belonging of the 1500s English Privateer, Sir Francis Drake who Nathan Drake’s alleges that he is his blood relative. Drake’s along with a journalist, Elena Fisher, and his friend Victor Sullivan end up in an adventure across lush jungle covered island. Uncharted storyline feels like an untold adventure of Indiana Jones, mimicking the feeling of the cinematic experience of a movie. Once the plot gets moving it will keeps the player interested with its action adventure aspects, its romantic subplot and the mystery of the unknown.
In the opening scene you’ll be treated to a cut-scene of Drake opening Sir Francis Drake’s coffin that he just pulled up from the Pacific Ocean. It’s not long before modern day pirates close into Drakes location with a hail of bullets they invade the vessel causing Drake to take evasive measures. This introduces the player into the combat basics of shooting and hand to hand fisticuffs. This is when you notice Uncharted is smooth, really smooth without a hiccup in the game engine. Naughty Dog has no problem extracting rending power from the Playstation 3 showcasing some of the best visuals seen on the console.
One goal of the developers was to make the world of Uncharted believable with down to earth realistic hero in Nathan Drake. Approaching this goal, Naughty Dog pegs the characters sarcastic attitude to the right voice with the right look, the character of Nathan Drake feels like he could step out of the screen, so it’s easy to see him as the everyman, minus the beer gut. The animations in Drake’s actions are realistic with him slipping every once and a while to remind us he isn’t the female version of Lara Croft. Experienced voice actor Nolan North provides the spot on timber for Drake which pulls the character together into the man we have on the screen. It’s been a while since a character has been approached so casually and it works to Uncharted advantage.
Outside of Drake, the world created in Uncharted strays away from the dark environments and brings in the colour creating a vibrant environment. Water and plantation are plentiful as you run and gun your way through the levels, Drake also takes you into closed quarters without hurting the expansive feeling of the project. A lot of care has been taken to make the world interact with Drake many that come as a first in gaming. Drake’s jeans get wet as he runs through water or his entire apparel when he dives in. The planets rustle as Drake runs through them while his shirt is blowing in the wind. Naughty Dog’s animation team deserves a round of applause for taking the extra care to make Uncharted feel alive.
The majority gameplay of Uncharted feels like the obvious comparison, Tomb Raider. Like Tomb Raider a good portion of your time will be spent climbing and leaping across ledges until you come across a group of villains to battle, or simplistic puzzles to solve. Uncharted never has those moments of frustration where you can reach a ledge, or solve a puzzle. Frustration free, you’ll never experience that boiling point of wanting to trash your controller. Uncharted is accessible for all levels of gamers and its easy to feel immersed in the action as it unfolds. Uncharted feels fluid and natural which helps blend the game into one. The term Hollywood Blockbuster has been thrown around in around in reference to Uncharted. This praise is an accurate description of the experience, so much that you’ll want to eat popcorn while you’re cranking the analog stick.
Following rain of a typical action/adventure game Uncharted comes in a little short on game length which I find acceptable given the exceptional level of the content. If you want to replay Drake’s Fortune you can go into the jungles to find hidden treasures you might have missed on your first go, or hop onto a higher level of difficulty. Naughty Dog also takes a note from the Xbox’s achievements and Uncharted includes built in achievements that award the player with points that can be used to unlock bonus content, like new visual styles and skins for Drake. These achievements give some extra incentive to connect with combos and aim for the head of your enemy.
Aside from the short play time, complaints might arise about a few minor graphic issues like occasional clipping and pop-ups; however these issues don’t mark up the beauty in the overall game. Other negative aspects that comes to mind is Drake’s Fortune’s linear nature which could have allowed for a little more freedom to player to explore and the questionable hand-to-hand combat that uses real time attacks with a timed response. Even if all these points get you down everything else about Uncharted will bring you right back up. For a first time around, Uncharted few grips are darkened by the polish and shine of the final product.
If you wanted a game to take your mind off the cold winter outside, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune turns up the heat. Following the realistic Nathan Drake into the humid jungle turns out to be one roller-coaster you will likely never forget. Uncharted lives up to its promise of making a cinematic action game that plays as good as it looks. The only set back to not purchasing Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is the length, and aside from that minor set-back, you won’t find a more polished game on the Playstation 3. This is one treasure that you need to seek out for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.