Uncharted: Drakes Review
By Justin Murray
Uncharted: Drakes Fortune is the first Playstation 3 title from the critically acclaimed studio Naughty Dog. Forgoing their usual lovable/cartoony characters and settings for a more realistic approach ND have in the process created a dam fine and more importantly a dam fun game.
how you gona deal with them Nate, “I told you a fist to the face”
Uncharted sets it self apart from its other “Next/Current Gen” brethren with a beautiful and vibrant jungle setting in contrast to the usual washed out and brown colour scheme used in a lot of other titles. It also has a unique story, at least for a video game. Uncharted takes its leads from the pulp fiction genre and in particular films such as Indiana Jones.
Dance for me
In Uncharted you play as Nathan Drake a self proclaimed descendent of the legendary English sailor Sir Francis Drake. The game opens up with Nate dragging drake’s coffin from up from the waters of the coast of panama. Inside is not the remains of the fabled privateer but instead a diary containing information about the whereabouts of the lost treasure of Eldorado. Nate is joined in his search for the lost treasure by Victor Sullivan a fulltime con man and Elena Fisher a TV presenter who is looking for the story of a lifetime.
Our heroes Nathan, Sullivan and Elena
The story in Uncharted is very much based and modelled on the aforementioned pulp fiction genre and at times can be a little too predictable. But this is far outweighed by the excellent and believable characters and the interaction between them. The story dose how ever have a few tricks and twists up its sleave that won’t disappoint. Overall the story is well written and well executed but it is sometimes let down by the predicability of the genre.
the vehicle sections are quite fun
The 2 main things you will be doing in uncharted are shooting and platforming and I am happy to tell you that both are handled with exceptional polish and grace. The gunplay in Uncharted utilizes a similar 3-rd person duck and cover system to that used in Gears of War. With a press of the circle button drake will take cover behind any nearby cover and can then pop out of cover to start shooting. You can also blind fire out of cover but this rarely hits any one and is only useful for dealing with enemies that are attempting to rush at your position. One of the best things about the cover system in uncharted is that you don’t feel “attached” to the cover that your are taking and you can move around freely to give your self a better shoot or to avoid enemy fire. There is a fairly large assortment of weapons in the game from small pistols to M4 rifles. The main concern is conserving ammo levels with only a small amount of ammo dropped from each corpse (unless you kill them with a brutal melee combo). You will be usually sticking with what ever weapon you can find a steady stream of ammunition for.
leaping out of cover is never a good idea
If you want to get up-close and personal you can preform a verity of melee attacks but the only one that is actually useful is the brutal combo which kills and causes your target to drop double ammo. In general melee should only be used if you are 1 on 1 as any other enemies will shoot you down if you try to rush them and punch them in the face. The platfroming in uncharted is much smother and painless than most games with lining up and timing of jumps not really necessary. Just move drake in the direction that you want to jump and press X and drake will do the rest leaping and scrambling over walls, across vines and around precarious ledges. It makes it very simple to pull off some amazing looking and death defying leaps of faith.
now which way to go?
The game isn’t with out its faults though. The main problem I have with Uncharted is its difficulty it’s not an easy game but it can turn into a frustrating one. As there are some sections of the game in both the platforming and shooing that just have a difficultly inconsistent with the rest of the game. This sometimes leads to the feeling of coming up against a wall that you just can’t get over. This isn’t a game breaking issue but it can be frustrating. Also on the negative is the amount of damage that enemies can take before kissing the dirt permanently. Some times it can take about 5 pistol shoots to down a single pirate or mercenary which can be annoying when you’re low on ammo. A head shot will result in an instant kill but they are hard to pull off at range.
A german U-boat in the middle of the jungle, nothing out of the ordinary here
Graphically Uncharted is one if not the best looking game on any console. The incredible lighting effects and beautiful water can make the jungles in uncharted look almost tangible. From the filtered light and shadows coming through the canopy to the glistening moss covered rocks to the fact that drakes cloths get wet when get enters water it is just a visual assault on the eye and really shows of what the PS3 can do.
uncharted has some gorgeously detailed visuals
Uncharted also features an achievement like system with medals given to the player for finding treasures scattered around or by doing certain tasks like getting 20 head shots. These medals unlock rewards such as making of videos, weapon select and many other cool features and semi cheats. My favourite reward would have to be the “next gen” filter you can place over the game which gives Uncharted a beautiful brown colour palette and pumps up the bloom lighting so that will almost blind you, truly “next gen” stuff.
Nate often gets his pants wet on this adventure
The voice acting in uncharted is handled very well with all the actors owning their roles with pride. And thanks to the great writing the voices don’t sound out of place. The musical score of Uncharted composed by Greg Edmonson of firefly and Serenity fame is a huge asset to the games over all feel. It has that big budget movie feel to it and complements the game perfectly.
enemies with laser sites are deadly accurate.
Uncharted feels like a big budget action movie that you get to play out your self. It’s a technical showpiece that really shows of what you can do with the playstation 3. Despite its difficulty curve problems the game rises above it with excellent and polished controls a great cast of characters and some of the best graphics this side of crysis. It is defiantly a must buy for any PS3 owner and one of the best games of the year.
Life span 7.5/10