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Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune Review

September 30, 2008

Uncharted is the first PS3 title from Naughty Dog, the developer that brought you the Crash Bandicoot series. Uncharted received great acclaim for it’s superb animations and incredible environment graphics. The game was released at the very end of October, 2007.

Story

The story of Uncharted follows the quest of the fortune hunter, Nathan Drake, as he is searching for Sir Francis Drake’s fortune. Along the way he encounters “modern-day” pirates that are also looking for the treasure. I’ll stop here as Uncharted has many twists and turns throughout the story that will definitely keep you interested.

On a related note, the story in Uncharted literally is like watching a Hollywood movie. It features phenomenal voice-acting and was incredibly entertaining. It felt similar to an Indiana Jones movie in that it was light-hearted with lots of action.

Gameplay

The gameplay in Uncharted is nearly flawlessly executed. The game is made up of platforming such as jumping from ledges, hanging from wall grips, and swinging from vines. These work well in that the game is fairly forgiving. If you happen to miss a jump and fall to your death, you’ll start right at the beginning of the platforming. This combined with not having to time jumps perfectly cuts down on the frustration of missing your leaps.

There are your down-times in which you can freely explore the environments looking for hidden treasures and taking in the gorgeous areas and I recommend you do so as the game is very vibrant. There are also many puzzles in Uncharted. Most are pretty easy but a couple with take a bit of thought to get through. All of these elements break up the gameplay very well.

Finally, there are your fight sequences in which you can shoot from cover or melee attack enemies. The fighting system in Uncharted works extremely well. It features a cover system in which you can stick to an object and hide behind it. From here you can pop-out to shoot and hide back behind your cover. You can carry two weapons at a time, a pistol and a rifle/shotgun type weapon, along with grenades. The game rewards you for headshots and punishes you for “running-and-gunning” which means you’ll definitely want to stick to cover to avoid getting killed often.

On another note, there are virtually no load times in the game. This helps keep the pace of the game intact without interruptions.

Graphics and Audio

Until MGS4 was released, Uncharted was easily the king of the graphics department. Even with MGS4 released, Uncharted is right up there still. The game features extremely well detailed environments, a huge color palette, and superb animations.

There were two sequences in particular that really made Uncharted stand out in the graphics department for me.

– The first was while moving through a submarine’s tight, confined spaces, you see Nathan grab the side of the doorway while passing through. The attention to detail on how someone actually would move through this area blew my mind.

– The other was when walking into water. Upon exiting, Nathan’s clothes were visibly wet and you would see them dry off as you progressed.

These are things you just don’t see often in video-gaming and were a welcome treat to gamers.

The audio in the game is also top-notch. The voice-acting is perfect and well-executed. The sound effects in the game are great. You’ll be walking through the forest, only to hear birds chirping in the distance. It’s obvious that great care was taken in the sound department also.

Extras and Online

In-game there are multiple medals you can unlock in addition to finding hidden treasures. There are anything from finding 5 hidden treasures, to obtaining a number of headshots. There are unlockable outfits to obtain along with multiple game changing settings. You can also unlock the “Crushing” difficulty by beating the game on hard, and let me tell you, there are about 3 or 4 points in “Crushing” mode that will have you cursing, throwing your controller, and screaming at the TV.

Trophies were recently added to the game also and basically sync up with the in-game medals. You will need to start a new game to earn them but they are awarded for beating the game on each difficulty setting, earning a certain # of kills with each weapon, and so on. A platinum trophy is available if you can earn all in-game trophies.

Conclusion:

Did you read a single negative point in my review? I don’t think I really made any. That’s how great of a game Uncharted really is. From start to finish it is a highly polished product and easily a must-own game. At the time of this review, Uncharted 2 has been confirmed as being in development and I look forward to hearing more on this. If you own a PS3 and haven’t played Uncharted, you’re missing out. If you don’t own a PS3, Uncharted is a big reason to buy one.

Amazing

Amazing

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