Uncharted: Drake's Fortune Review
PlayStation 3 owners have been dreaming of that console exclusive that justifies the reason for plucking down their hard-earned cash for such an expensive console and so far, there haven’t been many games that truly feel like they belong on Sony’s latest system. Of course, games like Resistance: Fall of Man and Heavenly Sword have shown us that the PS3 exclusive titles can be wonderfully appealing, it’s Naughty Dog’s Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune that will make you glad you bought Sony’s console.
Uncharted has a plot that fits comfortable in the action-adventure category and it’s the stuff that expensive Hollywood blockbusters are made of … or at least what the really good ones strive to be on the big screen. It will conjure up that warm spot we have for Tomb Raider games and that affection we have for shoot-’em-up action games that have us dodging bullets, diving for cover like Gears of War and tossing a grenade in the general direction of a group of bad men. It has the feeling of a huge production complete with a likeable cast of character and a grand story that makes the adventure really worthwhile.
You assume the role of treasure hunter Nathan Drake, quite possibly a descendant of the famous Sir Frances Drake, who is on the trail of his ancestor’s quest for a real fortune … the treasure of El Dorado. Capturing his exploits on video is Elena Fisher, a television reporter who senses that Nathan is on to something really big. Along with their friend Sullie, the small group travel to uncharted territories looking for the treasure. Guided by the journal of Sir Frances himself, Nathan discovers that this particular treasure hunt will be his most dangerous adventure yet. It isn’t until the arrival of Nathan’s nemesis, Gabriel Roman, and his collection of cutthroat pirates that the adventure really begins.
The game’s story is fueled by a great number of memorable scenes as well as the pairing of Nathan and Elena. Both characters are not only engaging but they show more personality than many characters in most other games. It’s actually fun to watch them react to each surprising situation and their banter is lively. Speaking of surprising situations, the game is never short of them and we’re talking from start to finish. Even the game’s opening has Nathan and Elena fighting back pirates trying to board their ship and on the tropical island there are a number of moments that have Nathan making some daring escapes. There are even chapters (the game is broken down in a series of chapters) where you will be driving vehicles from a jeep to a watercraft, but those come later in the game.
The Tomb Raider-styled platform jumping is also done right and scaling crumbling walls to keeping your balance on fragile beams is challenging fun. There is some trial-and-error platform jumping but each time Nathan dies (whether it’s by gunfire or falling to your death) he bounces back quickly. Also, like the Tomb Raider games, there are puzzles to solve. Even in the game’s medium difficulty setting, though, the puzzles aren’t hard to solve thanks to hints found in Sir Francis’ journal. Sometimes, Nathan himself will automatically turn his attention to certain objects if you take too long solving the puzzle. It may seem like handholding but it doesn’t mean it solves the puzzle for you.
Combat is actually intense and there are moments when you will be overwhelmed by the number of pirates who are armed to the teeth. Nathan can perform a dodge roll to avoid bullets but his best bet is the lean against an object and pop up only to squeeze off a round. While there are a pleasant number of weapons, the shootouts can get slightly repetitive and the enemy AI can sometimes cause enemies to blindly run out into your line of fire. Aside from the fun yet slightly flawed combat, there are extras aplenty and the unlockable bonuses are really worth a look.
When it comes to the visuals, Uncharted is a gorgeous-looking game that manages to display some impressive backgrounds and character models. The lush, green environments are better than any I’ve seen in a long time and the locale really does seem alive with exotic birds and other wildlife. It’s equally impressive to see that the characters move naturally in the game. Nathan not only rolls and runs realistically enough but watching him climb up or down stairs just drives home the feeling that these characters aren’t unwieldy puppets like, say, Lara Croft. It’s also great to find a game where you cannot really distinguish between when a cut scene ends and the in-game action begins because in this game it’s practically seamless.
The game’s sound is also the icing on the cake and it’s mainly because the voice acting is superb and the game’s original score is as good as any blockbuster movie. A good voice-acting cast definitely plays a pivotal role in making good dialogue work and it’s one of the reasons the characters are so endearing. There are also some nicely detailed sound effects that make this a game that deserves to be played on a good sound system. The soundtrack definitely gets big points as well and it never repeats itself.
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is the reason you should own a PlayStation 3 and one of the most gratifying gaming experiences you’ll play on Sony’s console. A few action-adventure games seldom pull you into its world, savoring its most exciting moments and appreciating its cast of characters that come off as real rather than just cheap caricatures but Uncharted manages to pull it off famously. There are a few issues that keep this from being a perfect game but in the end, there are just way too many good things going for it. Buy this game and you will not regret it one bit.
Review Scoring Details for Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
There’s never a dull moment in all of the game’s chapters and the story is actually well written and fun. Combat is entertaining and there is plenty of variety in the exploration and puzzle department. There are even vehicles to drive to add variety to the gameplay.
This is a visually stunning game that takes advantage of the PS3’s graphics power and it will not fail to drop some jaws. Then again, there are some funny pop-up problems and a few minor clipping problems as well but they’re forgivable thanks to a number of great visual feats.
There’s a gorgeous soundtrack that plays throughout the game and it really deserves kudos for making the game feel like a true Hollywood blockbuster. I would not even mind buying the soundtrack if they sold it. The voice-acting cast is another bright spot and the actors do a great job of making both Nathan and Elena very endearing and likeable characters.
The enemies range from bright enough to take cover to dumb enough to run into your line of fire. There are some interestingly challenging puzzles but nothing that will really stump you. The action really picks up later in the game and thus adds more challenge at the end.
Uncharted is one of those games that really drives home the feeling that you’re playing a next-generation game. Its cast of characters are unforgettable and the chapters will hook you from brilliant start to mesmerizing finish. There are secrets aplenty and bonuses worth unlocking so that alone will have you playing this one again.
Thanks to its charming cast of characters and great production values, Uncharted plays like a really good Hollywood blockbuster that’s never short on memorable moments and action-packed scenes. It’s easy to forgive the game’s few weaknesses mainly due to the dazzling visuals, exotic locales and diversity in action that will make gamers glad they bought a PS3. Trust me ... you kick yourself if you miss this one.
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune Comments
Re: uncharted drake's fortune
aceinet on February 25, 2009, 09:04:21 PM
Hopefully this can help:
uncharted drake's fortune
mhs1cat on February 25, 2009, 08:52:45 PM
In chapter 15 after shimming Left two times, the jump behind, then you have to go right to grab a vine then it says to wall run ...
GameZone Review Detail
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is the reason you should own a PlayStation 3 and one of the most gratifying gaming experiences you’ll play on Sony’s console
Reviewer: Eduardo Zacarias
Review Date: 11/26/2007
Mild Suggestive Themes
Use of Tobacco