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Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

Naughty Dog Software
Sony Computer Entertainment
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9. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

Sterling: The PS3 has had some growing pains during its first full year on the market, from its high price to general backlash against Sony itself. Even so, there have been some great games for the system, many of which have come from Sony. Among the sea of very hyped titles that we spent most of 2007 clamoring to play, few delivered like Naughty Dog's Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.

Why is Uncharted so good? Because it's a phenomenal combination of familiar (but polished) gameplay elements, great animation, expressive actors, and storytelling that feels ripped from a pulp novel. I couldn't quite put my finger on it personally, but my wife really nailed it. She compared it to "Romancing the Stone," the 1984 adventure film in which Michael Douglas plays a rugged bounty hunter in the vein of Uncharted's hero, Nathan Drake. Sure enough, outside of a grand finale involving emerald-swallowing crocodiles, it's certainly got the charm of that '80s gem.

One thing that isn't discussed too often is how brisk the game is. I blazed through it in eight and a half hours; the fact that I've been playing iterations of it since last spring probably helped. I imagine that most gamers will flatten it within ten or so hours. And yet, it's hardly a liability. In fact, once all of our writing is done, I'll likely be going back through it. Some hardcore gamers often complain about games being too short, as though developers should feel ashamed for making lean, tight gaming experiences. There's a lot to be said for replay value, and Uncharted has it in spades. You know that feeling you get when you stand up during a great movie's credits? That's how you'll feel when you put down the controller after beating it.

If you can only buy one game for PS3 this year, it's a difficult toss-up between this and our PS3 Game of the Year, Call of Duty 4. It really comes down to personal tastes. However, if you've got $120 to drop, it's not even a debate. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is one of the most satisfying gaming experiences you'll have on the PlayStation 3 right now.

Bryn: The thing I like most about Uncharted is the amazing sense of exploration. I've equated the game's experience to a hybrid of Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider. There's the schlocky dialogue, fast-paced third-person gunplay and movement all of which is beautifully offset by stellar visuals. This is exactly the genre-refining game that gamers need to play, and if you're a PS3 gamer, then Uncharted does it better than most. Highly recommended.

Patrick: Call me old-fashioned, but I dug the hokey dialogue and style of Uncharted like I was after pirate's booty. I've heard some folks reacting to the straight-from-Indiana Jones lines as if they were a negative, and I honestly don't understand what they thought they were getting into. Uncharted is a pulp adventure. That means the mentor chews on stogies while he chews up the scene, the main character is an average joe even if he can take bullets, and planes have props, not jet engines. Uncharted may not blow the doors off the way that CoD4 does, but it's a pure adventure that is, in many ways, unmatched this year. Play it while you skip "National Treasure."

Gabe: The thing about Uncharted that convinced me of its superiority was the expansive treatment of the environments. The vistas in Uncharted, as much as it pains me to say it as a serious Xbox 360 fan, are simply incomparable, flashing more pixels per square foot than any other game released this year. The game's lush jungle setting helps, but it's really Naughty Dog's ingenuity that bring Nathan Drake's world to life. Honestly, I can't think of a prettier game world to spend my precious time in.

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