One of the severely under represented genres on the PS3 is the action adventure, with only 1 other solid title; Ratchet and Clank fans including myself were highly anticipating this game’s release. Enter Naughty Dog’s Uncharted: Drakes Fortune. It’s part Tomb Raider with a much more believable lead character with bits and pieces taken from The Mummy films with its own unique twist. I will make this clear Uncharted: Drakes Fortune is one of the best games I’ve ever played and the PS3 game of year. No doubt about it.
Welcome to the world of Nathan Drake, descendant of the great explorer Sir Francis Drake. Nathan is an ordinary fellow. Wears a T-shirt, goes treasure hunting with his pal Sully and likes to get into trouble. Clearly able to handle himself in combat situations and has some impressive jumping skills. Who said white man can’t jump? Nathan has obtained the personal handbook of his great relative and he believes it’ll lead him to the fabled treasure of El Dorado located in the jungles of Panama. You’re thrown right into the action at the beginning with very little back story, well you’ll learn a lot while you progress through the game. You have two sidekicks. You’re cigar smoking old friend Sully who’ll help you get into and out of many hairy situations. Next is Elena (who was a brunette when the game was first unveiled and became a blonde) a “discovery channel” TV host who brings her camcorder to tape your adventures and gets thrown into the action with you. There are several protagonists but the main baddies don’t reveal themselves until the end of the game.
The best way to describe the gameplay of Uncharted is a good mix of Tomb Raider platforming and puzzle solving. With Resident Evil 4 over the shoulder aiming, Gears of Wars cover system and a Final Fight combo system. It’s an amalgamation of several games and genre and the end result is just incredible.
The platforming is quite varied and spread throughout the adventure, although expect a much more action oriented route in the second half of the game. You’ll be exploring everything from jungle hideouts, scaling cliffs, spelunking in caves, 15th century fortresses, abandoned German U boats and a lot more. The environments are fantastically varied and each provides their own obstacles for Nathan to tackle. The platforming is spot on thanks to the straightforward control scheme; you’re always in control. Whether it’s hopping from rock to rock or jumping a large chasm to barely catch a small ledge the platforming shouldn’t pose too much of a problem. Although in some cases it can be a bit difficult to see where you should jump next because a ledge for example blends in almost too well into the environment. It’s unfortunate that this takes a backseat to the action in the latter half of the game as you get some of the most spectacular views of the environments and surroundings during the platforming and puzzle solving situations
Probably the only negative I had found in the game was that the puzzles were just too damn easy. The issue is that as soon as you reached a puzzle you immediately recall seeing something similar in Sir Francis Drake’s handbook. You’re told to open it up and bam the entire solution is right there. Solving a puzzle never goes beyond rotating an object or pushing in a switch. Now obviously without the handbook present you would probably never be able to solve them. I just wish they were a bit more difficult. One particular “puzzle” comes to mind towards the end of the game Chapter 16 where even after following the solution given on a map made no sense. When I had come to the end of it I was saying oh… I solved it? But other than that, they do provide a diversion from the combat, platforming and give good cool down period after an intense firefight.