Have you ever wanted to go on a journey through overgrown jungles in search for hidden treasure? Have you ever had a desire to be an everyman so extraordinary that you wonder how he still feels like an everyman? Have you been aching to play a video game that really makes you feel that you are like an Indiana Jones or Dirk Pitt? Have you wanted to play a really good video game on your PS3? If you’ve said yes to any or all of these, then you MUST try Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.
You are Nathan Drake, unknown descendant of Sir Francis Drake, and you have just exhumed your great great great great something or other from his watery grave. That’s how the game starts and it only gets more exciting from there. The story-telling in this game is easily the best part, and it is phenomenal. It is set up like any other treasure hunting/salvage story (you’re out to find a treasure but some dirty playing jerk is out to get it first) but has plot twists and surprises that make it fresh and exciting (if not a little cheesy). Character development and interactions provide such a rich cast that you are sad to see anyone go, even some of the “bad guys.” To add to this were amazing environments that would change through out the game. While you would generally find yourself in a jungle setting, you could at any moment be thrust into a (mildly) raging river or dropped into a dank cave. These environments have been put together so beautifully that more than once did I find myself stopping everything to just stand and move around the camera to take in the glorious view. To tell you how great it is would be to ruin the story, so now about the gameplay.
If this game has any one downside, it lies within the gameplay. While by no means do I feel that it greatly detracted from the overall experience, some of the gameplay handling left much to be desired. To begin with, while running around and platforming was usually a seamless activity, poor Nate Drake simply cannot figure out how far he can jump. Sometimes he’ll only be able to jump about 2 feet and other times he can leap across a 20 foot crevasse. This usually doesn’t bug me, until I find out that I just over shot my leap onto a floating plank the width of a quarter.
Gunplay also has a few issues with it. I get it, Drake is your average guy (that can run faster than a speeding bullet and conditionally leap tall buildings in a single bound). However, when compared to your enemies, who seem to scurry from out of nowhere like roaches in a wall, he’s a girly man. He can shoot, not great, but he will usually hit. The fact remains that when your bullet hits, it has to hit about ten more times. Also, the grenades they have must be WWI left-overs because dodging one means simply taking two steps away from it, and then you get away damage free. Also, melee combat is a bit tortuous since it is harder to pull off a power combo than it is to watch Theodore Rex in one sitting. Still, none of this proved bad enough to really detract greatly from the game.
In total, this game is everything a PS3 owner needed to hold him/herself over to 2008. Whether or not it is a rent or a buy is debatable. While the game has sported some of the best graphics and story I’ve seen in a long time, there is not a whole lot of draw to go back and visit the game again, at least not so soon. This game may be the very best out for the PS3, but there are still many titles out there that beat it. Still, after time I could see this as a game to revisit fondly and just get lost, maybe even literally, within the adventure that is Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.
Art Direction: This game might have given me the prettiest world to look at ever. And even when seeing the same environments would begin to get repetitive, it never got dull. In fact, the game was so beautiful I proposed to it. Come to the wedding, July 23rd.
Sound Design: The game is completely voice acted and at no point does it ever sound incredibly hokey or forced. The people sound and react as they genuinely would. The ambient sounds to each environment were also immersive enough to make me buy in (particularly in surround) , but were nothing extra special. I’ve heard better, but not a whole lot.
Gameplay: If there was a weakpoint to this game, here it is. However, for as much as I may complain, it is really only nitpicking. The gameplay and control is smooth enough that I never feel totally hampered by it; maybe just a little frustrated.
Storytelling: This game has one of the best stories ever to be put together. I realize that you have to take me to my word on this, but there are only a few parts that felt cheesy. The story does decline near the very end, but it is so consistantly phenomenal up until that point that there is no great loss.
OVERALL: 4 STARS