One Part Indiana Jones, two parts Tomb Raider, a splash of Resident Evil, float a little sarcasm (OK a lot of sarcasm), stir in a half-tucked shirt and you've got one of the best PS3 games to date, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.
Gotta make an entrance
It’s the middle of the afternoon, the sun is high, and the rich foliage of the forest surrounds you. Your pants still wet from crossing a shallow pond stick to your thighs. All of a sudden you see an object glimmering on top of a ledge. You climb the stone wall and make your way toward the unidentified object. You are near the it when all of a sudden the ledge you are on breaks, and you narrowly escape falling two stories down to your grave. The glimmering object is now within your hands and you discover it to be a silver Mayan necklace. All of a sudden a bullet slings by your head. An explosion detonates mere feet from you. A raspy voice utters, "Your head is mine!" The attack has begun.
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune - jump! (PS3)© Sony
The above scenario is one of the countless that you’ll encounter in Naughty Dog’s newest game Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune for the Playstation 3 (PS3). The game places you in the shoes of Nathan Drake, an explorer and modern-day adventurer, who believes that he is a descendant of Francis Drake, a man who supposedly to have seen the city of El Dorado. The premise of the game surrounds Nathan’s journey as he uncovers the true secret of Francis and El Dorado. Of course, Nathan is not alone on his quest, accompanying our hero is his old, trusted friend Sullivan and a spunky, independent reporter named Elena. Two allies that prove valuable as you fend off wave after wave of modern day pirates, mercenaries, and treasure hunter who are willing to eliminate anyone in their way to attain the treasures of El Dorado. Our trio’s main opposition is led by Gabriel Roman a treasure hunter who is willing to use any resource to achieve his goal.
It's all about the looks
Uncharted's biggest accomplishment is its ability to plunge the player deep into its fantasy world. From the brushing blades of grass as you walk on top of them, to the random calls of the wildlife permeating through out the forest, the game makes you feel that you are Nathan Drake. I don’t know of any other game that was able to make the player to feel as immersed in the experience as Uncharted. This feeling of interactivity is even more prevalent during a shoot-out. Enemies will dodge and weave trying to hide themselves from the line of you crossfire. When you shoot at your attackers and miss, they try to move in unpredictable ways to prevent you from shooting at them a second time. The fact that your enemy AI tries to develop a way to flush you out, and then trap you in a corner was something that I found quite refreshing and far beyond the skill of most computer controlled NPCs. The graphics are truly remarkable in this game and truly adds to the experience of the player. The it’s the most subtle of all details that makes Uncharted’s graphics stand out among its current-gen peers. In fact, the game’s biggest graphic push is the revolutionary way they were able to make Nathan shirt half-tuck, truly a revolutionary concept that will perhaps change the way we think about the design of our videogame characters, and the way gamers dress.
Looks aren't everything
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune - Amazon ruins (PS3)© Sony
However, after all this accolade, Uncharted is not without its flaws. For a game that has a lot of shooting, Nathan’s aim seems to be off. In some instances I will have a clear headshot, but then for some absurd reason I still missed my assailant’s melon. It seems like the bullet would sometimes just phase through his cabeza. It’s not that this problem is so glaring that happens in every confrontation, but it does take away some of the game’s experience when this bug occurs. There’s also the fact that some enemies (being very careful not to toss out a spoiler here for you) later on in the game, can be beat with an easy tactic of jumping on top of a platform and watching them run around below so you could shoot them down. I know that this might be a bit extreme, but when they said next-gen, the least that I expect is that the enemy themselves should be smart enough to be able to climb on the same platform and at least attempt to beat me down.