Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
Review by cbt711
"An all around gaming experience"
When you start to play Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, you find yourself asking questions right off the bat: Is this another "style over substance" title for the Playstation 3 following in the not so epic footprints of Heavenly Sword? Haven't I seen this game before, only it was called Prince of Persia, or before that when it was called Tomb Raider? Wait, I don't get it - is this a platformer, a third person shooter, or an action adventure game? Will this game simply make the year of owning a PS3 finally worth it? These questions will all be answered, without spoiling any of the game for you.
Graphics - 9.5/10 - I will start with the .5 that's missing, since you are wondering, why not just give it a 10? Screen tearing is an issue here. Screen tearing is when the refresh rate of the monitor is limiting the frames per second put out by the graphics processor, which results in lines which look like glitches every couple frames when the two don't line up. The game does have minor screen tearing issues, but 90% of the world's population would never even notice, so it only takes away .5 - other than this problem, this graphics are amazing. This game is the most gorgeous example of what the next generation console is capable of to date. Real time lighting effects from shadows of trees blowing in the wind, to blinding glares while walking out of dimly lit ruins hi-light Naughty Dog's ambitious take on this jungle based game. You won't believe your eyes when your character, Drake goes from cut-scene to game-play without losing any detail at all. If you ever wanted to show off your PS3 and HDTV, this game will do that and more.
Sound - 10/10 - This game plays like a motion picture, and with that said - it delivers the high caliber score you would expect from a blockbuster movie. The voice acting is unparalleled in the video game world to date, and the effects of gunfire, grenades at your feet, and hundreds of other seemingly big movie special effects are pulled off flawlessly in this game. It is stamped with the Dolby Digital and DTS surround sound seals of approval, so try not to jump when you are flanked.
Controls - 10/10 - People that spend all their time playing First Person Shooters (FPS) will complain this games shooting is too hard, but these people are spoiled by the industry standard aim assist for consoles. Even Halo has it, but not this game, making it harder than you are used to to get that head shot. But you will adjust and by the end of the game, you will be a king of all your games with aim assist. Drake will be able to jump platform to platform with little effort, grabbing on with one hand or two, or a knee if comes to it. You won't have trouble taking cover for intense gun battles, or dodging falling rocks and traps with the God of War like prompts that control Drake's cat like reflexes. This takes the industry standard third person shooter controls of Gears of War and builds upon it with a never before seen platformer scheme that lets you take on the world at any angle with little or no camera manipulation to line your next move up. You will also find yourself controlling a Jet Ski, firing a machine gun off the back of a jeep, and even shooting at the mercenaries while hanging from cliffs, vines, and church windows. These controls take a little more time to feel comfortable with, but you will have no trouble with just a few minutes experimenting. The Six Axis controls are also used in this game to manipulate Drake's balance while walking over fallen logs, and to judge the loft Drake puts on his grenade throws - both of which put your hands and arms smack dab in the middle of the adventure.
Replay Value - 9/10 - Medals and Rewards hi-light the great replay value of this game. They take a new approach to X Box live's achievements, and instead of just showing off what you've done in a game, you actually can unlock new features, and game play modifications that will keep you coming back over and over. And what good what a treasure hunter be without finding hidden treasures along the way... these will also net you medal points and unlock tons and tons of rewards. The lack of multi-player loses the game 1 point for replay value, but it says a lot that it doesn't take off more than that. You will find yourself playing this game several times.
Gaming Experience - 10/10 - This section is is a combination of game-play and story, since Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, did just that - combined story and game-play. You will not just play Uncharted: Drake's Fortune - you will experience it. The story is intense, heart felt, action packed, and epic. Take the entire Indiana Jones Movie Collection, and watch it in one sitting, only this time - pick up a wireless controller, and tell Dr. Jones where to go, who to save, what treasure to find, when to duck, and when to shoot. The acting matches the graphics, on a level never before achieved in video games. Expressions are now rendered, with sweat, tears, and blood dripping off an unshaven face. The artificial intelligence of your allies and enemies is mind boggling. Even while you try to find the perfect cover, and take aim at your foe's head, you will notice they have all taken cover, and just ducked your intended head shot. This game is difficult, but will leave you so much more satisfied walking away alive from each gun fight. Hardcore gamers will enjoy the challenge on the more difficult setting, and more casual gamers will have no problem on easy and will marvel at how many incredible obstacles they got Drake through thanks to the easiest platforming system to date. No loading screens, breath taking surroundings, unyielding action and adventure at every turn make this not just a third person shooter, or a platformer, or some action adventure game. This is a cinematic game-play experience that very rarely comes along and isn't limited to any genre. The only thing you won't like about the game-play is you won't be able to eat popcorn and shoot your 9mm at the same time, at least not without practice.
Overall - 9/10 - This game loses points to the casual gamer since it will frustrate you to no end. It is a hard game. Play it on Easy, and stay behind cover, and you might not ever die to bullets. Some parts require the game to help you out with HINTs triggered by the L2 button, and some gun battles are so epic you won't remember how long ago you started shooting bad guys while wondering where all your ammo went. This and the lack of multi player are the only downfalls of this game. No one has really tackled a third person online multi-player with great success yet, and this game had that opportunity. But perhaps that will change if a game like Metal Gear Online from MGS4 has success with online third person shooting next year. Then the sequel to this game can follow in its foot steps. These short comings keep the game from being perfect, but if you own a Playstation 3, this game needs to be in your collection. You will not regret it when the credits roll and you think to yourself... wow.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/19/07
Game Release: Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (US, 11/16/07)
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