Review by Zylo the wolf
"I would rather have seen a Jak 4, but heh this isn't half bad."
Naughty Dog became a famous developer when they created Crash Bandicoot, one of the first platform classics on the Sony Playstation and even one of the first platformers in 3D. After a couple of games in that series, they decided to move on with another character for the Playstation 2 and thus Jak was born. Once again they triumph with making a new excellent series. At first the plan was to make a new Jak game for the Playstation 3, but instead Naughty Dog decided to once again make a new character. So many others have already compared this Nathan Drake guy to one of the greatest movie heroes of all time, Indiana Jones, and that's a very simple way to describe this whole game. This is how a Indiana Jones movie should be.
The game begins with that Nathan "Nate" Drake is on a boat with what I assume is on a boat with Elena, a journalist ready to take any risks just to get a good scoop. They have just found what is supposed to be the coffin of the Elizabethan explorer Sir Francis Drake deep in the Ocean, but it turns out that the coffin is empty. Suddenly they get attacked by pirates and have to defend themselves. Lucky for them that Nate's partner Sully comes with an airplane to save them.
When they are safe, Nate and Sully discuss that they are afraid that Elena will publish the story about Francis Drake's lost treasure called Eldorado and that it will give them a lot of rivals that will try to find the treasure before them. So they decides to ditch her and head to their "treasure island" by leaving her behind. They find a German U-Boat. Nate decides to investigate and finds the missing page of Francis diary, and now it would be no problem to find the treasure right? Well I'm not going to spoil more about the story, but let me say that you actually have a really interesting plot ahead of you with many different twists, just like the movies featuring another famous adventurer looking for lost treasures.
Naughty Dog is a developer that have a lot of experience with platforming and it's clear that they have this time been very influenced by Prince of Persia and other games where you have to climb a lot, because climbing is one of the things that Drake does best. The only way to get far in this game is to carefully search every edge and see if Nate can grab it, and then try to find out where to go next. Sometimes you have to drop down, other times you have to jump to the other where a big wall is, sometimes you have to jump to a branch and then climb to the left and then jump to a bridge. Sometimes you also have to solve a puzzle, but they are for most of the time easy to figure out how to solve. I'm one of those who usually have trouble with the late game dungeons in every Legend of Zelda game, and I had no problem with these.
The other important parts in this game is when it's time to kill some enemies, and for most of the time you won't get anywhere if you only know how to jump and climb. Just like in many recent games, it's just as important to find shelter from the enemies as it's to be good to aim with the weapon and shoot them in the head. Nate can carry one type of handgun at the time and one type of rifle at the time. He can also pick up grenades and then throw them at the enemies, but personally I thought it was very difficult to aim with the grenades when there are four or more bad guys shooting at you.
There are two things that really makes the battles intense. The first thing is that you can surprise the enemies by sneaking up from behind and quickly kill them with your bare hands, which will give you more ammo as a reward when you kill them. It's also possible to perform a so called deadly combo, which kills the enemy if you manages to perform the whole combo, but the enemy will do it's best to fight back with their bare hands to prevent you from doing this deadly move.
The other thing is that you will late in the game run out of ammo during these battles, so you have to try to take out the tougher enemies first and then try to move into the middle of the battlefield and pick up more ammo or a new weapon instead. For a game that seems to be so simple, you actually have to plan a strategy for the battle in the late game if you want to survive. This is without a doubt the best parts of the game besides the cut-scenes which are incredible.
But there of course I got a couple of complaints since I gave a game with such huge potential only a seven. One really annoying thing is the chapters where you have to travel with any kind of vehicle, for most of the time it's a motorboat. The combat system is the same as in the normal fights, but now it's next to impossible to find a good place to hide when you have to navigate a boat and shoot enemies at the same time. There are also bombs in the water that you must avoid at all costs or you will die.
My second complaint is the health system in this game. Just like in many other action games you have to find a place to hide if get hit and wait for a while to recover, but there is no health bar in this game, instead the screen losses more and more color the more damage you take. Not only does this make it really difficult to figure out how much more damage you can take, but it's also a real shame that a game with much more pretty colors than most of the other gray and brown games in this era losses all this charm as soon as you take one hit.
Of course this is just minor complaints. However I can not forgive the game for having such horrible controls when you are about to jump. Sometimes Nate can jump really far, and sometimes he barely jumps at all. I don't know how many times I died because I couldn't figure out if Nate could jump that far or not. It might also be my 11 year old television but I there where many times where I had a tough call to figure out if Nate could grab an edge or not, and the fact that I never knew if he could reach the edge with a jump or not didn't exactly help.
But as I said before the story makes you want to keep playing, especially if you are a huge Indiana Jones fan like me. The action parts in the game is also for most of the time really good and let's not forget the graphic with the pretty green colors that really makes you feel that you are in the jungle. While I think that Nathan Drake's first adventure could have been better, it could also have been much worse and now that the game is almost five years old I still recommend that you find it for a cheap price if haven't already played it.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 05/24/12
Game Release: Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (EU, 12/07/07)
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