Review by OblivionRising

"Time to explore uncharted waters."

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is a new Playstation 3 exclusive title from developer Naughty Dog. It's a well made game that mixes platforming, gunplay, and puzzle solving to create one great and unforgettable adventure. Naughty Dog did an excellent job for their first next-gen game.

In Drake's Fortune, you are Nathan Drake, the story's protagonist, who believes himself to be the descendant of legendary explorer, Sir Francis Drake. Nate finds Francis's empty coffin, learning that he faked his own death. Inside the coffin is Francis's diary, which pretty much gives away the location of the legendary treasure of El Dorado. So Nate sets out to an uncharted island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to locate the treasure, but there's various forces trying to beat him to it.

Uncharted has two major gameplay elements: gunplay and platforming. You traverse the land in many ways:

The shooting takes up most of the gameplay. There are a variety of different weapons to use, ranging from your fists to grenade launchers. Nate can carry three types of weapons at once: a pistol, a rifle/shotgun, and his grenades, creating a sense of realism. He is a regular human being, and can only take several bullets before going down, therefore, you'll have to utilize cover if you want to stay alive long enough. The AI is really something as well. If you stay in one spot behind cover for too long, the enemies will try to flank you or throw grenades to force you out of hiding. They have excellent aim and strategies for taking you down, and each enemy will use different tactics to ensure that you don't make it past them alive. The PS3's SIXAXIS features are used in this game, as well, but they won't be very common. The most you'll use the motion sensing is when you're setting the arc for throwing grenades. Besides that, it'll be used for maintaining balance when crossing logs and such. The platforming comes in play when traversing areas or solving puzzles. This is a major part of the gameplay, and isn't uncommon. Nate is surprisingly agile, but still human. He can't make superhuman jumps or anything like that, but he'll utilize his environment when he needs to get to a certain point.

In total, Uncharted will take you about eight to ten hours to complete on your first play-through, but the game has an Achievement-type medal system that really adds to the replay value. You earn medals by completing certain objectives such as collecting treasures or getting a precise amount of headshots. For every medal you earn, you get a set amount of medal points, and the medal points unlock rewards. The rewards include non-gameplay related material, such as videos and concept art galleries, and direct gameplay related unlockables such as alternate costumes, fast and slow motion, weapon select, render mode select, and infinite ammo. All of this definitely gives you reason to play through Uncharted more than once.

Uncharted shows what the PS3 is capable of. Although not as good as Heavenly Sword or Ninja Gaiden Sigma, the graphics in this game are amazing. It's all beautifully rendered, textured, and lighted, and it's just great to look at. The one minor problem that just annoys me is that, sometimes, the textures will take a little while to load up. So in some areas you'll be standing in the midst of blurry areas for a few seconds. This isn't a big deal, just an annoyance.

The developers really took their time with the animation. Every time Nate steps behind cover, he'll be in a different pose. If his health is low, you'll see the despair in his face, every time a bullet whizzes too close to him, he'll flinch. When he jumps, his arms and legs will flail about as he tries to get footing. When grabbing a ledge after a long jump, he'll barely keep his grip with one hand as the other completely loses it. And the best thing is that all the characters go from one animation to the next seamlessly and smoothly. As the characters move their eyes, their eyelids will move realistically with them, and so will their lips as they speak.

The incredible voice acting in Uncharted is definitely evident, both in the cutscenes and in the gameplay. When in a gunfight, near death experiences, bullets whizzing nearby, and grenades being thrown at you, will cause Nate to mutter to himself as he tries to control his own sanity. The voices really tell the characters apart and show that each one has their own personality. All this can be pretty uncommon in a game. The music really sets the mood for the different situations. When entering a new area that's completely oblivious of other life, soft and eerie music will play. During high battle situations, you'll hear loud and fast paced music. Everything is nicely set up, and you would definitely notice a difference if the music was gone.

- Excellent Graphics
- Great Platforming
- Awesome Combat & Gameplay
- Incredible Voice Acting
- Characters Have Their Own Personalities
- Music Perfectly Sets the Mood
- Lots of Replay Value

- Too Short
- Textures Sometimes Take a Few Seconds to Load


Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 12/10/07

Game Release: Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (US, 11/16/07)

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