Review by bruiserbrody

"Uncharted-a system seller!"

Uncharted Drakes Fortune is an action game like no other! Oh sure, it's been compared to Tomb Raider but I can promise you that after playing this game you'll forget all about Laura, and that's coming from a Tomb Raider fan. You see, Uncharted does everything right starting with the story. Imagine if you will Han Solo in the lead role and you have a good idea of what Drake is like. You may be wondering why I'm just not comparing Drake to Indiana Jones, well I happen to think Han Solo is just a tad cooler and cockier than Mr. Jones and Drakes has cool and cocky down to a tee. If you like those kinds of characters, you are going to enjoy Drake. Often I find myself laughing at his comments or smiling over his antics. The other characters are very well done too. Elena is a tough reporter out for her story and sort of reminds you of a Lois Lane type of character only surprisingly tough and not needing rescued too often. She holds her own pretty well. Vincent is Drakes good friend who's “experienced” (i.e. old) and plays a vital role in the game. All the characters are written and voiced so well that you get attached to and interested in them quickly. Drake's a “treasure hunter” who really seems to be on to something as the opening scene quickly shows you and immerses you in. You're looking for Sir Francis Drake's coffin in the ocean and you no sooner find it to start your mission to find his treasure when you're attacked by Pirates! Just like that you're off and running in the game.

From beginning to the very end this game literally had me on the edge of my seat. It's an adventure that for the first time ever has me willing to say, “it's like you're playing a movie”. In fact, I recently saw “National Treasure Book of Secretes” and loved it, but found myself thinking of Uncharted as I watched. I am not comparing the plots, but rather the adventure, the puzzles, the platforming. The entire movie made me think of everything I've done in Uncharted, and I think that's pretty cool.

Right from the start you've got gunplay, having to take cover to survive much like the heralded “Gears of War”. If you don't learn to use the cover system in this game you are going to die and die often. I learned that on that very first level! However, the cover system is simple, you press the circle button to take cover and the x button to leap to the next cover position. You can stealth kill enemies as well if you're good enough to sneak up behind them. I've not accomplished it often but when I have it's very rewarding and the animation of the kills are fluid. You can use hand to hand combat as well and I've discovered that this is something I like to do as much as shoot. You can use combos and earn more combos' the more kills you get through fist fighting. In the fistfights you also at times use the environment. I've smashed heads off near by rocks, followed them up with several knees to the midsection and ended it with a hard shove through a near by crate. When you use the weapons they are varied and readily available. From Lugars, to Uzi's and from pistols to shotguns and rocket launchers it's all here. You can only carry so much so chose wisely. I'm best with the AK-47 and grenades!

The puzzles are a lot of fun and not overly difficult nor simple. When you're with a companion they will often help you by shouting clues to you. They will also often help you open doors and other such things, which is very nice to see from an AI controlled character. I love when my partner takes out some enemies as well rather than standing there letting me do all the work. Speaking of enemies, they are everywhere, and they are pretty smart. They take cover, aim and shoot well, and come at you if you stand around too long. Uncharted isn't Doom or Unreal Tournament but let me assure you that the enemies are around every turn and they seldom give you any kind of rest. This is just one area that blows Tomb Raider out of the water. You get to explore, seeking small hidden treasures while on this main adventure for Drakes gold, but always have your guns ready or you're going to be in trouble. You AI enemies will also call for help and alert their friends as to your position.

As a big platforming fan I can assure you that this game isn't Ratchet and Clank but the platforming in this game is solid, challenging, and fun. As with the puzzles you at times get hints as to what you're to do, either from your partners, or an on screen prompt telling you to press the L2 button which then causes Drake to look at something. Sometimes while hanging on rocks and edges they will begin to break and you'll have to move quickly. One level has you scaling the outside of a huge tower. You go hand over hand, at times leaping onto vines and using them to run along the wall so you can reach the next ledge or window. The entire experience is breath taking because the environments are so life like and you find yourself nervous hoping you don't fall. You will find your self sweating it when Drake catches the next rock ledge with one hand and sways a little as you press on the X button to make him get both hands on there so you can climb to safety..well, at least temporary safety as you so seldom feel safe in this game.

Cut scenes are used beautifully and help tell and move the story along, but that's not the only reason to pay attention. Sometimes cut scenes are interactive and ask you to press a button to escape certain death! I learned that the hard way when I twice set the controller on my lap to just watch.

The drama is always unfolding in this game. The story twists here and there making sure you never have it all figured out until the very end. In this way the game reminded me of the TV show “Lost”. Who's good, who's bad, and what's really going on here! I've so seldom had a game cause to feel this way while playing. I can safely say that I've never played a game like this. It's engrossing and dramatic, filled with excitement around every corner and envelops you into the role of Drake so much that you root for him and bemoan his death when you're taken out by bullets or a bad jump. I didn't want this game to end!

The graphics are amazing, second to none and clearly this is a game that can be used to show off the Playstation 3's power! From the character models to the environments, everything looks amazing. The water effects are like nothing I've ever seen in a game before. Every review mentions this, but you simply have to because it's so frakkin cool. When Drake jumps in the water, when he climbs out you can see that he's wet and he stays that way a while, until he “dries off”. It attention to details like those that will make your jaw hurt from dropping so much. The graphics make this game more “real” and that makes the game all the more better. The voice acting is great and the lip-synching is pretty good too. As I mentioned earlier in this review you really feel like you're playing a movie! While the characters are clearly animated, they are animated so well that they seem real, life-like even. I don't think any other system could handle this game and I say that as an owner of every system out there. Best of all, there's no loading in the game! None what so ever. What other game can you say that about? Especially a game this big and beautiful?

Now, to the biggest gripe…play time. Yes, you can finish this game in about 10 hours but I wouldn't recommend that. You'll miss the small side treasures and really looking around the wonderful environment. You'll get little to no stealth kills and you won't get to use hand-to-hand combat very much. If I skipped over those things, knowing how fun they are now after experiencing them, I would really be bummed out. Now that I have told you how cool they are, if you're one of those gamers who sped through this game I've given you reason to play it again! As for playing it again, it's something I'll do over and over just because it's simply that mind blowing of an experience. So for me, the replay of this game is HIGH. I love playing it and I'll play over and over, at least until something as good or better comes along. If they release a sequel I know I'll play this one a few days before the next one ships so I'll be ready for part two.

Obviously I am recommending this game. If you already own a PS3 there's no excuse not to own this game. If you don't own a PS3 there's no longer an excuse not to. Yes, I am saying this game is a system seller! If this is what next generation games are like, then consider me on board! Uncharted: Drakes Fortune is a kick ass game that demands to not only be played, but EXPERIENCED!

Like the PS3 ad says, “It's like nothing you've ever seen before”!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/25/07

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

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