Review by BoyLover X

Reviewed: 07/12/08

Great game, but not worth buying a PS3 for

Story - 8/10: Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is about Nathan Drake, who believes himself to be a descendant of a famous explorer. He discovers a journal that may lead him to treasure, so he sets off to find said treasure with the help of Elena (a reporter) and Sullivan (a longtime friend). They soon end up getting shot at by other treasure hunters and mercenaries, and the game is mostly an action-packed ride through jungles and tombs as everyone searches for the treasure. While the story itself is not too spectacular, it does earn points for being told well. There are only a handful of plot twists, but I actually appreciated the fact that the story never tried to get in the way of the game. The cutscenes never outstay their welcome (the game thankfully relies on in-game dialogue sometimes rather than forcing you to sit and watch cutscenes; IN-GAME DIALOGUE IS THE WAY OF THE FUTURE - MARK MY WORDS!), and everything moves along at a nice pace. The script is very good, and overall the story really makes you feel like you are playing an action movie.

Graphics - 10/10: Uncharted finally shows that the PS3 can do great next-gen graphics, and this is the first PS3 game to reach Xbox 360 quality graphics. The detail level is on par with the Unreal Engine 3, the framerate is smooth, and the loading times are fast. That last part is particularly surprising since the game does not have any installation process. It's nice to see that with enough patience (Uncharted had a VERY long development cycle) developers CAN do something good on the PS3. It's unlikely that the PS3 will ever see such another feat in it's life time, because PS3 programming was made unnecessarily complex, and most developers won't take the time to get their PS3 games up to Xbox 360 quality. But anyway, hats off to Naughty Dog for taking the time to do something special for the PS3. Still, it should be noted that there are a few things to complain about. There is screen tearing throughout much of the game, and the effect for explosions is simply awful. Animations don't always blend together perfectly either, despite claims by the developers. These are problems that can be overlooked for the most part, and since this is the best looking PS3 game, I'll still give it a 10 for graphics. Oh, and the water looks damn fine with realistic splashing, ripples, reflections, and sense of depth.

Audio - 9/10: The soundtrack is good, even though there aren't many tracks, they are still great compositions. Some of the instruments used reminded me of the Metal Gear Solid 3 soundtrack (that's a good thing). Most of the voice work is excellent too. Sound effects are fine, there's not much to say about that.

Gameplay - 9/10: This is what makes Uncharted a great game, but at the same time, it's almost not even worth playing. What I mean is that the game plays well, and there's some great action in there. You'll run and gun your way through jungles and ruins, and you'll have a great time. But the problem is that there's absolutely nothing new. Everything in this game is just a clone of another game. The shooting action and cover system is identical to Gears of War, only in this game the action scenes are rarely as intense, and the cover controls don't work quite as well. The platforming elements and puzzles feel like Tomb Raider: Anniversary or Tomb Raider: Legend, but again, not as good. The puzzles here are just much simpler, and platforming is really never captivating or difficult to figure out where to jump to next. The overall theme of the game is just like Far Cry: on the run in a jungle with mercenaries after you. Only in Uncharted, the AI is worse and the vehicles can't be driven off the path the game wants you to follow. As I said, the game is still excellent, but if you've played those other games then Uncharted's gameplay won't impress you.

Lasting Appeal - Moderate: Uncharted is short, like a lot of games this generation. There are harder difficulty levels to replay on, and there are "medals" to earn (think Xbox 360 Achievements) that unlock some neat bonus content such as videos that talk about the creation of the game, storyboards/art, and cheat codes. This does add a decent amount of stuff to make you want to replay the game at least once.

FINAL VERDICT: Uncharted is a great game, but I don't agree with the people that are calling it a "system seller". Why? Because there's no reason to buy a system for a game that offers nothing new; it's just a mash-up of Gears of War, the new Tomb Raiders, and Far Cry, but it doesn't manage to copy everything as well as it could have. If you do have a PS3 or plan to get one, then you should get this game. But don't let it be your sole reason for buying a PS3 or you may find yourself with a case of buyer's remorse.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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

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