Review by Kunlun

"Pirates, treasure, and adventure... What more could we want?"

November 11, 2008 – Looking for action, adventure, and lost treasure? Look no further than the PlayStation 3 exclusive, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. This is a single player game that will take the player through lush jungles, dark catacombs, speeding across the land in a jeep, and roaring through rivers on a speed boat. It is mainly an action game with plenty of gunfights, but also involves some platforming elements and puzzle solving.

When starting a new game there will be three difficulty levels available; the standard Easy, Normal, and Hard. After beating Hard, a new difficulty, Crushing, will be unlocked. The difficulty levels are aptly labeled; starting on Normal is probably the best for newcomers as Easy difficulty seems to be a little too easy.

The character, Nathan Drake is the main protagonist and who the player will be controlling the entire game. Two allies, Victor "Sully" Sullivan and Elena Fisher will help Nathan along the way although they won't be there with him the entire time. Upon finding Sir Francis Drake's lost diary in the ocean, Nathan, Sully, and Elena all go on the hunt for the lost treasure Drake writes about. However, they are not the only ones going after the treasure… An extremely large group (literally) of pirates is also on the trail of the missing riches.

The gameplay is outstanding with excellent shooting mechanics, intelligent artificial intelligence (both enemies and allies), and a good platforming concept. There is a cover system that the player can use and will primarily be utilizing in a gunfight. The computer controlled opponents will try to flank all the time and will throw grenades to get the player to move out of their cover spot. Elena and Sully actually damage enemies as they try to help and occasionally kill them. There's no need to look after them either as neither can die, but they won't go running around killing all enemies in sight as they will stay under cover and try to avoid gunfire and grenades as much as possible. Platforming in Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is good for the most part. The game is rather linear so there is usually only one way to get somewhere. Jumping around from one spot to another or flinging Nathan across ledges is very easy and does not have to be exact. Puzzles are easy to solve and the game actually gives hints so the player will never be stuck for long. The result of the smooth platforming and easy puzzles results in fast paced gameplay and it will usually take about nine hours to complete the first play through.

There are unlockable rewards that are based on a medal system that awards points for meeting the requirements for specific achievements such as collecting a certain amount of treasures or killing enemies in specific ways. These rewards can be used in the next play through unless it's on Crushing difficulty for the first time.

The storyline is excellent for a video game. It will keep the player engaged for the entire length of the game and even has a little "twist" at the end.

The downsides to the game depending on who the player is are the absolutely massive amounts of enemies to deal with and the easy to solve puzzles. It can get frustrating fighting off wave after wave of enemies, especially on Crushing difficulty it can get tricky.

The graphics in Uncharted: Drake's Fortune are terrific. The environmental details to the details on the characters are done almost flawlessly. There are sometimes pop ins, but nothing severe. Simply said, the graphics are some of the best ever seen in a video game. The sound in sound in the game is quite good as well. The soundtrack really helps build the atmosphere the game tries to create. Sound effects are pretty spot on and the voice acting is incredibly good.

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune packs a ton of action in a stunningly beautiful game which will keep players engaged from the moment the game starts till the very end. The game is a bit short, but playing through a couple more times with the rewards can add some replay value to it. Anyone that likes a good action adventure game will definitely enjoy playing this.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 11/11/08

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

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