Review by LunarSonata
A really fun game that just falls short of being outstanding.
I was fairly late playing Uncharted, picking it up over a year since it was first released. I'm glad I did though, because this is almost as fast paced and fun as games can be. That said, is this PS3 exclusive worthy of being a system seller?
The story isn't that bad, but there's nothing special about it. You're Nate, and you're looking for a long lost treasure. There is the long and short of it, obviously it's better than that but there's nothing outstanding here. You end up on a mysterious island, and meet bad guys along the way. It's all a bit like Indiana Jones, which I get the feeling is what they were trying to go for with the whole feel of the game. This would have been fine, but what brings it down is the characters.
We've met them all in other games many times before, and the chances are you won't care about any of them aside from Nate. One character I disliked in particular is Nate's love interest. Not only does she sound devoid of any emotion, she just somehow ends up sounding thick with every line she says. Oh well, she's the only bad voice actor really anyway.
This is where the game shines above the rest, it really is spectacular to look at. The environments look amazing, especially some underground caves you come across a while into the game. Character models are also very impressive. There are pretty much not flaws at all here, everything just looks very pretty. If I would have to say one negative here, it would be that when aiming Nate's shoulder looks a bit jagged. Yeh, that's how petty my only complaint is.
The game is really split into two parts, shooting and exploring. You've most likely read that it's a mix between Gears of War and Tomb Raider, and that description is pretty much spot on. Shooting makes up about 70% of the game. Nate has a variety of basic weapons to take down his enemies. You take cover and pop out to kill to avoid getting shot. That really is pretty much it, but it works really well. You can hold a small weapon and a big one at the same time, switching between them with the d-pad. Perhaps the coolest thing is the grenades; you use motion control to tilt how far you want to throw them. It's all very much like Gears, but it doesn't feel as intense. Still, it's pretty fun.
You can also use your fists, which is actually really good addition. I'd like to see this be more featured in the sequel. One more thing that needs to be said about the shooting is that your tactics will have to change towards the end of the game. Why ? Find out yourself. It's really cool though, and I'm happy it was added in to keep things feeling fresh.
Next comes the exploring. Well, jumping around would be a better description. You jump from platform to platform like Lara, but you don't need anywhere near her precision. This makes it all pretty easy. You get the occasional puzzle as well, but I really think this whole part needs to be expanded in the next game. It's overly simple, and to be frank Tomb Raider just destroys Uncharted in terms of level design and puzzles. if you're looking for the next TR, this is not it.
So, they are the two main parts to the game. You also get some vehicle levels, which aren't very good to say the least. If I'm sounding negative, It's not that I don't like Uncharted. I've played it enough to get the Platinum trophy in fact. The problem is just that the two main types of game play have been done before, and they've been done better. That aside, for the most part it is done quite well, and as I've said the game really is a lot of fun.
The music is another aspect of the game that shines. The main theme is awesome, and I look forward to hearing the next game in the series.
I won't mess around, Uncharted is really damn short. I finished it in a week, and I take forever to beat games. It's a good length for a game of its type though as it would drag on otherwise. Luckily, some really great things were added to increase play time. Not only do you get 4 difficulty levels, you get a load of things to unlock. Naughty Dog really put some effort in here. New character skins, visual filters, mirrored worlds. Then there's the fact the trophy system is built into the game as a points system to unlock these things, which really does connect it with you and drive you to overcome different tasks. This system was obviously there before trophies were around, but they have been patched in.
There are also 61 treasures to be found hidden around the game, which is pretty cool if you like exploring. Most of them aren't very well hidden however.
Uncharted is a game very worth buying. It may not be very original, but I'm positive most people will enjoy it for the short time it lasts. It has awesome replay value, which makes up for this short length. It's not the best of its genre, but Uncharted is bound to become a very good franchise.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (Platinum) (EU, 08/01/08)
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