In 2009, when people were thinking of games of the year, I think there were quite a few that fought for the position of game of the year. Games like Assassin’s Creed 2 and Batman Arkham Asylum were pretty good competition, but there was only one game that people chose or voted for to be game of the year. That game in question is Uncharted 2: Among Thieves for the Playstation 3. Now, the first game, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune came out in 2007 and did get pretty good reviews, but was somewhat obscured by other games like Halo 3 and Super Mario Galaxy. It was still one of the better games for the Playstation 3 back in 2007. I decided to take a look at both of the Uncharted games and I will start with Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune on the Playstation 3.
The main story of Uncharted feels like a bit of Romancing the Stone combined with a little Indiana Jones, and a bit of I am Legend, but you will get that last part when you reach the end of the game. The main story revolves around Nathan Drake, a handsome young treasure hunter who is trying to find his late ancestor’s last treasure along with his partner, Victor Sullivan, and a female reporter named Elena Fisher. They all find Nathan’s ancestor’s coffin and they find a diary inside the coffin that leads to the final treasure of Francise Drake. They end up in a treasure hunt with two other people trying to find the same thing that Nathan is trying to find, El Dorado.
Gameplay featured in Uncharted is of a third person shooter, mixed in with some platform/puzzle solving elements. The third person shooting element is nothing new if you have played games like Gears of War or Army of Two. You basically have a small variety of guns with the usual suspects, like a machine gun, shot gun, and the likes with nothing that special. You can also blind-shoot enemies while behind cover, go to a over-the-shoulder shot, and shoot enemies, and of course there are the melee attacks that you can use if you want to go head-on with an enemy. During the game, you will also be in charge of handling a machine gun on a jeep and drive a jet ski through some areas, which is cool since it keeps the game play fresh and not become repetitive. The plat forming elements are basically trying to find the right thing to climb on and then jumping to something else that you can climb on, kind of like in Assassin’s Creed, since you can climb on a lot of stuff, but some are hidden and just take a leap of faith to find the right thing to grab on to. There are also quick-time events, but they won’t take over the game play like Dante’s Inferno.
The graphics for a game from 2007 are pretty good. It’s nice that the developers Naughty Dog took time with this title and made this game one of the best-looking games on the PS3. It’s also good to put down that there are some cool little details, like Nathan’s clothes getting wet when you get out of the water, and leaves and plants blowing to the side by the breeze. It just shows they wanted to make this game look good. The music is also phenomenal, with the score composed by Greg Edmonson. This guy is known for the soundtrack to the cancelled show, Firefly, and a number of episodes of King of the Hill. The voice work is also just as good with Nathan Drake voiced by Nolan North, who for some reason, keeps getting into my reviews, Victor Sullivan voiced by Richard McGonagle, Elena Fischer voiced by Emily Rose, and the villains voiced by Simon Templeman and James Sie, who voiced Gabriel Roman and Eddy Raja.
There are some shortcomings that I think made the first game go under the radar of 2007. First part is the enemy variety. The enemies become repetitive until near the end, but I will explain in a second. Near the end of the game, you will encounter zombie vampire creatures that are from a major plot twist in the end of the story. There is build-up to them, but I just don’t think they fit. In a way, I was expecting Mayan Indians, but instead we get zombie vampire things that make this game like a horror survivor game like Resident Evil 5, and not an adventure game with themes of Romancing the Stone and Indiana Jones. It just seems like they were not needed since they appear only in the end of the game. Don’t get me wrong, we do get clues and hints of them being around, but I didn’t expect zombie creatures. Well, I guess it did work, but still. The game is also short, clocking in around 8 to 10 hours. After beating the game, there is really no reason to play it again unless you want to find all the treasure in the game to unlock stuff. There is no multiplayer also, which took me by surprise, but then again I don’t usually care for the multiplayer.
Overall, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was a good, but somewhat short experience. This game is worth a rental to see what started it all, but I will need to play the second game, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves in the future. I was glad to finally play this game and I hope I enjoy the second game even more. I’m glad Naughty Dog has made a new franchise for gamers to play. I wonder what they will do with the next Jak and Daxter games.
This game gets a solid 8 out of 10.