Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

23 12 2008
The cover for Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

The cover for Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

Developer: Naughty Dog

Publisher: SCE

HD Resolution: 720p

Harddrive space required: 13 mb install, 256 kb per save

Genre: Action-Adventure

Mode: Single player

PEGI & FPB rating: 16+ Violence


Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is a PS3 exclusive title in a similar vein, gameplay style, to other platformers, such as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Prince of Persia. The player controls Nathan “Nate” Drake, as he follows clues left by his ancestor Sir Francis Drake on the trail of the treasure of El Dorado. Along the way, he will battle pirates, mercenaries and other horrors that the lush jungle island has in store for him.

Nathan Nate Drake, Victory Sully Sullivan and Elena Fisher

From left: Nathan "Nate" Drake, Victory "Sully" Sullivan and Elena Fisher

Assisted by long time friend Victor “Sully” Sullivan and journalist, Elena Fisher, who is chronicling his adventures, Nate solves puzzles, defeats enemies and generally has an adventure on the trail of the treasure.

Graphically, this game is quite amazing, and you can really see the PS3’s power coming out. The lush jungle setting of the game is a perfect place to showcase the graphical power, as the sun plays through the leaves, creating a dancing carpet of shadows on the ground and the characters. When you first play this game, you will probably take a few minutes just to stand there and look around at the surroundings, trying to take in the beauty of the scene. It really is that amazing. The water effects are also quite impressive, reacting realistically to disturbances, for instance when Nate is swimming through the water or from bullets. Even on a standard definition TV, it is still a sight to behold, and one can only imagine how amazing it would look when played in HD. Of special mention is the way in which characters get wet once they have been in the water. I was very impressed by that, and it just looked so amazing, especially the way that the characters take a while to “dry off”.

The game really seems more like an interactive movie than a pure video game: the production values are just that high. There is no discernable difference between the pre-rendered cutscenes and the actual in-game footage. The dialogue is amazing and realistic and, as mentioned, would not be out of place on a Hollywood blockbuster. Otherwise, in the sound department, everything sounds good, as you would expect it. From rocks crumbling, firearms firing and the sound of water as Nate goes for a swim, all sound pretty accurate.

An example of Nate popping up from using cover to shoot enemy pirates

An example of Nate popping up from using cover to shoot enemy pirates

Gameplay wise, as mentioned, it is very similar to Tomb Raider. Nate will experience both platforming sections, where he has to swing from vines and ropes, jump and shimmy from ledges, climb perilous cliffs and scale crumbling architecture, as well as gunfight sections, where Nate must use the environment as cover to defeat the enemies.

Both these sections are very well done, and, aside from a few frustrations with swinging vines and the frustration of being repeatedly killed by an idiot pirate with a shotgun, there are no other issues with the gameplay

An idea of the epic scale of the platforming sections.

An idea of the epic scale of the platforming sections.

After August 4, a patch was released that integrated PlayStation Trophies into the game, which is an added incentive for gamers. For those unfamiliar with trophies, they are essentially virtual rewards for completing certain tasks within the game. For instance, a silver trophy is awarded for finishing the game on easy difficulty and a gold for each other difficulty IE normal, hard and crushing. Other examples of trophies are getting a certain amount of kills with each different weapon (there are 13 different weapons available), getting 100 headshots and finding all the collectibles in the game (called treasures). For the hoarders out there, this is a great incentive to play the game.

Gametime, you are looking at about 6 hours maybe to finish it your first playthrough. To fully complete the game on all difficulties, collect all trophies and all 61 treasures and unlock everything, you will probably be looking somewhere in the 20 hour region, which is approximately how long this reviewer took.

The final verdict on this game is that it is a definite must buy. If you don’t already own it, you should go out and buy a copy right now. Especially since it was recently re-released on the newly established Platinum range of titles, there is absolutely no excuse for not owning this game. It is just incredible and a real joy to play.

Highly recommended: 9/10.

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