Uncharted: Drake's Fortune Review
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Classic adventure tale, combining beautifully rendered landscapes with pirates and treasure. Be whisked away to an undiscovered island where puzzle solving, fluid platforming, and loaded guns are used to unearth an ancient mystery. If you are looking for a solid title, Naughty Dog's Uncharted Drakes Fortune is no less than a masterpiece.
- Some of the most beautiful environments and colorful characters yet on the PS3
- High quality voice acting and facial animations
- Slight amount of screen tearing
- Gun battles could have been more diverse
Deep in the jungles of an undiscovered island lurks a legendary treasure. Known as El Dorado, this treasure has been sought by many, and now has fellow adventurer and lead character Nathan Drake out on a vigorous scavenger hunt to find it. Teamed up with a foxy blond reporter, Nathan must jump, swing, and climb the landscapes, finding new clues to the location of the mysterious gold statue. Developed by Naughty Dog Studios, Uncharted Drake's Fortune is what I'd call the bread and butter of the PlayStation 3, offering beautiful graphics, solid platforming, and movie quality storytelling.
To jump right in, the control scheme of game seems to follow what is easily becoming an industry standard for 3rd person action games. Players will use a single button to perform many different actions whether it’s taking cover, leaping to ledges, or activating doors; the layout is set up to simplify the feel of the character.
In Uncharted, this scheme is mapped to the triangle button, which is utilized to execute most of your interaction commands, including anything from kicking open rusty gates to jumping in vehicles. Then you have the square button, which handles your characters punches and combo attacks, leaving the circle as your cover and roll command and X for jumping. Moving on to the back buttons, L1 is used for aiming, R2 for reload, R” for fire, and L2 for manipulating the camera, allowing you to look around. You may also use the D-pad to switch through your weaponry and throw grenades.
It is rare to find a game that mixes third person shooter with platforming, and have both concepts actually harmonize in unison. More than often, I found it refreshing to finally have a title that allows the user to have a great experience in leaping ledges and scaling cliffs, but then shake it up with intense shotgun battles with treasure hungry pirates. The only other game that comes to mind that puts these two genres together so well is Tomb Raider. However, Lara Croft has nothing on Nathan Drake; Naughty Dog has done a great job to push the limits and offer something that is unique, standing out from others in the genre.
One notable annoyance in the game was when it came to jumping from one cling hole to another, as it was hard to tell where exactly Drake was jumping. Sometimes it shows his head turn, looking back, when making a backwards leap, or he’d look up if you were looking to scale upwards. However, sometimes it was hard to get him in this “tell” situation, leading to a blinded bound, occasionally resulting in death. Other than that, the jumping controls in Uncharted were perfect for it’s pace allowing you to not have to time your leaps. Just line it up and fly.
The cover system was easy to use as well. When near a wall or protruding chunk stone, simply press circle and Nathan will lean against the object for cover. Indeed, one of the key points in Uncharted is cover. Whether it’s stealthily sneaking upon an enemy for a neck break or taking a hail of fire and needing a place to restore your health, taking cover is a must. There really are not too many Rambo moments in the game. Most of the time if you rush up into a group of pirates, the end result is a red screen of “continue from last checkpoint.”
Earlier this year, hands on experiences lead some people to relate the shooting and action experiences in Uncharted Drake’s Fortune to something like Gears of War; and they were right. Now Uncharted doesn’t have all the chainsaws, exploding bodies, and curb stomps but the third person shooter controls are nearly the same, and you feel that same intensity when enemies come at you with shotguns and grenade launchers. Also the close up slow-motion combo sequences when fighting a pirate hand-to-hand help immerse you more into the visceral, kick ass action Uncharted provides.
Also worthy of mention are the SIXAXIS controls. Naughty Dog threw in the ability to hock grenades and balance across fallen trees, both using the SIXAXIS motion controller. In our experience, however, it didn’t add anything to ... (continued on next page)
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