Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
I popped Uncharted in knowing I was going to be getting my exploration freak on in some jungle island paradise filled with bad guys trying to kill me. What I did not know is that I would be accompanied by a sexy blonde chick with a camera, attitude and a wonderfully ‘girl-next-door’ voice. I digress! Before I get to her, let me say something about HD and the cutscenes for a moment. The world of gaming is fast moving towards an atmosphere that is less than understanding of those of us who lack the necessary means to game in HD. That being said, this game is beautiful. HD or not my wee TV was delighted with the richness and beauty Uncharted bestowed upon it. And the facial expressions! The motion capture! Surely, we live in a time of great joy for gamers. Surely, this is the beginning of a revolution! Cutscenes have always been a treat, but in recent memory sometimes the use of cutscenes (see: Heavenly Sword) has been used to distract from the deficient parts of a game. Not so in Drake’s! I’m happy to say that the game functions on its own merits without the need for lengthy cutscenes, but the fact that they are included is just, what did Nigel call it…”trans fatty inducing icing” and I agree with him. I love icing.
Before I forget: the story! In brief, the story follows the young Nathan Drake, decendant of Sir Francis Drake, as he tries to uncover a mysterious lost golden idol (the treasure of “El Dorado”, so cliche if you think about it…), but is confronted with long lost U-Boats in the middle jungle islands, rival treasure hunters, and of course, a beautiful woman who always gets herself into trouble. Ah, how like a woman. Seriously, all you need to know is golden idol gimmie, ack why are they shooting at me I should shoot back, wait why was this guy gutted like a fish, and oooh her legs are nice.
The play of the game! The controls are what you would expect from a third person action adventure. The Sixaxis rears its unusual and unnecessary head when you walk across narrow walkways and for some silly reason you have to tilt the controller so you don’t fall. A balancing act that seems…needless, to say the least.
The weapons selection is fine. You can pick up ammo and guns from dead dudes so there is never a shortage in your arsenal. Throwing grenades is a bit weird though, you use the Sixaxis for that as well and you like pull back to get range and then let go, I found I didn’t use grenades as much as I normally would. The combat is mostly about cover so you’re always ducking behind things and leaning out to aim. I only used my grenades when I was sneaking up on a group of guys and would then proceed to AK-Spray my little heart out. Hand to hand is kinda cool with these slow motion super kill moves. And when I say super kill I mean ‘why yes that’s an awfully nice vertabrae crack I hear there!’.
One thing though, and maybe I am just crazy here, but I don’t really notice a difference between shooting a guy in the face with a pistol or a shotgun. Like there were 4 guys I was shooting one time and I got an in-game achievement for like 25 headshots and the dudes weren’t even dead yet! That is stupid! I was up close with this one guy and two blank point range shotgun blasts in the stomach didn’t take him down? For shame, if it doesn’t matter what gun I’m using except for the fact that a few fire faster then what’s the point in that? If anything I would stick with the slower rate of fire to save my bullets…since plugging them into a body repeatedly and at short range obviously does not matter. Collecting these silly achievements that don’t make sense in reality as well as picking up small glinty objects (treasures) around each area give you powerups and special extras when you play the game over again. But I don’t plan on playing it again anytime soon after I finish…I may replay King Kong though…
Back to the girl. So here role in the story is to be your little companion friend that helps you solve easy “place this here and that there” puzzles, get in trouble so you have to save her and thereby leading you to some new area, and other…stuff.
Back to that less than snazzy puzzle comment. It’s not that they are lame…it’s just well…They’re kinda lame. A lot about the game is kinda lame. The mediocre-generic-pirate-mercenary dudes for one. They have no soul! How am I supposed to really want to take down these dudes when they have no soul! There are exploding barrels.
On an island.
In the middle of nowhere.
So many barrels!
But hey, I like shooting das barrels so no worries, that’s not too lame. And I know what you’re saying, ‘Nadine, why don’t you want any pizza? I ordered like 3! What the hell?’ So I say to you this: Yes, there is lameness, but also there is fun…ness. I like to play it! I don’t care about the lame things that I’m sure you will find as well included in the game because the sound, the script, the acting and the actual exploring a jungle and shooting visually defined yet personality lacking bad guys is fun! I loved Ubisoft’s King Kong game and while Uncharted isn’t as grand a foray into super awesome fun times as that title was it’s still a good time and it’s one of the reasons the PS3 makes sense this holiday season.
The fact is that there are no revelations in the game. Uncharted is simply Tomb Raider and King Kong’s gloriously beautiful love child. It’s a solid good time! Much like jello.
You know I don’t even like jello…but I know alot of people out there do.
So I guess that answers that question!