Product Type: Sony PS3 games
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A true treasure
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (PS3)
Member Name: sn0zb0z
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (PS3)
Advantages: Great gameplay and story
Disadvantages: Camera doesn't always move when you want
Uncharted is a PS3 exclusive game made by Naughty Dog. Drake's Fortune is the first in the Uncharted series. Usually I find that graphics and gameplay are greatly improved as a game series goes on, but having played Uncharted 2 first I have to say that I'm rather impressed with how good Drake's Fortune is as it didn't really feel like I was playing a game released 2 years before Uncharted 2.
"There must be a beginning of any great matter, but the continuing unto the end until it be thoroughly finished yields the true glory"
Sir Francis Drake, 1587
The story starts on a boat where Nathan is opening up the coffin of the explorer Sir Francis Drake and Elena, a journalist, is there to film it for a documentary. Instead of a body the pair find a diary by Sir Francis Drake and it's at this point things take a turn for the worst when they see pirates heading their way.
Luckily they are saved by Sully who is Nate's friend. The two then leave Elena behind and head off to find treasure, but once again, it's not long before they end up in trouble. Nathan is attempting to find El Dorado, but his quest becomes rather dangerous and he has to fight for survival. Gabriel Roman is a treasure hunter who will do anything to get what he wants, including sending mercenaries after Nathan. It's not as simple as just going and getting the treasure though as Nathan has to work out what happened all those years ago with Sir Francis Drake. The story follows him on his dangerous journey to find the treasure.
The game is a mixture of genres; action, adventure, platform and a shooter. It combines them all really well. In some ways Uncharted is similar to Tomb Raider and Prince of Persia as you have a lot of free-running, puzzle solving and fighting. While I like all these games, Uncharted stands out because I couldn't state one thing that feels like it was focused on more.
For example, in Tomb Raider her movements aren't always totally smooth and this affects both shooting and running and jumping around. However, generally the puzzles seem quite well thought out. In the Prince of Persia you do a lot of free-running and generally the Prince moves smoothly and you can have a lot of fun running up walls and dodging traps, but sometimes the fighting wasn't quite as well thought out. With Uncharted everything feels well thought out and it all works and runs smoothly.
I'll play any game, but I have to admit I'm not the biggest fan of shooting games. What has always drawn me to games such as Uncharted and Prince of Persia is the ability to free-run, complete puzzles and explore. I suppose I just like being able to do a variety of things and I've never minded some fighting or shooting in between other things. Uncharted is the opposite way round with lots of shooting and the other things in between, which usually would involve me playing the game so far then getting bored or annoyed. However, I like the shooting element in Uncharted as you get a range of weapons and you can usually find ammo by the people you've killed so you're not struggling to find ammo and it's not stupidly easy to get it either.
Nathan can carry two guns (a handgun and a rifle) and grenades. He can also do hand to hand combat, although often you'll find someone else is shooting at you as you're hitting a guy and by the time you've killed him the other guy has shot you to death. Still, it's nice to have the option to just go up and hit someone sometimes rather than taking a gun and shooting them.
You can get various different weapons such as the 9mm semi automatic pistol, Desert 5 semi automatic pistol and Wes 44 Revolver for handguns. For rifles you get guns such as the AK47 Assault rifle, M4 Assault rifle and MP40 Submachine gun. Chances are you'll find two which you prefer to use most, but at times you may pick up another to use for a short time.
There is no health bar, but it's easy to tell when you are seriously injured as the all colour in the game starts draining away, giving the impression you're about to pass out. To get the colour back again you just have to avoid being hit for a certain length of time, which is sometimes easier said than done when you have people shooting at you from various angles, throwing grenades or shooting down the wall you're behind (though luckily not all walls will break down). Health bars can be very useful as they give a more exact idea of how much health you have, but if you keep glancing at it it can distract you where as this way you don't have to focus your attention anywhere else.
The puzzles are logical and, in my opinion, don't require much thinking about, but it's still a nice change to do a puzzle rather than fighting or jumping around. Even if you work it out you still have to make a bit of an effort to complete it, which usually means more free-running and jumping so if you make a mistake or accidentally jump the wrong way it can take more time than it really should.
The free-running elements are done really well and you can see Nathan scrambling up onto ledges after only just making a jump which makes a nice change as characters often make jumps and pull themselves with ease, which would never happen in real life. It's really easy to control him and usually pretty obvious where you are expected to go, although you can explore a bit and this may lead to finding a treasure, which is a cool feature.
So long as you are facing the right way you'll make the jump most of the time, but I have noticed a few parts where the camera won't move and it just doesn't feel in quite the right place to see where you're jumping to. Sometimes you can move the camera all around and other times you can't. The other thing is a couple of times I've jumped and for some reason he just keeps missing. Luckily it's never been a massive drop or I've died and started back in the near enough the same place, but it's still meant repeating odd parts and trying again. If you've dropped down it can sometimes be quite a trek back to the start of where you need to climb up then you have to make your way back to where you were.
There was one point where I thought I must be going the wrong way even though it seemed there was no other option. Nathan just refused to jump to a ledge a short distance away and annoyingly it was one of the times when the camera wouldn't really move. I lost count of how many times I dropped to the floor below and had to run back through an archway, climb up some rocks and jump back to the place I was at before. I tried a couple of different ways before deciding it had to be the way I was originally trying. I've no idea what was wrong, but eventually he did jump properly and made it and I hadn't done anything different.
As frustrating as little things like that are, every game has its odd flaws or glitches. I haven't had any major problems that have made me regret buying the game or made me think it's not as great as I first thought.
Nathan "Nate" Drake is voiced by Nolan North. Drake is the main character in the game and the one you control. Drake believes he is a descendant of Sir Francis Drake. He has a habit of finding himself in trouble and even though he realises how serious it is he tends to make jokes about the situation.
Elena Fisher is voiced by Emily Rose. Elena is a journalist who is filming Drake's quest for a documentary. She's tougher than she looks and doesn't give up easily.
Victor "Sully" Sullivan is voiced by Richard McGonagle. He is Drake's friend, although he causes problems for Drake as he gets in debt and mentions about the treasure Drake is after to the wrong people.
There is great interaction between the characters and they are very believable.
The game has great voice acting that suit the characters, making them seem even more believable.
Sound effects like the guns or even just the water also sound really good and add to the game.
The graphics on this game are pretty impressive, although I actually thought the graphics during the game looked better than the cut scenes as there were sometimes parts where you could see the graphics flickering slightly in areas. The cut scenes do give you a chance to sit back and admire just how good the graphics do look though.
There's also a large amount of water in the game and, unlike many other games, it looks very realistic and whether you are swimming through it or just standing nearby it's easy to forget that it's not real.
There's lot of small details that have been added to the game which make it stand out from other games.
This is a pretty amazing game and worth buying even if you have played the second game already. It has everything you want in a good game; fantastic storyline, great gameplay and amazing graphics. There are games that have been released much later that don't have the graphics or gameplay of Uncharted. Recommended.
Summary: A great start to the Uncharted series
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