Date: 08-01-2011 23:32
Reviewer: yeah_93

Type: PS3
Genre: Adventure/Shooter
Developer: Naughty Dog

Prologue
I want to make this review short but sweet. Since Uncharted is like a movie, then Iím not going to split the review into sections, and Iím going to try to make it as short as possible, like the game. Videogames tend to be criticized by the media, and sometimes, they deserve it. Plots were never as strong for video games, and that is the main reason film adaptations of video games fail, aside from the mediocre production values which are common in them. However, there are some games that break the trend that video games cannot have movie like plots. Uncharted: Drakes Fortune is one of those games. With this I am not saying Unchartedís plot is a good one. Heavily borrowed by movies, full of clichťs, and poor narrative; if Uncharted were a movie Iíll give it a 2.5 out of 4. I canít get past that the plot isnít groundbreaking, and relies into the past Indiana Jones movies than rather to get one of its own. Of course, Uncharted is a fun and clever game, and characters are entertaining, but the plot falls short to that. I must admit, I had fun with Unchartedís plot, but I told you Iím objective with my score and I cannot get past the fact that Uncharted plays like a B movie.

Uncharted: Drakeís Fortune Ė The definition of a good game
I think that, outside the lackluster main plot, Uncharted is the definition of a good game. In fact it is a standard of how good video games need to be. Aside the things I mentioned before, Uncharted presents outstanding graphics, solid voice acting, sound direction, and good gameplay. But before that, we should analyze the plot, since Naughty Dog wanted to make a movie like plot into this game. The game begins with adventurer Nathan Drake (voiced and motion capture by Nolan North) and Elena Fisher, who is a reporter covering Drakeís search for an old treasure. Drake is descendant of Sir Francis Drake, a XVI century navigator, and Drake is supposedly finding clues which lead to a wild goose chase for a mysterious treasure. Sure, Drake finds that heís not alone in his quest, as some villains also want the treasures for themselves too. The plot, as I previously stated, draws heavily to the point of almost a copy of the Indiana Jones movies. Features the cocky protagonist, the girl, the companion, the greedy villain, the dangerous treasureÖ I had a fun time with it, but the plot certainly is B movie. The dialog however, is clever, and the voice acting is very good, not to mention that the great graphics also add for a realistic experience. Of course, it helps the fact that the characters are appealing too. Nathan Drake may not have the charisma of Harrison Ford, but there is much to like about him, since heís focused and not annoying. Elena Fisher is also likeable, because sheís though and more than once sheís capable of saving her own hide, thus not making her an annoying damsel in distress, but rather as an independent though woman. Victor Sullivan, Drakeís companion is also likeable too, but more because he carries most of the jokes and the lighthearted nature of the game. However, the villains are just one dimensional, they are just villains because they are just evil, as they donít have other motives than money, and that seriously isnít menacing. Especially because none of them really stand out, and they are bland. And all of them seem to have an infinite supply of henchmen and mercenaries at their disposal. And thatís where the main premise of the gameplay falls flat.

Naughty Dog didnít revert from its plataformer roots of the early Crash Bandicoot series. There are 2 sections in Uncharted, the puzzle sections, and the shooting sections. Early in the game, they seem to be clever enough, however, as the game progresses, it becomes repetitive and predictable. It becomes clear after you travel through the environments when will you need to solve a puzzle, and when dozens of enemies will will appear initiating a shootout. And the firefights sections are abundant and very frustrating in this game. The environment is carefully designed to include tons of cover, so that with only a quick look, you know youíll have a fight as soon you step in. The puzzle sections are less obvious, mostly because Uncharted is a linear game that creates a false sense of exploring, when actually the only thing youíll have to do is to search how you can solve the puzzle to travel to another place. Some of them are easy enough; some of them require Drake to pull his diary to search for clues. However, you shouldnít have trouble solving them. One of the things I noticed that went wrong with Unchartedís premise is the fact that the puzzles are easy to solve, while the fights are tedious and frustrating. It should be more balanced, because the gameplay is outstanding, but the fights tend to get annoying.

You control Drake from a third person view. Youíll usually have a companion which can be either Sullivan or Elena. You can move Drake and jump, but you cannot crouch excepting while taking cover. Also, Drake is unable to sprint, which is a shame, considering some of the faster sections of the game could use the feature. However you can roll to evade things. Drake can also fight with his fists, although itís dangerous. He can kill enemies with these melee combos. However, youíll spend most of your time shooting behind cover. This is useful, since the health is regenerating, however, enemies will try to flank you or throw grenades at you, so youíll have to be constantly moving. The combat is relatively fast paced; however it gets boring, then tedious with time. That is coupled with the annoying enemies, who also use cheap tactics and overacted animations. Some of them shoot even without aiming; spreading bullets when there is only one target, and thatís Drake. Also, companions rarely help, because for example, 9 of 10 kills were made by me, when they did kill something. Even at easy difficulties, Drakeís life is somewhat low, so youíll constantly have to take cover unless you want to have a grey screen indicating you are dying.

Now, aside from the gameplay, Unchartedís production values are very high. It may not have multiplayer like its successor, and it can be pretty, short as 7 hours are enough to finish it. However, if you werenít turned down by most of the facts, youíll probably want to play it again, to get all the rewards. Uncharted gives rewards to the players when they get medals. Medals are unlocked by achievements, for example, 50 headshots. When enough moneys are collected, the player is able to unlock some rewards with them. For example, changing the color scheme of the game (such as black and white or sepia), or watch some art, or costumes. They also yield PSN trophies, so it would be useful if the player can keep track on them.

The graphics are good and brilliant. Uncharted is how a good game should look on a PS3. Itís smooth and handsome. There are a just a few things wrong with its graphics, such as the overacted animations by most enemies, or some rendering problems. For example, I steppes in the jungle for the first time, and every texture was blurred and I thought ďThis has to be a joke Ė it canít look that badĒ, and 3 seconds later, the game rendered the environments and everything looked gorgeous. At least once in every section there is a problem with that. Besides that, Uncharted is outstanding enough to make you feel like in an Indiana Jones movie, and you wonít experience bothersome slowdowns or frame rate drops in the beautiful cutscenes, and animations are realistically fluid and vivid. And the models and environments are impressive indeed, except for some jungle sections that looked more like the jungles of the movie ďUpĒ rather than a realistic jungle.

The sound is exceptional as well. The soundtrack is outstanding on its own, like the soundtrack of a great adventure movie. It may not be John Williams or Harry Gregorson Williams, but Greg Edmonson really makes the game stand tall indeed. As for the other aspects, well, Nolan North has established himself again as one of the best voice actors for his performance of Nathan Drake. The rest of the cast is outstanding as well, but Navarro, one of the main antagonists is supposed to be Latin, and heís voiced by Robin Atkin Downes. Iím not saying his performance was bad, but heck, heís a British actor, he canít sound Latin at all. The rest, well, the gunshots sound realistic, though Iíd be more comfortable if most of the weapons sounded more differently.

Uncharted is a short game, and took me 7 hours to beat. You can return to earn more medals and treasures, but Iíd recommend you buy the sequel instead, because thatís what Iím going to do. Sure, you could come back to take more treasures, but then again, you wonít play this game for more than 7 hours. Itís concise and great, and thatís what I like about it. It doesnít waver or puts you to do sterile quests, instead making you do whatís necessary to beat it. Itís very linear, but I donít find it a hampering factor here.
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