Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (PS3)
Developed by Naughty Dog
By Miles Baker
All of my excitement for the idea of a new Indiana Jones movie has dissolved. Really, who wants to watch over-the-hill Harrison Ford when there’s Nathan Drake standing just over there waving his arms saying, “pick me, pick me!”
Uncharted is the PS3’s first big outing, and unlike previous PS3 games it’s actually very playable. Lair failed in every department and Heavenly Sword was just a little too thin. Uncharted follows treasure hunter Nathan Drake on his quest to uncover El Dorado. Drake is aided in his quest by his friend Sully and his reporter/potential love interest Elena. All the characters are very well acted, and Nolan North and Emily Rose do honestly fantastic jobs as Nathan and Elena. I think it’s partly because Naughty Dog had the voice actors wear motion capture suits when recording the performances. This could explain the added dimension and subtlety in the characters’ movements and voice acting.
To say that Nathan Drake is inspired by Indiana Jones would be an understatement. He practically is Indy. There are even Nazis and supernatural elements. But all the Indy clichés aren’t a problem. Just because Nathan and Indy are from the same mold doesn’t mean they are the same character. For one, Nathan is way more relatable. And while the story is just as ridiculous as Raiders of the Lost Arc, it’s also just as gripping.
Oh, yeah, I should probably talk about how it plays too, huh?
Overall it plays well. Essentially it’s Gears of War with platforming elements and the occasional vehicle sequence. Most of the game is a series of gunfights where duck and covers are the only thing that’s really going to keep you alive. The shootouts are a lot of fun, but also extremely hard at times. You’ll often find yourself just doing the same fight over and over again as you shoot wave upon wave of pirates. It gets a little tiresome at times, but because the combat is a means of furthering the story — and I really wanted to know what was going to happen next — you’ll put up with repeating the same fight over and over. And dude, it’s so worth it, that ending was super exciting.
You’re also going to want to see what’s coming next. As I said before, this is a big title for the PS3 because it begins to show you what that expensive zeppelin can do. Not only are the graphics, textures, and details amazing, but also the animations. Some times they don’t quite sink up with the environment, but Nathan always transitions between motions realistically, with no jerking.
The game is rounded out with a pretty interesting set of “making of” special features, including full scenes of the voice actors in their skin-tight motion capture outfits, looking like something out of a Cirque du Soleil production. It’s fascinating to see how they did it all. On top of all that, there’s a fair amount of re-play value if you have that “gotta catch ‘em all” attitude about weapon badges and treasure hunting — though they mostly just unlock new outfits. (Hey, who doesn’t like a new outfit?)
I’d say it’s worth at least a rental. And a purchase if you want something to show off your system to your friends.
Note: I am kidding about over-the-hill Harrison. I do want to see him rock the fedora one more time.