Wednesday, 13 March 2013

PS3 Catch-up: Uncharted: Drakes Fortune

With the arrival of my new shiny PS3 at Christmas, I have currently been enjoying a pleasure that is very rare for me these days. Catching up with what I have missed. I knew that there were PS3 exclusives that I wanted to play, but I put it to the back of my head. I didn't realise the how many titles there were!

So, this year I am going to be running this PS3 catch-up series looking back at the games I wanted to play and now can. To kick things off how can a new PS3 owner not play the Uncharted series. I was first introduced to Uncharted last year, when I got my Vita with a copy of Uncharted: Golden Abyss. It was a game that made me immediately realise that I had made the right decision in buying a Vita.

Drakes Fortune, introduces you into the world of Nathan Drake, fortune hunter, master of the lucky escape, wise ass and ancestor of Sir Francis Drake. Nathan (or "Nate") is on a quest to find his ancestors final resting place, rumoured to be in the legendary El Dorado, the city of gold. This quest will lead Nate and his colleagues, journalist, Elena Fisher and mentor, Victor Sullivan from the oceans off Indonesia to the rain forests of the Amazon and finally to remote island in the southern tropics.

Naughty Dog made their goal to capture everything that is great about Adventure movies like Indiana Jones and Romancing the Stone and make a great game out of it. The best thing about the game is the characters, beautifully acted out by an amazing voice cast and with snappy dialogue. That means that you start to care about them and the journey they are undertaking. You find yourself sitting in front of the screen thinking to yourself, "I really need to go to bed, but I will just see what happens to Nate after gets through this perilous situation!". It drags you in its world and you don't want to leave.

The gameplay is divided up into three distinct styles. Firstly there is the 3D platforming sections, in which you have to jump, swim, shimmy along ledges, climb and swing from ropes. Unlike, Lara or Ezio, you always feel that Nate is only able to do this by the skin of his teeth. Rock crumbles away, wood splinters and snaps away. It certainly adds a level of tension to the proceedings that isn't there in the old Tomb Raiders, Prince of Persia and even Assassins Creed games.

The next main gameplay element is the combat. Gun fights are the order of the day and they take a page out of the Gears of War style cover system. Drake can take cover behind most objects in the game world. From there he can pop up and aim or blind fire from cover. The game features plenty of different pistols, rifles and shotguns, but Drake can only carry two at any time. As the game progresses you will encounter lots of large spaces where all of a sudden you are set upon by a large number of enemies. These gunfights are slower paced and more cinematic than what you see in other third person cover shooters. Nate is also pretty handy with his fists in a bar room brawl style, should you feel the need to get up close to the bad guys.

Finally, there are the puzzle sections. These do a good job of breaking up the game, but they are never so difficult that it stops you dead in your tracks. Drake can even refer to to his pocket book full of sketches and clues as to what you may need to do. The puzzles tend to be mostly the classic pull this switch in this order type of puzzle and nothing too taxing.

Uncharted: Drakes Fortune does one thing very very well and that is rip roaring action in the tradition of Hollywood blockbuster. It has everything, Ancient ruins, car chases, lost gold, Nazis, Undead monsters and a stranded submarine in the middle of the Amazon. I have to admit that it is very rare for me to play a game to completion and then dive straight back in from the start for more. Luckily for me, I don't have to wait several years for the sequels. Uncharted 2, here I come...


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