When pondering the manner is which to describe the first two games in what is going to be the Uncharted Trilogy minimum, I couldn’t help but wonder how close the games came to being the hit that never was, just due to the awkward title. During the Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune’s initial release, I never gave it a second look, simply because of the drab sounding title. Game creator Naughty Dog may as well dubbed it “Nerdy Mc Virgin’s Quest For First Base”. Fortunately, the title is virtually the only aspect pertaining to Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, where it could be suggested Naughty Dog dropped the ball.
The production values of both titles is astounding. This game series was clearly approached from the mindset of creating a playable action blockbuster, and the end result being nothing short of epic gaming magic. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune follow the adventures of the amicable everyman Nathan Drake and his fortune hunting ways. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is blessed with a compelling supporting cast, including crusty cad and pilot Victor “Sully” Sullivan, and Nathan’s love interest, journalist Elena Fisher, a refreshingly strong female character. Ms. Fisher’s definitely holds her own in Uncharted, her character will often fight along side Nathan, quickly dispelling the tired “helpless female” stereotype.
This welcome tweak to Uncharted’s writing will almost certainly help make Uncharted appeal to the fairer sex in gaming, because while attractive, the makers of Uncharted did not resort to creating Ms. Fisher’s character so “top heavy”, that she doesn’t really make for a believable action hero. The first adventure has Nathan searching for his namesake, Sir Francis Drake’s long lost treasure, the second adventure has Nathan seeking the treasure of Marco Polo’s sunken fleet, the second story blending seamlessly into the first.
The voice acting in Uncharted is not the wooden feeling oversight it can be in so many “average” titles. Nolan North, the voice actor playing Nathan Drake, gives Uncharted’s protagonist the feeling of the trustworthy sort, perhaps someone you could buy a beer. Nathan’s character is full of timely quips, often coming up with some of his best while under fire. These witticisms are well-written, and humorous, only being corny when deliberately intended to be, not unlike a certain other famous whip-wielding adventurer. The comparisons between Indiana Jones and Nathan while inevitable, can really only be interpreted as complimentary to the Uncharted franchise.
While there are the apparent similarities between the two heroes, Nathan Drake is certainly no knock-off. The graphics of Uncharted are rich, warm, and detailed, providing a suitably appropriate ambiance, whether Nathan is fighting in arctic peaks or sweltering jungle. The level designs are well thought out and challenging, the game having it’s run and gun aspects, but also will tease the mind with puzzle solving often required to open doors and entrances ingrained into the often “ancient Mayan” appearing surroundings. The AI of Nathan’s common adversaries being one of the few aspects of Uncharted that could use a little more intelligence, although this can also be adjusted by tweaking the difficulty settings.
A game based on treasure hunting would be amiss without an adequate bounty of treasure to find, which Uncharted delivers nicely. A reward system related to found treasure and many other game objectives is in place, giving the player great incentive to engage in repeated plays to acquire all treasures, varied unlock-able characters, cut scenes, behind the scenes making of Uncharted, and more. The overall scope of the unlock-able content is impressively way beyond the norm, giving the gamer enormous value, the second of the two offerings even including a very comprehensive online multi-player option as well.
With a third entry ( Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception ), scheduled to be released on November 4th of 2011, when a gamer immerses themselves into the roller-coaster adventure world of Uncharted, it doesn’t take long to see why this epic series is being considered for major motion picture release, with an “A-list” actor the likes of Mark Wahlberg in mid-recruit to play protagonist Nathan Drake. The story is simply that good, the actual gaming of Uncharted exceptionally fun, and the player will likely find the Uncharted experience over too quickly, not because the quantity of content isn’t there, but because the high quality of the content is. A must have addition for any action-adventurer’s PS3 library.
– Prof. Benny Oblivion