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Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

Developer: Naughty Dog | Publisher: SCEA
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 11/16/07 | Genre: Action

uncharted_1.jpgUncharted: Drake's Fortune is a title that took me by surprise. This game came out of nowhere earlier this year and despite a very buggy early build, I could see an excellent adventure brewing as one of the only PlayStation 3 exclusives I would consider buying the system for. Unfortunately the marketing for Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and the still low, but growing, PlayStation 3 install base has caused Drake's Fortune to be released with little mention. In reality, this adventure should be mentioned up there with the best games of 2007.

Perhaps it is a perception that Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is nothing more than a male version of Tomb Raider or some sort of Indiana Jones ripoff. But just as with other Naught Dog titles, I greatly enjoyed Drake's Fortune. But the biggest difference between this and past titles from the studio is that this is the first time I can recall seeing a game and feeling like I was actually controlling a movie. True Uncharted isn't visually perfect--but the entire time I spent with this title I felt the "wow effect" that Sony first promised us with the unveiling of PlayStation 3 for the first time. It was there that we got a first-hand look at how Sony's vision of videogames was to not be able to tell the difference between cinema and a game. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is the first title I can say makes this dream--once thought to be impossible--a definite reality. And we aren't talking about this happening in some future console generation. But with the power of the PS3.

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Okay, so you may be thinking I have gone off the deep end and landed in a vault of PS3 koolaid and have been spending too much time drinking the marketing BS that Sony wants to cram down the media's throat. But this is the truth. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is just the tip of this and by the end of the PlayStation 3's life, you may look back to see how Uncharted led the way to changing the way games look.

But enough about the visuals and feel of the world of Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. There is actually a really good game in here to. You control Nathan Drake, the descendant of Sir Francis Drake, and a guy with a smile and a sense of humor. Naughty Dog refers to Drake as just a common everyday man with no special powers or abilities. Alongside Nathan, you will find his associate Sully who is needing to get his part of Sir Francis Drake's treasure to pay off some debt to the wrong people and a reporter who goes back and forth to being your sidekick and someone Nathan needs to rescue. There are a few plot twists but the emphasis of Uncharted is on a straight-forward action adventure that doesn't get drug down by a confusing storyline. That isn't to say the story isn't enjoyable, I just didn't find it to be the best part of the game.

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In terms of gameplay, you will find some interesting elements. As mentioned above, in great detail, Uncharted plays out a lot like an interactive movie. One of the gameplay elements that makes this shine is full conversations, complete with mouths moving, while playing the game. When you see Sully and Nathan conversing early in the game through a jungle, you will begin to realize how the power of the PS3 is changing the way stories are told.

Besides conversations during gameplay, you will play through adventure and action segments. During the adventure moments, Nathan, with or without a companion, will have to explore an area and solve puzzles to continue on. Typically this involves hanging off ledges and jumping around to get over to a new area. The action puts the player into several different situations where you are normally attacked by a multitude of forces and must use cover to survive. While it is possible to avoid using cover as much on easier difficulty levels, you will definitely not be rewarded for long periods if you don't learn to use cover. To help you in these action sequences, Nathan will gain the use of a multitude of weapons. But like in the early build I played, I still found the handguns to be a little overpowered. This will probably become your main weapon of choice in most cases.

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Uncharted: Drake's Fortune will provide players with around eight to ten hours of awesome next-generation gameplay. Although I would have preferred this to be slightly longer, I was still satisfied by the experience. (Length of the single player campaign is an issue that plagues most games released in the last several years) I have yet to see Uncharted: Drake's Fortune be given any respect as a title not only worth of purchase but listed as one of the best titles of the year. If you already have a PS3, plan to get one soon, or are waiting until more titles are released next year, make sure that you pick up a copy of Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. It receives our highest recommendation.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 01/08/08
ESRB Details: Blood, Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco, Violence
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Screenshots for Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

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