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Uncharted: Drake's Fortune PS3 Review - -

Gameplay 9.5
Graphics 9.5
Sound 9.5
Value 9.5
Distributor: Sony
Review Date:
January 2008
Andrew Bistak


Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

The latest gaming blockbuster from Sony, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune arrives on the PlayStation 3 just in time for Christmas that is also a PS3 exclusive by developers Naughty Dog. This action adventure game follows the same vein as Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones where gamers are transformed into the role of a treasure, more particular in this adventure, wise guy and everyman Nathan Drake. Whether fact or fiction (in the story), Nathan may also be related to explorer Sir Frances Drake whose goal was to discover the ancient treasure of El Dorado.

  • Using maps and ancient artifacts, uncover clues and unravel mysteries to find a forgotten island and a treasure that was thought to have never existed

  • Explore exotic locations. Traverse through living jungles and spectacular 400-year-old ruins.

  • * Drake’s companions and allies play an important role in the adventure through cooperative mechanics, gun play and exploration.

  • Experience fast-paced gunplay: use a variety of environmental elements for cover, shoot enemies off of moving vehicles in high speed chases and more.

  • Use an array of hand-to-hand fighting moves to put your enemy off balance. Anything from wild haymaker punches to running drop-kicks.

  • Naughty Dog's advanced animation techniques allow Nathan to switch seamlessly between movements and achieve a whole new level of believability in gameplay. Nathan can reload his weapon while dodging bullets and find cover behind a wall, all in one smooth natural motion.

  • Characters express lifelike emotion using gesture and facial expression through the use of Naughty Dog’s proprietary Wrinkle Mapping Facial Animation system.

  • High-definition range lighting delivers full floating point color calculations yielding an unequaled level of realism and detail.

  • Hyper realistic water through physics based Wave Simulation paired with cutting edge Refraction/Reflection rendering techniques.

  • Utilizing next generation rendering techniques such as Bump Mapping, Parallax Mapping, Blend Shaders, Global Illumination, Runtime Shadows and Real Time Shadows, Naughty Dog has created a vibrant living environment.

Nathan is joined by Elena Fisher, a television report who believes that this intrepid treasure hunter may actually know the whereabouts of the treasure and also Sully, a man guided by greed.

Guided by the journal of the legendary Frances Drake, a spanner is thrown into the works when arch-nemesis Gabriel Roman and his hired muscle arrive on the scene with unexpected consequences. Featuring action, humor and even a touch of Romance, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is definitely one of the best times I've had on the PlayStation 3 and was the first game that I successfully completed on the console without cheating.

In its essence, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune could be considered the 21st century Tomb Raider with realistic graphics, Hollywood style action and a great storyline that is progressed through a variety of cutscenes which meld with the in game graphics.

Needless to say, Naughty Dog have really excelled at both the gameplay and story with relatable characters and a control system that can be picked up by anyone. Besides the graphics and the gameplay, the stars of the game are Drake and Elena and the relationship between them as they get involved in a variety of hi-jinx, action and comedy as they search for this ancient treasure.

Although the majority of the game features action and puzzles which is reminiscent of the Tomb Raider series, there are also areas where your character must drive a jeep and even  a watercraft as they escape from a variety of nefarious enemies.

Probably more difficult than the Tomb Raider Series, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune features some extremely tricky and sometimes frustrating areas that require some balancing techniques thanks to the sixaxis controller.

The puzzles are quite self explanatory and a majority of clues can be deciphered from the journal of Sir Frances Drake. Another interesting twist is that when you become stuck on a puzzle, Nathan will glance at the right direction in order to give the gamer a clue... and if you, the internet is a wealth of knowledge.

The game features a health dose of combat as Nathan rolls and dives for cover when the bullets start flying. Nathan has access to a variety of different weapons which are littered through the gaming environment and some fights can be extremely intensive. The AI of the enemies range from mediocre to good, depending on which level you attempt to complete the game on and is a fun break from the various puzzles and challenges that are offered to the gamer. By finding treasure in the game, you unlock special movies and character art, complete the game again on a higher difficulty and you awarded even most bonuses.

Graphically the game is pure eye candy on the PlayStation 3, provided you have a high definition TV as the game contains vast colours, impressive backgrounds and realistically modeled characters. The environments remind me of UbiSoft's Farcry with their detailed realistic foliage that really draws you into this world. The attention to detail is amazing and you can see a variety of wild life in the gaming environments and when you first start playing the game, you will be bedazzled by how much is going on in the world of Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.

The characters apart from their great texture detail move with a human-like grace and interact well with the gaming environment. By watching one of the "unlocked" movies of the game, the designers actually used real actors to help them with the animation, hence the realistically moving characters and cutscenes.

Musically, the title features a true Hollywood style soundtrack that suits the various entertaining plots in the story. Match that with a variety of realistic sound effects and some extremely professional voice acting which is easily the best I've heard in quite some time and everything goes hand-in-hand with the graphics, gameplay and sound.

In conclusion, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is probably one of the most entertaining and sometimes frustratingly enjoyable games on the PlayStation 3. The title distinguishes itself from the Tomb Raider franchise and is its own contender with likeable characters, amazing graphics and at the end of the day, Naughty Dog have created an extremely playable title. Highly Recommended!

Go Naughty Dog!


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