Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune – Mini Review

uncharted - drake's fortune - box art 5 rating  (5/5) – action – adventure

Reviews: Metacritic 88%| Game Rankings 89.69%
Reference: wikipedia12
Developer: Naughty Dog Engine: Naughty Dog proprietary

[Note: This mini-review predates the founding of the Daleisphere. It was culled from an email I wrote to friends about the game in early December 2007.]

Just finished the PS3 exclusive ‘Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune’.  Prior to this game, the most fun I had on the PS3 was playing the PS2 titles God of War 1 and 2.  Finally, a PS3 exclusive that is top notch.

image This is an THE BEST action adventure game I have ever played. Very much in the tradition of Laura Croft, Indiana Jones, Prince of Persia and many others, but with much, much more. I’ve never quite played anything like it.

Naughty Dog really took advantage of the PS3. It has more “realism, and is more cinematic than any video game I’ve played. The story is terrific – the most “adult” (in the sense of mature, developed characters – not simplistic and juvenile) video game story I’ve experienced. They hired real actors to play the characters and the actors participated in both the motion capture and voice work – simultaneously. A rarity in video games. The result was wonderful.

You have to see it to fully grasp what I mean. The story is terrific. The acting is terrific. In many places I felt like I was both watching and participating in a really good Hollywood movie. 

image It doesn’t hurt that the heroine (Elena Fisher – shown on the left) and the real-world actress that played her (Emily Rose) are very-much Dale-type (button nosed, cheery, warm, mature, adventurous, stubborn, spunky, compelling and sexy – all at once) women. 

I don’t recall ever feeling that a male and female character in a video game had actual “chemistry” the way they talk about chemistry between romantic leads in a movie. The leads in Uncharted have it. 

Some Problems

To be fair, there were several things that I didn’t like:

Quick Time Events: A few game conventions that I have always disliked that are still there – the overly-used PS2/PS3 “quick time events” (ie: quick press green-triangle followed by blue square or die) mechanic figure prominently in a few key places that are infuriating (one in particular had me wanting to throw my controller).

Vine Swinging: The game’s vine swinging mechanic is flawed in at least one key place.

Camera Issues: The game, frustratingly, keeps pulling the camera out of your control – you look to the left and the game starts gradually pulling the camera back to the center even as you still want to keep looking left. To my mind a game should either control the camera 100% as in God of War or give the player 100% control.  In this game the player gets about 85% camera control but that 15% where the game keeps subtly wrestling the camera away from you is a recipe for nausea and headaches every time. AAHHHH!!!!  Why do game developers do this!!??  So, ya, I got a mildly queasy and headachy over the week of evenings I spent playing the game – which is nothing new – but certainly not as sick as I have gotten in other games like Orange Box/Half Life 2 and way too many other games to count. 


Despite the cons, I’d still give this game a 9.8 out of 10. Certainly one of the best of the year (right up there with Halo 3 & Bioshock) and it is the FIRST PS3 game that I can recommend – period!   I am looking for Metal Gear Solid, Haze & Killzone in 2008 to hopefully bring some respectability back to this lagging console.

If you like the action / adventure genre, and have a PS3 at your disposal, this game gets my highest recommendation.

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