Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is the start to an amazing series. I unfortunately played the games out of order (started with Uncharted 3). I ended up buying the Uncharted/Uncharted 2 dual pack and really thought I got my money’s worth from both games. Despite having some age, Uncharted is a blast to play.
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is a third-person shooter, action-adventure game that came out on the PlayStation 3 in 2007. It was developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony. Overall, it sold very well, and got critical acclaim, spawning two sequels. Although when I originally heard about it, I thought it was going to be a Tomb Raider rip-off, so I ignored it completely until now. This is not the case at all, and I wish I would have known that back in 2007. This game is a ton of fun and does not play like a Tomb Raider game at all in game play, story, and tone. If anything, it’s more Indiana Jones-like than Lara Croft. The game was re-released as part of the Uncharted Collection in 2015 with slicker-looking graphics and more power.
In this game, we are introduced to Nathan Drake, treasure-hunter, Victor Sullivan, his mentor, and Elena Fisher, a journalist hired to record his adventures. Nate is searching for Sir Francis Drake’s secret, which leads him on a quest for El Dorado. Adventuring ensues with Elena provided as a love-interest for Drake. Overall, it’s a fun story, but I felt the pacing was a little slower than Drake’s Deception. I also was a little annoyed at the fact that the scenery was very similar: jungle/ruins. That made the game feel a little dull, especially compared to Drake’s Deception, where you get to go to so many cool places.
The game is a typical third person shooter, duck and cover with the added elements of jumping and climbing. Being the first of the series, it is definitely not as polished as the later games. One thing that bugged me was the constant gun battles that lasted way too long and came up too often. I felt like there wasn’t a very good balance between the adventuring portion and the action portion. There were also some spots that drove me absolutely crazy and actually made me want to stop playing (I’ll get to that in a bit). This is how I would classify each part of the game play:
To me, the fun part of the game is the adventuring, and even though I don’t particularly like puzzle games, I actually kind of enjoyed the ones in this game. I could figure out most of the puzzles by myself, and the rest I easily found how to do on YouTube (what did we do before YouTube, right?). The jumping, leaping, and climbing is pretty easy to get the hang of, although it was a lot more polished in the later games. I actually wish there was more exploring and jumping puzzles. I felt that it was a little lacking, especially for a Tomb Raider fan like myself.
This was the part that really annoyed me. I thought there was way too many gun fights for an adventure game. It felt like every time you turned the corner there was another gun fight. It actually became very predictable after awhile and took away from the game a bit. This aspect was much improved in later Uncharted games, but it still unfortunately took a little away from the game.
Throughout the game, you will ride on different vehicles, including Jeeps and jet-skis. To me, this was one of the more fun points of the game. In the Jeep, Elena is driving and Nate is shooting. With the jet ski, you are driving as Nate but also must shoot with Elena. It was a fun change from the massive amounts of gun fights that consumed the game play.
For the time that the game came out, the graphics were pretty good. Obviously now, they are a little dated. However, I could stand the graphics, and they didn’t give me a headache from Final Fantasy VII syndrome. By the way, Final Fantasy VII syndrome is a term my husband and I have coined to describe how older games with funky graphics give us headaches when we play because of the eye strain.
Here’s the problem with this game: It reminds me of how I felt about the original Mass Effect. Now don’t get me wrong, except for the cover-shoot and third person game play, they are worlds different. But because I had to wait to play the original Mass Effect since I typically play on PC or PlayStation, I had already played the second and third game. Playing the original became tedious and unpleasant because I knew how much better the later games were. I don’t see this as a complete knock to Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. With all gaming franchises, there are improvements that come along the way. Luckily, this is a franchise that keeps on improving.