‘Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune’ gleefully channels ‘Indiana Jones’

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Uncharted: Drake’s FortuneUncharted_Drakes_Fortune_(2007)
Naughty Dog
Sony Computer Entertainment
PS3

“Charted: Drake Reviewed or Even if There Aren’t Nazis to Shoot, You Can Still Feel Like Indy”

The title of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune hints at two things; going into unknown places and getting rich. Yes, it is a game in the grand tradition of Indiana Jones and the legacy of serials from which those films drew. In the course of the roughly 8 hour campaign you will visit ancient ruins, dark caverns, and shoot lots of people.

Unlike Indiana Jones, Nathan Drake does not pretend to be an archaeologist. He is a treasure hunter through and through. Him and his partner Sully are interested in ancient artifacts that will fetch a hefty price on the black market. Even though his profession is one that makes scholars cry, his personality makes up for it (kind of). He is the quintessential charming rogue; a scoundrel always ready with a witty quip for any situation.

I’d say he has a heart of gold, but if that were the case he would have extracted it and sold it to the highest bidder long ago.

The ancient artifact that players chase in this installment of the series is the gold of El Dorado. Nathan Drake follows in the footsteps of his ancestor, Sir Francis Drake, to try and find the legendary Spanish treasure. Well, it was originally a native treasure but the Spanish ended up taking it. Colonialism!

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The gameplay is solid. Drake is responsive and most of the time he will do what you tell him to. Combat is rather a standard affair: get behind cover, wait until the enemies step out from their cover, then blast them with guns. In fact, the combat is so standard it quickly becomes tiresome. You can only blast so many dudes in ancient ruins before it all becomes a blur.

Like any game in the Tomb Raider style, when Drake isn’t fighting for his life he is jumping and climbing around the ruins he is exploring. These sections are great, with Drake climbing on varied terrain and different challenges to keep you thinking. One thing that becomes annoying, though, is the fact that what might look like a perfectly valid ledge to jump on is actually just an environment detail. Thankfully, if you truly get stuck and have no idea where to go the game will provide hints.

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Another check in the plus column is how great the game looks. It is very pretty both graphically and aesthetically. The jungle environments feel lush and full of life, while the ruins look impressive.

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is a fun adventure. If you love Indiana Jones then you will love this game. The story is fun, and the sense of adventure makes up for what can be rather repetitive combat. It’s a great introduction to the characters, and it will make you want to check out the other entries in the series. The game should cost less than ten dollars at this point, so if you haven’t checked out this gem from the early days of the PS3 then go pick it up.

– Paul Dawson

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