Everything old is new again. At least that’s the feeling we
get while playing Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. While Naughty Dog has never been
the most innovative publisher, sticking to platformers and cart-racers for the
Crash Bandicoot and Jak series, their execution has always marked the apex of
Uncharted marks Naughty Dog journey into the hybrid game;
featuring equal parts of Tomb Raider exploration with Gears of War shooting.
But, the voyage is a bit slow moving at first- just when the player is getting
into the action, control is wrestled away from the player to display a
cinematic. Fortunately, the frequency of these forced narratives lessens as the
story moves along.
At least the cinematics are beautiful- these are created
using the in-game engine, and often look surprisingly photorealistic. While
Uncharted will probably not go down in the annals of game history for its
gameplay, it will be remembered in the short term for its graphical lushness. Simply
put, this is one of the most beautiful console games to date; its jungles are
moody, lush and organic, its vistas sweeping, colorful and vertigo inducing. If
not for a bit of screen tearing, and a framerate that will drop a few frames
for the refined eye, this game would be the PS3’s showcase title.
The game could use some assistance is pacing. In one scene
you move through the bowels of an abandoned ship, where nothing happens, there
are no enemies, no challenge, just a brief exercise in button-mashing to open
bay doors. Although this is a relatively short sequence, it’s not one I would
be interested in replaying.
But don’t let these small shortcomings stop you from enjoying
the game. Along with Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction, Uncharted: Drake’s
Fortune is one of the premier reasons to own a PS3- the first party titles that
will never see the light of day on another system. Let’s hope Naughty Dog lives up to its moniker
and surprises us with a bit of innovation in the future.