It had to happen. Of all these reviews this is the one that's probably taken the most time to put up but one that I'm happy to share, a review of the game Uncharted.
Anyone who likes films will have at sometime in their life seen one of the Indiana Jones films. Great films that are full of exploration, excitement and dark mystery. Introducing Uncharted on the PS3 as a game that acts as much of a homage to these films as it is a great game in its own right is as good as any way of talking about one the finest adventure games to grace the PS3 yet.
In Uncharted you take on the role of Nathan Drake (Nate to his friends searching for historical treasures, running from ancient traps and trading shots with others from pirates to other treasure hunters. However, to conclude the review there would be far too abrupt and not allow me to do justice to the title.
Although a game released early in the PS3's life cycle, graphically Uncharted can go down in history as one of the best looking games of this generation. It is not just the aesthetic choices made in the look and feel of the game but the attention paid and personality given to the characters in the game is something to be appreciated. Although a player will realise that the characters are those from a game, credit can be given to the developers for the attention they have put into how Nate and his friends move, how to react, how their eyes drift off and focus on other things temporarily whilst someone else is speaking to them. It gives these characters a very human touch and with well written dialogue that is delivered with great timing by the voice actors you can very easily become engaged in the story Nate and his pals are experiencing. You definitely get he feeling Naughty Dog have put a lot of heart into developing this game to with that effort.
Moving on from gushing over the graphics, gameplay-wise Uncharted is no slouch and is certainly a joy to play. Nate is quite capable of handling weapons from your typical handgun to your hand-held bazooka. He's also quite adept at hand-to-hand combat when it comes to the crunch as well as traversing the environment and ducking behind cover a-la Gears of War. Although people should remember that GOW was not the first game to use cover and is normally the reference point for such a feature in games, in Uncharted this is integrated in a very natural manner where Nate can either blind fire or come out of hiding to aim more accurately at he enemy. However, whether in or out of cover Nate still risks getting hurt by the enemy and will not wait for him as he stays behind the same piece of cover. They will maneuver into a better position to get a clearer shot at Nate or lob grenades to coax him out of cover so they can take Nate down.
Certainly compared to GOW the enemies are more aggressive and smarter with their tactics, forcing you to take the fight to them or dive for alternative cover as you try and win the many gunfights you find yourself in. Interspersed with these are puzzles you will have to solve that will not challenge even the casual gamer and some great set-pieces that are good combination of QTEs and control via the joypad. Add to this the unlockables that include making of reels, production artwork and alternate costumes among others and Uncharted gives you a lot of bang for your buck (especially for the price you can now pick it up for these days.)
If you can't tell by now I absolutely adore Uncharted. I know when it was originally released it received high scoring reviews across the board but when you come to play the game with the controller in your hands you can see why. The reward for spending your time with Uncharted is playing an adventure that for once feels like a great adventure film as a game. Maybe one day a film studio will pick up and make a film adaptation of this too? The irony.....