Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune/ Playstation Now

Wherever there are missing ancient treasures, there are Nazi's. At least that's what watching Indiana Jones had taught me as a child and this is what Uncharted also touches on in Nathan Drake's first adventure on the Playstation 3. 
I love Developers Naughty Dog (today).
Because I didn't own a PS3 long enough to ever play games like this, it is only in the last 12 months, through owning a PS4, that I am catching up on all of the exclusive titles to PS3 and boy am I having fun.

First let's get the sexist comments out of the way. It's the male version of Tomb Raider's Lara Croft, only with Nathan Drake, you don't just want to get up close and personal, then play around with camera angles until you find the one that best shows off his body, whilst you spend the next 10 minutes admiring the scenery.....Or do you?

Truthly I couldn't help but admire the scenery in this fantastic specimen of an adventure that would certainly put a smile on Indy's face or perhaps even Lara's.
I didn't like Tomb Raider.

My first interaction with developers Naughty Dog came way back in the days of the PS1 console and the game Crash Bandicoot (which I also didn't like). Then at the end of last year, when I came out of gaming hibernation, I was blown away by the first game that I played on PS4, which happened to be another PS3 release and Naughty Dog game/film called The Last of Us, of which I played the remastered version. More on this game at a later date. 

This year, due to Playstation kindly allowing PS4 users to stream PS3 titles, at a cost that is less per 30 days than most PS4 titles, I have had the pleasure of completing the first in the Uncharted series of games; Drake's Fortune. Coming at a time when Uncharted 4 is about to arrive, I am now keen to complete the rest of the games in this series, ready for the latest adventure to begin.

The Plot

Before I begin, I will say that for me, the plot combines a lot of what I love about human life on earth:
1) History.
2) Mystery.
3) Ancient civilisations and the speculations that we have about them in modern times.
It was just missing some aliens; but it did end with mutants who were once humans who had become infected from contact with the mummy of El Dorado (it's close enough).

Nathan Drake, the protagonist of the story, supposed descendant of English pirate (at least to the Spanish) Sir Francis Drake, comes across Sir Francis's alleged lead coffin, whilst being filmed for a documentary, off of the coast of Panama. What a story we have already. It gets even better. Inside the coffin is not the remains of a fine English gent, rather a diary written by the fine English gent, Francis, pointing to the location of the legendary lost city of gold, El Dorado. Wow. Cue modern day pirates, lots of explosions, a rescue from a handy sidekick (Victor 'Sully' Sullivan), treks through the amazon, betrayal, nut job rival treasure hunters, nazis, mutants, a girl who gets in the way; now you pretty much have what could've been another Indiana Jones film made into in a game. (Also it is better than any Indiana Jones computer game).

So how does it play? Action adventure. 3D platform. Slight horror element. 

Absolutely fantastic. First off. This was back in 2007. This was at a time when some games still looked and played as though they were made for the previous consoles (xbox and PS2). I was mightily impressed, as visually it is stunning, with an action storyline that is in depth to say the least. Your eye's are tantalised, especially when you are poking around ancient ruins or German U-boats or jet skiing up mini waterfalls. It's one of those games where you want to look around, in between actually playing the game (if you do, you may also find hidden treasure) and there are enough pauses in action and climbing to be able to do so; but not long enough for the game to become stale. The action just keeps on coming at you, with such things as being shot out of the air whilst in a plane. Being chased whilst shooting from the back of a jeep. Being shot at whilst driving a jet ski. In fact, there is a lot of being shot at in various different scenarios, whilst the music skillfully lets you know when its on and when its over. Thankfully there is also a small collection of guns and explosives that you can use to shoot back at those maniacs who just won't stop shooting at you (Will everyone just stop getting shot)? Plus if they happen to get a little too close or surprise attack you, Nathan is rather handy with his fists; melee attacks allowing you to combo up on your enemies. The game got a little bit of stick for the climbing element, which I found to be great fun. The combination of shoot shit up, now climb shit up, for me was balanced throughout, leaving the feeling that you were not just doing the same thing over and over. There is also some vehicle fun to be had. The control system is simple. Aiming of weapons straightforward, with nothing being over complicated, keeping the game moving at a pace that is thoroughly enjoyable. It looks fantastic, it plays fantastic.

The sounds are also a treat. A bit of drumming for you inner shaman and some panpipes for those meditation moments.
 Having never played this game previously, I had overlooked what it was all about. Thankfully I did, as the twist in the tale (mutant Spaniard's), close to the end of the game, was completely unexpected. It was a bit like the time that I watched From Dusk Till Dawn, having heard about it, but not the fact that it contains shit scary vampires about half way through. Admittedly the mutants are not as scary as Quentin Tarantino and you can pretty much brush them off like dust from your khakis after an explosion. The let down for me personally, stopping this game being a 10 out of 10, is the ending. After having dusted close to a million pirates and mutants and survived more explosions than bomb disposal in Iraq. The final showdown is a bit of a let down. Basically you kick Navarro's (final boss) ass in about 10 seconds with about 10 punches. The shoot out before this point doesn't really count, as you have been fighting this way throughout the game. Apart from that, this game is definitely worth a fiddle about with. I loved the historical references (whether real or made up) so much so, that I took it upon myself to find out more about Sir Francis Drake. If a game can make you do that, then it is a winner in my eye's.

'Since writing this review I have now played and completed the remake for PS4, which has a fantastic update in graphics.' 
'I am currently attempting to collect all of the trophies whilst having fun with the rewards that can be unlocked for completing certain thing's.'

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune scores an 8 out of 10.
Goes well with a chunk of blue cheese and some homemade plum and ginger chutney.

Fan of Uncharted: Drakes Fortune? Let me know in the comments what are your likes/dislikes.