Instant Rewind: Going Into "Uncharted" Territory
With Uncharted 4: Thief's End just around the corner, I thought I would go back several notches and talk about what made Uncharted great and on what it would improve. At the beginning Uncharted was impressive, both written and visually.
The Last of Us would later prove their true potential in pushing the limits of graphics and storytelling.
Uncharted had so much to offer and Nathan Drake so much to prove since we already had a heroine "raider of tombs" so to speak. Boy did Naughty Dog deliver and really turned the tide when it came to exploration and puzzle solving. Gone are the days of cute mascots like Crash Bandicoot or Daxter. We now have the likes of Nathan and Sully, along with Ellie and Joel. Ruthless in their need of survival. Needless to say, Uncharted and Last of Us are now one of PlayStations best and most anticipated exclusives to date.
Starting the Raid
Our story begins with our hero hot on the trail of Sir Francis Drake, the famous 16th century explorer who Nathan thinks is his ancestor. Very distant in my book. With him is TV documentary host Elena Fisher. Both are sailing off the Panamanian Coast when he finds a coffin who he believes belongs to an Elizabethan seafarer, which if you've read up on your high school history, Sir Francis Drake was one. This wasn't him unfortunately. Mainly because the coffin was empty, of course. Distraught but hopeful Nathan miraculously finds a diary with puzzles and riddles in every nook and cranny of that book. Nathan being the person he is, almost immediately decides for himself that this diary holds the secrets to unfathomable treasures. Maybe it's just a castaways dead father's diary who needed his son to save his city.
Before we can decide, right on cue, and with what will become the staple of this game and the sometimes undeniable frustration of endless upon endless waves of enemies, a literal boat of pirates arrive. Doing what pirates do best they start shooting at Nathan and Elena eventually causing a big explosion and sinking the boat, but not before we are introduced to the fun loving cigar smoking Victor Sullivan. He manages to save the two and whisk them away to safety. Now the real adventure begins.
The Man, The Legend, The Raider of Temples.
One of the first things I noticed was just how fluid the controls were. Whether you were jumping from cover to cover or running up to a bad guy and just
From the early days of using Mo-cap in video games as early as 'Rise of Robots,' it has now become a staple to use it in almost every AAA title on the market.
pistol whipping him in the face. Naughty Dog made very good use of Motion Capture technology as every physical interaction with Nathan just felt so smooth. From the early days of using Mo-cap in video games as early as 'Rise of Robots,' it has now become a staple to use it in almost every AAA title on the market. Watching someone get shot or doing death defying stunts has never looked so real in a game! Uncharted is basically like a Michael Bay film that you could actually control. And you know, with better writing. With big explosions comes gorgeous graphics. I still remember walking into my first puddle and my face lighting up with excitement as I saw that his clothes were actually wet.
Uncharted is basically like a Michael Bay film that you could actually control. And you know, with better writing.
Adding to that a plethora of beautiful landscapes and levels that just made me want to hop around and explore this vast but still linear game. Looking out into the endless sea of trees and mountains really made me feel like I was exploring Uncharted territory.
The voice acting and the comedic timing just rounded out an already great game. It made it that much more fun to want to invest time into their story. You were never far from a quick one liner or a charming cheesy joke from Nathan Drake, even when the battle was starting to get heated. Overall, the dialogue just made me fall in love with Nathan and truly believe there was real character building with him and Elena.
The Good, The Bad and The Bullets.
Uncharted was not without flaws. From the sometimes frustrating controls, to the absolutely careless AI that had a severe death wish. I mean seriously, not even a live grenade at their feet could scare them into submission as countless lives were lost without a care to their own safety. Oh, and let's not forget the aforementioned endless spawn of enemies that would crop up no matter how deep and secluded you might have gotten. They always found the fastest route inside that tomb that had been puzzled off for centuries. Of course, with the help of some explosions to say the least.
Whether deep in the tombs, caves or jungle there is no stopping them coming in guns blazing and causing a ruckus, but if committing genocide is your thing then you are in for a wonderful treat. Which begged the question, "why even have puzzles to a door when I could essentially just rappel in, blow it open or simply come in through the back?" At times the puzzles just seemed to get in the way of the games flow. Luckily they were embarrassingly easy to solve. That trusty diary just had all the right clues.
The puzzles are of course subjective because if you're just in it for the fun and story, they were not mind-bendingly difficult and much more playable for the casual player of the series. The later games brought in multi-player for those seeking a harder triumph and bloodlust.
Overall, this game did entertain from beginning to end with great acting, writing and just the right amount of easy with a beautiful twist that would leave M. Night Shyamalan speechless. Uncharted two and three took us to even further ends of the world. From the frosty Himalayans to the deserted Rub' al Khali desert that just made us go "there's foot prints in the snow and desert!" ...No, just me? Okay.
This series has become an instant classic for Sony and reignited the fire and love for exploration we have been missing in this genre. Even helping Crystal Dynamics bring back the infamous Tomb Raider stronger and better than ever. You go girl! So what will Naughty Dog bring to us with its fourth installment coming soon to Next-Gen? Well, One thing is for sure, we will not be disappointed.
The good: Great dialogue, wonderful immersion, good chemistry with the characters that really make you love them.
The Bad: Too many bad guys, some movement hiccups, easy puzzles.
Replay Value: Moderate
Platinum level: Easy