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Why I love Uncharted

July 19th, 2008 · No Comments · Gaming

I’ve probably spent around 20 hours the past 4 days playing Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune on the PS3. I first downloaded the demo a few months ago when I finally bought the console because I had rememebred reading about it when it had first come out – though what stuck in my head were the stunning visuals, I had no recollection of the gameplay. After playing through the demo several times I decided it was probably a good idea just to try the full game. Luckily my friend has a copy he already played through, so he was willing to lend it to me so I could have a go at it; and I was amazed. This game is so much win it’s amazing. I haven’t had so much fun playing a shooting platformer since… well, since a long time. Not only are the visuals amazing, but the gameplay and mechanics are excellent on top of that. What’s to like?


Normally games have checkpoints every so often in a level, and many of the times they’re placed rather horribly so that if you die, you have a lot of re-playing to do to get back to the spot where you were killed. First of all, I can’t even tell when I reach a checkpoint in Uncharted, which is great because it doesn’t kick me out of my sense of immersion and doesn’t warn me that I’m possibly approaching a difficult area. Yet when I die, I’m usually starting at the very beginning of the exact gun battle or platform traversal that I perished on. This means I’m never really frustrated by dying (other than the fact that I died, of course) and having to replay a lot of the game to get back to my previous location. Doing so would have quickly made me turn off the game.

No health

One of the most annoying things about any sort of adventure or platformer game is health. As if there isn’t enough to worry about, you have to be on the lookout for health pickups to make sure you make it through the next area alive. Uncharted has a unique approach to health – you lose it when you get shot and you regain it when you cover from gunfire. Simple. The screen slowly turns black and white the more damage you take on – when you hear your pulse pounding you know you’re only one or two more shots away from death. But if you can find a safe hiding spot, you can wait several seconds for the pounding to stop and the color to return. You can even pop out and get off some shots if you feel you won’t get hit in the process. Who wants to worry about finding some sort of health pickup? I just wanna shoot people, and the game lets me do that. Yey.

Immersive environment

Big props to the art director and artists on this title. The design of the environments, both outdoor jungles and indoor complexes, are so detailed and well-researched that it’s not hard to lose yourself in the game as you play. Lush jungle with so many moving plants and branches and leaves blowing in the wind make it hard to spot enemies and hidden treasure. Dark, scary interiors like the German bunker level with those devolved man beasts had me screaming like a little girl. Old Spanish castles and missions look amazingly authentic. Jaw-dropping water effects are icing on the cake. You can search the game world for hidden treasure lying around, and it’s certainly a pleasure to take in all the wonderful detail as you do so.


I love this so much, I’m not even mad that I’ll have to unlock them all again once Trophies become supported in Uncharted (coming “soon”, according to Naughty Dog). Why would I use every single weapon in the game? Why would I try any of the hand-to-hand combos? Why would I attempt to lob grenades while hanging off a ledge? These are just a few examples of things you can do to unlock rewards, things I may not otherwise have done while playing the game. Giving me reason to explore the entirety of the game and rewarding me in the process – why can’t more games do this?? Yes, 360 games give you acheivements, but these rewards unlock things like behind-the-scenes featurette videos, art galleries, cheats, character costumes, etc. By the way, if you want to get the cheats before the rewards, because I know not all of us can wait. Go visit I Like Cheats and their website will give you plenty of extras.

I’m already starting my second run through the game on Hard setting, since beating the game on all the various difficulty levels yields further rewards. Even if it didn’t, I’d probably play through again just for the hell of it, this game is so great. If you missed it like I did when it first came out, I’d definitely recommend you head to the game store or borrow off a friend.

Then again, if you want to have a life I guess you better not.

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