During the time of video game rentals at a little place called Blockbuster there were three games that I rented when I first bought my PS3, Lost: Via Domus, Grand Theft Auto 4, and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. This being the time before trophies, I completed the game and thought I was done. Years later I re-purchased this game in a package deal with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and unbelievably I never even went back to it. Browsing through my backlog of games I seen this one just sitting there in the pile and thought why not. After all these years, does this game still hold up to today’s standards? Keep reading to find out.
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, introduces you to one of my favorite video game characters Nathan Drake. According to the story, Drake is an ancestor of famous explorer Francis Drake. If you want to go into some history, in 1596 Francis Drake died and was supposed to be buried at sea dressed in his full armor and his coffin has yet to be found. In the game though, Nathan Drake has his ancestral ring that has the exact coordinates to Francis Drake’s coffin making him the one who’s going to solve the mystery of where in the world is Francis Drake’s coffin. While Drake and his sidekicks Sully, friend and business partner, and Elena, annoying tag along journalist, find the coffin, they discover that it’s empty and left only with Francis Drake’s diary. This takes all of them on the search for the fabled El Dorado. In their little adventure they’ll come across another competitive treasure hunter, mercenaries that this competitive treasure hunter hired, and of course pirates. All of this leads the player on a journey of action, adventure, and the mystery of Francis Drake and El Dorado.
I generally like these types of games that take history that might be a little muddled and filled with misinformation and use it to create a story of its own. This is one of those games that does that and it does it really well. While this chapter in the Uncharted series doesn’t really go into the actual characters all that much, it focuses in on the story of finding Francis Drake and El Dorado, it does give you little insights into each character but not much. I would compare this game to an episode of Law and Order where the general main focus is on the case and the characters are the second stars where maybe only a little time is focused on them. This is basically how this game plays out. While you learn a little about Drake’s history it isn’t enough to say that by the end of the game you actually know this character. Drake himself is still a mystery as well as his relationship with Sully. The end of the game gives you an optimistic outlook for a budding relationship of Drake and Elena but doesn’t go into anything more. The mystery of what actually happened to Francis Drake and if there really is an El Dorado is the main focus and it does get solved during the course of the game.
Ehh… Even though I like these action-adventure type games that involve treasure hunting, I can do without the supernatural twists that seem to be in just about every one of these types of games. I felt like these were thrown into the game last minute since it doesn’t appear until almost the end in order to get the famed jump-scare which were supposed to make the game more interesting, but for me just took the enjoyment out of the game just a little.
This is your standard duck into cover and shoot third person action adventure game. While most of the time this works just fine, there are times when getting in and out of cover or trying to go around cover get glitchy, and when playing on harder difficulties this can lead to your death and lead to moments like, “Why are you going that way! Damnit, just go around the cover! No not there! Shit, now I’m dead. I have to start all over again from here!” Every gamer knows this feeling and it happens way to often in this game. The shooting is most of the time accurate, but there were the times when headshots became not so headshots and with limited ammo it can lead to some cringe worthy moments. Then of course what would an action adventure game be without some unbelievable jumping and maneuvering around some insane type of obstacles? I’m not complaining because I think these add to the story and give you something cool and challenging to do when it actually works. Like with the shooting, this can also get glitchy at times causing you to fall to your death and having to start all over again. Then of course there are some glitches and bugs that affect the game, but it’s nothing game breaking. I had the whole game only crash on me once where I had to restart my system, but there wasn’t any loss of data and I picked up right where I left off.
This game was originally released in 2007, but I have to say that to this day the graphics still hold up like they should. At the time the game was released, it had some of the more advanced graphics and advanced cinematic scenes of any video game that I had ever played. Even today I was still impressed with the amount of details that went into the graphics along with the cinematic scenes. To be honest, the cinematic scenes are really what makes this game. They’re some of the best parts of the game as a whole and visually, they’re extremely nice to look at.
While there weren’t trophies for this game originally, they were patched in later on when trophies became a thing. There are a total of 48 trophies for this game and none of them should really give you a hard time. There are trophies for collectibles, this is a treasure hunting game, but if you miss any you can go back via chapter select and get the ones you missed making them not all that annoying. Then there are trophies for the typical things in action adventure games ranging from headshots, to hand-to-hand combat, to using a certain weapon a certain amount of times. Now there are difficulty trophies for this game, but they do stack. In order to unlock the final difficulty, Crushing, you will have to play on Hard from start to finish. If you want to go and do this mode first, I say more power to you. Personally, I started on Normal to get a feel for things after not playing for years and then progressed my way to crushing. I found both Hard and Crushing to be not all that difficult and I’m pretty sure I ended up dying way more on normal then Hard and Crushing combined.
This first entry in the Uncharted series didn’t have any multiplayer and really it didn’t have a need for it.
Overall I give this game a 4 out of 5
+ Interesting story that plays with existing history.
+ Introduction to some of gaming’s new classic and popular characters
+ Graphics that still hold up from 2007 when the game was originally released.
What’s Not So Great:
– At times this action adventure game turned into a horror game falling into the cliché that treasure hunting action adventure games have to have a supernatural twist.
– Some glitchy shooting, some glitchy jumping and maneuvering, and some bugs and glitches that were never fixed.
For a game that is an introduction into a series that has become one of my favorites, I would say that this one is a good start. Yes, it’s not the best one in the series, currently that is held by Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, but this game is still enjoyable. Now I know that there’s the whole Nathan Drake Collection available for the PS4, but that doesn’t mean that this game for the PS3 should be forgotten just because there’s a remastered version. The game still holds up to today’s standards and is still a worthy buy for the PS3.