So I have finally finished playing through the Uncharted games in anticipation of the release of Uncharted 4 and all I can say is what a ride! Also, I have a new (fictional) man in my life… Nathan Drake, what a babe! So as a newbie to the series, I thought it would be fitting to give a brief overview of my thoughts on the games for those of you who have not played them or are considering getting into them. Let’s start at the very beginning, after all, it’s a very good place to start….
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune In this first installment, we meet our protagonist Nathan Drake, journalist Elena Fisher and Drake’s good friend Victor Sullivan aka Sully who are on a trail of Sir Francis Drake and the lost city of El Dorado. The story itself is pretty good as you play as Drake going up against waves of enemies in a bid to get to the fabled treasure before the bad guys. But it isn’t that simple, the treasure is most definitely cursed and as well as the ordinary foot soldiers aiming to put a crimp on your day, some nasty creatures are also looking to stop you. In a similar style to Tomb Raider, Naughty Dog have created a loveable rogue in the form of Nathan Drake and it’s really hard not to like him immediately as a character with his boyish good looks and quick wit. Any girl would fall for it and any guy would probably wish he could get away with being like him.
The first game is a good introduction to the series. If you like cover and shoot titles then you will get on with this game and if you haven’t played this style of game before then it is certainly going to get you used to it. Considering that this game was released in 2007 on PS3 and it seems a lifetime ago since then, the graphics and gameplay stand up very well against the test of time in my opinion. I was actually very impressed at how pretty the game is even if it has been remastered for the PS4 and it felt good to play, if not a little stressful at times. I think what I like about the game is that it is a good length, it flows well and although I obviously don’t want to liken it to Tomb Raider too much, it definitely brings the action adventure genre back into the fold. Drake can scale buildings, handle many weapons, solve puzzles and still look handsome even after days of not showering. For the first title in the series, I really enjoyed it and I really wanted to continue on with the next game and so I did!
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Hailed as the best of the series by many, Among Thieves continues Drake’s foray into treasure hunting but this time he is caught up in a horribly complicated situation in which he is used and abused for his smarts and thus he has to stop the war criminal Lazarevic from getting his hands on the Cintamani Stone, fabled by Marco Polo. Along the way, he is crossed, double crossed and all around played by old acquaintances Flynn and Chloe who are on the side of Lazarevic… except Chloe, who is in it for a little loving from Mr Drake. Sully also makes a welcome return, as does Elena later on the game throwing in a little love triangle for the affections of Nathan. But the overruling goal is to stop the bad guys getting to the stone and wielding a dangerous power that could destroy the world.
The gameplay style is the same as its predecessor and it is as enjoyable, if not more! The graphics take a giant leap considering the game was released in 2009 and I actually loved taking some time when I wasn’t being shot at to look at the scenery and boy, is it stunning! I was incredibly impressed with the opening sequence in which Drake finds himself in the middle of a train wreck hanging over a cliff-face and you have to escape by climbing the moving, namely falling, scenery. Straight away, you are thrown into the action and it doesn’t really let up for the rest of the game which isn’t a bad thing as it is very enjoyable and the story is great. The only issue I had with the game was the final boss fight, it just felt impossible and I’m pretty sure I had to do it 4 or 5 times before I managed to get through it but once done, I did feel like I had accomplished something! All in all, the game is stunning and definitely moves on from the first without leaving anything behind. All progress and no steps back. I would certainly recommend getting involved with the games just so you get to play this one.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception In 2011, the next Uncharted title hit PS3 with a bang and Drake was back in action. This time in search of the lost city of Ubar to stop evil English lady Marlowe and her sidekick Talbot from harnessing the power of fear to control the world. This time Nathan and Sully are back on the trail of Sir Francis Drake to uncover the truth behind his travels as it seems that everything is not as nice and simple as it seems. This game focuses more on the origins of Drake and Sully’s relationship and also explains how Nathan came by his precious ring that has been his famed accessory thoughout the series. Chloe is back in the game and also brings along the loveable Londoner Charlie Cutter who is basically the English version of Drake with his treasure hunting and puzzle seeking eye. Elena is also back for a few chapters once the action kicks off and heads to a different part of the world, which makes me happy because I love Elena!
This time around there is more focus on your hand to hand combat with a lot of sequences that involve fist fights. I quite enjoyed these bouts of close combat as it was a nice change of pace and some of the moves are just great although a little glitchy at times and having the chance to jump off a ledge and take someone out! Again, it follows the same principals as it’s predecessors with the cover and shoot style, the occasional puzzle and some stunning scenery to take in. It is another jaw dropper in respect of the graphics. All the way through, it is faultless and the attention to detail enhances the experience. I really enjoyed this game and the story was solid enough to keep me entertained. I did feel they didn’t put in as many puzzles as they could have, which is a shame as they seemed to peak early on and then just forget about them with all the shooting sequences and cut scenes. Still, it a good game and sets everything up for the new title.
Conclusion All in all, the Uncharted series is great fun. Naughty Dog and Sony Entertainment Network did a great job of producing an action adventure series when the market needed it most. Now that Tomb Raider has been rebooted, I think a lot of people who didn’t play these games the first time around should really get involved with them now, especially with the new game inbound! I even know people who are looking to get a PS4 so they can play it as it is a Sony exclusive. They are exciting, challenging (even on normal mode I felt like it got progressively harder throughout), the puzzles are pretty good, there is treasure to seek out within most of the chapters to get those all important trophies and the characters will have you laughing and make you come back for more. I think the comedy aspect is something that this series does well with as it’s very subtle and usually Drake comes out with things that you are probably saying yourself when relentless waves of enemies are approaching.
I think it’s also great to see how the games have developed over the past decade and with Uncharted moving onto the PS4 with the remastered collection and A Thief’s End. I thoroughly enjoyed streaming these games and sharing the experience with viewers so it will be great to do the same with Uncharted 4 after its release. I have the special edition (not the expensive collectors edition with the statue) which I plan to do an in boxing video for on release day and then will stream the game until we finish! Be sure to tune in and check out the videos on my personal YouTube channel which is linked to my Twitch account and do also be sure to keep an eye out for when I start to stream Uncharted 4 in May!