Video game mascots, rarely transfer over to next generations smoothly. Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Lara Croft, Sonic, Jak and Daxter, Sly Cooper, and Ratchet and Clank, are all examples of big franchise mascots that slipped up, disappeared or had a rocky start on the next generation after they were created. Hence, the need for new mascots whenever a new system comes out. After an incredible run from the PS2, the Playstation 3 was announced to launch in 2006. The system launched on November 17th, 2006 and two days later Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was released for the PS3 as an exclusive. So did Sony and developer Naughty Dog find treasure with Drake? Well, read my review to find out.
So, go ahead and wrap Indiana Jones and Lara Croft into one character and game and you get Uncharted. Nathan Drake is a cocky, yet smooth treasure hunter. I wouldn’t say he is an archaeologist, but more of a thief and a treasure collector. If I had to guess I would say he is in his early 30s or late 20s, but Drake, has quite the story. Nathan claims to be related to one time great explorer and treasure hunter Sir Francis Drake (link to his wiki page) as in the real world, Sir Francis, was an actual person. If you read a little bit into his biography, it says he died when he was 55, after many years of being a pirate and looting treasure. Before he died, he requested to be dressed in his armor and given a burial at sea. So, his crew put him into a coffin and dumped him somewhere into it. In real life, divers have yet to discover his coffin, but many have tried. This is where the story of Nathan Drake picks up.
Drake, believes he has discovered his long lost ancestor’s final resting place and after getting funding from a TV show, complete with a journalist. Drake and journalist Elena Fisher who tags along to film the hopeful findings. If you watch the trailer above, you will see Elena but the trailer shows Elena with brown hair, in the release, the developers changed her hair to blonde.
Drake finds the coffin, discovers what he is really looking for. A diary, written by Sir Francis detailing the location of the fabled city of gold, El Dorado. Modern day pirates attack the ship and before you know it, Drake and Elena are rescued by Sully, Drake’s mentor and are in a plane heading toward the Amazon search of El Dorado.
Racing you to the treasure and tracking your every movement is pirate/treasure hunting gang complete with tons of thugs and modern day pirates who shoot first and ask questions later. After many run ins with pirates and thugs on the island, Drake and Sully come to an ancient WWII German U-Boat. Now, here is my first problem with Uncharted. The combat is a little over the top, meaning some pirates can take 10-12 shots into the chest and just keep prancing around with their daily lives. The only sure fire method to kill an enemy with one shot was aim for the head, its unrealistic for a pirate to take 12 to the chest and keep on ticking, they all aren’t 50 cent.
While on the topic of being unrealistic, Drake apparently has super human powers like the Hulk, making him able to move boulders that are 50 tons by himself. He also has this amazing ability to climb anything and everything with a millimeter for an ledge. I would have liked to see more realistic and life like features from a game that overall tried to be very believable.
Once, Drake and Sully find the U-Boat, Drake explores it and finds some old dead Nazis along with a missing page from Sir Francis’ diary. Once Drake leaves the U-Boat he finds Sully with Gabriel Roman, a rival treasure hunter and avid enthusiast of killing Drake. Now, when this happened I thought for sure that Sully had double crossed me. (spoiler, he didn’t) until Sully gets shot in the chest by Roman, where I felt bad for thinking foul of the old man who was just killed. (another spoiler, he doesn’t die)
Drake starts to run for his life, and accidentally runs into Elena, who is super pissed about being left behind and also complains that she isn’t getting enough footage. The two escape together in the plane they rode in on and head to another island where Drake believes El Dorado and even more important a 500 lb gold statue is. The plane gets shot down and the two are separated.
Long story short, Elena and Drake team up after finding each other near a fort in the middle of the jungle. They track down hints to the statue and find themselves in a church where it is believed to be a secret passage to Sir Francis’ real body. (His body wasn’t in the coffin) Sully is discovered to be alive and well, (where I assumed he had somehow once again double crossed me) until you meet up with him and he shows you that Drake’s diary stopped the bullet from going into his chest and that he was being held prisoner to help locate the treasure. Below the trio travel in passages underground where they run into one of Sully’s captors, a sleazy guy named Eddy. Eddy who is now running for his life from “monsters” demands that they help each other.
The real discovery, is that these “monsters” are mutated humans that have inhaled some type of plague dust that is kept in the golden statue that everyone is searching for. Inside the golden statue is the body of El Dorado, the chief of the city of gold. The statue is being hauled off by Roman and his top mercenary Navarro, who plans to sell the mutagen as a weapon. Navarro and Roman open the statue, but Roman inhales the dust causing him to mutate, where Navarro shoots him. The final duel is between Drake and Navarro who shoot it out on a helicopter pad. The giant statue has lots of rope around it where it becomes tangled around Navarro’s foot. Drake, pushes the statue into the ocean, where it takes Navarro with him. Sully comes to the rescue in a speed boat after the battle where he shares a few treasure chests that he took off the island.
Uncharted 1, was a great first step in a new franchise. I love new IPs so it’s always refreshing to play them. The graphics were decent for the PS3 launch, and it had a lot to offer for a story. I enjoyed finding collectible treasure throughout the game that unlocked movies or concept art in the bonus section of the main menu. My only complaint was that the physics in the world be more realistic. Other than that, Drake, did okay on his first treasure hunt. It’s no reason he was the next mascot for Sony. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune receives an 8.4/10 from me.