I’d previously played a bit of Uncharted: Drake’s Deception, and while I had a bit of fun, I had other games I was more interested in at the time.
However, when they brought out Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, a remastered collection of the first three Uncharted games (Drake’s Fortune, Among Thieves, and Drake’s Deception) I thought I’d have another go at them.
The Uncharted series is very much in the Tomb Raider/Indiana Jones style: Find ancient ruins, make your way through them with acrobatics, while causing them great damage – and stealing a few things along the way.
Also like both of those, there are shooty bits. Nathan (the main character) can carry two weapons at once – usually a one shot at a time type, and an automatic type. There’s limited ammo for whatever weapon you have, so scavenging from the bad guys is a must.
If you like these kinds of games, that is to say: puzzle sections interspersed with shooty bits, with the occasional cut scene; dramatic set pieces that usually rely more on button presses than deft thumbstick work; pretty scenery to explore (and sometimes damage) and a fairly linear path – then you’ll have fun with Drake’s Fortune.
I’m not going to detail the story, but I am going to talk about what makes them fun (mostly) to me. Now, also note that I haven’t played the original, only this remastered version, so I can’t tell you the differences and how much of the play is due to the original, and how much is due to tweaking.
Nathan moves around quite nimbly. able to run, jump over things, jump onto things, pull himself up to ledges, jump and barely catch on to remote ledges. It’s all quite smooth and well done. Of course, you have to expect the occasional glitch, and sometimes it’s amusing to see him leap backwards a meter or so to dangle from the edge of a ledge. Very rarely do I swear at the controls because he does something stupid, despite what I told him.
Rarely, but it is there. A few times I’ve wanted him to jump from one ledge to another which is a bare foot or two away, and he’s done everything but. With a lot of swearing, and a few deaths, I managed to make it, but it was frustrating.
Having said that, one thing that this game does well is restart quickly after a death. Having to wait ages for a game to restart/reload after you’ve died, especially in an area where you’re trying to experiment, is the path to bad frustration. A quick turnaround time from death to restart is exactly what’s needed.
Another thing I’m going to compliment the game on is being able to pause at any time – even in the middle of a cutscene. I can’t believe it’s 2016 and that still isn’t done by so many games!
In between the puzzly bits, and the run-around-shooty bits, they occasionally throw in a different style. The first is an ‘on rails’ shooter, where your in-game companion controls the vehicle, and you get to shoot things. The second is a vehicle (jet-ski) section, where you can also shoot. The controls there are a bit rough, however, as ‘forward’ and ‘back’ are both mapped to buttons, rather than triggers, meaning it’s a very stop/start type thing.
Still, both are a good break from the other styles, mixing it up to keep it interesting.
Speaking of interesting: I admit I’d be the sort that would be happy with only the puzzling part. The shooty bits are ok, but they often go on too long. I’ve actually got to the stage where if I feel like a shooty section has gone on for a bit too long, and is in danger of becoming samey and dull, then the end of it is just around the corner. Of course, your mileage may vary – but that’s how I feel about it.
The graphics, as mentioned before, are very pretty. While they’re not quite top notch, they serve the purpose and have good enough detail, and draw distance, that the occasional look to the horizon is worth it. Up close, they’re neatly detailed with enough variation so that even similar bits of scenery don’t feel like they’re too repeated.
This is a very linear game, as you’d probably expect of the genre. This isn’t actually a bad thing, and it means you can keep moving forward without having to worry that you’ve gone the wrong way. There are a few places where you can do a bit of exploring, but they’re never too large, or too much out of the way that you get lost.
Having said that, occasionally the paths will come back to a point you reached before, but with another area open off them. Coming back to something familiar helps tie the locations together, and not make them feel like just a series of barely connected scenes.
I haven’t finished the game yet, but I’m finding it a lot of fun – with occasional moments of frustration.
I’ll be interested to see what the next in the series is like.