Replay Value

 

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

It’s very rare that a developer has the imagination to create something completely new and original. There are elements of any game which rely on reiterating the nuances and idiosyncrasies of previous successes, after all if it ain’t broke- don’t fix it. In other words, it’s a necessary part of any artistic creation that in order to produce something new, you have to borrow the parts of something old. Now this may seem dreary and somewhat opposing to originality in art, but think about it. It’s true.

For example, take a look at the creation of any classic action film. You need an every-man central character, e.g. Bruce Willis, Keanu Reeves, Steven Seagal; you then take an extraordinary circumstance e.g. the end of the world, a kidnapped blonde child, Sartre inspired existential sci-fi; then a beautiful girl to save added to the bargain and hey presto- The Matrix, Die Hard or Death Dies Another Day (or something like that) is born.


In the world of games things aren’t dramatically different. I like my action heroes hard boiled and rocking a t-shirt and jeans, I like my damsels in distress to be fiery, I like my bullets to fly thick and fast and I like my hand to hand combat dirty and tough. Standard formula, unbelievable effect. And no developer understands this better than Naughty Dog.

From start to finish Uncharted chucks out endless bad guys, fast and well controlled gunplay, gritty (if not a little simplified) hand to hand combat, action cliché after action cliché, a hot (and surprisingly smart) female lead, snappy dialogue, good (again, somewhat basic) platforming and a lovely little twist at the end. It’s just class action. The condensed gametime (about 10 hours) is short but perfect for the pacing. The central characters are believable, lovable and detestable in equal measure and deep enough to recognise as more than just a tool for gameplay.

There is smooth gameplay throughout, with shockingly lifelike abilities framed by a forgiving engine which combines abilities flawlessly- so that reloading whilst taking cover is possible, as is jumping to the top of a wall and aiming shots over the top from cover. And those who called it Tomb Raider meets Gears of War were right- but it should be added that both of these games are infinitely more difficult than Uncharted, which holds the players hand throughout (even with the tips turned off) but in a good way. And for those who want the challenge there’s always the insanely difficult “Crushing” setting.

If you haven’t got it yet, this is an epically good game. Buy it. Play it. Then do what I’m doing and salivate about what’s in store for you in Uncharted 2.

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One Response to “Replay Value”

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