Game Review: Uncharted
Diana Pinguicha review the first two PS3 releases in the Uncharted franchise and give us the thumbs up.
Last week, I had some spare time with my boyfriend’s PS3 (I do not have one, unfortunately). Since I had started Uncharted a year ago and never had finished it due to time constraints, I decided to give it another go.
To me, the first Uncharted is, and always will be, the first Tomb Raider with better combat, prettier graphics and an Indiana Jones wannabe as a protagonist who goes by the name of Nathan Drake. You have the sceptical sidekick Sully (my favourite thing in the game) and the mandatory love interest in an action flick, Elena.
The story’s your standard treasure hunt with a snarky Nathan for comic relief, but I won’t lie, compared to most games you get nowadays, it’s more entertaining. Combat is the unfortunately common cover-shoot-cover, with the added frustration of using the sixaxis (Sony’s first attempt at imitating the Wiimote) to throw grenades. Also, Sully’s pretty awesome and Elena is not a completely hopeless damsel in distress, which is good.
I finished the first game in a couple of days (playing around 3 hours a day) and it went smoothly. The puzzles were a bit too easy for me, but newcomers to these types of games will probably find them slightly challenging (I know my boyfriend did). It’s a good enough game, with decent action and an OK story – but nothing over the top. My biggest disappointment, really, was that the writers decided to throw all realism down the drain in some curse-mojo stuff that was completely unnecessary.
Then came Uncharted 2 and by all that’s holy in games, it’s, thankfully, so much better than its predecessor. Nathan and Elena broke up for some reason which I never cared to know and wasn’t explained to me, so we get Chloe for most of the game. Chloe is everything Elena should’ve been as a love interest: feisty, fearless, kick-ass and with a dose of understandable survival instinct. Really, I adored her and was so glad she stuck with me throughout most of the game. That woman’s fierce.
Uncharted 2 has better combat, too. Grenades no longer require the sixaxis, so you can actually use them properly. Enemies are smarter too, so you have that extra challenge, and more varied, with riot shields and all. You can also be a ninja, which I absolutely loved and did whenever I could. Weapons respond better and more differently than in the first and hand-to-hand combat was fixed to something far superior. Truly, the combat was so much fun! Not to mention you have helicopter chases, car chases and train-hopping! Uncharted 2 plays like an action movie, but it does so incredibly well. There’s tension in the right moments and it never drags out for too long. The chases are filled with adrenaline and a joy to go through. It’s pure uncomplicated fun and while I do enjoy drama and complex stories, Uncharted 2 was a very welcome break of all that.
Another big difference between the two games is that Uncharted 2 looks impossibly more gorgeous than the first instalment. The different settings are lush and vibrant or subdued and messy when they need to be. In a war-torn city, you get the sense of conflict and destruction; in Tibet, you get the cold and the loneliness and in a certain mythical place, you get lush trees and blue fire. The graphics are a work of art and I can’t praise them enough. Uncharted 2 is worth playing just for the scenery alone.
Finally – and yes, I do have to mention this. The puzzles are still easy for me, but Nathan’s little notebook now has added humour. I found myself selecting it on purpose just so I could see his “SKELZOR!”, the different expressions of Sully and, of course, the famous “Skully”. It had the most hilarious trophy ever, too. I won’t spoil it, but it’s related to a swimming pool and a famous game and it had me laughing out loud.
So, if you own a Playstation 3 and somehow haven’t played the Uncharted series, you definitely should. They’re short, fun games, filled with entertainment. If you have to decide between one or the other, you should definitely go for the second, as it’s above the first in every sense. As for me… I can’t wait to get another break with a PS3 and finish the trilogy!