“Isn’t that just the Tomb Raider knock off game with a guy instead?”
– Chris Callaghan – Uncharted Release ’07.
Okay so where do I begin with this one? So, I came to the party a little late. As in, not just late for the original title, but late to the full three game remaster years later. Yeah, that late.
So maybe I should start with why?
When Nathan Drake first launched onto our screens all those years ago, words cant even tell you how unexcited I was. See back then, as with now, I was a massive Tomb Raider fan, like Lara Croft can do no wrong fan. Like all time favourite franchise, once thought I could be Lara and stuff my brother in a freezer fan. (Okay so the last part may not be true but you get it.) So when I see this alpha male character coming along with his petty boy swagger, comedic one liners and over the shoulder holster, packing what looked to be a replica of Laras’ move list, excuse me for not being at all interested.
So lets fast forward oh just ten years and after thousands of awards and nominations Uncharted is now both a multi million unit sold game (28 million) and also one of the most critically acclaimed series we will see for a long time. Not to mention Nathan Drake is a name now few people fail to recognise.
So what is all the hype I asked. I had just put down Minecraft after the god part of a month and I needed a title that I could get my teeth stuck into. Something to immerse myself in, something to savour something… Explorer-y.
Hello the Nathan Drake collection.
Day 1- AM
Difficulty – HARD
After some adjusting to the way Nate moves ( I call him Nate now… Never to his face) I find myself rather compelled. Not only does this game look and sound beautiful already, but, Inca Gold you say? Mysterious Island you say? Say no more. I’m in.
Day 1 – PM
So I do have to say I am finding the game rather combat heavy so far. More than I did expect. Don’t get me wrong the gun play itself feels solid enough, although I would like another weapon slot or two, but I get it I get it, but I want more platforming. Thus far I have only seen one major puzzle if you’d call it that and even that was quite tutorial. I want more puzzles, more traps, more reasons for me to get Nate killed rather than just not taking cover quick enough. None the less I shall continue.
Day 2- AM
So, the day began with what I can only hope to god I never see again in this series. A god-damn Jet ski. I have never been a massive fan of vehicles in platforming games, I hated it in TR and this is no exception. The only positive I can take out of it is the comical fact that it seems Naughty Dog have copied and pasted the Jet Ski sound effect from Crash Bandicoot 3 to the middle of the South American jungle. (Fans of the series relax, I’m nitpicking here). I progress and it is clear that I may have a hard time with the final third of this game. Enemies are appearing to spawn more often. Their faster, deadlier and they love the flank. That combined with the fact its taking me five rounds to the chest to kill them and Elena and Sully are about as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike, but still they keep me entertained. (Well, Sully does).
Day 2 PM
Finally, a second puzzle followed by a monstrous platforming puzzle, which in Nates words is merely “a more elaborate way to hide the damned treasure!”. Many lives lost here, mostly from them damn swinging camera angles throwing my stride off. Its like when I finally have the camera lined up for Nate to make a simple jump, on the run up they decide, oh look at what’s on this wall over here. Dead.
Ignorant persistence is something I’ve always been a fan of and persist I do. But nothing was expecting me for the slight turn the game does take. Suddenly my biggest enemies are not just pirates and goons, but what is left of these ‘Spanish Settlers’ dwelling in the depths of old bunkers and cave systems.
Boys and Girls, remember this day, remember this time, as this is the moment when Christopher Callaghan openly admits that Uncharted may just be a brilliant game. As much as I found the combat heavy and repetitive, throw me some supernatural beings to kill and you’ve just about sold me your game.
For the remainder of the night I sit in my room like a man possessed fighting my way through waves of mutants and pirates all leading to one final showdown on board a ship and for once, the clichéd boss fight turned out to be one of the most satisfying ways to loose a bad guy in a game.
The next day before I decide to undertake the second in this immensely satisfying campaign I took a quick look at my trophy collection for Drakes Fortune and seeing that I am only missing a handful of relatively easy ones, I begin a second play through this time on Crushing difficulty.
Day 3 -PM
Turns out Crushing really is the opportune word here for this difficulty. “Its Crushing my soul” was how I described it to D. Nevertheless I collected all of my treasures, got my kills, even took a photo. This was one of the last and I have to say when the credits rolled for the second time, it was an even better experience. This time it felt like I had truly fought my way here, been there for all the bumps and bruises, every missed shot, wrong timed jump, poorly executed combo, I had taken it all on…died lots and won.
Three time trials proving to be a little challenging were the last this game could throw at me but still nothing that could stop me.
So lets summarise a little here. Over the past three days not only did I first play Uncharted. But I literally took from that game, every single thing it had to offer me. I had completed it in its entirety left nothing on that jungle floor and I was ready, nay, I was ecstatic to take on the next adventure.
Lara Croft will always be my favourite, no questions asked. But trying to compare the two games, I now realise is a very very foolish thing indeed. Do I adore Tomb Raider? You bet your ass I do. But do I also like Uncharted?
I fucking love it!