|Game Name||Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune|
|Platform||PS3, PS4 (reviewed remastered)|
|Price||£26 (Nathan Drake Collection)|
|Release Date||7th October 2015|
Another week, another PS4 exclusive that I had been chomping at the bit to try out since I got the console a few weeks ago. Part of the Nathan Drake Collection, which was release late in 2015, Drake’s Fortune, the first in the series was my first chance to play the smash hit series.
First impressions of Nathan in the opening scenes left me believing the man was shy, and reserved. He was out on a boat trip with a journalist and a camera. Digging up a grave from the middle of the ocean for some sort of documentary. Nathan is obviously not at ease with the situation. Things escalate when the pair are ambushed by a gang of modern day pirates. You soon find yourself on a tropical island, with your friend, Sully, joining you. Here is where you meet the villain of the story, Gabriel Roman. The two sides of the story are then forced on a race against each other to find a magical treasure hidden somewhere on the island.
The game sparked memories of the original Tomb Raider games, and after doing some research on the game, it has become apparent that I am not the only one who came to this conclusion. Even Roman reminded me of Lara Croft’s father in some ways. Maybe it was the posh accent that did it. The main bulk of the story is played out by Nathan Drake, exploring the island with the journalist, Elena Fisher.
I really enjoyed the plot to Drake’s Fortune. It allowed plenty of room for your imagination to play around with what was happening, had a few comical moments, but also kept the story on track with it’s linear output. The game is split into twenty-two chapters. Each one has a fair portion of cutscenes which progress the story too.
The story as a whole made me excited to see where the characters would go in the sequels, and that’s a rare thing for me when it comes to character building, but I was drawn to the characters in Drake’s Fortune more than most other games.
The remastered version of Drake’s Fortune is using a new engine, and it is certainly an improvement over the original. It still looks “basic” when compared to games from today, but it is definitely not bad by any stretch. I was just happy that the character’s facial animations and movements were correct. There’s nothing worse than janky animations. The game ran extremely smooth at 60 FPS and I didn’t experience any stutter. Whilst exploring the jungle areas of the island, you can really appreciate the lush scenery and background settings. However these jungle areas were a bit bland on the sound effect side. There is a noticeable lack of background noise when you are out in the jungle. You’d expect to hear plenty of wildlife, bugs and rustling of bushes in the background, but it is oddly silent. Thankfully the sound of Drake’s footsteps does drown out the silent a bit, but it did remove some of the realism from the nice settings. All of the voice acting is done very well though.
There is a good mixture of differences in level designs throughout the story. At one point you can be in a jungle, the next you can be exploring a ruined church. The variety and mixture of settings prevents any repetitive nature seeping through. The later stages were particularly impressive in terms of the design, exploring a German ship, and undead catacombs are all very memorable locations I will take away from Drake’s Fortune.
The game makes good use of music in order to aid the player in gameplay. That classic meme of knowing an enemy is still around because the battle music is still playing makes an obvious appearance here. It’s not a bad thing though, it just gives you a clear indication as to when you can go back to exploring the area.
My playthrough of Drake’s Fortune took around seven hours to complete. I was a scrub and played on easy, what ya gonna do about it? The game has plenty more difficulty settings for those wanting additional challenge, as well as a speedrun mode, but I was happy just plodding along to see the story more than anything else. Those seven hours could have been expanded on if I took the time to find all of the hidden treasure on levels though.
I did want to keep playing throughout though. I would sit down with my partner in the evening to play through, and a few hours would pass by without even noticing it, and all of a sudden it was almost midnight. The game’s 22 chapters are split up into manageable portions that you can power through a couple in a no time. This gives a good sense of player progression at a sufficient pace. All of the chapters are about the same length too, so that also gives you a good indication as to how much time you will spend on the game too.
The game is played from a third person perspective and over the shoulder gunplay. Again the use of aim assist on a controller was a huge factor in me being anywhere near successful with this title as I’m still getting to grips with aiming on a control. This aim assist did start to become a hindrance as I became more confident in my abilities. When an enemy is hiding behind cover, your aim will automatically aim at the hidden enemy and end up shooting a wall. With that being said, the gun play is the best part of the game. You are limited to only carrying two weapons at a time, a main gun, which can be a shotgun, grenade launcher, submachine gun, assault rifle, or sniper rifle, and a side arm. At times this was frustrating as sometimes I wanted to carry one more weapon like a grenade launcher for situational moments, but it would have to take up your main weapon slot if you chose to carry it.
Drake’s Fortune’s gameplay took a slight dip when it came to jumping puzzles though. There are a handful of these platforming situations throughout the story, and they are all just as infuriating as each other. Some jumps you make are not always clear that you can make, whereas other jumps you make, that looks like no chance of making, Drake will suddenly go into spiderman mode and make miraculous jumps. What made these moments even more frustrating is the game’s checkpoint system. It is very unforgiving, and whenever I failed with a jump, I would get sent straight to the start of the whole puzzle again. It was very rage inducing at times, and it took a lot of patience to get to the solution of those areas.
The game has a portion of logical puzzles for you to solve too. These were much more enjoyable than the jumping ones. You have to use an old note book for clues to help you solve the problems. Most of them tended to be just matching the symbols with what you see in the book, but a couple of them required a little more thought. I think adding a couple more of these puzzles in would have been to a greater benefit than the handful of platforming seen throughout.
I would say Drake’s Fortune would be a good title for those looking to get into the action adventure genre of game. Other than the platforming, the rest of the game doesn’t offer too much in terms of challenge, but still does a good job of explaining basic game mechanics. I think throughout my playthrough I only died once during actual fight scenes (yes I know it was on easy what did I expect), but still, I didn’t find it hard at all to get to the end. I was a little let down that the end boss basically resulted in a quick time event though. The fight before hand was interesting, but the actual last fight was just a case of hitting a few buttons at the right time in order to succeed. This did leave a feeling of disappointment after I enjoyed pretty much the rest of the game, and I am hoping the same thing won’t happen in the second game.
Overall Drake’s Fortune has really set me up for wanting to play the rest of the Nathan Drake’s collection, before jumping into the modern day Uncharted Games. It's clear as to why the series has done so well given its strong routes from this title.