Uncharted Drake's Fortune is an action/platformer/puzzle/shooter released in 2007 and developed by Naughty Dog for the PS3. You play as treasure hunter Nathan (Nate) Drake as he follows the lead of his ancestor, Sir Francis Drake, in the search for the lost city of gold El Dorado. Nathan is joined by his compadre Sully and the nosy reporter Elena Fisher. The trio's search for El Dorado has not gone unnoticed by the usual fare of pirates, scum and fortune hunters.
Uncharted's gameplay is a mixture of platforming, puzzling and gunplay.
The platforming elements are solid and are often used to effectively show off the fantastic level design. The high production value of Uncharted's art, design and textures really immerse the player into the game's environment. Hidden treasures are often stashed around platforming areas of the game.
The puzzling isn't challenging, but I think it's adequate, as hard puzzles would break the flow of the action. You won't feel like a genius solving the puzzles in Uncharted, but they're a nice change of pace from the platforming and poor gunfighting.
Unfortunately, Uncharted's gunplay is poorly balanced between player and AI. The AI comes in large waves and has god-like accuracy and toughness. Guns are hard to control and, because there is a lot of gunfighting over the course of the game, a general handicap to the overall enjoyment of the game. In comparison to weapon handling, melee fighting is well handled and generally satisfying.
The game's story is spot on for action-adventure and mixes humor and serious plot to perfection. Uncharted reminds me of Raiders of the Lost Ark and other Indiana Jones movies, but Nathan Drake is no Indiana Jones that's for sure. The characters in Uncharted are well crafted and, as the story is moved along, further developed as you play. The unfolding storyline concerning El Dorado, and the characters seeking it, is definitely a highlight of the game.
Uncharted also features a lot of small QTEs based on the PS3 controller which can be hit and miss - shaking a controller will be forever counter intuitive.
In summary, if Naughty Dog spent more time mastering the gun elements and weapon balance, then Uncharted would be an instant classic - hands down. Uncharted's gameplay will be forever marred because of the way weapons are handled. If you can see past the bad points, Uncharted is as a pretty fantastic and generally well-polished game.
Uncharted has a number of sequels and hopefully the weapon handling issues have been fixed.
Did anyone else have stuttering issues during the cutscenes? I have the region 4 platinum edition of Uncharted and during cutscenes experienced sound sync and stutter issues. I didn't factor these problems into Uncharted's final ranking.