Digital Polyphony

film, games, memories & random thoughts


Uncharted Raiders of the Holy Grail

Posted on December 3, 2009 at 2:11 PM

I love the Uncharted games.

It's official.

The last time I was addicted to a game...well, I can't quite remember. Not on this level, anyways. Bioshock, maybe?


I'm not a big "videogamer" these days. I pretty much got my fill from the Atari era to the Playstation/N64 era. After that, it's been hit and miss in terms of gaming for me. Sometimes I'll play a little of a game, if I play at all that is, but once in a while one will just grab me, jerk me in front of the TV and I can't tear away from it. In other words, I kind of turn back into a kid again.


The Uncharted games doesn't really do a whole lot new, nothing I hadn't seen before, save for one major attribute: the presentation. They're just great looking, polished and the cinematic aspect (directing and voice acting especially) are some of the most impressive I've ever seen. It really does an amazing job coming across as a big-budget movie in that Indiana Jones/National Treasure sense. The locals are exotic, beautiful, and feel very earthy and alive. There's also little graphical touches, such as dirt and water on your clothes and gorgeous lighting effects.

But this isn't a movie, it is a game. While the character of Nathan Drake, and all his snarkiness, and compelling stories might draw you in, you still need to play the games. As I said, they don't do a lot new here. The platforming and gunfighting is very derivative, although it looks great while doing it, and treasure collecting is just a tacked-on addition (the first game especially, at least you get money in the second title). While it may not do anything new in this department, it still does what it needs to well. You might see a gunfight coming a mile a way as there are convenient cover areas, and the platforming can become tedious after a while. The puzzles are rather shallow as well, although I have seen some decent one thus far in Uncharted 2.


Probably the games' biggest faults is the jumping. The second game improves on many areas, such as stealth takedowns and melee combat, but you'll still be jumping around on walls to see if there's ledges for you to grab on to like a monkey trying to climb and 50 foot smooth, stucco wall which make you look like you're either dancing or your shoes are on fire. This one element can really detract from the immersion the game otherwise does so damn well. It's just disappointing when you're going along, everything moving and flowing smoothly, and you literally hit a wall and jump around all corners of the room until your character grabs a ledge.

To go alongside the presentation, the coolest feature is that you do, at times, really get a sense of being a treasure hunter. Not an archeologist, mind you. Drake rarely takes care of ancient relics, that's for sure. But as an explorer in strange locations and some with deadly traps and pitfalls. The Uncharted titles let you experience your childhood Indiana Jones fantasy better than any other game I've played. While Nathan Drake isn't quite as honorable or even likeable as old Indy, his wry smile and tongue-in-cheek humor do make him endearing somehow. He's an optimist, even when dangling for his life at the edge of a train that's hanging off a snow-covered cliff.


Two great game, a fantastic sense of mystery and adventure and a polish that is rare on many titles. I couldn't recommend these games enough.

Signing Off


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