While we're on the topic of weapons, there isn't much of an arsenal for Nathan Drake to use. For the most part you'll be using pistols, shotguns, and machine guns to take bad guys out. Along the way you'll stumble across some powerful weapons like the Dragon Sniper rifle but they have limited ammunition and are clearly aimed at helping you to clear one portion of the map. You are limited to carrying grenades, one pistol and one rifle/shotgun at a time so the lack of a big arsenal of weapons wasn't that big of a deal for me.
Of course you can use your fists if you want a more hands on experience. The melee combat in the game isn't going to win any awards but it's a nice alternative if you want to play the game with a stealth twist. It's not mandatory and it's something that I didn't really use. Instead I used the pistol because it has a decent rate of fire and fairly good accuracy which is critical for getting head shots. Why are head shots important? Well because the folks at Naughty Dog are a little stingy with the ammo in certain areas of the game and head shots are a nice one shot, one kill way to save on ammo. It is a bit annoying to have to spend a few minutes after each gun battle gathering up ammo from dead foes but it's a minor complaint as most games force you to do this in one way or another. Plus head shots give you the best one liners and if you score enough of them you can earn awards.
That's right, Uncharted:Drake's Fortune has "awards" that you get for performing certain actions in the game. The awards grant you medal points which you can use to unlock cheats and bonus features in the game. Xbox 360 fans (I'm looking at you Dan) are rolling their eyes at this right now because the system is borrowing heavily from Microsoft's Achievement system. I don't know if these awards will jack into Home when it's released in the future but they are a nice thing to try for in the game and kind of fun to earn.
The controls in Drake are near perfect and about what you'd expect for a third person shooter. Everything is where you would expect it to be and the controls are nice and tight. They even included a "Click here because we want to show you something" button that should be familiar to Gears of Wars fans. The only thing that doesn't feel right is that you have to use the tilt feature of the SIXAXIS controller to change the arc when throwing grenades. Of course you still use the right thumbstick to pan left and right which makes throwing grenades with any accuracy a bit of a crap shoot. I got used to it later on in the game but it would have been nice to have the option to disable that "feature".
The audio in the game is outstanding as well. All the guns and explosions are excellent and Naughty Dog did a great job with the ambient noises of the jungle. The voice acting is also very well done and the voices behind Nathan, Elena, and Scully do a phenomenal job with the lines they are given. The score? The score is one of the best of the year and the main theme for the game is amazing and could become iconic if Naughty Dog can turn this into a franchise (it would be a shame not to at this point).
It's really hard to find a lot of problems with the game. You have the usual camera issues that plague third person shooters as well as a few areas where it's not immediately clear where you have to go but the game is just well put together and well paced. The game is a little on the short side as it took about eight hours to complete on the normal difficulty level but that doesn't feel like that strong of an argument. There are a few questions left unanswered at the end of the game but nothing major as the game does have a fairly decent (but not spectacular ending). I do wonder why Nathan can carry only three weapons yet can carry the sixty trinkets scattered around the game.
One thing the game is missing is any kind of multiplayer mode which seems odd as the action portion of the game could make for a decent multiplayer experience. It would be cool to be able to fight it out against other human opponents in some of the bigger set piece battles and there are certainly opportunities for some standard multiplayer modes like capture the flag or deathmatch. There are portions of the game where Drake goes solo so a co-op mode wouldn't really work but hopefully these are things that could be worked into a future edition of the game.
Uncharted is a tremendously fun game and one of the best gaming experiences of the year. While it borrows heavily from other games in the market it's such a nice and diverse game that it's hard to find much fault with. There aren't any real boss or mini-boss fights and I could have used a little more depth to some of the bad guys since they leaned towards generic. Its a shame that Sony hasn't sold a lot of hardware yet because Uncharted:Drake's Fortune is just a ton of fun to play and I don't think it's getting nearly the attention it deserves.
A solid fun, romp of a game. Nearly flawless execution, excellent writing, and amazing graphics make this the one game that every PS3 owner should have in their collection
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