Back in 2007, I remember seeing Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune on my dad’s shelf next to his PS3, and was naturally intrigued. But then he traded it in and replaced it with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, so I snapped it up and began playing it before he could get rid of it.
Uncharted 2 (and 3) are some of the most memorable video game experiences for me. They were the first games I played that really went for the grand cinematic experience, had me attached to the characters and were just straight-up fun. Naturally, since The Nathan Drake Collection was free on the PS store last month, I decided it was about time I played the first game.
It was probably a huge error on my part to go back to this game after having played the other three games. However, it felt strange saying I was a fan of the series, despite never playing the original game. I will start off by saying I am well aware this is an old game now, this is something I kept in mind throughout this experience and is why I am not going to be massively harsh on the game. However, I found myself not really enjoying it as much as I thought I was going to.
There are so many elements featured in Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune that have come a long way in the sequels. It is apparent that Naughty Dog were experimenting with the genre. There are so many aspects of the game that have been transferred to the later games, but there are elements (most notably certain mechanics) that I found myself sorely missing.
You can climb on a number of things in Uncharted, but they are not always massively clear. You can move to a ledge at one point in the game, and you head to another section with the same ledge and you end up falling to your death. The signposting is absolutely abysmal, which is so surprising to me because they do this so well in the later games.
The puzzles in the other games in the franchise are some of the most lovely segments. However, in Drake’s Fortune, they are few and far between and aren’t exactly the most taxing, or visually interesting. Another thing that stuck out like a sore thumb was the pacing. The action was full tilt for the majority of the game and the lulls in the action were so brief that by the time I caught my breath, it was time to shoot more goons. As much as I love a good shoot-out, it got to a point where I was fatigued and the game began to feel like a chore.
There were a couple of memorable set-pieces, most notably the German U-Boat in the middle of the jungle. It was an awesome sight to behold, but yet again it was fleeting… due to all of the shooting. But even the grand finale of the game was so lacklustre. And don’t get me started on the final boss battle. That was the most ridiculous thing I have ever encountered, mainly in what you actually had to do, but also because it was one of the most boring and anti-climatic boss battles I think I have ever experienced.
My experience playing the first Uncharted wasn’t what I expected. My biggest error was playing the other three games before Drake’s Fortune. All three Uncharted‘s are of such high quality, so it was difficult not to compare them with the first. But it was at least interesting to see where the other games came from and there was such a vast improvement. Though if you are planning on playing the Uncharted games (if you haven’t before) do start with the first game and don’t make my mistake!