Naughty Dog are a company that basks in the love of the PlayStation community as they have released cult-classics for every single generation. Whilst I have been a huge fan of Jak and Daxter since my childhood, I’ve only ever dipped my head into the waters of their work. To fix this glaring problem, I bought Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection for the PlayStation 4 and jumped straight in.
The game opens with Nathan and Elena stood atop a boat, uncovering the secret of Drake’s ancestor as the story is already well into motion. Skipping the origins helps immensely with pacing as what may have been boring build-up is replaced with shooting pirates in a hilarious spectacle as boats explode in hilarious action-movie fashion with the wonderful ragdoll physics of games-gone-by.
The shooting itself is enjoyable but it is by no means the selling point. It might be a joyride to shoot monsters in a Nazi facility and pirates on a lush green island with the ruins as your cover but, ultimately, it’s a mediocre experience with many games at the time doing it far better.
The selling point of Uncharted is the parkour, even though it’s unrefined and slightly limiting. I’m a huge fan of Assassin’s Creed and so being able to climb my way around beautiful vibrant ruins was something that built up excitement. It’s a much more refreshing way to traverse the world than the usual walking and running as you get to be more involved in your environment which makes you appreciate the work the developers and artists put in.
The beautiful landscapes within Uncharted are nothing new for Naughty Dog. Even The Last of Us, set in a dystopian apocalyptic future, is oddly surreal in terms of its visuals. The island that Nathan Drake finds himself on is very similar in terms of design as it is set around an ancient civilisation long abandoned and succumbed to nature. The key difference that makes it far less bleak is that it is not a familiar landscape like the collapsed modern America of The Last of Us which lends its hand to the more upbeat tone.
I guess the Nazi’s didn’t pay their electric billsNathan Drake
The characters also help bring the game to life whether it is through Drake with his wit, charm and positive attitude or Sully with his pessimistic and blunt personality. Uncharted is yet another game where Nolan North lends his brilliant voice, igniting the flame of personality into another persona in his ever-growing roster.
Emily Rose is the voice behind Elena. She is a journalist that tags along with Drake and Sullivan with a similarly charismatic and light hearted personality but, in my honest opinion, I think she stands out from having what is arguably the best character arc in the game as she grows from a simplistic, story-hungry and naive stereotype to an invested, caring and more three-dimensional character. With two brilliant friends tagging along comes fantastic interactions that truly make this otherwise generic story feel like a worthwhile quest to embark on.
Uncharted is a short, amazingly fun and beautiful game. It may be old, it may be less refined than the sequels and it may have its flaws but even just the visuals alone make the game worth playing. To anyone who has yet to try it: even twelve years later, Uncharted holds up as a monumental game worthy of delving into.