TGS 2007: Uncharted (PS3)

   27/09/2007 at 20:10       Nick H       3 COMMENTS.
With a surprisingly short queue at the Sony's TGS booth, Naughty Dog's Uncharted: Drake's Fortune turned out to be worthy of far more attention than it seemed to be getting.

The game's looks from my first glimpse of it on the enormous Bravia screens. Beautiful looking high res textures, combines with the impressively lush tropical island setting, and nicely animated acrobatic main character to really set a great Indiana Jones style scene. The sunny, colour rich outdoor environments were a nice change from the recent spate of gritty urban settings.

There were three selectable levels in the TGS demo; designed to be of easy, medium and hard difficulty. After having seen numerous Japanese attendees struggling with the controls and not getting too far I plumped for the middle difficulty. I shouldn't have worried, as the controls were really easy to pick up.

The section I got to play started with the main character, Nathan Drake, looking up at a cliff top castle ruin wondering how to get up. The easy route up the stairs no longer being possible, as they'd fallen into sea, meant our hero had no choice but to climb the side of the crumbling castle. This turned out to be a fairly simple task, with the responsive controls dealing well with the leaps from handhold to handhold. The camera zoomed out for whilst climbing the wall to give you a good view of the wall and Nathan's surroundings. Ledges that Nathan could grab are clearly visible, so progress was swift.

A little variety during the climb was thrown in with vines that once grabbed let Nathan run back and forth on the wall building up momentum (pendulum style) to reach far away handholds and continue his ascent. The climbing was perhaps overly easy for a seasoned gamer, but was out of the way pretty quickly, so didn't outstay its welcome. Other more adventurous attendees playing the hard level had a more Tomb Raider like pillar to pillar jumping puzzle to deal with which looked more taxing.

Once I had reached the top of the wall it was it was on to some combat. The game's combat followed quite a few recent shooter conventions; it has no visible health bars, a two weapon carry limit, and has a cover system similar to several big name shooters. The sections I played through definitely encouraged you to use cover to thin the numbers, though it wasn't too punishing if you did the odd bit of run and gun. Jumping into cover was achieved with a button press, and once attached popping out to headshot an enemy was both satisfying and easily accomplished.

Enemy AI wasn't outstanding with a mixture of pop out and shoot enemies and the odd guy standing out in the open waiting to die. Numbers rather than enemy tactics made the combat challenging, though the odd grenade did get thrown to flush me out if I stayed too long in one spot. Battles moved at a fairly swift pace, and one or twice an enemy would get in really close at which point it seemed useful to use the context sensitive close combat moves. I managed once by chance to dodge round behind one unfortunate enemy and snap his neck.

From the hands on time I had with Uncharted there's quite a lot that feels familiar in both the combat and the exploration. This familiarity didn't damage my enjoyment of the game however, with both styles of gameplay feeling fun and polished. Combine that with the excellent visuals, and Uncharted is looking good.
User Comments:

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Hughes. - on 27/09/2007 at 23:11 wrote:
I've had this pre-ordered for some time now, I'm hoping it won't be too short, as is the style these days. This and Ratchet & Clank are my 2 most looked forward to games for the rest of this year.

Trip SkyWay - on 28/09/2007 at 04:11 wrote:
With the sliptastic Sing Star possibly disappearing over the horizon again, this is my most wanted PS3 game.

I didn't try Ratchet, but it looked damn smooth graphically.

peej - on 28/09/2007 at 12:07 wrote:
pleasepleaseplease let there be a PSN demo soon. Really looking forward to this


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