Uncharted Drakes Fortune

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Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

The adventure genre has a strange history and even today, it can be unclear what someone is referring to when they say something is an adventure game. They could mean point-and-click adventure like The Longest Journey or Syberia. They could mean an exploration-style game like The Legend of Zelda or Darksiders. Or they may mean an action-adventure game like Tomb Raider. It can be hard to tell. Today’s game, to me, is a textbook action-adventure game, bringing players into a triple-A blockbuster action movie. Today’s game is Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, developed by Naughty Dog and released on the Playstation 3 in 2007.

The best way I can describe Uncharted to you is just through two words: Indiana Jones. While there may be differences in plot, the Uncharted series feels like playing through an Indiana Jones film in tone and subject matter. You follow roguish, treasure hunter Nathan Drake, who claims to be a descendent of the famed English explorer, Sir Francis Drake, despite the man never having children. Nathan starts the game diving to find the sunken coffin of his alleged ancestor along with reporter Elena Fisher. They soon discover a trail that leads them to the legendary city of gold, El Dorado.

Uncharted plays in the third person with the player always controlling Nathan Drake. It is something of a hybrid of third person action-stealth games as well as third person shooters. Shooting is similar to Gears of War where a heavy emphasis is placed on finding cover and shooting enemies from there. Enemies are intelligent, however, and will use grenades and flanking maneuvers to try and get the drop on Nathan, so moving is important. Guns are all real firearms or based on real guns such as the AK-47 or the PM-9mm, likely based on the Kahr PM9.

Already having a strong relationship with Sony, it was a no-brainer for Naughty Dog, the developers of Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter, to make the next console showcase. In 2006, Sony’s E3 conference featured heavy use of Uncharted footage to show the graphical prowess of the Playstation 3, despite the game not coming out for another year and a half. Sure enough, the graphics and story were well received although the gameplay received some mild criticism. In hindsight, the series hadn’t quite found its stride until Uncharted 2 in many fan’s eyes, although the first is still widely praised. The Uncharted series would go on to see three main series sequels with three spin-offs and a standalone expansion filling out the franchise. Uncharted has remained dormant since 2017 and while Naughty Dog has moved on to other projects, as they often do, it is still too early to tell if Uncharted is gone for good or if another developer may pick up where Naughty Dog left off.

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Devin "Katosepe" Sloane is a long time gamer and host of the show Video Game of the Day. He firmly believes Darklands is the pinnacle of gaming achievement and this is a hill he will die upon. Where his nickname came from is a secret to everybody.