August 21, 2011

The Uncharted Franchise in Retrospect

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Written by: Mark Woo
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Uncharted 3, Drake’s Deception is coming out on Nov. 1 this year. The Uncharted series is a PS3 exclusive, that is distinguished for always pushing the PS3 in terms of graphics to the limit.

I was never lucky to own a PS3 when Uncharted 1 and 2 came out, but one fateful day, my girlfriend made my dream come true by buying me a PS3 last year. It took me awhile to get around to purchasing and playing the Uncharted series, just because new PS3 games were coming out monthly. However, on the good game hiatus of 2011 summer, (between Infamous 2 and the upcoming Deus Ex) I took the chance to dive right into Uncharted 1 and immediately afterwards 2.

When I first started Uncharted 1, the first thing that came to my mind was that this game looked awesome… back in 2007 when it first came out. Now with LA Noire and Infamous 2 in 2011, Uncharted 1, doesn’t seem too much of a marvel graphic wise.

Nonetheless, it’s amazing that the only loading screen you see in the whole game is at the start when you press Continue. The same holds true for Uncharted 2. This means you can literally play the whole game straight without loading once! Definitely a big plus.

Let me get into detail about Uncharted 1. Uncharted 1 looks great, Drake, (the main character) is wet if you plunge into water, and the framerate doesn’t drop at all no matter how many enemies are shooting at you at one time. There’s a nice balance between platforming, shooting, and light puzzle solving. When this game was announced, people just thought of it as a Male Tomb Raider, but believe me, the difficult platforming and puzzle solving found in Tomb Raider franchise is a lot more polished and fair in Uncharted. I won’t get into the story of Uncharted 1, but it plays like your very cliche’ Indiana Jones type of story. I actually did not enjoy the story of Uncharted 1 all that much because it was nothing special.

Uncharted 1 has incredibly smart AI. The enemy uses cover just as you do! They also try to flank you and occasionally throws a very accurately aimed grenade at you. This prevents you from staying in one cover too long. This makes gunfights exciting and fast paced, but at the same time get ready to die a lot! The game autosaves in almost every event, so dying isn’t as much as a hassle.

Now, Uncharted 1, I truly believe out of context of the time in 2007 when PS3 was suffering from terrible games and being too expensive, was a game changer for the PS3. However, playing it now, I can point out it’s several flaws that dampen your spirit while playing. The shooting in Uncharted 1, doesn’t feel as great as Gears of War did. There’s no UMMPHH in every bullet you fire. There are times in the game where there could be wave after wave of enemies and with limited bullets, you’re seeing death all the time. The enemy dodges bullets, uses cover, and when you do hit them, they can take a lot of bullets. Uncharted 1 is really difficult even on the  easy setting. To top it all off, Uncharted 1 is incredibly short, only 6 hours to play through.

Uncharted 2, on the other hand is a masterpiece. Unlike it’s predecessor, the hand to hand combat is more effective, and the stealth gameplay of taking out enemies in one shot works like a dream. There are more ammo to go around and they don’t put too many waves of enemies at you at the same time. Uncharted 2, looks even more amazing than Uncharted 1, and the action scenes particularly are extremely memorable and epic! The story is a lot more unique with different settings, whereas in Uncharted 1, you were basically stuck on an island for the whole game. There were 3 moments (beginning scene, going from compartment  to compartment on a moving train scene, and jumping from truck to truck on a snowy mountain) in the game when my jaws dropped and afterwards, I’d lean back on my chair satisfied so much I feel like applauding. The stage where you have to jump from speeding truck to truck while shooting and in cover was one of the most awesome gameplay experiences I had in a long time. It’s so good here’s the video: (Mute the annoying voice over, and watch in 480!)

It looks as good as it felt to play it. If you don’t feel like playing the first Uncharted, be sure to play Uncharted 2 if you own a PS3. I can’t wait for Uncharted 3. The preview demo and movies from E3 2011, ComicCon 2011, and GamesCon 2011 looks breathtakingly fun and graphically amazing. Look out for my Preview post on Uncharted 3!

About the Author

Mark Woo
Mark Woo
Mark has written for Asian lifestyle blog on their Tech/Gadgets section. He has also written for under his M's Food Court Corner. Mark currently owns Using his experiences in Vancouver's night club industry, NocVan is a one of a kind night life blog. Mark is passionate about video gaming, tech blogging, and the NBA.

  • Anonymous

    This looks awesome!

  • This is SOOOOO COOOL

  • Simon


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