Game review: An Uncharted return marvels
WITH developer Naughty Dog's Uncharted series - one of the greatest narrative experiences on a gaming console - PlayStation 3 owners were put in control of Nathan Drake, an errant tomb raider and fortune hunter, as he shot, engaged in high adrenaline action and solved puzzles in three excellent games.
The series owes much to Square Enix's Tomb Raider franchise (which in turn was influenced by the Indiana Jones movies), but Naughty Dog carved out a niche for itself by delivering games with strong storytelling, amazing visuals and fantastic gameplay.
Now that the company has remastered all three games in one package - Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection - for the PlayStation 4, I took the opportunity to revisit the titles in a marathon session that lasted me well over a week.
The company responsible for the remaster, Bluepoint Games, took advantage of the increased firepower of the PS4 to improve the draw distance, character models and backgrounds, while ensuring the games still run at a solid 60 frames per second in glorious 1,080p.
The controls are also updated to bring the shooting mechanics up to the level of Uncharted 2 - Uncharted 3 actually took a step back in this area.
The multiplayer component, a main feature of the second and third games, was removed.
However, Bluepoint decided to leave in the slightly wonky platforming mechanics of the first game which requires precise platforming, unlike the other games in the series.
If you don't position Drake just right at a ledge, for instance, he will most likely fall to his death when he makes the jump.
The progression in graphics quality can be seen with each subsequent game. The first game, for instance, still looks gorgeous even today, especially with the upgraded graphics. But the character models look simpler and less detailed compared to Uncharted 2.
In terms of gameplay, however, Uncharted 2 still stands as the best in the series. It has a good balance of shooting, platforming and puzzles.
The first has some good puzzles but terribly long shooting sequences and, not to mention, wonky platforming.
The third title also has overly long shooting sequences and a lacklustre final boss battle, if you can call it that. But my biggest complaint is that the puzzles are dumbed down too much, compared with the first two games.
Still, if you're like me, chances are you're into the Uncharted collection more for its story. The Uncharted titles belong to a breed of games that are as close to a movie as you can get.
Once you play the games in sequence, you will begin to understand why protagonist Drake, an orphan, does what he does - by claiming to be the descendant of Sir Francis Drake, he is on a quest for legitimacy and to be a part of a family he never had.
What he finds on the way, however, is a real father figure in the roguish Victor Sullivan and true love in the equally adventurous journalist Elena Fisher.
The games explore all these relationships and sprinkle them with a good dose of humour - even during intense action sequences or platforming, Drake will have a quip that will put a smile on your face.
The Uncharted games' gameplay may not be for everybody, but if you're a movie buff and you already own a PS4, you owe it to yourself to get the Uncharted collection.
If you don't like playing it, just hand the controller to someone who does and sit back to enjoy the story.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is out in Singapore stores for $74.90. The digital version on the PlayStation Network goes for $62.90.
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