10-Uncharted really is this generations Tomb Raider
After hearing that sentence being thrown around quite a bit in the past few years I can finally say that I agree- Uncharted is this generations Tomb Raider. Tomb Raider slowly lost its magic after the first trilogy and I can only hope that Uncharted won’t go that way as well. If it goes go beyond a trilogy, that is. But the vacuum that Lara Croft has left has surely been replaced by Nathan Drake. All I know is that I have the same feeling for Drake than I had with Lara all those years ago. No, not that feeling you sick bastard! The feeling that upon each of his outings I’m safe in the knowledge that I’ll be whisked away to incredible locations, interact with finely written characters and basically just have a great time, the essence of a true adventure. You can rest now, Lara, you can rest now.
That said, lets not count her out just yet as next year sees an entire reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise. Time will tell though if Lara can reclaim her throne once again.
9-Uncharted does checkpoints perfectly
Good old checkpoints. Far too many games get checkpoints wrong or don’t do them entirely. A few of the games in the past few years that have done them absolutely perfectly have been Modern Warfare 2, Mass Effect 2 and Uncharted in my mind joins those ranks. In Uncharted Naughty Dog has placed the checkpoints at perfect moments throughout the game whereby with other titles I’ve felt cheated by the game for dropping me back further than I should have. It’s something in gaming that is sadly overlooked by many developers but Uncharted hits the nail on the head. Also, kudos to Naughty Dog for the uber short loading times when you die.
Because lets be honest, we’ve all played those games where a checkpoints loads as your character is falling down a hole or on the brink of death.
8-I should have played them sooner
This goes without saying, right? Yes, I should have played it sooner. Why didn’t I? I don’t really know to be perfectly honest with you. I can say it’s partly because there was such a buzz around it that it kind of put me off starting them. Maybe I just simply heard too much about it that it kind of soured them, I guess. Well, now I’m neck deep in the Uncharted saga and absolutely loving it. It reminds me of some of the old platform games on the original Playstation in terms of truly evoking a sense of adventure, something that I feel has been lacking from games of late.
So, much like many of you, I’m waiting to get my grubby paws on Drakes Deception. However, sadly due to my “can’t really focus on multiple games at the same time” syndrome it will have to wait until Skyrim is finished. Don’t worry, Drake, I’ll get to you sometime in February 2012! Then again, roll on Uncharted for the PS Vita too!
7-It was always going to be Elena
Even before Chloe came into the picture in Among Thieves I always knew it was going to be Elena that Drake would end up with. Elena is to Drake as Marrion Ravenwood is to Indiana Jones. She’s the perfect counter balance for Drakes personality and even during their first scene together I knew she’d be sticking around throughout the trilogy. Both of them have superb chemistry together on screen and a large part of that is down to their mo-cap/voice actors, Emily Rose and Nolan North.
Chloe was the wrench -a very sexy wrench that is- that was thrown into the works to test Drake and Elenas relationship. But it was always going to be Elena for Drake and I learned that right from the get-go. Lets just hope they both make it through Drakes Deception in one piece, eh?
6- Nathan Fillon shouldn’t be Nathan Drake
Alright, this is something I thought long and hard about. Before playing Uncharted no less than a month ago I heard fans crying out that Mark Walhberg was signed on to play Drake and that Nathan Fillon was their personal overwhelming pick. The internet was on fire with fans writing articles and starting petitions to try and get Nathan Fillon on board with the project. Firstly, Mark Walhberg isn’t the right choice. Sorry Marky Mark, as much as I think you’re quite a good actor you’re not Nathan Drake. Sorry. In fact, you’re not Max Payne either but that’s a different rant all together. However, I don’t agree that Nathan Fillon is Drake either.
If the creators of the films are tying to be accurate to the game and start off an ongoing franchise – choosing Nathan Fillon wouldn’t be a good choice. Why? He’s too old. Now, calm down everyone. Nathan Fillon is only 40 and while that is absolutely not “old” he’s far too old to portray Drake. Nathan Drakes age (as far as I can see) hasn’t been revealed but I’d put him in at around 28 in Drakes Fortune. Personality wise Fillon does indeed resemble Drake but I don’t think that’s enough. I suggest they try and find a somewhat unknown actor in his late twenties much like they did with Henry Cavil in the upcoming The Man of Steel.
Who should play Elena, Sully and Chloe? I’m not quite sure but I’d say Elenas voice actor, Emily Rose, would be perfect for her. Make it happen.
5- LA Noire facial animation tech isn’t the future
In the run up to LA Noire it was hard not to see the technology they used for capturing the actors facial performances as something less than spectacular. Still, even now it’s a truly stunning tech and works wonders when utilized in LA Noire. However, many gamers did and still do see it as the future of facial animation. While Uncharted didn’t exactly change my mind about keeping traditional animation- I was always of this opinion- it did reinforce it quite a bit. The facial animation in Uncharted is brim full of character, charm and wit. To me it would be more in line with Disney animation compared to ultra realistic animation. Naughty Dog aren’t afraid to over-animate their characters and give them a little bounce in their step. I’d chalk this down to Naughty Dogs history of working on the Crash Bandicoot and Jak series. Also, if the tech used in LA Noire was used in Uncharted we’d lose that charm that the characters hold over us that is so very important to the series.
It may be the future in gaming when the game hinges of decision making from looking at somes face, but Uncharted proves it isn’t the way to go for everyone else.
4-More games should give hints
Hints! Why do so many gamers look down on hints? Maybe it’s because a large amount of gamers want to be punished when playing games as if they woke up in an Turkish prison. Well, not for me, son. No thank you. I loved the fact that in both Uncharted games, no matter where you were during the game, every once in awhile an indicator will tell up to press up on the d-pad for a hint. Then the camera swings in that direction and gives you a general idea of what to do next. There’s been plenty of games in which after getting stuck at a certain point I just give up. Then again, that’s not saying Uncharted is particularly hard but it’s nice to have a hint if you need it.
So I welcome hints in games. Maybe hints won’t exactly work for every type of game but when game play hinges of solving puzzles it’s always a helpful addition.
3- Not all developers are afraid of colourful and vibrant games
During my first half hour of playing Drakes Fortune I thought, “I haven’t seen a game this colourful in a long time”. You see, I’m only too used to seeing games like Gears of War and Killzone with their saturated, dark and uninspiring colour pallete so when presented with the lush South American forests of Drakes Fortune to the beautiful and ancient peaks that hold the secret of Shambhala in Among Thieves it’s quite a treat. Naughty Dog aren’t afraid to bombarded the player with colourful and vibrant tones. Even when the player is thrown into the urban environment of the Valley of the Temples the game remains almost brash in its use of strong, thick and ballsy colour tones. Lovely.
There are far too many games that have opted for realism at the expense of colour. Thankfully, Uncharted doesn’t do that. Thank you, Naughty Dog, thank you!
2- The Xbox 360 could handle Uncharted
This point will no doubt stoke up the ever burning fanboy fires but here it goes- the Xbox 360 could handle both Uncharted games. Yes, both Uncharted games look truly incredible and Among Thieves in particular is probably one of the finest games I’ve ever seen but lets not go nuts, guys. If, for some bizarre reason, Naughty Dog were even able to bring Uncharted to the Xbox360 they easily could. This is why I always find the fanboy war silly as both systems are pretty much identical in many ways. While Uncharted does look fantastic I just don’t see why it couldn’t be done on the Xbox 360, sorry.
However, that will never happen as Naughty Dog are owned by Sony. Naughty Dog are probably the most creative and inspiring company Sony currently has in their hands and fingers crossed they keep it that way.
1- Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception will be incredible
Another thing I quickly became aware of is that Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception will no doubt be incredible. While I’ve stayed away from most of the gameplay videos and trailers out there I can’t see how Naughty Dog can mess it up. Drakes Fortune was a wonderfully inventive experience while Among Thieves surpassed my expectations by a mile. Naughty Dog seem to be on a roll here and as long as Amy Hennig is attached to the project I’ll be there in line on the first day.
I’m just hoping that, much like Among Thieves, Drakes Deception shakes it up a bit with more diverse and interesting settings and locations. That said, lets try and keep the game around the locations we want- temples, jungles and lost ancient cities!