Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune – “Summer Time”

Art progress is composed of a series of small revolutions which, one after another, chip away conventions and open up new vistas for exploration. Yet sometimes, this continuously disruptive motion, with its ups and downs, can become tiresome, and a generic object can go a long way of entertaining its audience. It is clear that “Uncharted” cares more about getting things right, than getting *new* things right. Its concept is obvious from the get go: mix “tried and true” formulas from popular games, add a new twist in terms of setting, and polish the game to the point of near perfection. The game uses “Tomb Raider’s” mechanics for puzzle and environmental exploring, adds “Gears of War” cover combat for the action portions, and in between, enriches everything with a “Pitfall” setting and a “Romancing the Stone” backstory for cutscene filling. Now how on earth could this simple mish-mash work, you might think? The answer is: perfectionism. Simply put, every detail of “Uncharted” is just damn well executed. The exploration works pretty well, with simple and straightforward puzzles that never feel dull, combat is nicely balanced (just like “Gear’s” was), it’s a visually astonishing game, that can render jungles and ruins with perfect detail and no slowdowns, and the soundtrack is pure gold, featuring a catchy theme, and being once again, fully orchestrated thanks to Sony’s production efforts.

In many ways, “Uncharted” is the perfect embodiment of the action adventure genre. You’ll run, jump and gun away through eerie locations, sinking in gorgeous locales, exploring caves and ancient ruins in search of a long lost treasure. You’ll listen to your colleague’s cheesy, yet funny dialogue that manages the prowess of reminding you of the lost charm of classic summer movies (that’s now reduced to repeating explosions ad infinitum). The game just sucks you in entirely, thanks to its great animations, coherent voice work, beautiful graphics and sound, and the well designed gameplay. So why bother with innovation, when you can have such a balanced game that delivers on all the levels it should? There’s just no better summer game than “Uncharted”; forget everything else: it’s fun and that suffices… If only every game with shallow ambitions bore the sheer class and care with execution as “Uncharted” in every tiny spec of its design, and you could kiss Hollywood blockbusters goodbye and embrace videogames as the new epitome in pure summer entertainment.

Overall: 4/5

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