Best of 2007 #5: Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

It’s taken far too long for the PS3 to get it’s first really top exclusive game, but now that it has one (no more “PS3 has no games lol” jokes, please) it’s a very good one. The Sony camp get vindication and the rest of us got to enjoy over a year of merciless mickey-taking. It all works out in the end.

Uncharted is unlike almost most next-gen games, in that it looks beautiful and also looks colourful. It has the much-vaunted “destroyed beauty” – it’s set in the ruins of an ancient city – yet the fallen masonry is bordered by golden sunlight, lush forests, and azure tropical oceans. Even when it gets dark, superb lighting and subtle use of mist and other effects means it can do it with the same aplomb as the games that do nothing but.

I hope that more games follow this lead. We need more to our games than brown and bloom lighting. And Drake is a likeable, positive character bolstered by a great script that never descends into action movie cliche. It’s an example of in-game storytelling from which others would do well to crib: characters aren’t lifted from any Steven Seagal movie, platforming and exploration is helped by sterling animation work to not rely on pixel-perfect positioning.

While it lets itself down somewhat in the final acts (not quite enough to undermine the hard work that went before, it should be said) and the game isn’t brimming with content for your £50, it’s an example of how quality can outshine quantity. An eight hour romp that is never less than thrilling is worth far more to me than a twenty hour opus with fifteen hours of filler. Essential.

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