Although I had not played any of the Uncharted games before this year, my interest in the games stemmed upon playing a demo of the first game around 2007; my first year at university. My initial response was that of sheer joy and excitement. I loved everything about the game; the gameplay, the setting, the graphics, and even the way Nathan Drake's clothing would actually get soaked upon trotting through water. However, there was one big issue. I did not own a PS3 and the one person I knew who had access to one, refused to buy Uncharted and would instead spend his money on dozens of Madden titles. Not that that's a bad thing. It just further delayed my Nathan Drake experience.
This year, hope sprung and while I was in England I was given the chance to play not only Uncharted, but Uncharted 2 as well. I was enamored, excited, and perhaps a bit giddy.
The first Uncharted was everything I hoped it would be and more. It provided an awesome story, plenty of bad guys to take care of, and beautiful scenic designs. Not to mention, Nolan North plays the perfect Drake, making the character extremely likeable and believable. This game was unlike anything I had ever played before and was definitely the best looking game I had ever seen. I was obviously more than happy to play the sequel, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, which, after playing for about half an hour, had me extremely engaged to the point where I literally could not put it down.
The story was a bit different from the first one as it plays a bit like a Quentin Tarantino flick. The game starts at a random point within the storyline and then the rest of the movie tells us how we got there and then how it ends. So, the first person we see is Nathan Drake himself. He is bleeding from the abdomen on an abandoned train that is also conveniently sliding off a cliff. Talk about your epic opening! The rest of the tale goes into how he got himself in the mess until you essentially replay the opening scene and then move on with the rest of the story. It's all very well constructed and entertaining, but after hearing about the 3rd title that will be released in November, my first thought was, how can they top Among Thieves?
After some investigation, I have come to find that this next title will take place a year or so after Drake's last adventure. He is now in search for the, "Atlantis of the Sands2, a presumably lost city within the Arabian Peninsula, which, according to legend, contains the wealth of Arabia. However, like the last games, Drake is not alone. Apparently there is a group of thugs called the "Clandestine Order" who have been assigned to kill Drake and his trusty companion Sully. What interests me about all this is the emphasis on the fact that Drake will confront his deepest fears. I don't know about you, but the first game's shocking creature discovery was enough to have me hugging my pillow for dear life.
I am definitely interested in the storyline of this game, not only because it's extremely mysterious at the moment, but also because I wonder what we have in store for Drake's future. Will this game set us up for yet another sequel or will this be Drake's final chapter? Also, what characters will be coming back in the spotlight? Will Chloe be coming back, for example? I have so many questions and so much pent up excitement for what twists and turns this next game will have. I mean, with a name like "Drake's Deception" how can it not be intriguing?
The developers have also said that this game will be dealing with the fire element and sand; both which are extremely hard in order to accurately depict. Fire is fairly unpredictable in where it chooses to move and sand is millions upon millions of tiny stones that are constantly moving. Whether it's flying in the wind or sinking beneath someone's foot it's one of the hardest things to accurately replicate. Also worth noting is how the developers plan to animate the characters' reactions to each of these properties. Based off the demo, one can see that as Drake gets closer and closer to fire, he will actually start to shield his face for protection. It's also been stated that because they're programming in Oxygen, moving quickly near fire can actually help it spread due to a change in the air's flow.
Drake's other movements have received a bit of a makeover as well. Before running, Drake will now have a bit of a two step hop as if to rev up. The placement of his body down to his fingers while climbing has also become more detailed and realistic. Items in the world also now have more weight. When he grabs onto a hanging object, like a chandelier, it will bob and sway much like an actual chandelier would. Sure, these alterations are microscopic in comparison to the rest of the game, however, it's exciting to see how much detail developers can now put into games.
With the previous installments in mind, I can not help but think how can they possibly make this game any better? After announcing that the development team will be trying their hand at sand and fire, I knew that I would be in for yet another treat as I have a very strong positive opinion about all of the attention to detail the Uncharted series had provided for us. Fire being an element would definitely make for some sticky situations, especially as environments can now degrade over time. With sand, will they actually be able to pull off creating an endless desert of moving sinking sand?
Again, it seems at this time I just have millions of questions on how this game will be in comparison to the two previous titles. Among Thieves was one of the best games I have played in a long while because of its wonderful gameplay, storytelling, and cinematography. I am just excited to learn more.
Luckily me and many of my fellow Uncharted fans won't have to wait too long for the next installment released on November 1, 2011.