Uncharted is a game that doesn’t know what it wants to be. Its spiritual cousin, Assassin’s Creed, couldn’t decide whether it was an open-world game, a platformer, or finally, an ARG. Drake’s Fortune on the other hand veers between over-the-shoulder shooter and CG film.
As a shooter the game is competent but unimaginative, incorporating the controls and cover system from Gears of War. Unfortunately, it fails to realize that what made the firefights in Epic’s game interesting was the strategy that went into moving from cover to cover, slowly flanking your enemy. Shootouts in Uncharted are usually just a beautiful version of Hogan’s Alley, with your character, Nathan Drake, taking shelter behind a box or pillar on one side of an area, and the enemies, hiding behind their boxes and pillars, exchanging volleys until someone peeks out at the wrong time.
As a CG film it does admirably, creating likable characters and a story that feels like a loving homage to the pulp comics of the ’30s and ’40s. However, it’s the mix of the movie and the game that makes Uncharted a little unsettling.
There’s a reason that Indiana Jones uses a whip: it is very hard to feel for the plucky, underdog hero if he spends most of his time mowing people down with an automatic weapon. With each successive cutscene featuring a wry remark from our hero after narrowly escaping death, or flirting with his female sidekick, I became more aware that in my time playing him I had killed literally hundreds of people. As a rule I’m not against killing people in video games, but in the end it was the incongruity between my character’s portrayal and what I was allowed to do with him that left a bad taste in my mouth.