So, in case you were wondering; It’s really good, guys. No, for real.
Though I’m not a huge fan of the title (When does it ever sound good for your title to have the prefix “Un”? Plus, can a place be uncharted if you have a big honking treasure map of it?), the rest of the package has got the goods. The graphics on this two year old game, which in video game time is practically antediluvian, are stunning. They could have taken all the action out of this, retitled it Jungle Hike, and I still would have had hours of entertainment just looking at vines and waterfalls. Fortunately, the gameplay is solid as well. So often I find the mechanics of 3D gunfights to be extremely irritating, even in the also spectacular Grand Theft Auto series, but here they work well. It has a similar control scheme to the Gears Of War games, with an intuitive shoot-and-seek-cover system. I also like the sense of freedom that the game gives you, even when it’s clearly herding you down a desired path. Hanging onto a crumbling ledge overlooking a vast landscape, you really get a sense of being in a much larger world.
Story wise, the game holds up as well. It’s clearly indebted to Indiana Jones, much like many other films and games of the last three decades. But the way that it succeeds where many other knockoffs failed is because the hero is made fallible. Indiana Jones was not an invincible He-Man; He could get hurt, make mistakes, and be emotional at times. Nathan Drake is cut from the same cloth, and that grounds the adventure story in a reality that you wouldn’t get from The Mummy or Tomb Raider.
There’s been some work done on turning the game into a film, and my response would be; What’s the point? It pretty much is a film that you can play. In fact, the thing that makes it really great is that it has all the quiet moments you wouldn’t see in a movie, where you can just walk slowly around some ancient ruins and drink in the atmosphere. But the real answer is that title is recognized and has some fans, so there’s a built in audience. So, since it’s already being made, who should be in it?
If I were producing, this is what I’d do; Don’t adapt Drake’s Fortune. Come up with an original story for Nathan Drake, and then it could almost be like a sequel to the games. But since they’re not going to do that, lets talk about casting. Nathan Fillion as Drake. Get this dude off of ABC, and give him his own franchise. Naomi Watts as Elena, who is a great female character by the way. Quite a bit more active than many women in adventure stories; Instead of constantly needing to be rescued, she is actively putting caps in asses. Sully could be played by, um, Tom Selleck? Bruce Campbell? Harris Yulin? I don’t know, you guys decide. Eddie Marsan as the brit villain, mostly to make up for him having nothing to do in Mission Impossible III. And I noticed that the director of the game is a chick. Let’s keep the girl power theme going and have Kathryn Bigelow direct this; She’s proven she can do dark, now let’s see her lighten up a bit.
So, that’s about it. Hoping to play Uncharted 2 sometime in the near future. Maybe after I play this Splendid Mario Sisters game that everyone is raving about.