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First Love: Uncharted

First Love: Uncharted

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November 2, 2013
Editorial, Featured, First Love
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First Love is a weekly feature here on OnlySP. Every week, we will have one featured writer for the site write about a favorite series of theirs. They will explain why they love the series, how they came to love it, and anything else they want to write about why the series is so special to them.

This week the featured writer is Matt Bianucci, and he will be writing about his love for Uncharted.

One of the main things I look for in a game is a good story. Of course, I love big open world sandbox games with collectibles and places to explore, but if a game doesn’t have an interesting story, it doesn’t really interest me. This is the main reason Uncharted is so special to me. It tells one of the best stories in gaming, along with great gameplay as well as collectibles to find.

Uncharted is a game series that every gamer should know about. It is made by my favorite game developer, Naughty Dog, and has received critical acclaim for its masterful storytelling, fantastic writing, and amazing voice acting. Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 3 are widely seen as two of the best games on the PlayStation 3, and many people are clamoring for Uncharted 4, as am I.

naughty dog

The series is easily one of my favorite game series of all time. I ended up playing through Uncharted 2 four different times and I got the Platinum Trophy. The same happened with Uncharted 3. I obtained the Platinum and played through it three times. The remarkable thing about this is that I enjoyed every minute of these playthroughs. The stories of the games in the series are gripping, with seemingly the perfect balance of action and calmness. Replaying the games never got redundant, and, in fact, became more fun as I progressed as I learned more intricate details about the world and became more invested in the characters.

The writing and voice acting of the games are some of the main reasons the story works so well. The characters work so well with each other. The father-son relationship of Sully and Nate, the love triangle with Nate, Elena, and Chloe, and the interactions between Nate and the antagonist of the story, whoever that may be, all make the series what it is. For example, one scene in Uncharted 3 signifies this point. Nate and Marlowe sitting face to face in Colombia as Marlowe tells Drake that “that isn’t his real name.” This was something so insignificant at the moment, and still hasn’t been explored. However, this one line can mean so much. Although we don’t know if it’s true, it could explain Drake’s constant search for treasure, as he wanted to be so much like Sir Francis Drake. Things like this come along all the time in Uncharted – from one line of dialogue.

marlowe-and-drake

The voice acting makes this possible. There is motion capture for the cutscenes, and they are all fantastic. The actors for every character have great chemistry and it shows through during the game, especially when they have the special, game-changing moments. All of the love, hate, anger, happiness, and everything else is genuine, and this can be attributed to the voice actors’ abilities.

The soundtrack is equally excellent.  Listening to Nate’s Theme, which has been revised and improved with each console release, never fails to excite for the upcoming adventure we have as Nathan Drake and the gang. The music throughout the two games, especially during high-action sequences, really invigorates the player and brings the player into the moment. This happens as well with shorter, more serene moments that bring out the relationships between characters, like the scene in Uncharted 3 where Nate goes to Elena’s house and lays on her lap – flawless.

The graphics are fantastic as well. Everything runs fluidly, and lighting and character animations are seemingly flawless. The cutscenes, especially in Uncharted 3, are gorgeous, and really play into the storytelling of the game. Set pieces are epic and equally beautiful. The moving train action scene from Uncharted 2 and the sinking boat scene in Uncharted 3 show the true power of the PS3 and what Naughty Dog can do. However, the most striking scene in the Uncharted series is the desert scene from Uncharted 3. Other than it being a somber moment, the only time we see Nate as weak and powerless, it is beautiful. The sand in Drake’s hair, the sun beating down on him, and the hallucinations Drake sees are all brought to life in a beautiful manner which are the highlight of the series’ visuals.

uncharted 3 desert

The world of Uncharted is also something that fascinates me with where the stories have gone and where they will go in the future. The world of Uncharted has seen multiple stories across core console titles to PlayStation Vita to books and more. However, Nathan Drake still has so many more stories to tell. There is so much more for the team at Naughty Dog to tackle (maybe a United States based game?). I will be wondering just where the series will go next, and what surprises it will have in store.

The gameplay is something in Uncharted that isn’t seen as perfect by most. I see it as something that can be improved (and has been with Naughty Dog’s next game, The Last of Us), but it is still good and engaging nonetheless. The shooting is solid; stealth sections are tense, if not a bit inconsistent; and puzzles are a bit easy, but still can be brain-teasers at points.

Uncharted-2 train

One main reason I played through the games multiple times is that I was going for the coveted Platinum Trophy. For this trophy, you must play through the game on “Crushing” difficulty, which requires at least 2 playthroughs total (I played Uncharted 2 4 times and Uncharted 3 times). Although this sounds like a drag, the games actually never got boring, and became more fun. I loved revisiting the characters that I have known for so long and learning more about them and the world they are in. Also, the 100 treasures hidden throughout the game are another reason to search the environments and replay to find them all.

Now, on to the future of the series. I personally believe very strongly that the next Uncharted game is currently in development for the PS4 at Naughty Dog and will be revealed by the end of 2013. According to Geoff Keighley of Spike TV, there will be “PlayStation world premieres and announcements” on the PlayStation 4 Launch Party. Could this be the reveal? If not, I believe, according to the previous record of Naughty Dog game reveals, there will be a reveal trailer at the Spike VGAs in December. Who knows? Either way, I’m tired of waiting. Let’s go Naughty Dog!

The Uncharted series is one that defines gaming for me. It is the epitome of what I want in a game. From the fantastic story, to the great voice acting and amazing music, to the replayability, and even the gameplay, the games have everything I want in a game. It is nearly perfect in my eyes, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for the series.

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