While it's not true if one were to say that Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is a completely original idea considering it borrows elements from other games and even movies, Naughty Dog has done a fantastic job to create something highly entertaining which has paved the way for one of the best series out there. To compare the game with another will not do it justice as Uncharted progresses in the same lines as blockbusters action adventure movies would. There is a fascinating blend of fast paced action mixed up with intriguing amounts of challenging puzzles. Moving to this genre was a gamble, Naughty Dog had previously focused on its Jak and Daxter series, but it paid off.
You will play the game as the main protagonist Nathan Drake, a treasure hunter who claims to be the descendant of the explorer Sir Francis Drake. Although it was not historically proven that Francis had children, Drake has a certain artifact that belonged to the explorer to prove his ancestry. The story focuses on the chase to find the legendary "City of Gold", El Dorado. Accompanying Drake on his quest is his mentor and longtime friend Victor "Sully" Sullivan and eccentric reporter Elena Fisher. The story starts off with Elena funding Drake's search for Francis's coffin, soon after Drake and Sully ditch her after they realize she was likely to attract attention. Now there's no treasure hunt complete without another party trying to find the exact same thing and this is where the games antagonist's make there entry in the forms of Gabriel Roman and Atoq Navarro. From that point on the game switches to a faster pace of action filled with plot twists with the climax standing out the most. The game is not short on humor either with occasional scenes and some well placed dialogues providing comic relief mainly featuring Sully.
Uncharted is a third person shooter which relies heavily on cover based offense. Unfortunately one of the weaker aspects of the game is the fact that enemies are more resilient than they should be. This is why it is extremely vital to remain in cover as prolonged exposure will result in Drake dying more often which is frustrating. Enemies are actually so strong that it may take about half of your clip to dispose of one while they have been blessed with extremely precise shots which makes cover all the more vital. When you aren't being hoarded by enemies you can take a chance and fight through hand to hand combat, this will help if you are low on ammo. Hand combat had potential but was not perfected, enemies can be defeated either by repeatedly pressing the square button or using a "brutal" combo, which is more effective but not simple. Nate has a variety of weapons he can use against his enemies ranging from machine guns to pistols. Its not particularly hard to find ammo for your guns but you could find yourself in quite a situation if a lot of enemies surround you. The best way to avoid it is being accurate with your shooting and picking up ammo regularly. Nate can only carry one pistol and one rifle at a time, picking up a different firearm switches that weapon for the new one. Grenades are also available at certain points but are not particularly useful.
It's not all guns and explosions, the diversity of level designs are apparent in missions where Drake is required to swim across or crawl through tight space, these are usually a prelude to puzzle solving sequences. Puzzle solving is a welcome break from shooting and helps avoid repetition, You will need to think a bit more than usual but it is not that big of a challenge to go through these save for a couple of them. At these points it is Drake's journal which is the key to unlock your path. Most of the game involves platforming, jumping from one ledge to another is normal work for Nate but thats not all, you'll have to defy physics and jet ski up waterfalls and shoot bad guys in a speedy car on bumpy roads which are the more entertaining points of the game.
At the time of its release Uncharted had to be one of the best looking games available although this will of course wear off as time passes but the game can still hold its own with its backdrop mainly comprising of lush green environments with occasional rivers in the way. Theres a good attention to detail visually as well as with sound, in the jungle you can clearly hear the sound of birds, the rushing of the river and the silence before an expected attack. To increase replay value there are 61 treasures strategically located throughout the game which you can find anytime you replay a level, however it is a challenge to locate all of them as they are placed in difficult spots. Extras feature the making of the game along with some input from Naught Dog about the actors' experience with it.
An average gamer should take about 7-8 hours to finish the game but with the level of intrigue and so many treasures still left to be found, it would take a few more hours to completely finish the game. Occasional hiccups do only little to stop Uncharted: Drake's Fortune from being a solid game and the overall result is surely a hit for Naughty Dog and another game series which keeps fans excitedly waiting for the next installment to be released.