Drakes Legacy: Beginnings
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As a kid who grew up watching James Bond and Indiana Jones, playing Tomb Raider and Prince Of Persia , here was a game that encapsulated everything I loved about them all — the death-defying stunts, the historical mystery, the exotic locations — and even managed to better them. Gameplay could flit between slick shooting, electrifying platforming and easy-going puzzle solving in the blink of an eye.
And Naughty Dog, while they may not have been the first, were definitely the most predominant pioneers of quality storytelling in games, utilising performance capture to ground their characters in a way no other game before ever had, and not only set but continue to raise the bar for narrative-driven games, which few have even come close to matching.
Setting the first of many series traditions, its opening immediately grabs you. The PS3 was celebrating its first birthday, and until Uncharted came along the best exclusives were still launch day fodder Resistance: Among Thieves was revealed to the world. And come release, critics and players united in singing its praises from the rooftops everywhere.
So why is Uncharted 2 so brilliant? Where do I start? Everything that was great about the first was ratcheted up to eleven in the sequel: Uncharted 2 is one of the few games that consistently gets better and better with each successive level — a remarkable feat for any game, even more so for one which begins on such a high note.
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Dazed, wounded and blood-soaked, Nathan Drake struggles to scramble up a derailed train carriage which just so happens to be dangling off the edge of a cliff, its fixtures constantly creaking and giving way as you navigate your way to the top, the crumbing cliff edge only making matters worse. In fact, full credit goes to the entire cast: Nolan North, Emily Rose, Claudia Black — not one of them turns in a duff performance, their acting chops combined with the superb script and accomplished directing making even the cutscenes a pleasure to watch.
How many games can you say that about? Uncharted 2 flows with such graceful cohesion and impeccable pacing noticeably lacking in other games of its ilk, never reusing the same ideas and naturally drawing you forward with its level design. Jaw-dropping set-pieces involving collapsing buildings, exploding trains and a convoy of trucks racing up a mountain are broken up with a fine assortment of semi-challenging puzzles and scenes of reflective quietness that only Naughty Dog can nail.
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Underworld a year earlier — but they prove valuable additions to the formula, providing spectacle of a less explodey kind and preventing the game from becoming too bogged down in an overabundance of shooting and platforming. But the amount of variety crammed into the ten-hour running time is near unprecedented: The rot of boredom is never allowed a chance to set in.
It may stand only a couple of places short of my favourite game of all time, but if I could only play one game ever again, without hesitation, Uncharted 2 would be it.
Sir Francis Drake
It indisputably remains the pinnacle of the series, its success and greatness thought to be impossible to top. The story was a more personal one this time, focusing on the relationship between Nate and his mentor and surrogate father figure Sully, who had only a fleeting role in the previous game, revealing the origins of their partnership in an early surprise flashback level starring a younger, inexperienced but no less crafty Nathan Drake.
We also get to meet the devious Katherine Marlowe early doors, British of course, dead ringer for Helen Mirren, and leader of an ancient clandestine organisation who seems to know more about Nate and his past than we do. And, unsurprisingly, she wants the secrets Ubar conceals for her own evil ends. And as for what happens afterwards?
No guesses for what films Naughty Dog had been watching during production, then. After Among Thieves wrapped up, Naughty Dog was split into two teams, unbeknownst to the rest of the world.
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If the game had suffered from the team being cut in half it was barely noticeable. Sure, the first sequel was still the better game, but everything you expected from a third Uncharted was present and correct, from the super polished gameplay to the confident way it told its story. And of course, what treasure hunting adventure would be complete without a few ancient puzzles to solve?
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While not on quite as grand a scale as those found in Among Thieves , there were more of them this time and they were that little bit more tricky to crack although, still generally a breeze. Opposite to what fans expected, Uncharted 3 ends in a good place for its characters, rounding off the trilogy in a satisfactory manner while still leaving a few dashes of mystery to speculate over from all three games.
What hides within the Vessel of Brass? And above all, just who exactly is Nathan Drake? These are questions never explicitly answered, revealing only tidbits of information to fuel your own theories.
21 Powerful Drake Quotes You Need To Know
Unfortunately, this was Uncharted sans Naughty Dog, and it showed. And the business of Drake is still very much booming, thank you very much. The Toronto hip-hop superstar, who logged yet another No. And since the local dates were abruptly bumped from their original start date of Aug. The Next Generation acolyte ever dared anticipate.
People are paying attention.
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The slow demise of the CD and the return of vinyl LPs to prominence was a godsend for many of us fed up with albums hopelessly padded out to reach the CD maximum of 80 minutes, heralding a return to the more manageable and minute lengths. And Drake knows how to game streaming services. In more ways than one: Although maybe Drake just thinks in double-album terms.