The Uncharted franchise is series of third-person action-adventure games for the PlayStation 3
. There is also a prequel to the games in the form of a series of motion comics.
The series follows the ventures of Nathan Drake
, a wise-cracking treasure hunter as he attempts to find mythical artifacts of historical relevance. The franchise is heavily influenced by films like Indiana Jones or National Treasure which romanticize adventure.
The games were developed exclusively for the PlayStation 3 by Naughty Dog
. More than any other developer Naughty Dog has truly 'mastered the cell' with the Uncharted series and the games are some of the best looking and most exciting games in the current generation.
Released on November 20, 2007, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune was Naughty Dog's first game on the PlayStation 3. Having worked on Crash Bandicoot
and Jak & Daxter
for the PlayStation
and PlayStation 2
respectively, the developers said they wanted to create a new IP that was more suited to the new hardware. This meant both a new look and new gameplay, opting for a photo-realistic visual style and more 'hardcore' shooting mechanics than their previous titles.
The game focuses on Nathan Drake's adventure as he attempts to find the lost city of El Dorado by following the path left by his ancestor, explorer Sir Francis Drake
. His first clue leads him to an uncharted island, on which most of the game takes place. Here he is left stranded with journalist Elena Fisher
and old friend Victor Sullivan
, with a group of pirates chasing them down in a race to find the treasure first.
Drake's Fortune was well received by critics, earning itself an 88 on Metacritic. It was universally praised for it's visuals, story and production values, but critics mentioned poor gunplay, short length and some technical issues as the game weaknesses. As of the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2009
it has sold 2.3 million copies worldwide.
Among Thieves was released on October 13, 2009. This time around Naughty Dog was striving to make "a playable summer blockbuster". The game strives to be far bigger in scope; it features different environments, including snowy mountains and war-torn cities, and it has heaps of epic set-piece moments. The developers also added several new features, such as a stealth gameplay mechanic, as well as co-operative and competitive multiplayer.
This game's focus is on the famous explorer Marco Polo. When Drake is approached by some old colleagues he is brought into an epic quest to find the lost city of Shangri-La and the Cintimani Stone before a Serbian war criminal. This time around the journey takes Drake around the world to locations including Tibet, Nepal, Borneo and Istanbul.
Uncharted 2 received universally excellent reviews. It has a Metacritic rating of 96, making it the second highest-rated PlayStation 3 game of all time, Grand Theft Auto IV
being the first. The game won many awards; including Game of the Year from many publications, including Giant Bomb
. Reviewers noted that the game improved over its predecessor in almost every way.
The third installment in the franchise was officially confirmed by Naughty Dog on December 9th, 2010. This time around, Nathan Drake is in search of the lost city "Iram of the Pillars" in the Arabian Peninsula. The story will also dive deeper into Drake's relationship with his mentor, Victor Sullivan. The game will also expand on its online multiplayer and co-op capabilities.
The games have three main pillars of gameplay; combat, traversal, and puzzle solving, with combat taking up the largest portion of gameplay. The first game also features several vehicle sections and the second features some turret sections.
Combat is a mixture of both third-person shooting and simple hand-to-hand combat mechanics. The shooting takes place from an over the shoulder view that can be compared to games like Gears of War
using weapons varying from crossbows
. Hand-to-hand portions of combat are handled using either single button-mash for weaker enemies or simple two button combos for stronger enemies. Uncharted 2 also features stealth mechanics and quick-time
combat sequences for some bosses.
Traversal and puzzle-solving sections can be likened to the Tomb Raider
games, though, notably, Uncharted's traversal requires far less precision, opting for looser controls. Puzzles are fairly rare in Uncharted, and for anyone who has played similar games before they are relatively easy; due largely to the presence of Drake's journal
, which provides hints to the player.
Both games also include hidden 'treasures' throughout the levels which players can find to unlock trophies, characters skins, concept art, video features about development, gameplay modes, and additional weapons.
Motion ComicsUncharted: Eye of Indra
is a 4 part set of motion comics available on the PlayStation Network
. The series is based about 4 months before the events of Drake's Fortune and focuses around Drake's quest to find the Eye of Indra; a mythical artifact of great value. The comics feature Eddy Raja
as well as adding several new characters to the Uncharted universe; including Eddy's sister Rika Raja and Daniel Pinkerton, who are both available for download as multiplayer skins for Uncharted 2. Both Nolan North
and James Sie
return to voice their characters for the series.
Nathan Drake is the main protagonist for the Uncharted series and the main playable character in the games. He is a wise-cracking every-man treasure hunter who is skilled in combat and well-read in history. Most of his life has, presumably, been spent in search of lost treasure and he has a particular interest in artifacts with historical significance.
He's voiced by Nolan North
Elena is a professional journalist. In the first game she is filming a documentary and when she returns in the second she has been promoted as a news broadcaster. She meets Drake in the first Uncharted game and is a romantic interest for him in both games. Elena is a particularly strong female protagonist for the video game industry.
She is voiced by Emily Rose
Victor 'Sully' Sullivan is an old friends and business partner of Drake. He is something of a mentor figure for Drake and often provides the funding for his expeditions. Sully has appeared in both games but his part in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is rather minimal; only appearing in one level.
Victor Sullivan is voiced by Richard McGonagle
Chloe Frazer is an Australian treasure hunter who has a long romantic and business relationship with Drake. Her first appearance is in Uncharted 2, and she is Drake's main companion for a large portion of the game. She can be deceitful at times and isn't afraid to lie and betray to get what's best for her.
She is voiced by Claudia Black
There is confirmation via the PS.Blog
of a deal being signed between Sony Computer Entertainment and Columbia Pictures to produce and release a film adaptation of Uncharted. The team behind the movie so far will be comprised of Avi Arad
, Charles Roven
, Ari Arad
and lex Gartner
. As always, things may change.
The Uncharted games have been quite influential in the development of story-based games and how motion-capture is utilized for game production. Actors for Uncharted use motion-capture to act out the scenes as well as provided the dialogue at the same time which is relatively uncommon is gaming. The script writing process for the games is also unique in that actors will rehearse and perform together with a certain amount of openness in the script. This means the games feature a lot of improvisation, leading to some of the best one-liners in video game history.
The Uncharted games both have soundtracks composed by television composer Greg Edmonson. He used several "different" instruments to craft a unique sound for the series, these include; shofar, didgeridoos, counch shells, harmonic flutes and Tibetan bowls. Both games won several awards for their original soundtracks.
Soundtracks for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune are both available on the iTunes Store and the PlayStation Network.
The track lists for both games are as follows:
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
- Nate's Theme
- Grave Robbing
- Sir Francis Drake
- The Search for el Dorado
- Uncharted Island
- The Fortress
- Unlocking the Past
- Drowned City
- Heading Upriver
- Treasure Vault
- A Bitter End
- Unwelcome Guests
- The Bunker
- Drake's Elegy
- El Goddamn Dorado
- Uncharted Theme
- Uncharted: the Eldorado Megamix BY DJ Shadow
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
- Nate's Theme 2.0
- The City's Secret
- Bustin' Chops
- Breaking and Entering
- Desperate Times
- Helicopter and Tank
- Marco Polo
- The Monastery
- Train Wrecked
- Cat and Mouse
- The Gates of Shambhala
- Broken Paradise
- Brutal Combo Mambo
- Among Thieves
- A Rock and a Hard Place
- The Road to Shambhala
The Uncharted games, particularly Among Thieves have collectively won over 50 awards from various gaming publications. These awards include, but are not exclusive to the following:
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune IGN
- Best Action Game (2007)
- PS3 Game of the Year (2007)
- Best Graphics Technology (PS3 2007)
- Best Original Score (PS3 2007)
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Giant Bomb's Game of the Year 2009
13th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards
- Game of the Year (also Users' Pick)
- Best Graphics
- The Northies - Best Performance By Nolan North
- Best New Non-Player Character
10th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards
- Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction
- Outstanding Achievement in Animation
- Outstanding Achievement in Visual Engineering
- Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction
- Outstanding Achievement in Story - Original
- Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition
- Outstanding Achievement in Game Play Engineering
- Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design
Writers Guild of America Awards 2009 9th Annual NAViGaTR Awards
- Game of the Year
- Best Writing
- Best Technology
- Best Visual Arts
- Best Audio
2010 GAME British Academy Video Games Awards
- Outstanding Adventure Game Sequel
- Camera Direction in a Game Engine
- Direction in a Game Cinema
- Lead Performance in a Drama (Nolan North)
IGN Best of 2009
- Use of Audio
- Original Score
GameSpot's Best Games of 2009
- Overall Game of the Year (also Readers' Choice)
- Overall Award for Visual Excellence (also Readers' Choice)
- Overall Award for Excellence in Sound (also Readers' Choice)
- Overall Best Story (also Readers' Choice)
- Best Multiplayer Game (PS3-specific)
- Best Action/Adventure Game (also Readers' Choice)
- Best Graphics, Technical (also Readers' Choice)
- Best Voice Acting (also Readers' Choice)
GameTrailers Game of the Year Awards 2009
- Game of the Year
- Best Graphics, Artistic
X-Play Best of 2009
- Best Single-Player Campaign
- Best Third-Person Shooter
- Best Story
- Best Graphics
1UP Readers' Choice Awards 2009 Editors' Special Recognition
- Game of the Year
- Best Animation
- Best Writing
Spike Video Game Awards 2009
- The "GPU Gods" Award for Most Impressive Visuals
GameSpy – Best Games of 2009
- Game of the Year
- Best Graphics
GamePro's Best Games of 2009 Yahoo – Best Games of 2009 Joystiq's Best of 2009
- PlayStation 3 Game of the Year (also Gamers' Choice)
- The Pay Attention, Hollywood Award
– #1 Destructoid Game of the Year 2009
– WinnerKotaku's 2009 Game of the Year
– Winner (also Readers' Choice)