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SGD '07: Joystiq hands-on with Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

Kevin Kelly

While we've talked about Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (which we now decree shall be referred to as Uncharted from here on in, to save on all the typing) before, this is the first chance that we've had to spend any time actually playing the PlayStation 3 title.

At Sony's Gamer's Day, we watched a trailer that was extremely cinematic in nature, and the game actually looks like it could be a movie starring people like Paul Walker and Jessica Alba. Oh wait, that was called Into The Blue. Okay, change the girl, tweak the plot, throw in a search for El Dorado, and that's about the theme of Uncharted.

Gallery: Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (Sony Gamers Day 2007) | 12 Photos

You play Nathan Drake, a sort of combination between Robert Langdon from The DaVinci Code and Indiana Jones. He's trying to piece together clues to find the fabled city of gold, and manages to get stranded on an island in the Pacific that houses an ancient Spanish city overgrown by a jungle. There's the requisite gunfights with mercenaries, figuring out puzzles, and leaping around on ruins. One person watching us play said, "Huh ... so this is kinda like Tomb Raider without the boobs?"

Well, we can honestly say that Tomb Raider never looked this good. The jungle level we played in was pretty darn gorgeous, especially in 1080p, though some things still need to be ironed out. We shot several pirates / mercenaries in the face... and they just kept on coming. Maybe they're just more resilient these days. The character animations are great, though they were sometimes oddly timed when we jumped on rocks and through streams.

Nathan is made to be fairly tough but still kind of goofy, which worked well in the game. His movements were the smoothest and easily the most fleshed out. There's a cover system that allows him to blind-fire and use all sorts of different weapons that he picks up along the way. The trailer shows him figuring out some puzzles and consulting an ancient map, but we didn't get to do any of that Goonies-type stuff. Dammit.

Sony was more than happy to let us know that it would have taken three DVD discs to hold this game, whereas it fits handily on one Blu-ray disc. Fans of pulp-fiction and old-school serials will like the storyline, and if they are able to nail the gameplay down this should be plenty of fun. Uncharted should be out "sometime this fall" -- that's what what Sony told us for pretty much every title.

The opening scenes and trailer for the game.

The developers walk us through the game.

We finally get our greedy little hands on it.

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