Uncharted: Drake's Fortune PS3

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune PS3
The PS3’s premiere adventure game may not be the most original on the market — it’s an archaeological amalgam of Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider (in a meta-moment, our fortune-hunting hero is even referred to as a "tomb robber”) with some Gears of War-style duck’n’cover mechanics thrown in. But the key is always execution and Naughty Dog, the team behind the cartoonish platformer Jak and Daxter, simply killed it. This game boasts serious production values — they even borrowed Lucas’s Skywalker Session Orchestra to perform the score — and Uncharted’s stylized graphical realism shows off the PS3’s prowess, vital for a first-party exclusive title. It’s a pleasure wandering the lush, waterfall-filled jungles and exploring the ancient, crumbling ruins. More importantly, the developers hired great voice actors, used motion-capture for the cut-scenes and know how to spin a pulpy yarn, even if the gameplay often resorts to such puzzle-solving clichés like exploding barrels and sliding stones (hard to take seriously after being so mercilessly mocked in The Simpsons Game). We play as Nathan Drake, a treasure-seeker trying to find his alleged ancestor Sir Francis Drake’s, um, fortune, which has something to do with El Dorado, the lost city of gold. Along the way he’s aided by a gambling indebted pal and a spunky female reporter — are there any other kind? — though she’ll require rescuing, too. From the moment the game begins, with an attack by modern-day pirates off the coast of Panama, the fun rarely relents — unless you’re stuck on a puzzle, though even then your companions will help if you take too long. It’s a relatively short game, and quite linear, but that works here because Naughty Dog is not creating a world, they’re telling a cinematic story filled with explosive set-pieces. It’s just that they’re leaving it up to you to make it play out. (Naughty Dog/Sony)