Naughty Dog's PlayStation 3 debut is shaping up to be something special. We played through the game's opening scenes.
For every generation of PlayStation, US developer Naughty Dog has introduced a new star. For PS one, it was Crash Bandicoot, while PS2 saw the arrival of Jak and Daxter. The happy tradition is set to continue as the team prepares a new adventure exclusively for PlayStation 3 - Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.
Reasoning that the power of PS3 allows for more convincing, detailed animation than ever before, Naughty Dog has dispensed with the cartoon characters that made it famous and is making a game based on the adventures of a human - Nathan Drake. But a more realistic approach doesn't make for a humdrum simulation by any means. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is a thrill-packed adventure, drawing influences from the likes of Indiana Jones to create a game that makes you want to keep on playing to see what's round the next corner.
Welcome to the Jungle
The first thing to make an impression as the game begins is the game's advances in the graphical department. Nathan and his companion crash-land on an island in an opening scene that demonstrates remarkable facial animation, instantly making the game's characters more believable than ever. The overall look is colourful and stylised - rather than an attempt at photo-realism - and it suits the premise perfectly.
With Nathan making it to a jungle clearing in one piece, the game begins proper and you get to explore the lush, tropical surroundings. There's not long to enjoy the view though, as our hero's presence on the island seems to have upset rather a lot of gun-toting enemies - which means you soon get to try the game's combat system.
Naughty Dog is on top of its game here too, as gun battles are accessible, and get pretty frantic. Nathan can duck behind cover with a press of the Circle button and nip out to take shots with L1. Elsewhere, there's inventive use of the SIXAXIS Wireless Controller's motion-sensing capability, which is used to keep him upright as he balances on a narrow log.
This is barely scraping the surface of the adventures that await in Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, as there'll be more than just jungle to conquer if Drake is to find what he's looking for. Keep an eye out for more on the game as the release date approaches later this year.
Abandoned cities reclaimed by nature. A population decimated by a modern plague.
$69.95 - a small price, a year of gaming.