A look Back on Uncharted A Thief’s End
“He was hell-bent on keeping his treasure, no matter the cost to the others
Welcome back everyone to Part 2 of my Uncharted: A Thief’s End blog. In this part I will be talking about more of the story to a Thief’s End as well as the gameplay, and my likes and dislikes. I will be also mentioning more of my favorite chapters and talking about Drake and Elena throughout the rest of the game starting at For Better or Worst. I will mention this again, that for me as a player of Uncharted this game packs everything we know about these wonderful characters into one game, and then has it all come to a wonderful end where the player is free to use his or her imagination to create the rest of their future. I am so happy that Naughty Dog ended the characters of Nathan Drake, Elena Fisher and Victor Sullivan on such a positive note. Nobody dies, and Drake and Elena stay together and have a daughter, Cassie Drake. On top of that, Drake and Elena go legit and buy Jameson’s business. Victor Sullivan stays in touch with the family and becomes a type of Uncle to Cassie along with Sam Drake.
I am going to start off by talking a little bit about Drake and Sam’s encounter with Evelyn in the chapter: Brothers Drake. This chapter is not included in my favorites, I only mention it because of this encounter. Even though I feel this chapter was an interruption to the game flow for me, it is an important side chapter involving family history and more of Drake’s childhood. Also, it’s very important that we learn that Drake was not always Nathan’s last name, but they change their names. First, I really enjoyed Evelyn’s story and in some sort of creepy way, we learn even more about this curse for treasure hunting and how it has destroyed families. Henry Avery went crazy, Jonathan Burnes went crazy, Drake’s mother killed herself, and Evelyn utterly abandoned her family responsibilities for her lust for treasure, traveling and lost artifacts. It was amazing that as your walking through Evelyn’s mansion, Nathan and Sam know all the history behind every piece of artifact. As your walking around discovering treasures, you are also uncovering Evelyn’s story with her husband and son. They both met as archaeologists, traveled for a while together, got married and had a son. Her husband got really sick, her son graduated from college, yet she was there for none of it and continued her quests for more and more artifacts.
Evelyn’s hoarding of treasure became so bad that a nearby museum was even trying to tell her to let them have it so other people could enjoy their richness. You learn this by picking up a note she burned in her fireplace. Even though I loved her passion for history, seeing the results of something consuming you to the point of neglecting marital and motherly responsibilities is so sad. Her husband never condemned her or judge and remained faithful to her. Sadly, one of the last notes you pick up is a goodbye letter from her son who saw what she was doing and never wanted to see her or talk to her again. It was cool to flip through Cassandra’s notebook (Drakes mother) and see where they originally picked up Henry Avery’s trail. In the Epilogue, when you go through it again as Drakes daughter you also get to see where Nate also originally got the idea to go look for Sir Frances Drakes ring, and slowly all the pieces start to fall together. Evelyn said something very important and that is that she thought Cassandra was the best historian there ever was, and she also seemed to agree with her that Sir Frances Drake had heirs. This is important because as we look back on the other Uncharted games we understand why Drake was the way he was, and why he carried that ring on his neck all the time. It is also my intention to give you a timeline of Nathan Drakes life at the end of this blog, as I have played through them multiple times and I can now put his life together like a biography.
Once the player reaches the chapter: At Sea, you will begin to see the emotional changes in Drake. There is a lot more soul searching going on and self-contemplation. Especially when he meets up with Elena later in For Better or Worst. In fact, that was a great title for the chapter based on the emotional tension. The conversations that take place between Elena and Drake are no longer joking around with each other but talking about the seriousness of their marriage. Throughout their time together you really begin to feel Drakes sorrow over what he did. Each time he approaches her about it, there are tears in both their eyes and Elena’s responses leave Drake to think really hard about what he did. Again, Drakes mistake was based on himself, he left her out because HE felt like this was about HIM and saving HIS brother, not about his marriage with Elena. Even Sully rebuked Nate stating that Elena has been through hell and back with Drake and holding out on her was selfish. I believe that Elena understands Drake more than the player knows, she just couldn’t understand that why after all that they have been through together he felt that he needed to lie. Top that off with the fact that he never told her about his brother. Period. But like every relationship that we find ourselves in, things slowly begin to surface that we have never seen before. Either way I feel it’s important to bring up their relationship because Naughty Dog made it a big focus for the second half of the game.
I also really enjoyed the downward spiral of Henry Avery in this game. For the first half of the game your thinking that Henry Avery is this legendary pirate with his cohorts of other famous pirates, their treasure, and their new-found colony of Libertalia. Then the moment Elena and Drake enter New Devon things start to get dark with Avery. First, the Gibbets. There are little clues along the way then you get to the entry of New Devon and the place is full of them. The moment those Gibbets came into the game it not only got a little creepier, but to think that this is what Avery did to anyone who he “thought” might betray him. Henry Avery and the pirates then steal the money from Libertalia’s Treasury utterly betraying the people of Libertalia that causes a big battle to ensue. Then of course there is New Devon itself where the player then learns that the pirates all start to turn on each other killing either their wives or relatives as signs of betrayal or revenge. My favorite part in New Devon is when you get to the room with all the pirates around the table and learn the trick Avery and Tew did to the other pirates. When I first got to this part of the game I was again reminded of the Goonies. Remember when the Goonies finally found the ship and found One Eyed Willie? That’s what this part reminded me of. How about when you get to that scene where you see one of the pirate’s wives skeleton hanging on the tree? Very good graphics, but also very creepy too. Last of all when you enter the Descent of Henry Avery you really get to see how psycho he got. All the skeleton hands, rib cages, and jaws that he used to describe different betrayal’s he “thought” he had. Then it only gets better when you get to the mummified bodies/booby-traps. This section of the game is as dark as it gets but it was a great chapter because you get to see how psychotic Henry became.
I loved the overall gameplay of Uncharted 4. When I first played through the game I was simply amazed at the programming and graphics. For all the PC players out there, I know that a computer has more clear and crisp graphics, but that is obviously a given. The thing with consoles is their continual improvement that leaves gamers anticipating for more. It’s awesome to see the improvement in game consoles, and honestly the graphics in Uncharted 4 are close to PC quality. Some of the chapters and places that you are at in this game are just mind blowing. Have you ever stopped while you’re playing and just focused on the detail in some of these chapters? For example, in the chapter: Once a Thief, it was a beautiful chapter. All the platforming in that chapter was so nice. From the grass to scaling the cliff side, it was amazing detail. On top of that the sunset, and the vines growing on the side of the building and how Naughty Dog blended the colors so smoothly, how the green leaves faded into orange and brown was just perfect.
I really enjoyed the shooting and the melee in Uncharted 4 and I feel that it improved significantly as Naughty Dog did a fantastic job with the melee and added so many ways that Drake attacks and counter attacks. Especially the way he dealt with the heavy’s (the guys in full armor and a helmet). What made these guys really challenging on Crushing is that you must take their helmet off before you can even start to deal damage to them. The only way to really deal with them is when you stealth kill them, but it takes careful timing. My heart rate would literally go crazy when I would try and stealth one of these guys without getting noticed. All is quiet, and I approach a heavy from behind, then I jump on his back, mashing square to get his helmet off. While I am mashing square to do this, I am praying that another guy doesn’t notice me. Finally, the helmet is off, then I mash square and triangle like crazy to quickly knock him out. Once he is out and my heart is going psycho, I quickly get behind cover and wait for 3 minutes to check where all the other A.I. are at. Of course, this is all based on not getting noticed in the first place. If you get noticed, your usually dead. Some situations in this game are insane and I honestly suggest on Crushing difficulty to try and go for the Peaceful Resolution Trophy (Stealth chapters 13-15, not killing anyone). Unless you’re an insane gamer and good. The battles in chapters 14-15 are stupid crazy and stupid unfair. I also suggest trying to go for the Ghost in the Cemetery Trophy as well. (The Grave of Henry Avery). Mike Bettencourt is amazing on his walkthroughs in getting these trophies, but don’t just trust a walkthrough because even though I was literally following him step for step I would still get noticed. Some of these trophies I would get were just that one time. I would later go back and just for fun try and stealth some of these areas again, and it never worked again. Everything is timing and patience.
I feel that on Crushing difficulty on Uncharted 4, it really forces you to use stealth on some areas whereas on the first 3 Uncharted games they gave you a little more liberty to choose what you wanted to do. Some areas on Uncharted 4 if you go out guns blazing it will take the average player 6-7 tries to beat it, whereas if you stealth it, it will take you 2 tries. On Uncharted 1-3, you can go out guns blazing or stealth and beat it in 2 tries. I have also heard it said that a lot of people feel that Crushing difficulty on Uncharted 4 was like Brutal difficulty on the Remastered Uncharted games. That may be stretching it a bit, but I personally feel that Crushing difficulty on Uncharted 4 was slightly more difficult. Especially the A.I., oh my goodness how quickly they would notice you, and their routes were different. Their routes were mixed well, where if you stayed somewhere for too long and watched them they would take a different route. There were times though where I could swear I rolled behind cover quickly enough, yet I would get noticed. Now I have seen some videos where on hard chapters (Marooned, Thieves of Libertalia, and No Escape) guys would brutalize the A.I., and I’m sitting back like “Give. Me. A. Break.” Then I learned from Mike Bettencourt and Seraphim17 that the video where they are successful in doing that, it is their 50-70th attempt. What!?. Yep, you better believe it, some people seriously have no lives. Not like the rest of us who must work 50 hrs a week, pay bills, and raise a family.
In continuing my favorite chapters in Uncharted 4, they are Join Me in Paradise, For Better or Worse, and New Devon. This again was a process of elimination because I could have chosen 3 other chapters as well but for the sake of length I had to shorten it. The reason I chose these 3 chapters is because they were beautiful. The environments in these chapters were phenomenal, the detail and creativity blew my mind away. Also, these chapters offered a good mixture platforming and battles. Join Me is Paradise is where you finally discover Libertalia and upon entering this chapter the player gets just as blown away as the characters themselves. The little town you walk through is filled with such amazing detail and discovery. Tons of Journal Notes, Journal Entries, and Optional Conversations that are all very easy to miss. I loved the Optional Conversation that Drake has with Sam in the bar, it was a good heart to heart, but even in that conversation you can see how Drake and Sam aren’t as much alike as we think. You also start to discover that something bad happened, you get the clue when you discover the dead cows, and how they were abandoned and left for dead. I really enjoyed how Naughty Dog made everything look as old as it was, I love the effect of nature taking over what was once a thriving town. I loved just walking around and looking at all the details in all the houses and stores. Discovering the Journal Note of a kid who wrote to his father about where he was at and what he was doing, though sadly it seems he never got the letter sent. Then you meet up with Shoreline again and this battle to me was always very taxing. I simply hate it. I don’t know what it is, it’s just the way that section is laid out that makes it hard to fight the enemy. They are everywhere and come from everywhere; it’s really hard to keep up. Of course, if you’re going for the Peaceful Resolution trophy then you have to stealth this whole section without killing anyone.
For Better or Worst is where Naughty Dog finally teams up Drake and Elena again. It is also the start of this chapter that the player begins to realize that Uncharted 4 is a long game. For me it was at the start of Brother’s Drake that I began to feel that this game is long. This chapter gets emotional. There is a lot of enthusiasm between them both, but the issue of him lying to her comes up a lot in this chapter and the next. This again was yet another beautiful chapter. It was gorgeous to see the running river, the trees, bushes, shrubs, and the old architecture with the elevators. The platforming was great too and solving puzzles with Elena was fun. On crushing difficulty, I was absolutely not looking forward to the elevator battle. You know what’s so hard about this section? Its limited ammo. It’s not that the enemy is hard to shoot at, it’s that when you pick up a weapon you only get six bullets. And did I mention the enemy has unlimited grenades? The good thing about it is that the elevator you’re on is indestructible, but for you to progress you have to keep climbing up the cliffs. On Crushing difficulty, you have to conserve ammo, take your time and get headshots. The elevator battle took me 4-5 tries on Crushing, and I spent about a half hour doing it too. The checkpoints in this section stink too. Let me tell you how many times I almost made it to the top, died and had to start all over again. That’s another thing about Crushing in Uncharted 4, the checkpoints are terrible. On the battle before this one where you had to steal the jeep from Shoreline was hard as well. On Crushing difficulty, I preferred to get the trophy and steal the jeep without killing anyone. This section is laid out in a weird way because the enemy has to upper ground on you, very little cover and they can shoot down at you. And did I also mention they have unlimited grenades? On most sections on Crushing I preferred to just stealth it instead of going out guns blazing.
New Devon was also I very beautiful chapter. Though when you meet up with Shoreline again I suggest using stealth on this section as well. It is an area where the enemy is everywhere and sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where you are getting shot from. I was able to both use stealth and guns on the section. There is a complete stealth strategy on this section as well, but what I also did was a “hit and run” strategy much like I did on Marooned. I would stealth as many guys as possible then once I got noticed I would use the water to my advantage. That’s also probably why this section didn’t seem to hard. I would take out two guys, jump in the water and swim all the way back to that little island with the shrubs, and wait for the A.I. to reset their routes and repeat. Picking up a Mettler if you can helps because the scope can give you an advantage especially with the guys all the way in the back and any heavy’s with helmets. Going into the Pirates mansions was cool too. Great attention to detail, especially how every mansion was different. I must mention the ambush battle here because this was absolutely taxing and the only way to beat it is to deal with it. Honestly the only way I beat it was luck. I’m not much of a believer in luck but I also know God isn’t involved with my game playing, so it was luck. The key to this section on Crushing is have your grenades full, have a magnum, and a Chinalink. You can pick these up on the previous battle section. On the battles where you don’t have time to think and you are just thrown into them you must have to right weapons. This was a battle that I was not looking forward to at all, and I think it took me 4-5 tries on Crushing. Mike Bettencourt and Seraphim17 both give good strategies on this section, but even with that it was still very hard. Sometimes you have to mix your own ideas on how to beat something with someone else’s ides in order to beat it.
Most of my dislikes in Uncharted 4 have to do mostly with a couple of chapters. There were some annoying platforming issues I had along with (again) how perfectly the A.I. would throw grenades. When it came to the grenades the A.I. was just a little too perfect with them to the point of being absolutely ridiculous. First, I am going to talk about two chapter’s that were really hard for a lot of people, those chapters were Marooned and No Escape. Let me start with Marooned. When I first played through this game on Crushing I was stuck on Marooned for a week. Of course, I’m talking about the section where Nate meets up with Shoreline after being shipwrecked. No matter what strategies I tried to use, no matter how much I tried to approach this section I would die a lot. Sometimes I would spend 30-45 minutes taking my time using stealth and hit and run strategies to only end up dying. What is it about Marooned? It is the way the map of this section is laid out. You can only go one way through this section, there is no avoiding the enemy A.I. they must be dealt with. It also seems that the A.I. always has the higher ground, that there is no really good cover. You’re always getting noticed and shot at from somewhere. Seriously there were times where I could not see the enemy at all and a grenade would land right next to me. If I can’t see the enemy then they shouldn’t be able to see me and yet their stupid grenades would land right next to me. Yes, there is a stealth strategy through this section where you can avoid enemy contact, but what I’m saying is just the general flow of this section. There was a time where I tried this section like 7 times in a row and for the life of me I could not beat it. One time I had spent 30 minutes carefully stealth killing guys. When I reach the second section of this part I was doing good until I mis-jumped, Drake didn’t grab the ledge that I thought was there and I died. I seriously thought that I was not going to beat this game on Crushing.
In fact, it was this section on Marooned that forced me to look up walkthroughs. To look to someone else for help on a video game was a humbling experience for me, because on all the other Uncharted games, I never needed them or used them. There are two strategies I used on Marooned. 1. The hit and run. 2. Stealth. Now, in order to get the Peaceful Resolution trophy you have to stealth this section, if it’s too challenging on Crushing try Hard. For the Hit and Run strategy (I got this from Seraphim17) I would stealth as many guys as possible on the first part of this encounter and collect a ton of ammo. Then I would approach the second half of this section by picking off as many guys as I could. I would stay on the upper cliff on the first section, pick some guys off who were at the second section, run away, recover health, and repeat. The main problem with this section is that Heavy in the back, his accuracy with his machine gun is stupid. I could not get close to this guy, the moment he notices you on Crushing it’s like two bullets and your dead, plus he doesn’t move anywhere else, he stays back there walking from side to side shooting you. You’re not going to believe how I got this guy, I used my handgun, aimed for his head at a far distance, picked my shots carefully and one bullet at a time I finally killed him. This heavy alone was a 20-minute encounter. I am not going to talk about the stealth strategy for the sake of length, but the stealth strategy was the most intense stealth I have done in a long time.
No Escape was a chapter that was amazingly stupidly hard on Crushing. Again, it is kind of like the ambush section in New Devon, your just thrown into it and have to just get it over with. I was also stuck on this section for a few days and again I used Seraphim17’s strategy. Now Mike Bettencourt’s strategy was to just jump down there and start shooting guys, picking your shots, and being aggressive. I tried his strategy a couple times and when I would get to the second half where Nate says “Seriously!?” a grenade launcher dude would kill me. How many of you out there hated how long Nate would get stunned by a grenade launcher blast? I would be behind in cover on the deck of the ship, and then a grenade launcher guy would shoot a grenade into my cover and it would blow me out of cover and another guy would shoot me. So frustrating. Your like “Come on Drake get up!!” and then you die. Again, the checkpoints are terrible here as well, I would be doing so good, I would get so close to killing the two heavies’ and then I would die and have to restart the whole battle again. I get the realism that Naughty Dog incorporated into this game, it’s awesome, but on a difficulty like Crushing it’s just unfair. Like at least make a decent checkpoint halfway through this battle. It’s really only this first battle sequence that is hard to push through, the rest of the battles throughout this chapter are fun, even on Crushing. When this encounter first opens, you jump down onto a cliff where you meet two guys, by the time you take them out and jump down to the ship your screen is in the gray already. It’s just brutal. Don’t even get me started on the “gas mask” guys that just rush you and want to choke you out.
I spent about 45 minutes on this section, and it ended with me jumping down from the cliff and engaging a gas mask guy. I spent the majority of my time hanging from the cliff picking guys off one by one until it was just the gas mask guy down there. He would just sit there and wait for me. The funny thing is that Elena was down there shooting him, but he would never engage her, and her bullets never killed him. So much for having an A.I. partner. So, I realized I just got to do this, because I needed his Uzi for one more guy. You want to talk about mashing square to get this guy, man it was close. He gets me in his headlock and by the time I kill him my screen is nearly white. A lot of people would say that on Crushing once those guys get a hold of you your dead, and their right, maybe I lucked out again. I climbed back up the cliff hoping that some guys stupid perfect aim doesn’t kill me. Once I am in the safe I carefully find the last guy and kill him. Once I beat that section I paused the game, stood up, and celebrated. These were the only two chapters that I would say I really struggled with, and it mostly has to do with the way the chapters flow. How your introduced into a chapter or battle scene changes the flow of a game. You may be doing great throughout the game, but if your introduced to a battle scene a certain way you will begin to realize that maybe you’re not as good as you thought.
This is going to sum up part 2 of Uncharted: A Thief’s End. I really enjoyed going back on these games and talking about them I hope you have all enjoyed them as well, thank all of you for reading these and thank you Indie Game Lover for letting me be a part of your blog site. Even though this end’s Nathan Drake’s journey I still have one more Uncharted to do and that is The Lost Legacy. Below is Nathan Drakes Timeline.
1. Cassandra (Drake and Sam’s mom) is married (husband remains nameless), meets Evelyn, and they do some archaeological work together, professors of history.
2. Cassandra commits suicide (reason unknown), Drake’s dad surrenders them to the Catholic Orphanage. They remain orphans.
3. Nathan and Sam remain in Orphanage. Sam discovers where their mom’s stuff is. They go to Evelyn’s mansion to find it.
4. Evelyn tells them that their mom believed Sir Francis Drake had descendants.
5. They escape the mansion and change their lasts names to Drake.
6. Sam and Nathan go their separate ways for a while. Sam takes a job offer (Mentioned in A Thief’s End)
7. Nathan ends up in Colombia, to steal Sir Francis Drakes ring. Nathan meets Victor Sullivan (Victor is doing work for Marlow) (Drake’s Deception).
8. Later, Sam, Nathan and Rafe Adler begin to pick up Henry Averys trail in a prison in Panama. Sam gets shot, Nathan believes him to be dead, he escapes with Rafe, does some work with him but goes his separate way. (A Thief’s End)
9. Nathan and Sully do some treasure hunts and adventuring together (Their conversations in the Uncharted games). Nathan meets Eddie Raja.
10. Nathan meets Elena Fisher who is a T.V. Show Journalist for a history channel. Nathan uses the coordinates on Sir Francis Drakes Ring to find his coffin. (Drakes Fortune).
11. Nathan and Elena gain some history. Meets Harry Flynn.
12. Nathan goes on a hunt for Shambahla and the Tree of Life. Meets Chloe Frazer. Elena as a reporter hunts for Lazaravic, meets up with Drake in Nepal. (Among Thieves).
13. Nathan and Chloe date for a little while. Nathan and Elena get married. Nathan and Elena separate.
14. Nathan and Sully meet up with Charlie Cutter (Charlie and Victor know Marlow) to find the Sands of Atlantis. Charlie plays a “double agent” as well as Victor. (Drakes Deception).
15. Nathan and Elena reunite and get married.
16. Rafe bails Sam out of the Panama prison. Sam comes up with Hector Alcazar story. (A Theifs End).
17. Nathan and Elena are married and have their own house. Nate works for Jameson, Elena writes for a magazine about traveling the world. (A Theifs End).
18. Sam finds Nathan and lies to him about Hector Alcazar. They pick up their hunt for Henry Avery’s treasure, Nathan contacts Sully for help. (A Theifs End).
19. Nathan and Sam find Henry Averys treasure, with the help of Sully and Elena (A Theirs End).
20. Nathan and Elena go legit and purchase Jameson’s business. They have a daughter named Cassie. Sully and Sam stay in contact with Nate and Elena. Sully and Sam are Uncles to Cassie.
21. Sam and Sully team up and do some jobs together. (Sam teams up with Chloe later, The Lost Legacy)
22. Cassie travels with her parents (Nate and Elena) on multiple jobs.
23. Cassie discovers Cassandra’s journal (Her grandmother) and Nates collectables she found in Nates office.
24. Nathan Drake and Elena Drake tell their daughter Cassie about their past adventures. The rest is history.
A look back on Uncharted A Thief’s End: Part 1
“I am a man of Fortune, and I must seek my Fortune.”
Hello everyone and welcome back to the journey we are taking through the Uncharted series. This time around I will be doing a Thief’s End in two parts. The reason I have chosen to do it this way is that there is a lot of ground to cover and I have a lot to talk about. The title to this game pretty much tells you what it is going to be about, it is the climax to Nathan Drake. We all know Nathan Drake as a treasure hunter/ thief and well, this is his end. When I first saw the title to this game I was a bit worried, because I thought that Nathan Drake was going to die. I am so happy that Naughty Dog decided not to do that, instead they ended it in a way that you are free to use your imagination as in to how the characters live the rest of their lives. For those of you who are interested only in the gameplay may not like part 1 that much and may want to wait for part 2. This part of a Thief’s End I am only going to be talking about the main characters, some of my favorite chapters and I may mention a few other things.
For starters the story was great. In this adventure Drake and his friends embark on a journey to find the long-lost treasure of Henry Avery. The story goes that Henry Avery and the other Pirates stole this treasure from different places he traveled to. With all his money he promised the riches of Paradise to any who would want to join him in his quest for liberty. Together Henry Avery and his Pirates built Libertalia, they drafted their own Constitution, laws, and way of life. Anyone was free to leave the British Crown and go to Libertalia to start a new way of life. Henry Avery and his Pirates had other plans: to steal all the treasure and go to New Devon, but from the start, Henry Avery wanted the treasure all to himself, and so the story ends with all the Pirates killing each other. Lastly, Henry Avery and Thomas Tew kill each other on his ship where the treasure remained hidden for 200 plus years. Henry Avery and Thomas Tew also established an initiation process for any would wanted to join his crew. They had to get through various puzzles and trials to prove themselves worthy, and if they survived, they would get the following clue to where they needed to go next. Henry Avery was psychotic, starting with his misinterpretation of the Bible verses and the meaning of Paradise and of course murdering anyone who he thought was going to betray him. The treasure drove him crazy, and anyone from then on who sought to seek that treasure ended up going crazy as well, this is what also happened to Jonathan Burnes and his crew.
In Drakes Deception Naughty Dog started to begin to dig deeper into Nathan Drake. For any who read my previous blog on Drakes Deception noticed that it was getting to be more emotional. A Thief’s End gets even more emotional both with Drake personally, with his marriage with Elena, and his father figure Victor Sullivan. The choices that Drake makes in this game affect everyone around him and the developers of the story did a great job making the player feel the emotion and drama. We begin to learn a lot more about Drake, especially his past. I love playing the beginning of this game with the opening taking place at Drakes orphanage. Just playing this chapter alone one can see the difference in platforming from the PS3 console to the PS4 console. The body mechanics, jumping, grappling, sliding down roof tops, using a rope to swing and climb with and later in the game using the rope to pull boxes to climbing up ledges and walls, is absolutely beautiful. It was a great introduction chapter because we get to learn something entirely new about Drake that was never mentioned before in the Uncharted series. Nathan Drake has a brother. This was a great twist and addition to what we know about Nathan Drake.
I really enjoyed the fact that Drake and Elena are married in this game. I love all the memories in his attic of all the places that you’ve been too in the chapter titled, A Normal Life. This is important for the emotional part of the game, because when I first played this game I probably spent a good 30 min looking at everything and remembering the other games. On top of that I remembered my friend Joann too, and remembering all the times playing the other Uncharted games with her. Especially important for the character development is that we learn that Drake and Elena have made a promise to each other to not get involved in any more illegal treasure hunts. This also explains why Drake hasn’t been involved with or has seen Sully in a few years. Drake eventually learned his lesson about his stubbornness in his treasure hunts and didn’t want to risk losing Elena again. We have been traveling through the world of Uncharted with Drake and Elena for so long that to finally see them married in their own house is a breath of fresh air. For the first few chapters we learn that Nathan has gone legit and is working for a company that finds and recovers things that other people may have lost. The temptations never seem to leave Drake alone though, because his coworker Jameson tempts him with a “job” to find a lost ship, but of course Jameson doesn’t have the permits.
The father figure of Victor Sullivan really comes out in a Thief’s End. Victor Sullivan again has always been a key character to the shaping of Nathan Drake. In a Thief’s End we see Victor start to take a more protective role towards Drake. Victor knows that Sam is up to something and lying to Drake because he confronts him about it. Through the game the relationship between Sully and Drake is one where they both know that they shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing. Victor knows that this isn’t good for Drake and that Drake is lying to Elena, he even confronts him about that too. Sully’s character I would say is one of caution in this game. In fact, when Elena finally catches them in Madagascar with tears in her eyes she looks at Victor and all he can say is “I’m sorry”, no excuses or justifications just, “I know, I blew it.” Nathan, Elena, and Sully are like family, so the emotions are a lot stronger in this game. Nevertheless, Sully has always been a great character, and it was good to see in the Epilogue that they were still in contact with him. Sully and Nate both have the attitude that they just want to get this treasure hunt over with. They are no longer in it just for the kicks and thrill.
Enter Sam Drake, the long-lost brother of Nathan Drake. From what I have heard to my surprise is that not a whole lot of people liked his character. Learning about their childhood together really gave Nathan a lot more depth. Nathan Drake had always thought his brother was dead, so he never even thought about bringing him up to Elena. Also, we learned that Sam and Nathan were very educated guys, and too smart for their own good. They were both history experts, having learned as much as possible from their mom before she died. It was also intriguing to learn that they had originally change their last names to Drake, because like their mom, they believed they were descendants of Sir Francis Drake himself. Sam Drake was a typical older brother, but how? He was manipulative. There were a lot of characteristics in Sam Drake that I saw in my older brother. How Sam lied to Nathan to get him involved in something Nate never would have done. How is it that they do that? And when Nate tried to stay true to his promise to Elena that he didn’t live that life anymore, Sam gave him a guilt trip that was based on a lie anyway. It was a good twist because on my first play through I thought the whole story of his prison escape with Hector Alcazar was true. I mean Naughty Dog went so far as in to dedicate a chapter to Sam’s story to help convince the player of its validity.
Prior to the other Uncharted games, Nathan and Sam had previously began to pick up the trail to find Henry Avery’s lost treasure with their friend/business partner Rafe Adler. So, A Thief’s End is a continuation of this treasure hunt as it was just put on hold because Nate thought his brother died at the prison they escaped from. Rafe became too crazy for Drake that he went his separate way. Rafe was a great character and villain, I personally think I liked him better than Sam Drake character wise. What made Rafe a great villain was his envy and jealousy for Nathan Drake which we learn about on the last chapter. It seems that most of the villains in the Uncharted games are jealous of Drake and use his intellect to try to accomplish their treasure hunts while taking credit for it.
The Shoreline mercenary group headed up by Nadine Ross was a great addition. Nadine Ross was a great character, and I think that a lot of people liked her. Though in the Lost Legacy, people felt that her character changed a little. In A Thief’s End Nadine Ross was someone that even Rafe was afraid to cross; she was military trained, martial arts trained, and didn’t play games. I loved my first encounter with her at the Auction. When I first played it, I thought it was lame that you couldn’t beat her no matter how hard you tried. That scene was specifically designed for the player to lose the fight, so we could see how dangerous this chick was. I mean as Drake we are so used to beating everyone up it doesn’t matter who they are, but not Nadine, we couldn’t even get one hit in. I really enjoyed how each time she would get Drake pinned to the floor or bookcase you had the option of how you wanted to respond when she would ask you a question, that really helped with staying in the character. Then of course topping it off with getting kicked out of the window, after that happened I was like I hope I never meet her again. I also really enjoyed the second encounter with her when she took on Sam and Drake in the Thieves of Libertalia. I was pumped for this fight (LOL), but no matter what she still kicked our butts. I don’t know but I get the feeling Nadine really loves kicking people out of windows. I loved climbing up the building after she kicks Drake out of the window again and then he just bombs drop’s on her. It was great, Nate jumps off the edge yelling “Nadiiiinnne!” and then slams onto her and you both go through the floor.
There is one thing that is really noteworthy in all the Uncharted games and that is Drakes journal. For me as a player Drakes journal really drew me into the character and story. It is pretty awesome to see how much Naughty Dog has improved Drakes journal throughout the Uncharted series. A Thief’s End was top notch for me because as you work your way through the game you end up following a side story about Jonathan Burns. Also adding Drake’s drawings of where he finds clues, journal notes and journal entries just made everything really come to life. I really enjoyed the side story of Jonathan Burns because you actually end up following his trial to get closer finding Henry Avery’s treasure. On top of that you start to get clues that the hunt for this treasure really starts to have a psychological effect on people. The leaders of this treasure hunt all end up going crazy and killing their own people. Just as the Pirates started to pick each other off one by one, Jonathan Burns started to pick off his own men one by one.
I had a lot of favorite chapters in this game. Usually on all the other Uncharted games I only had a couple of favorite chapters. In A Thief’s End it was hard for me to choose. In this part I will do my first 4 favorite chapters and in Part 2 I would do the next 3. So yeah, there are 7 chapters I like and even these were hard to choose from, so I will try to keep them simple and straight to the point for the sake of the length of these blogs.
My first favorite chapter in A Thief’s End was Those Who Prove Worthy. I loved both of the chapters that took place in Scotland but the reason I chose this one had to do simply because of the scenery, platforming and puzzle solving. This chapter was a perfectly timed break for all the previous chapters that had a lot of shooting in them. The effects of the ice in this chapter was phenomenal along with the glacier effects. The colors of the environment and the way the light reflected off the ice. This chapter really warms the player up to all the platforming you will encounter in the rest of the game. The two things I really enjoyed was the sliding, and the rope to grapple with. These two additions to the overall platforming really brought the game to life and definitely gave me an Indiana Jones vibe. How many of you out there felt that this chapter had a Goonies feeling to it? I know I did, and it mostly had to do with the puzzles you had to solve. In fact, I would say that the number one movie I thought about most in this game was the Goonies simply because I had to do with Pirates and a lost treasure. My favorite puzzle here was the one where you had to turn all the wheels and line up the crosses a certain way for the door to open. Did you know that if you think you got it right and try to open the door Sam will stop you and ask, “Are you sure it’s right?” Also, most of the treasures in this chapter are super hard to discover. The reason behind that I think is that the graphic designers did such a good job blending the parts of the environment you can climb from the parts you cannot.
The Twelve Towers for most people, including me, was a great chapter. This chapter was as open world as Uncharted has ever got except of course for the Western Ghats in the Lost Legacy. Even though there was a general path through the chapter, the chapter itself was huge. This chapter out of all of them in A Thief’s End was the most beautiful. I was very happy to see that Naughty Dog incorporated the ability to drive a car and on top of that including the wench to use when you had to get up a muddy incline. I also loved the way they made the wench interactive, you had to wrap it around the wooden poles and planks then use the jeep to pull things down. My first few play throughs in this chapter I would spend 30-45 minutes just driving around, taking in the scenery, and enjoying the beauty of the environment. I loved the part where you got to go up the last muddy incline using the wench then the boulder comes loose and pushes you over the edge of the cliff. To top that off Drake nearly goes flying out of the jeep, then you have to climb up the jeep back into the driver’s seat then drive up the side of the cliff. Are you kidding me? Fantastic job Naughty Dog. I also really enjoyed the conversations between Drake, Sully and Sam as your driving around because you learn a lot more about them. Especially Sully, in fact we come to learn that Sully knew and did work for Hector Alcazar. Pretty much every villain in the series Sully knew in some way or another. The battles and gun fights in this chapter are pretty good too, I absolutely loved them especially the first encounter. How many of you were able to stealth the whole area without using a gun? I was only able to do it on hard, on crushing I kept getting noticed. There is a hit and run method I used also using the sniper rifle. I would stealth kill most of the guys all the way up the tower and then once I got enough sniper rifle ammo I would stealthily climb down, work my back toward the bushes where I parked the jeep and pick them off one by one running between cover using the bushes and boulders for cover. I really cannot say enough about this chapter, one could probably spend a few paragraphs about it, but let us move on.
Hidden in Plain sight was a great, all-around chapter. You got to walk around, meet people, discover, solve puzzles, and it ends with an epic gun fight. I really enjoyed walking through the crowd, buying an apple from the lady selling apples, acquiring a treasure by negotiating with a guy selling a compass, and of course the lemur stealing the apple. Those little bits of extra cinematics brought a little more realism into the gameplay. The whole puzzle inside the tower was cool to say the least. I loved working my way up and around the tower to ring the bells in the proper order. I will say it again; body mechanics and platforming were awesome in this section. The ending of this puzzle was stupendous. You ring the last bell on top using Drake to swing back and forth, then the whole thing collapses and as your falling you grab onto a gear, then you have to keep climbing it so you don’t die, the big bell then smashes onto top of it, and in the last second you use your rope to grab onto piece of metal to help break your fall. I remember after that happened I was like “whoa, let’s do it again”. I always look forward to that part whenever I play through this chapter. I also really enjoyed the puzzle underneath the tower where you must match the different pirate sigil’s in a certain order to unlock each door and then get the final clue to where Henry Avery went next. You know my first 3 play throughs I had to literally guess that last four pirate sigil’s, it didn’t matter that I had the rough drawings to go by I just could not figure it out! The real topper I think for this whole game was the end of this chapter. Naughty Dog took it to a whole other level, and I am mostly talking about Drake being dragged by a truck his rope is attached to. This section was astounding. First your hanging over a bridge dogging boats, then your being dragged through the mud while you have to shoot the enemy. When you think it is over a car slams into Drake and you must crawl out and shoot two guys at an awkward angle. Of course, it ends with an epic car crash where Nate and Sam ditch the bike, slid under a tanker and the armored car smashes into it somersaulting through the air.
One of my favorite additions to the Uncharted games was the chapter At Sea. This was a very beautiful and peaceful level. Being able to drive a boat around the island, discover clues, treasures and the beginning of the story of Jonathan Burns’ journey for the treasure. The effects of the water when Drake would get wet, as well as the sand when he would walk or run on it was cool. You can swim almost anywhere in the chapter and I really enjoyed at times swimming under water, looking at all the fish, the coral reef and enjoying the break from the previous chapter. As we all know once you’re done with this chapter the next 3 chapters kick your butt and test your patience especially on Crushing. I really enjoyed finding the sunken ship. When you first discover it if you’re in the right spot Drake will draw a Journal entry, but when you jump in the water, swim around in and out of the ship, it’s awesome. The attention to detail was perfect as we see the barnacles all over the ship, sea weed growth everywhere and the decay of the wood really made the realism come to life. I also loved the “Going on Propoise” trophy where you drive the boat around the islands until you get 3 Dolphins following your boat. What I liked to do is swim with the Dolphins. “What?” you say? Yeah, I would stop the boat have Drake jump in the water, and swim around with the Dolphins, it was cool. There was also some amazing platforming with the rope in this chapter. Climbing the cliffs and swinging around them with the rope was exhilarating. I think my favorite section in this chapter was when Nate and Sam find the spot where the Pirates planned their colony. Honestly it seemed pretty similar to how America started: 1. They had their revolutionary war against the British. 2. They created their own “Constitution” and code of conduct. 3. They were the Founders. 4. They drawings and maps for Libertalia and New Devon.
The sandy beaches, lush trees and bushes were so detailed you would think you were really there. This is also an important chapter because you’ll notice that Drake is depressed and down. His mood and attitude change for the rest of the game as he starts to do more soul searching as in to why he is even on this treasure hunt. You can tell that he is very upset with himself after what he did to Elena, and this continues for the rest of the game. Two things to notice in this game, 1. Once Drake finds Sam again after Marooned, he tries to tell his brother that maybe this is all a mistake and they should just leave. 2. At the end of No Escape Drake again tries to tell his brother that the past is the past and we should move on from our former imaginations. These are important signs of maturity and genuine regret that Nathan has never shown before. I really enjoyed At Sea, even though it was probably as long as the Twelve Towers.
This is going to end part 1 of A Thief’s End my friends. I know it is long for it only to be Part 1, but I have a lot to say and talk about in this game. For me it is the end of Nathan Drake, Elena, and possibly Sully, saying goodbye to these amazing characters was hard for me. Think about all the Uncharted games for a moment and how we have grown with Nathan Drake, Elena Fisher, and Victor Sullivan; I am someone who gets attached to characters and that only happens if they’re good characters. I hope you all enjoyed the first part, stay tuned for the second part.
“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was all vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible. This, I did.”
Welcome back everyone to this week’s blog of Uncharted Drakes Deception. I am so elated and delighted to continue this journey with all of you through the Uncharted series. I am hopeful that many of you out there are reading them and enjoying them. Maybe you are even finding them helpful, or maybe these blogs are enticing you just enough to make you want to go back and play through them just to experience the game again. Maybe you want to see for yourself both the positive and negative things about these games. As much as I love the overall gameplay and graphics of Uncharted, to me it has always been about the depth of the characters and story. Watching the characters grow in their relationships, personalities, and struggles is what makes these Uncharted games a lifetime commemoration. If a character in a series stays the same throughout all the games, the player will be filled with a sense of purposelessness. If Nathan Drake did not have a climatic ending in a Thief’s End, I would not be writing about these games.
I have not mentioned this before, but I am very picky and biased on the games I play and purchase. I do not buy every game on the market, I have specific tastes in games and therefore I don’t consider myself a “gamer.” For example, if someone were to come up to me and ask “Hey, how did you like playing the game Bloodborne?” I wouldn’t be able to give any feedback. In case anyone out there is wondering, the only games I have right now as I write this are the Uncharted series, the Last of Us, Shadow of Mordor, Shadow of War (which I am playing through right now), Crash Bandicoot Insane Trilogy, Ratchet and Clank and NHL 17. I do plan on playing the Last of Us 2, Call of Duty WW2, and Days Gone when it comes out, but you get my point. Not a whole lot of games, but the best ones out there as far as I can tell, that’s just my opinion, it’s not fact. The reason I am writing this is because I have written a few blogs already all focusing on Uncharted, but I haven’t really talked much about myself, and I don’t want anyone out there getting the wrong impression thinking I’m a huge gamer. So, without further a due let us continue with the third installment of Uncharted Drakes Deception.
Nathan Drake and his friends embark on another adventure to pick up the trail of T.E. Lawrence, a.k.a Lawrence of Arabia, to find the lost city of Ubar buried in the middle of the Rub’ al Khali Desert. It is also known as Iram of the Pillars and The Atlantis of the Sands. Within this city is living water; water that can give one eternal life. We all know it’s not that simple either, because this water is cursed. When the player gets halfway through the game, you meet Salim. Salim gives the player more background to what happened to the lost city and its water supply. King Solomon cursed the Gin and buried them deep within the city, it’s these cursed spirits that cursed the water. It caused the inhabitants of the city to see hallucinations and through these hallucinations they all killed each other. The effect it had on a person was totally based on that persons struggles and fears. Unfortunately, the cities secrets were kept under guard by a 400-year-old Satanic cult headed by Marlow and Talbot (in present day) who sought the location of the city to use its hallucinogenic water to control people. Naughty Dog again wants us to focus on something and that is, that glorious riches have much deception. Nothing is as what it seems.
I would have to say that this game is darker in its theme. I enjoyed it because Naughty Dog created this game to be more spiritual and psychological for the player. This is the game where I think Naughty Dog started to get deeper with Drake and his friends and wanted to introduce to the player for the first time Drakes past. By introducing Drakes adolescent’s and lonely past, Naughty Dog is wanting you as the player to see that Drake has a dark history. Everything that we know about Drakes personality and what shaped him is because Naughty Dog showed us his youth. Naughty Dog then carries this over into a Thief’s End. By the time you play a Thief’s End, you should be able to draw a timeline of Nathan Drakes life. Combining Drakes complicated and dark past with Marlow and Talbot is a great twist because when Talbot drugs him, the things Nathan Drake fears the most come true, and what does Nathan Drake fear most? Abandonment. When he hallucinates, what does he see? Not Elena leaving him, but Sully dying. Nathan Drakes father abandoned him, and Victor Sullivan became a father figure to him. When Drake gets drugged by the water he sees Sully get shot and die. In fact, in all the times that Drake hallucinates in this game the hallucinations are all about Victor Sullivan. In one hallucination Sully is pointing a gun at Drake and Nate is forced to make a choice, shoot Sully the only father you ever had, or let Sully shoot you, just like your father betrayed you. Even when Nate gets held captive by Marlow, she tries to get into his head and cause him to question Victor Sullivan’s loyalty to him. Why not try and get him to doubt Elena’s loyalty or their troubled marriage? Because the biggest most painful scar that Nathan Drake has is not that his mother committed suicide (because he could always fall back on the fact that his mother was the most amazing treasure hunter and historian there was), but that his father abandoned him to an orphanage when he needed his father the most. Are we feeling emotional? Maybe doing some soul searching ourselves? Well that’s the point of this game my friends, to dig deep into Nathan Drakes life and slowly draw out the issues like you would draw poison from a wound.
What I have come to love the most about Drakes Deception is being able to play Nathan Drake as a teenager. We get a whole lot more background on Drake, Sully, and how they met. This is important because when we first meet them in Drakes Fortune, they both have such a close relationship and tons of stories to reminisce about. Drakes Deception was designed perfectly for this little history tour of both. They both met under negative circumstances, Drake is trying to steal Sir Francis Drakes ring from a Museum in Colombia, and Sully is working with Marlow to try and acquire the same artifact. Sully saw potential in Drake, negative potential at that, but nonetheless he helped Nate acquire the ring. On top of that, the first time that they meet each other is when Drake was trying to steal Victors wallet, which of course Sully knew Nate was going to do that and he wanted to see where Nate needed to improve. It is interesting to note that Marlow was a villain in Drakes life that he had previous history with, along with Rafe in a Theif’s End as well. This causes their encounters to be a little more intense in the climax of the game. When Marlow is getting pulled under by the quicksand Nathan tries to save her, and in a Theif’s End when Nate and Rafe are sword fighting not only is Drake trying to avoid a fight with Rafe, but Rafe is initiating the fight, based on his past experiences with Nate. I have to say that it is sad that Drake at such a young age is self-sufficient and confident in his survival; the reason being is that Nathan never had his parents around and survived, so he thought he was good on his own. Sully never tried to dig that deep into Nathans life and never tried to be his father either, just a good supportive friend. Sully and Nate were perfectly matched up and though and Nate would never admit it, he found a father figure he never had. I believe that Sully is the spine in Nate's life and Elena is his heart, both Elena and Sully represent the mother and father figures Nate never had, and the character design created for Elena and Sully was perfect for a character like Nathan Drake. One thing that Nathan Drake, in his pride, could never admit, is how much he depended on Sully’s support for his survival, because without Sully, the character we know as Nathan Drake would not exist.
I really enjoy where this game took the player in the story. From France to Syria, and Syria to Arabia all the locations to me were phenomenal and beautiful. Especially in the remastered versions of these 3 Uncharted games the graphics were sharper and clearer. I really enjoyed the rich forests in The Chateau, the time of day Naughty Dog had the player there, the way the sun rays would shine through the trees of the forest and even the trees, gravel, plants, and water all done so wonderfully. One thing I have noticed Naughty Dog do is that they are faithful to be realistic to the type of environments you would encounter in these areas. The forests in France are different than the forests in Borneo (Among Thieves), and the Caribbean (Drakes Fortune). Then traveling to Syria to sneak into the museum, the effects of being there in the middle of the night to sunrise the next day was a good effect because it makes the player feel like they went through it all with Drake all night long. From the stars in the sky, to the detail in the structure of the museum was nothing short of true realism. Finally, the rest of the game takes place in Arabia and in its Rub’ al Khali Desert. When Nathan and Sully first meet up with Elena at the airport you get a pretty good idea as to where you are at. Then there is the town you walk through along with the platforming across the buildings when your stalking Talbot. I cannot say enough about the details that Naughty puts into everything, they really made you feel like you were there, and that says a lot on their patience and skill in developing these levels.
One thing I haven’t really talked about that much is 3rd person shooters. If my memory serves me correctly, then the first 3rd person perspective games I ever played was Splinter Cell on the Xbox, Zelda Ocarina of Time on N64, and Lord of the Rings on Xbox. Whereas 007 Golden Eye and Star Wars on N64 were all from a first-person perspective. On Splinter Cell and Zelda, you fight and platform from a 3rd person perspective, but shoot from a 1st person perspective. In Zelda you would fight with your sword from 3rd person perspective and shoot Links sling from first person perspective, same thing with Lord of the Rings. Call of Duty does a great job with 1st person shooting, and I have always enjoyed their games, but Uncharted really got me to love 3rd person shooting. I remember the very first thing I loved about the Uncharted games was when you would go to aim your gun, you were looking over Nates shoulder, not being brought to a screen with just the crosshair in the center. I really enjoyed being able to see Nates reactions to the gun kicking in his hand and seeing the dirt and sweat on his face. This 3rd person kind of shooting really drew me into the action of the moment. For me, I don’t necessarily like it when I cannot see my characters body when I’m in a combat situation because I cannot see exactly the position of his body in relation to any cover I’m trying to utilize. In 1st person shooters (this is only opinion, not fact), the player cannot tell if they are behind cover correctly. For example, on a 1st person shooter you can be behind a wall for cover, but all you can see at that moment is the wall and you cannot tell if maybe your arm is sticking out which will allow the enemy to shoot you. On a 3rd person shooter you can get behind cover and rotate the camera around to not only see if you’re in good cover, but see where the enemies are at and where they are coming from. I know it sounds like I am favoring 3rd person shooters, but I am not, I remember my old PC game era of Day of Defeat and Counterstrike, I absolutely loved it and was good at it.
When it comes to the characters in Drakes Deception I have mixed feelings about them. I really enjoyed Charlie Cutter, he had a great character role and sense of humor. I loved the way he would respond when Drake is trying to plan a stalking mission, or the way Charlie would interject when Nate was trying to give a history lesson. In London when Nate is trying to plan on how to go about stalking Marlow and Talbot, Charlie interjects with, “These people aren’t messing around a bit, if you encounter them shoot first ask questions later.” Awkward silence. Or when they discover the old Victorian rail station in London Underground and Nate asks who these people are Charlie responds, “I don’t know, but they are seriously weird.” Charlie Cutter was somewhat like Tenzin, a great character for a brief time in Uncharted, though he is mentioned in a Thief’s End when Drake and Sam are arguing over the trustworthiness of Sully before sneaking into the auction in Italy. Charlie Cutter was a smart guy and well educated in his history; in Syria he was helpful to Nate in solving a lot of the riddles and puzzles. I adored his fear of closed spaces, those scenes were really funny. I felt bad for Charlie when Talbot drugged him, and I thought it was a great scenario when Charlie tried to fight Drake and almost choked him to death. Sully of course pulled out his .44 Magnum and was just going to shoot him until Chloe interjected and calmed things down. One of my favorite lines from Sully is what occurred right after, Charlie asks, “You weren’t really gonna shoot me were you?” Sully responds, “Like a rabid dog.” (LOL). I have always loved Sully’s protective attitude toward Drake, it didn’t matter who you were, you try and kill Nate and I’ll kill you.
Chloe Frazer is worth mentioning very briefly because her appearance in Drakes Deception lets you as the player know that Naughty Dog is: 1. Not done with her and 2. She is now a part of the team. Even in her second appearance you can see the changes in Chloe, she seems more mature and less flirtatious. Some can argue that she is not in a Thief’s End, but she is. When Drake is in his attic reminiscing on all his adventures, you get to pick up a post card Chloe sent him with a note on the back. I believe Naughty Dog wanted that little nugget of Chloe Frazer to be in there for a purpose, but that is just my speculation. I honestly wasn’t to impressed with Talbot or Marlow. I understand their characters and their role in the game, but just simply not my favorite villains just like Navarro in Drakes fortune. It could be that they were part of a Satanic cult, and Talbot not only used hallucinogenics, but tarot cards as well to control people, either way, not my favorites.
As with all the Uncharted games the first 3 chapters are tutorial. The reason being is that each game Naughty Dog releases they either changed some things, or try to improve some things. A lot of this has to do with the melee in the games, also some grenade throwing, but my focus here is melee. In Drakes Fortune they teach you the basics, just simply punching. In Among Thieves the punches are different as well as the body movement, but they incorporate the ability to counter and dodge punches. In Drakes Deception, the melee became different and I think in a good way. I really enjoyed the opening bar fight scent in this game. Naughty Dog in this game really incorporated the environment for the players melee combat. The player was able to use the environment around them to fight, like using glass bottles, pots, pans, and huge fish to hit the enemies with. If you were next to a table Nate would slam the guy’s head onto the table. They also incorporated that ability for that A.I. to grab you from behind while your being punched by another enemy. So, you had to keep elbowing the guy holding you and then you had the ability to lift yourself up and kick the guy in the head trying to punch you. Being surrounded by a bunch of guys and being able to evade, block, and counter their punches and kicks was awesome. Even though I really enjoyed the bar fight scene, and the opening fight when Drake is being held captive by a modern-day pirate (Rameses), I still feel like they are a little drawn out and go for a little too long. Naughty Dog in this game took it a step further with the melee by bringing in those huge prodigious guys.
My favorite encounter with them was the bar fight scene, I loved it when it was just one on one in the bathroom and Drake ends it with the toilet cover to the guys face. Naughty Dog did a good job with the physics of it too, how these big guys would move with the realism of their weight. They would punch slow and kick slow, giving the player a better chance at countering. Of course, the climax of these fights is awesome, Nate cups his hands together and hits them three times until it takes Nates whole body weight for the finishing punch. On Crushing and Brutal difficulty, though this gets tough, because during a combat situation when you got 15 guys shooting at you and then out comes the heavy charging you and you go hand to hand with him while the other guys shoot at you. Again, knowing where the spawns are is key, because if you know where he is going to come from you can use you Micro Uzi and end him quick, but when you get caught by surprise it stinks. Did you know that you can tell the frame of the game by the melee encounters? The game starts with a huge melee encounter, then when you reach the midpoint of the game (captive by Rameses), it’s another huge melee encounter and at the end of the game you’re in a huge melee fight with Talbot. The melee has always improved throughout the Uncharted games and I have always really enjoyed them.
My favorite chapters in this game are The Chateau, Abducted, Rough Sea’s, Crusin’ for a Brusin’, and the Settlement. The Chateau to me was a wonderful level. When I first played Drakes Deception it was The Chateau that opened my eyes to how much Naughty Dog improved the graphics. The trees were beautiful, the texture of the dirt on the ground, the plant life, the stream running through the forest, and the fallen leaves everywhere. As I mentioned above the sunlight coming through the trees was so realistic, just the way Naughty Dog took their time with this programming shows dedication. Then when you get to the Chateau, the design there was amazing, not to mention when you play it on the remastered versions the sharpness and clarity blow the mind away. Some may disagree with me on this and I guess it’s all a matter of opinion, but when I play a game like Uncharted I really take my time playing it. When I get to a beautiful level like The Chateau I like to look around at everything and enjoy the detail. I am someone that enjoys the making of a game or movie more than the actual game or movie itself. I love to take time and appreciate all the hard work that goes into something so beautiful like the Chateau. Touring the Chateau was great, walking around and enjoying Naughty Dogs attention to detail. How it was half destroyed, the moss and vines all over the building, and the design showing nature taking over the building. When you stop to look at it when Nate and Sully first get there, the designers did a masterful job showing you that it is an ancient building being overtaken by nature, but you were also able to see its “once upon a time” glorious Victorian beauty. Then, when you get inside The Chateau the detail in the kitchen, the pots and pans, the oven, the dishwasher, and the broken-up tile were great. Of course, the grand staircase, the sewing machine, and the popcorn machine were just a few of the details Naughty Dog included. Chateau me any day, I absolutely loved this chapter.
Abducted, Rough Sea’s and Crusin’ for a Brusin’ were my favorite chapters because of their mental fervidness. I would say that number one reason I like these chapters has to do with the ocean effects, the tanker junk yard Nate is in, the huge storm that hits, and the gigantic ship wreck Nate gets in on the Cruise ship. The number one effect that I liked about these chapters is how Naughty Dog made Nate seem so small. Not only are you swimming in the water trying to avoid a bunch of enemies but your surrounded by these gigantic tankers. To me it was just one of those scenarios in the game that made me feel small. Rough Sea’s was intense because you’re in the middle of a battle but you’re also fighting the physics of the huge storm. In this chapter you have to use an RPG to take out all the enemy boats surrounding you and on top of that, the boat that you’re on is going up and down like crazy making your aiming pretty hard. So many times, I would try to shoot an enemy boat and the rocket would either go over the boat or into the ocean. Also, there was a section on this part where not only did you have to take out enemy boats, but you had other enemies rushing you, so you had to utilize cover from RPG’s coming from enemy boats as well as take out those rushing you.
Rough Sea’s transitions into Crusin for a Brusin smoothly. At the end of Rough Sea’s Nate jumps onto Rameses Cruise ship and as your climbing up the side of the ship the chapter title appears. Crusin for a Brusin is somewhat of a platforming chapter mixed with a little stealth, a little battle with a heavy, and one huge battle in the Ball Room. If your prone to sea sickness I can understand why Naughty Dog has warnings before the game starts. As your moving through this chapter there is just a lot of rocking back and forth as Nate struggles to stay on his feet. Plus, if you pause and rotate the camera to look out into the ocean, seeing the huge waves coming toward the Cruiser can make one sick. I really enjoyed the part where Nate is trying to make it toward the second level of the Cruiser and he must climb onto the survival boat to make his way up, when all the sudden it detaches from the Cruiser and Nate is hanging on for dear life. Your hanging onto the boat and its swinging back and forth on nothing but a rope over a raging sea! Just another crazy Drake survival moment. There were 2 battles in this game that I dreaded getting to and one of them was in this chapter at the Ball Room fight. Obviously, there is no stealth approach to this part, I have tried multiple times, it is just a fight that you must face. The key of course in knowing where the enemy spawns, on any other difficulty other than Crushing or Brutal it doesn’t matter. Knowing the spawns is important on Crushing and Brutal difficulty. I loved the ending to this chapter even though I thought Drake was going to go one on one with Rameses. I mean they introduce this pirate to you who would seem like a minor boss fight, but Naughty Dog decided to just have him commit suicide by shooting the glass. It was a cool cinematic, but I was hoping to fight him a little. I hold the opinion that Rough Sea’s and Crusin’ for a Brusin’ could have been combined into one chapter. I just don’t feel that Rough Sea’s was long enough to be its own chapter, but that is just me, not fact.
There is of course one scene worth noting that I am sure many of you are just waiting for me to talk about and that is the Plane Crash in the chapter Stowaway. This was top notch for Naughty Dog. Up to this point in the Uncharted games none of Drakes crazy survival moments even compared to this. When I first played this game with my friend Joann and I got to this part of the game, I was sitting there yelling, “Are you kidding me right now?!” (Lol). The first part of this section was amazing, you’re fighting this huge guy and then when you finally knock him down Drake runs to the cargo netting to unloose the cargo parachute. That then drags everything out of the plane and Nate goes tumbling out of the plane, and your hanging onto the netting at 40,000 feet in the air. Of course, that is not enough for Naughty Dog, you then have to climb up the netting to get back into the plane while at the same time shoot enemies. Once your back in the plane a gun fight proceeds and while you shoot enemies the plane catches on fire, an explosion to the side of the plane causes everything else to get sucked out. Drake is holding onto a crate for dear life, then another explosion and tons of friction, by this time your screen is shaking. Nate then cannot hold on anymore, so he lets go and simultaneously the plane blows in half, and your pretty mush sky-diving at this point. While flying through the air you have to aim for this crate and grab onto it, once Nate grabs on your screen is spinning out of control and you got to mash triangle to get the chute open. Everything about this section is stupefying. Naughty Dogs programming into the physics and realism of this scene top a lot of games out there, a very epic scene for its time.
I really enjoyed the Settlement chapter because of its architecture. An abandon ancient settlement in the Rub al’ Kali Desert gave the player a great sense of adventure. The detail that Naughty Dog put into the cracked stone work, and the appearance of making everything look dried out was legit. The fights were enjoyable because of fighting in the sand. The effects of walking in the sand and when grenades would explode in the sand showed the attention to detail. Even the effects on Drake himself, you could see the sand get all over Drakes clothes and hair. This is also the chapter that introduces the player to riding horses. I think riding the horses was one of the highlights to this game because it is something we haven’t experienced in Uncharted and it added a whole new dynamic to the gameplay. For those of us who loved Indiana Jones, namely The Last Crusade, most likely loved riding the horses in Drakes Deception. For me at least that’s what it reminded me of.
There were of course just a few things that I didn’t like in Drakes Deception. Dislikes in games are always a matter of opinion, so if your reading these Uncharted blogs take everything I say with a grain of salt. I was not fond of the weapons in this game or the reticle (crosshair) that you aim with. For me, I think it had to do with: 1. The sound the weapons made. 2. I felt no power behind the weapons. 3. The enemy A.I. did not react when you shot them. On point number 3, the enemies would be running at you and as your shooting them they just keep coming at you making it hard for the player to tell if they are being damaged or not. In previous games you would shoot a guy and he would do a little dance showing he is hurt which would give you time to either escape to cover or finish him. I also did not like fighting those demon guys in phases when Nate is hallucinating in Atlantis of the Sands. It was tough on Crushing because not only did they die in two phases, but they could also disappear and reappear anywhere making these pretty taxing encounters. I hated it. Again, it’s all about going into these sections with the right weapons, the Magnum and the Grenade launcher are your best bet. There is one thing worth mentioning about the enemy A.I. that can seem kind of unfair. There were often bad mixtures of power between you and the A.I., for you as the player to have the upper hand against the enemy you have to be in a good position, but the A.I. can be positioned anywhere and deal you great damage. If you’re in an awkward position and try shoot, the cover is in your way, if your try to throw a grenade, you can’t see anything. The A.I. of course can be in your same position and throw a perfectly aimed grenade or somehow shoot you. Yes, a game should be challenging especially on Crushing or Brutal, but it should also be fair and realistic. One thing I have always long for in games that I wish programmers would incorporate, and that is the A.I. running out of bullets and grenades. In real life situations in gun fights you wait for the guy to run out of ammo or reload. The A.I. does reload but it’s like super-fast, you barley have time to blink and they are already shooting at you again.
I really enjoyed the boss fight in this game because it’s a good traditional hand to hand fight like you would get in movies. What made this fight so intense was that Drake was going up against a knife. I remember when I first played this game when Talbot pulled his knife out I was like, “Alright, let’s do this Talbot.” Just a great fight of blocking, evading, countering and then punching or tripping. I loved it when Talbot would get on top of Drake and try to push the knife down into Drakes chest and you must mash square to prevent it. This was just an all-around good fast paced fight with a light mixture of adrenaline. How many of us got done with this fight and our heart was pounding? I know mine was. At first, I wasn’t sure how it was going to end because it seemed like you were going to have two boss fights, one with Talbot and one with Marlow. In the end it made sense how they wanted to get rid of Marlow then have Drake face Talbot. Earlier in the game you had a similar hand to hand fight with Talbot in Chapter 11 (As above, So Below) so it makes sense that they would have an epic climax of some unfinished business between Drake and Talbot. Drakes Deception of course had a monumental ending with everything crumbling into nothingness with Nate having to jump from one structure to another until he was finally safe. I really enjoyed the ending cut scene because it gives the player hope for Elena and Nate which of course roles over into A Thief’s End. Thanks to Victor Sullivan, who was the one that interceded and got them back together again.
That is going to wrap up this blog for Drakes Deception my friends. Once again, I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to read these blogs and to thank Indie Game Lover for allowing me to participate. I am really enjoying reminiscing about all the Uncharted games with you and look forward to a Thief’s End and The Lost Legacy. I will probably be doing a Thief’s End in 2 parts because there is a lot to discuss and it is the climax to Nathan Drake; until then take care and keep gaming.
“ I did not tell the half of what I saw, for I knew that I would not be believed”-
Uncharted Among Thieves', being the second game in the unforgettable Uncharted series. From the start I would have to say that this game is probably close to my favorite out of all the Uncharted games, in fact its a very close tie with A Thief’s End and for so many reasons that I will be talking about in this blog. I remember my friend Joann texting me letting me know that she had just received the new Uncharted game called Among Thieve’s. I have to say based on my first encounter with Drake’s Fortune I was really excited with anticipation to play it. I saw such amazing changes in this game compared to Drakes Fortune, with the character body mechanics and responsiveness to the players demands. Along side of A Thief’s End and the Lost Legacy, I felt that the shooting was way better in this game. I really loved the shooting aspect of this game, I don’t know maybe it was the sound effects, the way the guns kicked when you shot them, or the way you can see tracers of the bullets hitting your target. I also love the body mechanics, there was a lot more effects to how Drakes body reacted to climbing, running, jumping, and even when he would get hit by a grenade, just how his body reacted was very noticeable compared to Drake’s Fortune.
I really enjoyed how Naughty Dog in this game focused on a different historical figure and adventurer, Marco Polo. The focus for Nathan Drake and his friends is to pick up on Marco Polo’s trail to find out what Marco Polo was afraid to let the world know about his travels and what he discovered. A powerful resin created from the sap of the Tree of Life found in an ancient lost city called Shambhala secretly located in northern India, in the Himalayan Mountains. This sap gave people eternal life but at a cost, it turned them into monsters, not like what Nate found in Drake’s Fortune, but these blue colored monsters. Marco Polo believed that the ships he used to sail back home were driven into the mountains by a great storm caused by something divine to keep the discovery of the Tree of Life and its sap from the world. I like how this game brought the player to India, Tibet, Nepal, and a hidden away village in the Himalayan Mountains. Seeing this part of the world was pretty neat, the landscapes were beautiful, the lush rich jungles, the extravagant temples, and the cities that were under civil war. I have to say that the creativity that Naughty Dog puts into these environments is mind-numbing at times. The details that they put into the temples, the cities, trees, and mountains is so realistic that you really feel like you are there. Even having the plants and shrub’s react to Drake walking through them is prolific. I remember in old games on PS1 and PS2 if you had the character walk through a bush, the bush wouldn’t react you would just go through it, but now in games the character’s actually push aside the bushes leaves and branches. Little details like this is what makes a game delightful.
Something worth paying attention to in these games, is how the circumstances that Drake finds himself in, the adventures he takes upon himself, are what build his character, and help draw the player more into his development. Playing a Thief’s End and understanding the depth of the characters in that game is difficult if you haven’t played the first three. Naughty had a purpose for Nathan Drake, and a Thief’s End is the climax to Nathan Drake. So if a person play’s a Thief’s End, but never played the first three games, they won’t really understand the emotions involved, and the struggle between Nate, Elena, and Sully, because there is history between them all. Naughty Dog’s focus I believe is that when the player finally gets to a Thief’s End, and sees the pain in Elena when she finds out he has lied to her for weeks about his travels, that you as the player are suppose to feel the same shock Nathan feels. These first three games are what build all that up, because in the first three games, its much more than just gameplay, its emotional as well. The opening chapter in this game is a prime example of some of Drake’s insane circumstances, A Rock and a Hard Place. The game opens up with a lot of back and forth to give the player background on how he ended up train wrecked, but that opening scene where your hanging onto a train over the edge of a mountain and having to climb your way up was absolutely great. I loved how Naughty Dog just throws the player into the action right away, to get the player thinking, “oh my God, here we go, another crazy Drake moment.” These kind of circumstances I believe help the player and the character become one, in the sense that your both going through it together. Naughty Dog did a fantastic job in the character development in these games.
Enter Chloe Frazer, more than just a character that Naughty Dog added to the story of an Uncharted game, but a new addition to the team. In my opinion I really enjoyed Chloe’s addition to the team, her character is perfectly matched with the others, and her role is somewhat similar to Sully’s role. Chloe and Sully both know and were involved with sketchy people, even criminals. Chloe and Sully both know Nathan Drake enough to help guide him in his adventures and even tell him when things seem strange. Chloe and Sully both know when to tell Nathan that a certain artifact or treasure isn’t worth pursing at the cost of their own lives. For most players I feel that Chloe had to grow on people, I liked her from the start, but my friend Joann didn’t, in fact my friend Joann was sad that Chloe was the main character in the Lost Legacy and there was no more Drake. Once I played the Lost Legacy and learned more about Chloe Frazer, her history with her father, and her childhood, I liked her even more. In some ways her and Drake are very similar with their pasts, both their parents were history buffs and treasure hunters. Both their parents neglected their families for their adventures. With Nate it was his mother, with Chloe it was her father, and these issues show up in their characters. Why was Chloe such a flirt? Why was she in a pickle with Harry Flynn and Nathan Drake? Because she didn’t have her father around. Same with why Nathan struggled with his relationship with Chloe and Elena, he didn’t have his mother around. Chloe even makes an appearance in Drakes Deception and becomes the main character in the Lost Legacy. I will also be mentioning Nadine Ross later as well, as Naughty Dog brings Nadine into the Lost Legacy to partner up with Chloe. Among Thieve’s marks the beginning of Chloe Frazer and the beginning of her development as a key partner to Nate and his friends.
In Among Thieve’s Chloe plays two roles, helping Nathan Drake get closer to the discovery of the Tree of Life, and also working with Harry Flynn and Zoran Lazaravic because of her professional relationship to Fynn. The Player can see that at certain moments in this game Chloe had to play the bad guy to keep her role up as a criminal, but behind the scenes probably told Flynn to leave Drake alone. She was a self seeker for sure and at times hard to believe, like when Nathan was stuck in that prison for three months and she tells him she had nothing to do with Flynn’s betrayal. Chloe also was one of those characters that would string Nate along and then just shut the door in his face. For example when she was taken by Flynn to the train and Nate decides to go after her and he finds her after taking out a quarter of Lazaravic’s army, she says, “I never asked for any of this.” What!? But she was right she didn’t, but Nathan was too blinded by his own passions that he couldn’t see through her, nor could he see what was right in front of him, Elena. Overall I really liked Chloe Frazer, the choice of Claudia Black for the voice of Chloe to me was perfect and I absolutely loved her Australian accent.
Another character worth mentioning in this game, that not only I really enjoyed but probably most players of Uncharted enjoyed was Nathan Drakes rescuer, Tenzin. Such a great scene in the game, Nathan is bleeding out from a gun wound, exhausted to the point of death, and as Drake hits the snow and looks up, there is Tenzin walking toward him. The scene reminds me of Luke Skywalker in the Empire Strikes Back when he is caught in that blizzard on Endor exhausted just as much as Drake was and behold, Obi-Wan Kenobi appears to help him (well it was actually Han Solo later, but you get my point). Through Tenzin the player gets something that I believe most players in games sometimes don’t get, and that is culture. You get to see the beauty and innocence that is found in some of Tibetan people, their simple way of life, and peacefulness. Tenzin brings Drake back to health, and the two of them become close friends and even go on an adventure of their own in the mountains. What really makes their relationship great though, is the language barrier. Tenzin trying to explain certain things to Nate and Nate responding with his ever so clever responses. Like when Tenzin is explaining to Drake that there is a monster around, that there is a “terror” around by using facial expressions and hand motions Nathan says, “I’m not really good with charades pal.” On top of that how Naughty Dog, despite the characters language barriers made them work together perfectly. Even though Tenzin does not become a permanent member of the team and we never hear from him again, Tenzin will always be in the memory of all players of Uncharted. Fast forward real quick to a Theif’s End when Drake is in his attic remembering all his travels, you get to pick up a picture of Drake and Tenzin, then Drake says, “I really miss you pal.” That little nugget of remembrance tells us how close they got even though in this game their relationship was brief.
Zoran Lazaravic is my favorite villain out of all the Uncharted’s. For Zoran it wasn’t about money, and it wasn’t just about the Tree of Life. It was political, he wanted the power necessary to dominate the world. And he would get it at all costs, even killing two of his own men in cold blood, and killing the reporter Jeff in cold blood right in front of Drake and Elena. One soldier in Borneo tried to steal a little artifact from the dig site, and Zoran saw it as betrayal, he stab him in cold blood, and didn’t give the guy a chance to explain. In another instance, Drake had a gun to one of the soldiers heads, and instead of negotiating with Drake, Zoran simply shot his own man in the heading, stating that the problem with other dictators in history is that they didn’t have what it takes to get the job done. In the end after Harry Flynn endure Lazaravic, Lazaravic betrayed him, beat him, shot him, and left him behind to try and kill Drake, Elena and Chloe with a grenade, blowing himself up in the process. Whats really sick about Zoran is he considered himself better than Stalin and Hitler, and said they weren’t good enough and didn’t have the will to fulfill their visions. Now that's scary, and even sick. Zoran was a villain that could not be negotiated with, the only way to defeat him is deception, pretending to help him in the hopes that your chance may come when you could kill him, but his intimidation and manipulation kept both Harry Flynn and Chloe from doing that. Have you ever asked yourself why Naughty Dog made his character Russian? Two Russians in 1924-1928 embarked on a journey to find Shambhala, their names were Gleb Bokii (cryptographer and chief of the Soviet secret police) and his writer and friend Alexander Barchenko. Their mission to merge Buddist Kalachakra teachings and Communism in order to try and create perfect communist beings. Sound weird? Well, maybe this is what Lazaravic’s mission based on. It is also interesting to note that the villains in the Uncharted series always needed Nathan Drake, whether they knew it or not, or whether they wanted to admit it or not. Nadine Ross points this out to Rafe, by telling him that he knows he needs Drakes help. Zoran even asks Flynn and Drake to solve a puzzle in order to open the doors leading to Shambhala. Its as if these villains really aren’t all that smart, they seem to always be on the wrong track, and they can never solve puzzles or read clues correctly. They even at times totally misinterpret quotes from past explorers that leave them totally delusional.
I feel that Naughty Dog maybe gives us a clue in this game of something they planned on adding to Nathan Drake that we get to use in a Thief’s End, its the use of the rope. If you remember the chapter Breaking and Entering where Nate and Flynn are breaking into the museum, Harry Flynn uses a grappling rope so they could climb in certain areas. If you remember the chapter Mountaineering, Tenzin uses one as well so they both could get across huge gap’s in the mountain. Why do I mention these two events, when all throughout the first three games Nate in some way use a rope? Because in these two instances, you see the mechanic of spinning the rope, and then throwing it so it could grab onto something. I believe that Naughty Dog in some way gives players things to hope for and look forward too in future games. This is just my speculation.
A few of my favorite chapters in this game were Urban Warfare, Desperate Times, Locomotion, and Cat and Mouse. In Urban Warfare and Desperate Times I thought it was very creative of Naughty Dog to place Drake in a city that is in a civil war. The layout of these chapters was awesome, and the idea that you had to climb through blown up buildings and houses to get to your destination gave the impression that there is no easy way to do this. Watching Drakes body mechanics in these levels, as he climb poles, walls, street signs, street lights, and climbing to the top of a hotel was very refreshing to me. Naughty Dog went above and beyond from Drakes Fortune to Among Thieve’s, and they added so much, like when the helicopter blew up the building and your in the building as its collapsing. That affect in the game was just heart pounding, especially how they made Drakes body react to crumbling building, it was a struggle to control Drake and still have to shoot enemies. And on crushing and brutal difficulty, it was pretty hard to do, because of course the A.I. can shoot perfectly, but your reticle is moving all over the place.
Locomotion was just fantastic for its time. I could also add Tunnel Vision too because my focus here is the train. Very great affects, the movement of the train, the passing jungle, and the infamous battle with the helicopter (two actually), where Drake is holding onto the edge of the train, as a portion of the train is collapsing behind him and rolling in its destruction and then right as you think its going to land on Drake, you enter the tunnel and the tunnels entrance saves you. The physics of this chapter is not only very good but realistic. For example when the train is turning, and you try to shoot any enemy or throw a grenade, the centrifugal force affects the trajectory of your bullets or grenade. I have wasted a lot of grenades here because of that, and I love it. I would be behind cover and throw a grenade at a heavy to weaken his armor, but then the train turns and the grenade goes flying away off course into the jungle. Even when I would stealth kill guys and their bodies are laying on the train, as soon as the train would turn their bodies would slide off the train. This is just really amazing smooth programming, because players love realism, and how many of us use to play old games and think to ourselves, “Well in this situation in real life that wouldn’t happen, this would happen.” The realistic programming is this game brings the player to an all new struggle and challenge, games now days have us fighting physics.
Cat and Mouse was a high paced, non stop, on the move chapter. Adding a Tank to Drakes already troublesome situations, makes the player sit back and think exactly what Drake says in the game, “Are you serious? A Tank!” Evading a Tank, while at the same time shooting guys, and trying to get behind cover was pretty intense. Naughty Dog though gave you more of a chance here, and they made the tank seem a lot more intimidating that is really was. Lazaravic’s soldiers do more damage to you than the tank does, even on Brutal difficulty, the soldiers can kill you in 2 bullets, but you can take tons of damage by the tank. I’m glad they did this, it keeps the game challenging but not impossible, it was a perfect mix. The music combined with the tank chasing you and blowing up your cover, makes the player keep moving, and it keeps the pace going. Actually defeating the tank, is easier than defeating the soldiers, its easy to shoot a rocket at a huge moving piece of metal, than it is trying to shoot that guy on the roof up in the corner of you screen. Adding helicopter battles, and tank battles in this game is such a huge jump from what we know as Drake’s Fortune, this is why I believe that from Drakes Fortune to Among Thieve’s there were huge changes.
The overall graphics in this game was pretty good. Something worth mentioning in this game, and all the Uncharted’s is the water and snow affects. Now I don’t know about many of you out there, but from what I have learned from both movie, and game programmers is that water is a very tricky effect, and could at times be the hardest part to program. That being said, Naughty did a great job with this effect, especially the snow, I really liked the snow effect. The times when Drake is walking in the snow and you see his footprints in the snow, or watching how snow slowly accumulates on his clothes, then when you roll in some water is washes off, the artists and programmers perfected this in later Uncharted games as well. I used to love getting Drake to climb up a tall cliff, and just staring out at the ocean in these games, I really felt like I was looking at the ocean and enjoying the peace.
The enemy A.I. in this game was also improved,and obviously only gets better later. Even though they weren’t super intelligent they were able to notice when one of their comrades went missing; which added some intensity to the game. They were also programmed in such a way that some areas and chapters you could not stealth kill all the enemies. The Monastery is a good example of this, there are a couple of areas in this chapter that make you think you can stealth the whole area but you can’t. The first area is the opening of the chapter, when Drake and Elena make their way up the steps to the first battle. I have played this multiple times, and watched others try and stealth it but after stealth killing the first five guys, you get noticed. The second area is when Drake and Elena get to that locked door and you have to climb up and over to the other side so Drake could open the door. I have also tried to stealth this section too, and I would be able to get the first 3-4 guys but I would always get noticed. This isn’t a complaint, its just to show you how as time went on, the Naughty Dog programmers eventually give the player a choice in whether you wanted to stealth a section or use guns. On the subject of A.I., I have to mention the friendly A.I. because most players struggled with the A.I. of Elena, Sully and Chloe at times. This issue shows up most in battles when your trying to get behind cover to use the cover to your advantage, or just trying to shoot the enemy, and for some reason the friendly A.I. is always in the way. They seem to always be running around in front of you or robbing you of the cover you need because they are hogging it. I remember times when I was trying to swap cover and Elena, or Chloe wouldn’t move out of the way. Also there were times when I would be trying to aim down a corridor to shoot an enemy and one of them would run in front of my cross-hair and the gun wouldn’t shoot. These were just some of the A.I. issues that I have had, but once again Naughty Dog really improved this. For example between Uncharted 3 and Uncharted 4, the Last of Us came out, (another fabulous game I will be writing about), in the Last of Us they improved the friendly A.I. and it carried over to a Thief’s End and the Lost Legacy. In the Last of Us if you haven’t noticed this then play it again, but Ellie never gets in your way, in fact she helps you a lot. There were times when a guy would grab me from behind and Ellie would come and stab him to get him off me. Ellie was programmed in such a way that she knew what to do, and what not to do. She knew when to help you and when to just let you play the game. This is a perfect example at how Naughty Dog would look back on certain things, listen to and read peoples criticisms then drop a new game with the issues fixed.
There were also just some minor platforming issues in this game. Locomotion was one of those chapters where Drake would automatically do something I didn’t want him to do. When I would take cover behind a crate with Drakes back up against it and try to move around the crate or roll out of cover, for some reason he would roll of the train and grab the edge. I would be sitting there frustrated like “Stop that Drake!” Often times blowing my cover or stealth approach all because he didn’t do what I was wanting him to do. Often at times I ended up in gun fights because Drake grab something or did something I didn’t want him to do. I know that nothing will ever be perfect, but I found that in the first three Uncharted’s this was a number one issue, but in a Thief’s End and the Lost Legacy the majority of these issues were fixed. Especially in the new Uncharted’s, swapping cover and rolling out of cover became very smooth for the player.
The Uncharted’s have been known at times to have really long chapters in them. The Monastery is a chapter that is very long. This is both a complaint and a complement. A complaint because your playing it thinking “When is this going to end already”, and a complement because as the player you really get to enjoy the scenery and all the gun fights if you thrive off non stop action. Also there were sections of this game where I was like “Why not just combine the two chapters and make it one chapter?” For me, Locomotion and Tunnel Vision could be one chapter, they make Tunnel Vision a chapter because you enter a tunnel? Then you get to the Monastery and its one chapter, and a very long chapter. Some chapter titles makes sense, but at times I’m sure the player is thinking just as much as I am that “Did they just make up this chapter because they couldn’t think of anything else?” Just combine them. I know that they have the game spaced out a certain way and divided a certain way, but this is just my take on it. Even in a Thieves End by the time the player gets to For Better or For Worse you start to feel like the game is getting long and your only halfway through it. Since its the last time we will probably see Drake Naughty Dog didn’t want to end it too quickly. This is also somewhat of a love/hate relationship with the Uncharted’s.
I really enjoyed the weapons in this game, it is probably my favorite Uncharted game to play weapon wise. They start you off with a great 9mm, the Ak47 is somewhat sporadic but it gets the job done, but give me that SAS Shotgun with the 9mm or Desert Eagle and Im all in. I loved that SAS Shotgun in this game and it did tremendous damage no matter who the enemy was. Turret guns in the Uncharted’s I think are deceptive in these games. You see a mounted machine gun on a truck with a metal shield connected to it, you run to it so you can use it and the moment you start firing not only do they give you a limited amount of bullets (when the computer has infinite ammo), but it seems that you take more damage behind it than you would elsewhere. I have died many times behind one of these guns thinking that they can’t touch me when in like five seconds I’m on gray screen close to death. In Drakes Fortune there is a section in the Fortress chapter, where you can man the turret gun in the corridor and fire down at the enemies, but on Brutal difficulty the enemies can still kill you in 2 bullets. In Among Thieve’s there are a couple instances where turret guns deceive you, the section in the Monastery where you have to mow down all those heavies, and in Desperate Times on the truck. Maybe Im just not that good like I have said before, but on Crushing I always get so close to death. The Crossbow was a cool addition to the game, but not my favorite for a special weapon choice. Even though it was a one shot kill on most enemies you just couldn’t pick up enough ammo for it, and there wasn’t a lot of it to pick up during a fight. The times I used it was at the Monastery when I would get to the first section, I would shoot the first six guys without getting any attention, and then I would proceed to the inevitable fight. Also toward the end of the game when you have to fight those big guardian creatures, you were somewhat forced to use it because it was a 1-2 shot kill.
Of course what would my blogs be without mentioning grenades. I don’t have too much of an issue with them in this game. To me grenades are great to have to weaken a heavy or if you happen to run into a bunch of guys all grouped together, one grenade does the trick and you’ll probably get a trophy. This was a plus in a Thief’s End because the A.I. was intelligent and sometimes by searching for you they would end up in a group together, throw in one or two grenades and it saves you a long taxing firefight. I will always have issues with the fact that you can’t see where you aiming it sometimes, but Naughty Dog really improved the power of them over time. In this game Drake can be behind cover and a grenade would land next to him and deal him no damage, which was great but kind of unrealistic. In a Thief’s End though you would get blown out of cover and in Drake’s shell shock moment the enemy would shoot you and that was it. This was a great improvement, but an annoying one. I feel like most gamers and players just don’t know what they want, like we want a game as close to real as possible but when it gets realistic, we hate it and thinks its unfair. A Thief’s End brutalized me in this and it wasn’t just hand grenades my friends, it was also the grenade launchers too, especially in No Escape (Uhhh), I would always get blown out of cover and die. Naughty Dog also improved the fact that even the A.I. would get stunned as well, which was fair and allowed the player time to either get in cover, or shoot them while they recover from you grenade. In Among Thieve’s at least if you were in cover the cover would protect you, but eventually the programmers made it to where even your cover wouldn’t last long. If you were hiding behind a box or wooden crate it would slowly dissipate from the bullets and you would have to move, I really enjoyed that in these games because it forces the player to move, to think quickly what to do next and keeps the pace going at the speed it was designed for.
The Boss fight in this game was the hardest boss for me in all the Uncharted’s. I would be playing through the game enjoying it but in the back of my mind I was always dreading the Tree of Life chapter. For awhile I could not beat this game on crushing, I would be running around in circles trying to gain some distance between me and Lazaravic so I could turn around and shoot the tree sap. I hate boss fights where you have to shoot something else in the environment in order to weaken them. Instead of the whole tree sap ordeal I would rather have just gone one on one with him evading his attacks. Then Lazaravic gets so angry, that the guy can throw six grenades at you in one throw, plus shooting you with his sawed-off shotgun. On Crushing and Brutal difficulty if he hits you with his shot gun that puts you close to death, then if one of his stray grenades hits you as well your dead. I did eventually beat it on Crushing, it took me 6-7 tries, but eventually I muscled my way through it. This fight is programmed in such a way that they want you to think that Lazaravic is harder than he seems, and they want you to think that you have to run away from him running around in circles trying to shoot the tree sap. I would always do this chapter the hard way, because I was afraid of Lazaravic, when really the key to his defeat is being aggressive. The player is more in control than the game makes it seem because you can go anywhere around the tree and lure him close to the sap, you don’t have to keep running in circles waiting for the right time. On normal and hard difficulty running around in circles works, but on Crushing and Brutal difficulty you need the fight to end or Lazaravic will end it for you. (LOL). On these harder difficulties you really don’t have time to think and strategize in the moment you got to know what to do before you enter a fight and do it. If you go to youtube and look up Mike Bettencourt’s and Seraphim17’s walkthroughs you will see what I mean by not being afraid of him and being aggressive. There is a trick though to beating him on Brutal, it was probably a mistake in the programming, but there is an area in the game where you could stand next to Lazaravic the whole time. You just let him keep grabbing you and throwing you, and as your doing this you wait for the tree sap to revive right next to him and shoot it every time. I haven’t actually tried this, but I was watching Seraphim17 do it on his walkthrough and it was pretty funny to watch. In fact after watching Seraphim17 do this it makes me want to go and try to play it on Brutal.
That's going to be it for this blog on Among Thieves. I hope you all are enjoying reading these as much a I am writing them. There is always so much to write about in this amazing series. As always, thank you to all those who are viewing these blogs and taking time to read them, and anything else on Indie Game Lover. Thank you to Indie Game Lover for letting me write these blogs on the Uncharted series. I look forward to writing more on the Uncharted games, up next will be Drakes Deception as we all continue our journey through this series. Happy 10th year anniversary to Uncharted and its awesome programmers at Naughty Dog.
Uncharted Drakes Fortune is the beginning of a series in one of the most popular game series on the PlayStation gaming system, beginning with the PlayStation 3 and moving on into the PlayStation 4. I have to say, when this game came out in 2007, my first play through wasn’t until 2009-2010 and the graphics looked great at that time. I first played this game at my friend Joann’s house and didn’t have my own PlayStation 3 system at the time. I would have to go to her house to play Uncharted and I will be mentioning her a lot as I played most of the Uncharted series at her house, except for a Thief’s End and the Lost Legacy. There is so much to say about this first game. The game itself is and was amazing, even though the game was already 3 years old when I first played it. The graphics, and landscapes were just phenomenal. Especially the way game developers started to incorporate color tones, shadow effects, and body mechanics, these simply just blew my mind away.
One of my favorite sections of this game was when Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher get plane wrecked on the Island before the Fortress chapter, I just loved it. I loved the Jungle, the trees, plants, and waterfalls. I remember how I would just sit and stare at the landscapes, look at the textures, and say to myself, “whoa.” I did the same at the Monastery as well, the trees, overgrown vines, and the aged look of the trees was just amazing to me. More amazing than the graphics though, was the story, and I think that is the key to the Uncharted series. The great storytelling and fantasy mixed with a little historical truth made the game feel real. How many of us played the Uncharted games and felt as though we were reading a novel? Games have come so far, from Mario Brothers, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Donkey Kong to the story telling in Uncharted. I loved the idea of a cursed treasure story, the infamous El Dorado, not a city of gold, but a golden idol that the Incan’s worshiped, that later cursed the natives.
The progression of this story is startling, and when I was watching Seraphim17’s Brutal difficulty walkthrough, he mentioned something that I never noticed before. The scene where Nate and Elena find one of Eddie Raja’s dead bodyguards caught by a trap. Nate mention’s that the pieces of the trap were made from their wrecked air plane and then he notices those weird looking feet in the mud around the trap. He said at that point it started to get creepy, because now you know you’re dealing with an intelligent creature who made the trap! We all know what they were and what that golden idol did, it cursed the natives, and they became these Gollum like creatures or as Seraphim17 says, “Andy Serkis’ Circus.” (LOL). Sir Francis Drake was sent by the Queen to look for this treasure and once he discovered the truth, he sought to keep it from leaving that island. I have to say going into that ship to turn on the generators was no fun, I remember sitting there with my friend Joann, and telling her, “I don’t want to do this, this is scary,” and it was. Those creatures would just jump out at you and it was scary seeing the random dead German bodies lying around. The climax of these stories in Uncharted always seem to be amazing, and the developers always put in great twists.
What would Uncharted be though without the characters? To make a game great and memorable, you must combine a great story and great characters. Naughty Dog created characters for these games and to me they will always be memorable. This game is the first encounter you have with the characters. The opening scene to this game is when you first encounter their personalities, their order of importance, and who will be the main three characters in all the future games. Others are just added in later, who really don’t get too much depth, except for Chloe, who I will be talking about later. The game opens with Nate discovering Sir Francis Drake’s coffin and Elena recording it for her T.V. show. Right off the bat you are introduced to Nate’s sarcasm and Elena’s defensive reaction to his comment. For me the moment that Nate spoke, it drew me into the character and of course the sarcastic remark he made, “Hey, you got your story lady!” One reason that could be is that one of my many struggles in life is sarcasm. Seeing that in me and in this character showed that we had something in common and drew me into the character more. In fact, my friend Joann used to call me Drake Jr. Then Nate and Elena get caught because they were out there in the boat illegally (Elena didn’t know that), and Sully comes to the rescue with his plane.
Victor Sullivan is such a great character and my friend Joann’s favorite character. Sully became to Drake the father figure he never had; he is a shady character, always involved with bad people, and always encouraging Nate to keep going even if half the time it’s illegal. Sully would at times correct Nate and tell him if things didn’t feel right and to be careful, even at times later in the series he was always there encouraging both Nate and Elena to work on their relationship. Even though he was a good and bad influence in Drakes life, he never lied, cheated, or betrayed Nate, and I am so glad that we as the players never had to witness Sully in anyway betraying Nate or Elena. He at times was in it only for the money because he owed people, but let’s face it, without Victor Sullivan, Nate wouldn’t be able to go anywhere. Who always provided a good getaway and escape? Victor Sullivan. Who had connections to make their travels easy? Victor Sullivan. The player gets little bits of the relationship Nathan and Sully have, and their history together when you’re playing a section of the game. When they have a conversation, and Sully is talking about his past travels, or their past travels together, this helps the player create little back stories in their imagination. To me what completed Sully’s character and made him who he was, was his cigar. What would Victor Sullivan be without his cigar? What would Nathan Drake be without his journal? What would Elena Fisher be without her Journalism? These three main characters are Uncharted, and Naughty Dog’s selection of Nolan North (Nathan Drake), Emily Rose (Elena Fisher) and Richard McGonagle (Victor Sullivan), could not have been a better choice. I was not too thrilled with Narvaro as the villain to fight at the end, he just wasn’t that great in my opinion, but Naughty Dog did a great job with making these villain fights better throughout the series. Honestly, as a side villain Eddy Raja was my favorite, he had a great personality, and I loved Eddy and Nate’s love-hate relationship. Even when push came to shove they helped each other out fight off those creatures.
I believe the theme song is one that stays with all players of Uncharted. Music is key to any movie, or game and music sets the mood in the progression of Uncharted. Some may disagree with me on this point, but the Uncharted theme song sticks with me like the Indiana Jones theme song. It is a tune that when you hear it, you automatically know that its Uncharted. Not many games or movies have this effect. Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jaws, Jurassic Park, the Terminator, and the Lord of the Rings all have theme songs that only belong to them. The moment you hear one of those songs you know exactly what it belongs to. The same goes for games like Super Mario Brothers, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Crash Bandicoot. They all have theme songs that only belong to them, and when we hear that tune, some of us go all the way back to childhood memories. I love how in a Thief’s End they have a piano version of the theme song to Uncharted, though the music throughout the game changes a bit. Hearing the piano version to Uncharted sets the theme to the overall game play. You will also notice that as you play the game, the music tells you what kind of situation you’re in and when the music stops, you know you have come to the end of whatever it was that you were enduring. An example of this is when you enter a fight and the music picks up and gets intense. Once you have killed that last guy, the music stops followed by Drake stating that it’s all done or asking if Elena is alight. Music is a key thing to pay attention to in Uncharted and in most games.
One last thing I have come to love about the Uncharted series is how throughout the game the characters outfits change, though in Drakes Fortune, they do not change that much at all. In the other Uncharted games, it was great to see not only a change in scenery, but their clothing as well. In Drakes Fortune, in the opening scene Nate is in his wet suit, and then his jeans and T-Shirt all the way through the rest of the game. It’s not a big deal since he was in the same general location the whole game (they did this in the Lost Legacy with Chloe too). You can see how things improve, and how Naughty Dog had the characters travel more. I love traveling and I love how throughout the Uncharted games you get to see the world, and the characters outfits change with it. I believe this helps draw the player more into the story, game, and character.
Now we come to the criticisms of Drake's Fortune and my dislikes in the overall gameplay. My criticisms will be focusing more on the platforming of the game, the times when you’re in cover, certain fighting scenes and the use of the grenades. I know that I must tread carefully here, because I know that criticizing a game can be easy when I really don’t understand how it is made and the programming to make the game work. I think it is important to understand the time in which the game was made, and to understand the technology available at the time. Drake Fortune came out in 2007, so the developers probably started writing the story, doing conceptual art, and the programming around 2003-2005. I have also come to learn that a lot of game developers are usually waiting for technology to catch up before they can improve graphics, and the frames per minute (this has to do with the speed of the game, character movement, body language, video cut scenes, and characters response speed to the player). Taking all of that into consideration, one of my first issues that I have had with the game is the platforming. I have heard players of Drakes Fortune say that though it was a great game, it was rough. Rough how? The way Drake runs, jumps, climbs, and grapples across walls. Some of the time Drakes reaction to your commands would be slow, or when it takes Drake a few jumps before he finally grabs that ledge. Naughty Dog continually improved this issue and by the time a Thief’s End came out and Lost Legacy, you can really see how smooth things got. I must admit I still had platforming issues with those games too.
I know that it will never be perfect, I get that, but the frustrating part for me was when you’re in a gun fight, and you want to escape it and get some health back. You go to jump for cover, and Drake doesn’t grab the ledge like he was supposed to. There were times my friends when I spent a good 30-40 minutes in a hard fight and that would happen to me, especially on the crushing difficulty. Another issue that I have had and is common with other players have is how the cover in Drakes Fortune can be deceptive. I was watching Seraphim17 play a section in the Fortress, where he was completely inside this doorway, and he got hit by the A.I. There were no enemies to be seen anywhere, or when he was shooting and using the wall as cover, some of his bullets would hit the wall in front of him even though his reticle was on an enemy. He talks about this often throughout his play through. Naughty Dog also improved this issue a lot throughout the future games as well. Now some may be thinking, who cares, those are just minor things, but it’s those minor things that get players mad the most. It’s always the minor things in life that frustrate us the most, because when you play these games on crushing or brutal difficulty you want these things to work, because on these difficulties the checkpoints stink guys, and girls.
There is one scene in this game that is hard, and you know what? There is no strategy, it’s just all about if you beat it, great, you got lucky and if you don’t, you will eventually, just hang in there. It’s the jeep scene, when Elena rescues Drake from Eddie Raja. Even on crushing it took me 6-7 tries, and the terrible thing about it is when you die, and get a checkpoint, is the moment you start your getting hit by bullets. You respond like “come on man, give me a chance to get ready” and on brutal its 2-3 bullets and you are dead. This is just the way the game was programmed, like for some reason the A.I. has the jump on you, and you’re getting hit before you even see what’s going on. The key to this scene is knowing where the enemy spawns are and a little bit of luck. I think this was the worst part of the game, next to the water room in the Fortress. Same thing with the nightmare water room, you got to know where the spawns are, and you must be fast and accurate in you aiming. Do you ever sit back and think that you would like to play through an Uncharted game on crushing or brutal, but then remember a terrible fight scene, and you talk yourself out of it? I do it all the time. Like I want to try the remastered games on brutal, but there are certain scenarios I remember where I’m like, yeah, no. Lol.
This brings me to the use of grenades. I believe the use of grenades in the Uncharted games have always been an issue, and even though Naughty Dog improved the graphics of the explosions, the blast radius, and damage of grenades, they never seem to improve the players aiming capability. Like you’re behind cover, or even standing and your aiming the grenade, and you’re thinking “I can’t see where it’s going.” You throw it, and it goes way too far, or hits the rock above you and you got to dive out of the way. I think what it is, is simply the players depth perception is messed up and you can’t read the distance correctly. Then here comes the A.I, it throws a grenade and it lands perfectly next to you. I’m going to jump to a Thief’s End really quick here, in No Escape (Some of us cringe at the mention of that chapter), I was watching Seraphim17 hang on the cleft of that rock face above the ship, and the A.I threw a perfectly aimed grenade right on a cleft of rock behind him, and it nearly killed him. Not fair Naughty Dog! Then he tries to aim a grenade and can’t see anything. Even when I was doing it on crushing difficulty, the A.I. would be able to perfectly throw the grenade next to me and I would get blown out of cover and then get shot up and die. The same kind of things happen in all the Uncharted games. On the player you get this terrible shell shock effect of a grenade, but you watch the A.I. when you throw a grenade, and it doesn’t get any shell shock affect from your grenade. This is one area that Naughty Dog could have improved. I know, the game must be challenging, but it should also be fair. In Uncharted 3 you could throw the grenade back and half the time it would explode in the air and do no damage. We as the players want to fight the way the game plays, not the way the game is, we don’t want to play a game and fight against its terrible programming the whole time. We want to play the way the game is or was intended to be. So many of us I believe are fighting against just bad programming.
There are a few more things I would like to mention before wrapping up, those are weapons, Drakes journal, A.I. development, and the puzzles. Now let’s discuss Weapons. Like most players I always stuck to the 9mm as my main gun. I loved the shotgun in this game, and the M16. I had to put up with the AK47 for the first half of the game, but I got through it. One thing I have always noticed in all the Uncharted games is that the AK47 was always such a terrible weapon. The 9mmFS was stronger than the AK47, what?! In real life, most people prefer an AK47, no joke and I have read plenty of Navy SEAL biographies. These guys loved it when they got a hold of an AK47 and in certain conditions preferred it, because it was a durable beast. When you play Uncharted, shooting an AK47 is crap, especially in a Thief’s End and it got worse over time in that game. I never understood that. You will also notice that the grenade launchers in this game aren’t great either, but Naughty Dog really improved these throughout all the Uncharted games, to the point where I started to prefer it over a rifle. The Desert Eagle was okay, but I still preferred the 9mm over it, because they made it seem like such a powerful weapon. At times it still took 2 to 3 bullets to kill a guy, even when you got a head shot! I don’t care if the guy is wearing a helmet Naughty Dog, it’s a Desert Eagle! A 50 Caliber round! He should be dead! I know Naughty Dog wasn’t supposed to thrive on weapon perfection, but I never understood why some weapons lacked any realism in their damage.
I have come to love Drakes journals all throughout the Uncharted games. I myself have a Journal of all my travels, where I would write every day. Drakes journal reminds me of that, though in this game its technically Sir Francis Drakes journal. I think it’s so funny how the characters in the game hated the way Drake was a stubborn know it all, but come on, he had Sir Francis Drakes personal journal, so. . .yeah, he knew it all. Lol. This journal is a key mark to any adventurer (Indiana Jones had one)! Some might say, but there is nothing like writing your memories down, and the way Naughty Dog developed the journal entries and notes through the series is wonderful, especially in a Thief’s End, where you were pretty much following a whole other story. Naughty Dog even started to have him draw pictures in his journal.
The A.I. development all throughout the Uncharted series only got better, and what I mean by better is more difficult, depending of course on difficulty. In Drakes Fortune it wasn’t so much their intelligence, but their perfect aim. In Among Thieves, the A.I. would start to search the area a little when they noticed something wrong, the same I think with Drakes Deception, but in a Thief’s End, there were phases to your doom. Now I am talking only about crushing on brutal difficulty, but Naughty Dog really improved the A.I. where they would notice a dead comrade and that would lead to the A. I’s routes totally changing and searching around. Stealth became much more difficult later in the series, as the A.I. would be able to notice you very easily. In Drakes Fortune, stealth wasn’t a huge focus or option, it was later in Among Thieves and Drakes Deception where you could obtain a Master Ninja trophy, but Naughty Dog took that trophy away in a Thief’s End by simply giving the player options on how you want to approach a scene. In the Lost Legacy, you can obtain a trophy by getting 10 head shots with the silenced pistol, but Naughty Dog did a great job in allowing the player to choose to either go out guns blazing, or use stealth. Even though I love a good gun fight, I think deep down I really like the stealth approach, which was one reason I loved playing Splinter Cell’s the Blacklist.
The puzzles, oh how these puzzles not only grew but increased in difficulty. Honestly, I have a love/hate relationship with the puzzles throughout the Uncharted series. How many of us could not progress through the game because of a Naughty Dog puzzle? In Drakes Fortune there really weren’t any, except for when you had to turn those statues either north, south, east or west to open a secret passage way. I love how in that Monastery it was each of the Gospels that open that secret passage way, or when you had to make those two bells ring simultaneously to have the same effect. To me throughout these games the puzzles just became unbearable, I love them, and the idea of them, but man they stink sometimes. When I played the Lost Legacy, and got to the Shadow Puzzle, and the Statue Puzzle where you had to jump around, I was stuck on these for 45 minutes. I’m not the best gamer, but at one point I had to look up a video for the Shadow Puzzle, and on the Statue Puzzle, my wife tried to help me. Eventually the game had to help me beat it! (This was on normal difficulty, on crushing you don’t get game hints, I usually do normal first, then hard, then crushing). I know I’m jumping way ahead here because I’m supposed to talk about Drakes Fortune, but I mention this to show how these puzzles changed over time, and just got difficult. For people like Mike Bettencourt, they play the game twice, and can show you how to solve the puzzles in ten or less moves so maybe I’m just impatient.
Well my friends, that’s going to wrap up this blog for Drake’s Fortune, all who have read this one and my previous one, I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back with another about Among Thieves as we continue our way through the Uncharted series.
Nathan Drake. Victor Sullivan. Elena Fisher. Chloe Fraser. Sam Drake. Nadine Ross. Just a few names to remind us all of the amazing uncharted series. Of course, there are just as iconic villains, but I didn’t want to bore you with an endless list of names because there were some cool villains as well. This blog post is just my introduction to all the games of Uncharted, and I plan on going back and playing all of them individually, so I can write about them. Let us begin.
Uncharted. What an amazing game right? What an amazing series right? Unforgettable characters. Unfathomable adventures. Beautiful landscapes. Wonderful graphics. Rich gameplay. And let us not forget those “Give me a break! What?!” survival moments of Nathan Drake. I must be honest, I believe that Uncharted in a way is ahead of its time, in so many ways, and Naughty Dog only improved Uncharted as it grew. Every Uncharted game only got better, both in graphics and gameplay and/or platforming. I believe that most game series out there just stay the same, but not games developed by Naughty Dog, they really challenge themselves, and only got better. Yes, I will have criticisms and praise, and to make sure I give credit where it due, my opinions come from a mix of my own gameplay, and watching walkthroughs of other players (Seraphim17 and Mike Bettencourt are my two favorites they can both be looked up on YouTube).
I remember first playing Drakes Fortune, a friend by the name of Joanne had asked me to come over and help her get through her game because she was stuck. That my friends is when I found Uncharted. Prior to this, I never played video games for almost 13 years of my life. When I first played this game, I could not believe the graphics and the world of Uncharted. Then I noticed it was a Naughty Dog game and the last game developed by them that I knew about was Crash Bandicoot! And that series was ahead of its time for the late 90’s. I love action adventure and Uncharted was great at providing that gameplay, like the action and adventure in the Indiana Jones movies. I love maps. I hate puzzles. I love shooting. I love hand to hand combat and the fast-paced action of Uncharted, but I also love the chapters where all your doing is climbing around, because they had a way of incorporating those chapters either right after a brutal combat section (so you get a breather), or right before one (as a calm before the storm). I loved the idea of collecting the treasures as a side mission. In a Thief’s End, they added the ability to use a rope to grapple with. Naughty Dog incorporated all of this beautifully.
It takes a few play throughs to really see the changes through all the games. Here is the breakdown from my perspective: Uncharted Drakes Fortune to Among Thieves (major changes), Among Thieves to Drakes Deception (minor changes), Drakes Deception to A Thief’s End (Major changes) and A Thief’s End to The Lost Legacy (minor changes). You see the pattern? When I played Drakes Fortune, I thought it was amazing (and it still is), but when I played Among Thieves’, I was like, whoa, this is different. Years down the road when I played A Thief’s End, I was like, dang this is nice. The major change I noticed that made the series great is platforming. What do I mean? I mean the way the character responds to your commands, especially when it comes to climbing and grappling. In other games I found myself sitting there like, “come on man grab the ledge!” We all remember those times, where your trying to progress, or escape a fire fight, and Drake doesn’t grab the ledge and just falls to his death, or you simply die getting shot at trying to get away, frustrating right? Over time Naughty Dog improved this. I just want Drake to jump onto that ledge for cover. Nothing is perfect, but after playing A Thief’s End, and looking back at Dakes Fortune, your like, wow, the platforming is smooth. I thought the same thing about Drakes Fortune, hindsight is perfect vision.
The number one criticism I have heard from others about the Uncharted series, is the grenades. And every game is different, sometimes the grenades deal great damage, other times they don’t. Or the enemies’ grenades do more damage to you than your grenades do to them. And don’t get me started on trying to aim a grenade at an enemy from cover, when you can’t see crap. You totally miss, but the computer A.I. throws it perfectly at you. We all remember the Tree of Life in Among Thieves where Lazarevic throws five grenades at you at once. Not to mention these issues on Crushing difficulty. In Drakes Deception they allowed you to throw the grenade back, which was cool, and I thought they would continue with that, but they didn’t. What I learned was that they changed the gameplay based on what environments you will be in. That was one major issue I have experienced in all of them. What a gamer wants more than anything else is telling the character what to do and he does it. How can the A.I shoot you and hit you, even when you are behind cover? Sometimes the angle your shooting from and the environment you’re in don’t match, so you may think you’re behind a wall when you’re not, because of a force perspective error. This improved over time.
Character development to me is everything, Nathan Drake, the soul searching, purpose finding, mister know it all about history. Victor Sullivan, the father Nathan never had, and come on, Victor Sullivan is the dad we all want, the accepting/understanding dad. Elena Fisher, the faithful one, lover of Nathan Drake. Chloe Fraser, the adventure finding flirt, good girl caught up with bad people, Drakes one-time fling. I have to say I grew with these characters, and only in a Thief’s End do they really reveal the depth of these characters. As you start to put the pieces together, especially with Nathan, with his mom committing suicide, dad abandoning him, and his brother left alone in an orphanage. And Sam Drake, right? Maybe the developers wanted us to feel like Elena in a Thief’s End, “You have a brother?” Yep. Sam made a good older brother to Nathan, and their history together is perfect. Nathan thought his brother was dead, no point in mentioning him, because there is too much pain there. Victor Sullivan’s protective attitude toward Sam in A Thief’s End, and even Sam’s distrust of Victor. We must admit, some villains in these games Victor had previous relationships with. In Drakes Deception with that witch lady Marlowe, and in a Thief’s End, he knew Nadine Ross, and did work for Hector Alcazar. He always remained faithful to Nate and his family. I must admit when I first played a Thief’s End, I cried a few times, simply because you grow with the characters, it’s pathetic I know.
Now I have only played these on Crushing difficulty, and I have no desire whatsoever to even attempt Brutal on the remastered Uncharted. Crushing is the perfect challenge for me, because honestly, I love a challenge, but if I can’t do it in 4-5 tries, forget it. I’m not a good gamer and I have watched guys play it on Brutal. Just watching them I’m like, no way. I do think that the Remastered versions of the first three uncharted games are better. They are clearer and smoother, they even load faster, but the gameplay remains the same throughout. Overall Uncharted has been a great series to play.
My friends, this is only an introduction and I look forward to going back and playing all of them individually. I will also be writing about the Last of Us, Shadow of Mordor, and Shadow of War, maybe even Days Gone when it drops or Call of Duty WW2. Until then take care. God Bless.