9.5

Not only the best game on PS3, but one of the best games on any console. Period.

I have to say, Uncharted is by far the most engaging, polished video game experiences I have witnessed thus far. Everything about it is simply amazing. Nothing stacks up to it. Having had two years since the release of Jak X for the Playstation 2, Naughty Dog has been able to craft one of the most engaging stories of all time and some of the most believable characters in a video game ever. I've taken a dive into this game and now I've come back up for a breather and to spread the good news.

Before I begin to sing this game's praises, let me share my story of how I acquired this game. This game was released retail on Monday, November 19. Of course, I just had to pre-order the game. *slaps forehead*. So, Best Buy didn't even ship the game until Wednesday, November 21. Then, of course, my shipment ran into Thanksgiving which is a government holiday... So, I thought, I'll get it on Monday, November 26! No go. I don't think I got it until Wednesday, November 28. I think this is the last game I order from Best Buy.

So, I finally received the game, popped it into my PS3... and part of my soul was completed. Everything about this game is absolutely beautiful.

Let me start off with the characters. All of them are beautifully animated. They all have their own little nuances like real people would have. Now, all of the cutscenes are pre-rendered. This is where the bulk of the character development takes place. However, while you're playing, you'll be able to pick up on what makes each of the characters tick. Nathan Drake has tons of different animations for taking cover, meaning you'll never feel like Nathan Drake is a video game character, but an actual person who never really does the same thing more than once. Also, he stumbles and falls, adding a whole new since of life to this character. Instead of playing as a super hero, you're playing with this average joe stuck into an extraordinary situation. The only gripe I have is that Nate has a bit more upper body strength that your average guy would have. However, this is easily ignored because of the over-all quality of Nathan's character.

The graphics are beautiful. Everything is rendered with a stunning surrealism. Naughty Dog somehow blended realistic graphics with slightly cartoony visual effects to make the best looking console game to date. The jungles are bright green and beautiful. Some of the later, darker levels are also all incredibly detailed. The textures are amazing, though there is a bit of pop-in from time to time. All of the characters look incredibly life-like. It's hard to not just stop and stare around at Nate's surroundings.

The gameplay is amazing. Some people have said Uncharted is just a Gears of War clone, other say it's a Tomb Raider clone. However, it really is none of these. Actually, if I had to compare it with any games, it would be Ratchet and Clank because of the mix of platforming and gun-play and Metal Gear Solid 4, for the free rotating camera and the way the gun-play works. Uncharted goes from intense fire fights to scaling cliffs to puzzle solving, without ever losing a beat. The game is incredibly fun to play, and it will keep you coming back for more and more with four different levels of difficulty, 60 treasures to find, and over 1000 Medal points to achieve (most likely to be integrated into Home when it is released next year).

The story is definitely one of the better video game stories written. I wouldn't say it's the best, but it's definitely among the top 20. You play as Nathan Drake, the heir of Sir Francis Drake, who supposedly had no children. You search for his lost coffin along with the help of Elena Fischer, a TV show host, whose network is funding the operation. Nathan Drake wants a bit of treasure but his larger goal is to find out what happened to his ancestor. However, his friend, Sullivan, is up to his eye balls in debt and really needs the supposed treasure that Francis Drake was searching for to save his neck. This is all I will reveal, but I will say that the story grows darker and darker over its course and the ending really begs for a sequel.

In conclusion, this game is a steal for $60. It is also one of the best games I've ever played. I'm not ready to call this the winner of my GOTY award for my first annual Golden Ottsel awards, but it stands a fighting chance. My parents have bought a Wii for my brother and I for this Christmas, along with, of course, Super Mario Galaxy. I will have to save final judgement until January 2008 when I hand out the awards, but this game I think definitely has a fighting chance against the juggernaut that is Super Mario Galaxy. So, if you are a PS3 owner, you owe it to yourself to buy this game. It's definitely the best game on the system and is the game PS3 owners have been waiting for.

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