A Trip Down Memory Lane: The Uncharted Series

Well, this is it, the final dash for the finish line. At the end of this week, on Friday, the PlayStation 4 will be on the shelves in the US, and most of us will finally be able to jump fully into the next generation. It has been a long wait for this day, but now that it is getting closer; I can't help but feel a little bit sad. Looking back at all of the great times I had with the PS3, I am kind of sad to see it go. Now sure, the PlayStation 3 will continue getting games for a few years yet, but it will no longer be the main console. Over the next year or so we will be seeing games like Tales of Symphonia Chronicles, Tales of Xillia 2, BlazBlue Chrono Phantasma, as well as a few other heavy hitters, but we all know what is going to happen in the end. Just like with the PlayStation 2 and the PlayStation 3, the PlayStation 4 will slowly beat out its predecessor, and the PS3's life will come to an end.

Anyway, that's still a few years from now, and I'm sure a lot of you will still have reasons to go back to your PS3. (Or even go out and get one!) The console has had a long life, with a lot of great titles, and I personally see no reason to just throw it out when the PS4 comes out. Even if games stop coming, the old ones will always live on. And so, with that, how about we take a trip down memory lane? In honor of the PlayStation 3, and the upcoming PlayStation 4, over the next 5 days we here at NGR will be discussing great games and moments from the PlayStation 3's life. While some of you will remember the games we will be discussing, and personally feel attached to them, others may have not. If that's the case, maybe by the end of the week not only will you be able to pick up a PlayStation 4, but some new games for your PS3 as well.

Well anyway, lets get this thing started; shall we? To kick things off, we will be discussing an old time PS3 favorite... Uncharted.

When the PlayStation 3 first came out, it is no secret that it had quite a lot of "issues." The price tag was too high for a lot people, some consoles ran into the dreaded "Yellow Light of Death," and above all, the console itself hardly had any games to play. It, to put it nicely, was a poor launch. People who did manage to come up with the money to buy it soon found themselves bored. Sure there was the first person shooter Resistance (which is a great series we sadly will not be touching on during this blog series), and racing games such as Ridge Racer 7 and MotorStorm, but for the most part; the library was lacking. Most of the "better" games were on other, cheaper, consoles as well, and that really hurt the PS3. Well, as time went on, things changed.

A year after the PlayStation 3 first launched a little game called "Uncharted" hit the shelves. It was a brand new game created by the team over at Naughty Dog (which at the time was well known for the platforming series Crash, and the Jak series), and it decided to change just about everything. While Naughty Dog's previous games were more "cartoony," Uncharted went for the realistic approach, it blended platforming, shooting, stealth, and the action adventure genres together, and it was also a game with a major focus on its story. It was a very unique game, and it was also one of the firsts to actually make the PlayStation 3 worth owning.

Although the game wasn't perfect, it was still great. It was an early PlayStation 3 game (and the first by Naughty Dog) so its graphics weren't really that "outstanding," some of the controls felt awkward at times, and texture pop in and screen tearing seemed to happen often, but overall these issues did not hold it back. The shooting aspect was spot on, there were some amazing climatic set pieces to play through, there was a climbing system which allowed the main character to climb up ledges/on walls, and above all, it had an amazing story with very likeable characters.

Despite starting out a bit shaky, the story and characters of Uncharted were great. Nathan Drake, the main character, is a treasure hunter who seems to always get himself in trouble, but have fun while doing so. Throughout the game he is always joking around, and his almost constant dialogue with the supporting characters is enough alone to drive you to finish the game. The entire game was actually created using motion capture as well, and that really helped it shine over others out there. While in most games cutscenes are done by doing the motion capture and voice recordings separate, Uncharted's were filmed in a studio all at once. Although you may not realize it, actually acting out the scenes on the set is a lot different than talking into a box, alone, and that is something that really stood out about Uncharted.

Overall, the original Uncharted was a great game, and one well worth owning, but it was nowhere near the level of what was to come. What Uncharted 1 started, Uncharted 2 continued, but it also did much, much, more.

Uncharted 2 was on a whole new level. By this time Naughty Dog was much more experienced with the PlayStation 3, and they were ready to show off what they had learned. Uncharted 2 started off with a climatic scene from the get go (with Drake hanging off the back of a train which had fallen over the ledge of a cliff), and its action never did slow down.

While Uncharted 1 was a game with a small cast of characters, Uncharted 2 introduced brand new characters (both friend and foe), it took Drake on an adventure around the world with a wide verity of places to see (rather than just being trapped on a single island like in the original), and the game looked amazing while doing so. The texture pop in was gone, screen tearing was no longer an issue, they spent a lot more time with motion capture which resulted in the characters moving and looking more natural (rather than having a stiff look which Uncharted 1 seemed to have from time to time), and the graphics themselves were a major step up. Uncharted 2 was basically everything a fan of the first game could hope for; plus much more. It took you to a wide verity of places, the game looked amazing, the story was "better," the jokes were funnier, the issues the plagued the first game were removed, and Naughty Dog even added in an online multiplayer death match mode, and co-op! It was a game that even people who disliked the first enjoyed, and it is one of them PlayStation 3 games which is sure to stand the test of time. Still to this day many people consider it to be the best PlayStation 3 game on the market, and even its online community continues to live on... Even after the release of Uncharted 3.

When Uncharted 3 came along, fans were excited. Uncharted 2 kept people coming back for more, and fans couldn't wait to finally get a chance to step back into this world. Well, in the end things didn't go quite the same as with Uncharted 2. While Uncharted 3 was still a great game, with a great story, even more unique locations to visit, and a few new characters, some still preferred Uncharted 2 over it. The game tweaked the aiming system (which took quite some time to get used to), there were a few chapters in game that felt a bit out of place, and the game left off with a lot of questions unanswered, but that really didn't matter. Once again the series introduced another strong title to the PlayStation 3's library, and around that time was when things really started to take a turn for the better.

Around 2011, things really started to change for the PlayStation 3. By this time the console had already built up a strong library, a large lineup of new games were already in the works, and gamers across the world really started to take notice. Over the past few years since then, the PlayStation 3 has really picked up, and it even outsold another leading game console. Sure, Uncharted itself wasn't the cause of this major increase, but it sure didn't hurt.

Overall, the Uncharted series as a whole is just one of them series you really shouldn't pass up if you have a PlayStation 3. Uncharted 1 brought hope to the PS3 back when it was first starting out, Uncharted 2 blew us away, and Uncharted 3 was a strong followup that still left us wanting more. Since then a PlayStation Vita game has been released, a Card Game Spin off was released as an add on for it, a comic was released to tell of the events before Uncharted 1 started, a live action film is in the works, and now there are even "leaked" rumors of Uncharted 4 being in development for the PS4. The series itself is huge, and it is just one of the many reasons the PlayStation 3 was great.

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