Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (PS3) is one of the rare video games I will ever write about here at New World Review. Rarely does the hunt for Latin America’s lost treasures appear in game format (though in my opinion the concept should happen far more often than it does). The game Drake’s Fortune tells the tale of a distant relative of Sir Francis Drake, the legendary pirate who plundered Spanish gold from the South American Pacific to the Caribbean.
The game starts in Panama as Nathan Drake and a female reporter pulls the 400-year old coffin of the pirate Drake out of the sea. Inside he finds a treasure map, though rival treasure hunters quickly come on his tale. After retreating to a seaside resort, Drake and his pilot friend flee to the Amazon, and quickly encounter the lost city of El Dorado. There they find that the treasure has already been looted, along with a German U-boat perched on a waterfall. More clues take them to an island in the middle of the Pacific, where the last seventy percent of the game plays out. A lost Spanish colony overgrown in jungle looks incredibly authentic if it were not for their grand scale it is portrayed. There is no mention of the exact location of the island, though there are toucans flying around, so if this were a realistic scenario (I do realize this is a game) it would have to have been located rather close to the mainland. Throughout the island you come across random gold and silver pieces of treasure like Spanish goblets and Inca statues, which are based on actual artifacts. While the lost treasure of El Dorado turns out to be a massive gold statue, though it looks exactly like a Mayan stellae (note: the Mayas never came close to the Amazon), which is told to be Pre-Inca in the game.
While hard-core historians will probably lump Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune in with Indian Jones & the Crystal Skull (that’s not a compliment and don’t even get me started), anyone with a sense of adventure and imagination will appreciate the life like game play and the slightest feeling of exploring the unknown, at least for a few hours.
The second Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is set to release in October of 2009. This time there is no search for lost Latin American treasures as the game shifts to somewhere in Asia. Personally, I would have liked to see Drake find Valverde’s Gold in the Llaganatis in Ecuador.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.