4K Review: “Uncharted”

 

I’ve only excelled at two video games in my entire life: Virtua Fighter by PlayStation and any of the Gran Turismo games for the PS2. Yep, that’s it. That’s not to say that I’m bad at others, I can button mash with the best of them, but I’ve just never really been much of a gamer. Then again I’m sure I’m in the minority. I have, however, heard of the Uncharted game series with its titular star – Nathan Drake. And I suppose it was only a matter of time before some more video games make the leap to the big screen. This is nothing new, of course, we’ve had several video games turned movies with varying degrees of success. However the timing on this one was about as perfect as it could be. Coming off “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” Tom Holland once again headlines this film. And hot on the heels of his MCU efforts certainly couldn’t hurt. But, this isn’t the MCU.  Can Holland work his magic as Nathan Drake or should he stick to web slinging?
 
Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) is a bartender in New York City. He’s also a petty thief. He gets a surprise visit from Victor Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg), a “professional” treasure hunter who claims to have known Nathan’s brother. Victor claims that the two were close to finding a stash of gold, potentially worth billions of dollars, that was lost by Magellan (yes, that one) nearly 500 years earlier. Victor wants Nathan to help him finish what they started, though doing this will require stopping Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas), a wealthy businessman looking for the same treasure. Of course, there has to be a woman in the mix and the duo meet up with Chloe Fraser (Sophia Ali), another person in search of the treasure who may or may not be trusted.
 

If movies like “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” ” The DaVinci Code” or “National Treasure” (a personal favorite of mine) are up your alley, then you’ll have a good time with “Uncharted.” I’ve always been curious what hidden treasures are out there just waiting for some key or other object to unlock the goods of the past. And this is where the film excels. If you can put aside most of the logic and have a good time with it, you will. But consider that this is based on a video game and you’ll have to get past the fact that neither Tom Holland nor Mark Wahlberg look a damn thing like their 64 bit counterparts. The only person who really seems to relish his role is Banderas and he doesn’t get enough screen time to make it worthwhile. You’ll know what you’re in for very quickly, so either go with it and have a good time or get ready to check your watch for the next 116 minutes. 

 

As anyone would expect, “Uncharted” certainly sparkles when it comes to how it’s presented on screen. The 2.39:1 AVC HD encode checks all the boxes with amazing contrast, sharp as a tack detail and a wonderful, yet earthy-toned, color palette. The 4K version, no doubt, looks a bit better with a wider color spectrum and the like. Still, it’s hard to fault the way this Blu-ray looks. I found really no evidence of anything I’d consider a flaw. And why should we? Sony consistently puts out some of the best-looking titles I’ve seen. (“Ghostbusters Afterlife” is another example) This is no exception.

 

It’s a bit of a shame when you have to pony up for the 4K disc to get a Dolby Atmos soundtrack. Well, you do. But that’s not to say that the included DTS HD Master Audio mix found on this Blu-ray is by any means bad. It’s not. In fact, I was pretty impressed. Given the genre of the film we can expect an active mix with surrounds adding a warm layer of ambiance through most of the scenes. Some scenes (the airplane one in particular) do engage all of your speakers resulting in a very aggressive and dynamic aural experience. Vocals, of course, are top notch.

 

Technically there’s nothing “wrong” with “Uncharted. ”  It delivers some moderately-entertaining action sequences and for those that like the globe-hopping type of adventure, we’ve got plenty of that. It just seems like so many other films that the video game aspect of it gets lost. Truthfully, it’s probably more fun to simply play the game than watch the film. That said, Sony’s disc looks and sounds good and we’ve got a modest sampling of supplements. So if this is your thing, you could do a lot worse.

 

How Uncharted Succeeds Where Other Video Games Fail

Not as commercially successful as other video games, such as Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto, the Uncharted series has something else – critical acclaim. Regardless of which franchise you love, it’s impossible to ignore the excellent character development and gameplay within Uncharted. This allows it to succeed where others fail, like in the ways outlined below.  

A Video-Game-cum-Film  

The Uncharted franchise is exclusive to PlayStation. It’s a video game in the same mould that hundreds of others are, except there’s a twist. The Uncharted franchise is movie-esque in the way it presents itself to players. If you’ve ever played Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, you’ll understand what this means because the limited dialogue is interspersed with cut scenes where the intrepid explorer is confronted with various situations that he must inevitably calculate in seconds to save the day.  

Next, there are the graphics. What Uncharted’s designers understand is the art of using subtlety to powerful effect. It’s plain to see in dimly lit castles on the verge of a hill, the collection of scummy water as the ocean’s waves lap across the rocks, and the vividness of the colours on the savannah. This makes it like well-received films where the flash and bang of pyrotechnics are replaced with prolonged periods of silence or a simple stare.  

The thing about Uncharted video games is that they are pieces of art that gamers want to experience. It doesn’t matter that the dialogue is to a minimum and there are only 27 hours of storyline, an amount most passionate users will complete in less than a day. Since it takes inspiration from filmmakers instead of game developers, the franchise has a depth that constantly progresses from one release to the next. Others might emulate and go past it in the future, yet the reputation of Uncharted 4 as PlayStation’s greatest ever game by the likes of CBR makes it highly unlikely.  

Inspiring Quality Adaptations  

When a game is so successful, it’s bound to garner attention. As a result, there will be people trying to push the boundaries to enhance their legacy and cash in on the commerciality. Uncharted is no different from its peers in this sense, yet where it stands out is in the quality of the adaptations that it inspires, beginning with the upcoming movie release. Starring Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg, the Uncharted film will finally come to life almost a decade after it was first announced. This might scare you away, and rightly so, since not too many releases hit the right tones after years of squabbling and tweaks.  

Of course, the fact the game series is reminiscent of movies means it’s readymade to be adapted into a charming, original take on a lesser-known part of Nathan Drake’s life. People who have watched the trailer get these vibes, particularly as Holland appears perfectly cast for the role. A picture-perfect adaptation is on the cards, something the likes of Max Payne and Assassin’s Creed failed to do. Hollywood isn’t the only medium where Uncharted stands out. The video game has permeated into the world of iGaming through online casino games such as its namesake, 1429 Uncharted Seas. That’s without the Rich Wilde series that takes inspiration from the likes of Nathan Drake.   

The role of slots shouldn’t be underestimated in an era where mobile gaming and online casinos are more popular than ever as the industries have connected to utilise 4G and 5G networks and HTML5 software, leading to a rise in the sectors generated revenues of around £1 billion. Thanks to the newfound wealth, online slots operators offer generous bonuses and promotions to encourage customers to register, which doubles down on the effect. That’s not all as strategies and tips are available, too, as well as reviews of the best operators with the top libraries. I find all that on CasinoSmash, and you can too by exploring the website’s guides on your required subject, which is where you’ll find useful information on everything online casino-related. Via guides like these, Uncharted builds awareness of its franchise and enhances its reputation because millions of people not only play them but love the quality on offer. For instance, 1429 Uncharted Seas ranks at number nine on CasinoSmash’s 41 top online games for this month.  

When you look at Uncharted’s success across the board, few video games can compare. As long as the movie goes well, it will be up there with Tomb Raider in terms of video games that transcended their genres.