It seems like a cliche heavy set-up, but this isn't just a tired Tomb Raider clone - this is a game designed to prove that PS3 can deliver experiences other consoles can't. We've seen Nathan shooting off locks to open gates, pushing boulders over cliffs and - with a well aimed shot - flipping an enemy's truck down a mountain in a fizz of explosions. Nice. Thousands of animations have been created so Nathan doesn't have to rely on the same rigid movements to deal with different situations, while every aspect of the environment has been built from scratch. It means - in theory - you won't come across the same tree twice. Combat-wise there's nothing groundbreaking, but Nathan will duck while running if he's under fire, and spends a lot of time peeking from cover to blast the pirates that give chase, shouting thing like "He's over there - GET HIM."
Without doing anything spectacular, Drake's Fortune already looks great and we can't wait to see more.
Initially, using cover works as it does in many other action games. Nathan can back up against a wall, or crouch behind a boulder then pop up to release shots, taking aim with precision timing.
Nathan can remain undetected if he hides behind objects. Just like real life. The only time a stalking enemy will ever know he's there is if he rings off a few shots in their direction. So as long as he stays as quiet as a mouse, there's no need to enter a battle.
Nathan can spring out from and roll between cover, all in one fluid motion, which means he can avoid being outflanked and reposition himself to get an angle on harder to hit targets.
A lot of time has been invested in the facial expressions of the characters in order to avoid the blank mugs that were a feature of PS2 games. In Uncharted, every facial movement generated will be relevant to the situation that the character is in. Expect plenty of sweaty grimaces.
Between a rock and a hard place
For an environment to really come to life, it has to be lit well, so real-time lighting has been used and attention given to how light interacts with objects - reflecting off solid surfaces or shining around and through leaves.
Groundbreaking and building
Every part of the background has been built individually so you don't feel as though you're walking past the same flat textures all the time. You can climb the rich foliage to reach higher ground.
Thousands of unique animations are being created, so every jump, crouch and scramble around this huge jungle playground will feel fluid. Sweet.
Water way to go
Naughty Dog has created a complex water simulation for the game, which can be best seen in a section where Drake explores a stranded Nazi U-boat, bizarrely stuck atop a waterfall. The waves lap against the rusted corridor walls, with splashes and ripples according to his movements.