It wouldn’t be far from the truth to say that I brought my PlayStation 3 just so that I could play Nathan Drake’s first adventure, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.
Despite being a day one PS2 owner, I’d held off buying a PlayStation 3 as a one-man protest against the way Sony treats the PAL territories (releasing their console late, removing the PS2 hardware emulation and charging us more for the pleasure). Also, I had an Xbox 360 and access to all the games that I wanted to play.
With a new baby imminent, I realised that if I wanted a big screen TV and a Blu-ray player it was a case of buy now or forever hold your peace. And so I ended up with a PS3 and a copy of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and it was worth every penny.
Not since Lara Croft’s first outing way back in ’96 had pilfering tombs been so much fun. Uncharted presented an action game wrapped in a tale of intrigue and a leading man cut from the same lovable rogue mold as Han Solo and Firefly’s Captain Malcolm Reynolds. Win, win and win!
The Uncharted series is everything that a next-gen (current-gen?) Tomb Raider should’ve been. I loved the first game, adored the second and now, with the release of Nathan Drake’s third adventure, I’ve gone and got myself one of the sort after Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Explorer Editions.
The Uncharted 3 Explorer Edition has to be one of the most extravagant game special editions that I’ve got my hands on (up until the Skyrim Collector’s Ed. in a week’s time).
The whole thing comes in a heafty cardboard box with a window showing off the wooden chest.
I’m not sure if the chest is supposed to look stressed and antiquated or if the look is simply down to a bit of typical chinese workmanship.
I’m keen to believe that it is supposed to look old and a bit beat up.
Inside the wooden box (which doesn’t open as one would expect, the buckles being just for show) rests a collector’s edition of the Uncharted 3 game. Then out comes the lenticular 3D sticker followed by the Nathan Drake figure from celebrated merchandise manufacturers, Sideshow Collectables.
The last two items in the package are the replica Nathan Drake belt buckle and the replica of Sir Francis Drake’s rings, complete with faux leather lace for wearing around your neck, just like Nate in the game.
Whilst the Nathan Drake figure is pretty good, like many of these collectible figures, the paint job on the face isn’t always too hot, making the figure look a bit odd up close. Saying that, on the whole, the model is quite finely detailed, with the neckscafe and bandoliers actually being separately molded parts.
The belt buckle and the ring both look pretty good, not sure that I’d go as far as to actually feel the need to wear either of them, though.
The belt buckle I could take or leave, but Drake’s ring is a cool bit of gaming merchandise, especially given its prominence in the games.
The 3D sticker looks good, but doesn’t really have a place in the set, if you ask me. It more than likely serves to remind us that the game can be played in 3D and just how much we are missing out by not re-mortgaging the house to buy the required 3DTV.
The actual game itself is in the special edition packaging. A mylar slipcase protects a replica of Nathan Drake’s journal, complete with images and illustrations from his previous adventures.
Really, it’s a piece of cardboard similar to the Heavy Rain collector’s edition, a steelbook with a separate artbook would have been more appropriate for such a supposable prestige package.
At the back of the faux cardboard journal, tightly wedged between glued pages sits the game disc. After getting the disc out and putting it back between those rough bits of paper a few times you are pretty much guaranteed a scratched disk. My advise is to purchase a nice soft CD sleeve and pop the disc in with the manual at the back of the case.
Lastly, the Explorer Edition comes with a collection of multiplayer skins and unlocks, so expect to spend five minutes inputting codes to get ’em. there is also a code for Sony’s controversial online pass scheme meaning second-hand purchasers of the game will have to buy a pass to play online.
Like all these special packs, unless you are a really big fan of the game, the Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Explorer Edition isn’t really worth the premium price. It’s something for dedicated fans only.
If you ignore the price, all the goodies are rather nice from a collectors point of view. The wooden box (which I believe is supposed to look stressed) is really rather good. Whilst the belt buckle isn’t my cup of tea it is, along with Drake’s ring, like owning a prop from the game. The Nathan Drake figure, whilst not as nice as my Ezio figure from Assassin’s Creed, will look good an any Uncharted fan’s shelf. The lack of a steelbook case is a bit of a disappointment (especially the way the game disk is stuffed in the cardboard case).
Well that’s the Explorer Edition for you. Obviously, the best bit of the whole package is available to all, the game itself- which I’m off to play now!