Book Review: Uncharted: The Fourth Labyrinth

Posted: December 2, 2011 in Reviews
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Charting the Labyrinth

I, like the rest of our PS3 writers, am a fan of the Uncharted series (seriously, it’s a requirement). I thoroughly enjoy the adventures of Nate, Sully, and their tight compadres trotting the globe, cheating death in precarious ruins, and, of course, the witty banter. So when the first Uncharted novel arrived in my mailbox, I wondered if it would live up to the high standards of action and adventure that the games have set.

Written by Of Saints and Shadows author Christopher Golden (not to be confused with well-known Ravenloft and Warcraft author Christie Golden) it follows Drake and Sully as they’re meeting in New York City to pay a visit to a professor friend of theirs. They soon find he’s been murdered, and the two of them join the dead man’s daughter in a quest for revenge. And treasure, of course. ┬áThe adventure takes them to a series of labyrinths, crossing through both Greek and Egyptian mythologies on the hunt for the fabled fourth labyrinth.

The plot frankly isn’t very original – it covers ground that both Indiana Jones and Lara Croft have walked before (an accusation that can fairly be leveled at the entire Uncharted series, but that’s neither here nor there), with Drake even finding one of the early labyrinths in the same place Indy finds one in Fate of Atlantis. However, I think that works well enough for the pulp adventure style the book is going for. It may not be original, but it’s pretty compelling and exciting, and Golden has the good taste to inject a bit of history here and there, and for the most part the sarcastic remarks and corny jokes that pretty much define Nate are intact, although it’s notable that the characterization seems to be largely from his POV, frequently referring to the antagonists as “killers” as though he’s not one himself, and even saying he gets physically ill when he kills someone. Considering my kill tally in a typical Uncharted 2 run numbers in the hundreds, you have to wonder when the guy has time to do all that (offscreen) vomiting.

The majority of the book manages to keep the pacing pretty even and interesting. In my opinion, it wraps up a little too quickly and cleanly in the third act, though. It seems to me more that Golden ran out of space than anything else, as it just seems to have a quick conclusion with a predictable, but still out-of-nowhere, plot twist. It’s kind of a shame since the first 250 pages or so are damned good fun.

Uncharted: The Fourth Labyrinth is an enjoyable novel for fans of the series. If you’re in need of some reading material or a quick gift for a friend who’s an Uncharted fan, by all means pick up a copy. It’s a good entry in the series that only really suffers from a truncated ending.BNBGAMING Recommended Award

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