Uncharted: Fight for Fortune

Uncharted: Fight for Fortune, the latest Uncharted-related offering from SCE Bend Studios (the folks behind the excellent Uncharted: Golden Abyss) is a card-based strategy game dropped near the start of the month. It contains elements from all the Uncharted games, and from the Eye of Indra-video thing, and for an Uncharted fan (ie, anyone who owns a Playstation 3 or Vita), and at a mere $5, well, it’s probably worth the risk.

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It’s a fairly simple turn-based card game. There are three types of cards, divided into subcategories. There are Faction cards, made up of Hero, Mercenary, and Villain cards; Fortune cards, made up of Fortune and Artifact cards; and Resource cards, made up of attack, defense, and misc. cards. Each Faction card has a cost, a health, and a defense value. You pay the cost value (which is raised every turn and modified by certain cards) and play a card on a mat with five areas facing each other — you can either damage another card, or damage the player him/herself if there is no card opposite (which is how you win — reducing the player’s health to 0). Most cards have a wait period of one turn. You can modify their attack and defense and apply fortune cards to make them more valuable; fortune can then be banked and used to buy resource cards, which range from defensive items like flak jackets to heavy weaponry like rocket-propelled grenades. Most cards have specific abilities, too: Eddy Raja, for example, can instantly attack any enemy card on the field for 2 damage. Marisa Chase, when played, automatically damages Dante if he is on the field. All cards also pair well with two or more other cards: playing Drake and Chase together, for example, increases some of their abilities. You can pair any one card with any two others and, if they’re compatible  you’ll get a bonus. Certain cards, say Elena and Chase, don’t really pair with each other, but if you put Drake in the middle, well, you’ll get bonuses.

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The game’s main offline component is a campaign mode that pits you against Uncharted greats: some of the games have certain requirements, such as you needing to survive a certain number of rounds, win in a certain number, or bank a certain amount of fortune. Most matches however play out the same and, while the game is fun, unless the AI starts itself with a stacked deck, well, most fights are pretty easy. Playing again and again will unlock you new items, from cards to “UI” enhancements (such as mats to play on, avatars, and deck backings), so there is some value in playing again and again. The game will also import data from your Uncharted save, which in turn will power up certain cards. If you want the ultimate battlefield advantage, you’ll need to 100% Uncharted: Golden Abyss (which I’m going to need to do).

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Online is of course where the action’s at. There is no, unfortunately, “live” multiplayer. There is “Pass and Play”, which is great if you have someone in front of you, but otherwise you’re stuck submitting moves and watching what happens. That’s not to say it doesn’t work; the online mode is kind of like Words with Friends; you can have several games going at once and play as your turns come up. When it does, you get a recap of your opponent’s turn going down. After you move, you have two options: you can go back to the main menu (and play a game against someone else), or you can “wait” for your opponent. The game does a decent job of faking live play, don’t get me wrong, and not having live play isn’t a game-killer. It can be frustrating to get into week long card battles, but from my experience, most people play live anyway. Matchmaking can be spotty. I was able to get Random Games going fine (where you play… randomly… against other players in unranked matches) but could not for the life of me start a Ranked Match. Now I’m in two.

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Fight for Fortune doesn’t have any voice acting in it, so there are no bon mots from Nathan Drake to be had. You get quotes (which aren’t even close to the spoken words), but what can you do? There is no score to speak of and the sound effects are pretty minimal. From that perspective, it is a bit minimalist; it feels like a tacked-on piece of DLC. But the card game itself is fairly well-thought out. Not having 100%’ed Golden Abyss puts you at a slight disadvantage, but not a huge one. The ability to buy cards to unlock makes the playing field a little unsteady, but from my experience this is really a game of tactics and strategy rather than just using tough cards.

All in all, Uncharted: Fight for Fortune is a fun and pretty solid card game. It’s certainly no blockbuster, and really isn’t an Uncharted (you could sub out all the characters for another game and really not notice), but it is definitely a fun game and a fairly solid time-killer. It’s in the PSN store for $4.99.

What do you think about Fight for Fortune? Fun game? Money grab?

Edit: There seems to be a weird bug in Fight for Fortune’s online multiplayer where your games can become “Disputed.” This seems to happen when the game accidentally gives one player an extra turn and then realizes its mistake. It’s an automatic thing but results in neither party winning nor losing. It’s incredibly annoying and has happened a few times to me. I hope Bend fixes it.

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