When it was originally discovered that a card game based on the exploits of Nathan Drake was being made, I don’t think anyone jumped for joy or even really cared. Uncharted? Card… battling? The truth is that descriptors like “swash-buckling”, “handsome”, and “action-packed” are entirely antithetical to anyone’s sane perception of a card game.
That remains true today as Uncharted: Fight for Fortune fights for space on your PlayStation Vita. If you’ve played a lot of card games, Fight for Fortune might feel like an odd cross between Magic the Gathering and other resource-based card-fighters. While many of you might be tempted by Nathan Drake’s handsome, chiseled mug, I’m here to reveal that the Uncharted brand and card-battling are two great tastes that should never have been tasted together.
Fight for Fortune gives two players a deck of cards to draw from, with each card categorized into one of three classes: hero, villain, or mercenary. To compliment these attacking and defending figures, players will also choose a treasure and action card in their turn. These three can work together or you can “cash-in” your fortune card to increase your bank of expendable gold.
As complicated as it sounds, you’ll get a hang of it after the third or fourth game. In fact, I recommend blazing through the tutorial as fast as possible and begin your fight against Doughnut Drake and Skinny Drake in earnest as you’ll learn faster by doing.
Your end goal is to reduce your opponent’s health to zero. This is accomplished by attacking, setting trap cards, and generally outwitting your opponent. This isn’t hard in earlier levels of the campaign, but the difficulty ramps up suitably as you continue on.
When you do reach that high-level play you’ll have to customize your deck to match your strategy. That means digging deeper into the menus and selecting cards, all of which puts the player through unbearable load times, to the point I decided to roll with what I had rather than deal with the headache any further.
With 18 single-player levels and one-on-one online play and nearly nothing else, don’t waltz into Fight for Fortune with an expectation of anything other than a whole lot of card-battling. Any unlocks or gameplay extensions revolve around beating the campaign again and again, something you won’t be motivated to do.
In fact, I actually felt encouraged to close Fight for Fortune and launch my newly downloaded PlayStation Plus copy of Uncharted: Golden Abyss on numerous occasions. Many cards in Fight for Fortune let you know that if you’ve collected the treasures in Golden Abyss that they’ll have increased power and abilities. This of course leads to imbalance in online play which halves the value of Fight for Fortune for any sane gamer who isn’t going to immediately go out of their way to get the platinum trophy for Golden Abyss.
Why would anyone go out of their way to measure up in a mediocre card game that provides none of the action and thrill of a “real” Uncharted title? If you say so Sony Bend, I don’t need to be convinced to stop playing Fight for Fortune.
In the end, I wish I could rate Uncharted: Fight for Fortune lower for it’s disingenuous use of the Uncharted brand. Why would Sony confuse it’s loyal fans with such an obtuse, niche genre title?
I won’t though. Fight for Fortune isn’t broken, despite the odd decision to let another game’s completion percentage determine your power. As a portable game, it lends itself well to the Vita’s on-and-off capability. Still, if you don’t like card-battling games, you won’t enjoy a second of this, because that’s all it is.
Keep that in the back of your mind and refrain from letting that handsome, exploring, half-tucked adventurer from seducing you into a game you won’t enjoy.