Uncharted: Fight for Fortune is quite the oddity. It feels like an Uncharted game in some ways, but it’s blatantly obvious that it’s not. And yet, despite that, I can’t stop playing it.
I wrote a piece about a month ago explaining the rumor that there was an Uncharted-style casino card game being developed by a basically unknown developers by the name of One Loop Games. Suffice to I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about it.
A few weeks later it was confirmed that this was indeed a real game, but Sony Bend (the developers behind the great Vita launch title Uncharted: Golden Abyss) were involved in the game with One Loop Games. This gave me hope that this wasn’t some crazy cash-grab, but still left me apprehensive.
Fight for Fortune isn’t a true Uncharted game, and the faster you get that into your head the easier it’ll be to enjoy it for what it is; an action card game. The gameplay is both simple and complicated, but once you get the hang of it, is a blast to play.
Like a classic card game, you start each round with a random deck of cards that are each assigned a value number, an attack number, and a defense number in addition to several special powers.
To use a character card (called Faction Cards), you have to either use a power up or go through a certain amount of rounds to earn up the points to put a card into play. Once it’s on the playing field, you can outfit with weapons or defensive items (Resource items), and after waiting one attack round, you can proceed to attack either your opponent’s cards or the opponent himself.
There’s also a thing called Fortune in the game, which in addition to the Resource cards (offense or defense) modify a card. Fortune’s primarily purpose is to ‘banked’, which is done by either playing a power-up card or by playing a Faction card that banks a Fortune card as a special move.
Fortune is used to buy the power-up cards, but if you have zero Fortune, you can’t upgrade any of your Factions cards that turn. And if you have an Uncharted: Golden Abyss save on your Vita’s memory card your power-up and Fortune cards are upgraded even further.
That’s the easiest way I can explain it, and I’d be lying if it didn’t take a bit for me to understand what the different numbers on each card meant, and how to use them appropriately. But after you’re past the learning curve, the game gets really fun.
Most matches require you to deplete your opponents health by attacking him directly (placing a card somewhere there isn’t a rival card in front of it), but every so often the game will change the formula, and it’s then that the game is at its best.
While the action-style gameplay is fun, the real excitement comes from when you either have to keep a certain card alive for a set amount of rounds, or to hold onto your Fortune in order to reach a certain amount of the stuff.
These types of matches force you to decide whether or not you want to defend your cards or yourself. And while the wonky and unpredictable AI can make things more complicated than they should be, the game is fun and even exciting when it changes at times.
Fight for Fortune is really fun, however, there are several flaws that can really cause some frustration. For starters, the loading times are rather long, and the message screen (which is really a front for a load time) that pops up after every round is intrusive and annoying.
The menus aren’t as streamlined as they should be, and while the Vita’s touchscreen works great with the game, for some reason the menus wouldn’t register a fair amount of my swipes. Also irritating is the aforementioned AI, which can be brutally hard or utterly dumb.
There is a multiplayer mode in Fight for Fortune, but it barely works. The connection is difficult to get working, probably because it’s asynchronous, and the only multiplayer that’s any fun is the Pass and Play mode where you play with someone beside you.
So while Uncharted: Fight for Fortune is a fun game, especially for Uncharted fans, it comes packed with a few very irritating flaws that keep the game from being anything more than just fun.
But at only five dollars, and coming packed with several hours of content (more if you want to buy the also cheap expansions) Fight for Fortune isn’t nearly as bad as I imagined it would be, and is a great way to blow some time.
Story: 6/10 – There really isn’t any story here, and the only reason it scored a six is because it’s fun to pretend you’re playing against the actual characters in a card game.
Gameplay: 7/10 – Fun, addictive, and occasionally exciting, Fight for Fortune’s gameplay is fairly strong; but the wonky AI, bad menu interface, and long load times hold it back from being great.
Presentation: 7.5/10 – The game looks like an Uncharted game, and the backgrounds are cool and I really liked the sound effects, all of which stayed true to the series’ roots.
Graphics: 8/10 – The graphics are as good as Uncharted: Golden Abyss’, but this isn’t exactly a game that doesn’t need good graphics, so what we get is perfectly fine.
Replay Value: 8.5/10 – With a ton to unlock, and the ability to replay past matches for more rewards and a higher challenge will keep fans interested for some time.