Home > Games, My writing > I have some issues with Uncharted (Article)

I have some issues with Uncharted (Article)

Before I had a Playstation 3 the Uncharted series was high on my list of PS3 exclusives I needed to play. In addition to the mountains of praise it received everything I’d seen of the games looked great. A modern tale of adventure with a wise cracking protagonist and one of the prettiest game engines around, sounds good to me!

Then I played Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and my expectations were tempered slightly. I completed the game in a weekend while staying at a friends. So I told myself my issues were probably due to trying to rush to the end. The entire time I was just trying to push through the gameplay to get to the next cutscene and advance the story. I wanted to hear more quips from Nathan Drake and see more beautiful locales. However to do that I needed to trudge through a not great shooter with fairly simple Tomb Raider-esque platforming and the occasional puzzle. I did it though and while I became very frustrated toward the end of the game I still enjoyed the experience, Naughty Dog tell a good tale.

This christmas I got the surprise gift of a PS3, so naturally my first purchase was Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. While my excitement for the series had waned a little after Drake’s Fortune and hearing some not so great things about the third entry I still wanted more. And hey, hadn’t I heard everyone praise the hell out of Uncharted 2 when it came out? Hadn’t it won a bunch of game of the year awards? Surely that meant my issues with the first game would have been dealt with, right?
Much like my experience with UC1 I quite enjoyed my time with Among Thieves for a good portion of the time. Sure the shooting isn’t the best but it’s solid enough and wasn’t too much of a chore. The platforming hadn’t changed too much but it was still satisfying to see Nathan clamber around. While they weren’t especially difficult I appreciated the various puzzled sprinkled throughout, they required just enough thought on my part to not be overly challenging while not making my input feel redundant.

About two thirds of the way into Uncharted 2’s campaign it takes a terrible turn and becomes one of the worst shooters I’ve played. As I said before, the shooting itself is fine but the various combat scenarios you are placed into seemingly work against those mechanics. Enemies become more numerous, tougher and much more aggressive. As a result what was a fairly easy breezy shooter becomes a masterclass in frustration. After this point my “wow”‘s were no long in response to amazing visuals and setpieces, they were in response to incredibly bad design and cheap deaths. I was constantly being flushed out of cover by grenades, meaning I had to run out into the open and face armoured enemies with shotguns. If they didn’t get me then the one shot snipers certainly would. Or in the case of the end area of the game perhaps it’d be a crazy supernatural guy who requires countless clips of ammo emptied into his chest to be defeated. Of course he’s wielding the Crossbow, one of the more powerful weapons in the game because that’s fair and well designed.

As I played my problem became less about the game, afterall I’d had this same experience with the first one, but more all those people who’d recommended it without question. Just why had I not heard about these fundamental flaws in this game? These late combat sections were without question bad and just not fun. So why then had this game topped game of the year lists and why had no one thought to mention it was far from perfect? I am at a loss, either we played a different game of they were blinded by pretty graphics.

At one point I had seemingly cleared out an area and could see my obvious exit, so obviously I headed in that directed and climbed up the ledge. Immediately two enemies spawned behind me and blasted me in the back with shotguns. I died, not because I had been careless but because I had tried to leave the combat area before this specific fight was over. I’ve seen other recent games ripped to shreds for having fail states like this, but Uncharted somehow got a pass. I’d like to know why!

Categories: Games, My writing Tags: ,
  1. January 3, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Im glad Im not alone in wondering why Uncharted gets a free pass. I’ve played through 2 and thought it was good, but not amazing\great. Just started up 3 and played the first 5 chapters…havent had fun with it yet… heres hoping it gets better. Also not to go into fanboy wars but I do wonder if because its a ps3 exclusive it gets more praise.

    • Ross Adams
      January 3, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      I think its high production values, well done cinematics and pretty good writing probably butter people up a lot. Even now it’s still rare for good writing and voice acting to come together in a game. As much as I enjoy that stuff I don’t think it makes up for the game part not being the best it can too.

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