When I found out that one of my favourite games of all time, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, was getting a sequel I already knew it was going to be great. I mean, it had to be, right? With Naughty Dog constantly striving to push the bar ever-higher and with the PS3 as a platform, great things were going to be accomplished. The end product is a masterpiece. Every PS3 gamer should grab a copy- heck anyone who’s remotely interested in gaming should pay some serious attention. Uncharted 2 has set a new standard in video games for character interaction, visuals, and gameplay.
Some people will have you believe that Uncharted 2 is the video game of the century, but in my eyes it is simply the game of the moment. And rightly so. The original Uncharted’s perks and flaws weigh quite heavily in my opinion of its sequel, leading me to reach a different conclusion to the majority of the gaming press. The original for me, remains a classic and perhaps purer experience. In some respects it felt like next-generation gaming due to intelligent level design. Exploring the Fortress immediately springs to mind: remaining local to one area, gradually scaling different levels and reaching new areas. In contrast Uncharted 2 flits back and forth between a myriad of locations a la Indiana Jones. This is no bad thing in itself, it’s just that as in my opinion there was nothing particularly bad about the original game, it means I’ve not fallen in love with the sequel like most people have.
Here’s a case in point: when covering from incoming fire in both games you sometimes get attached to the wrong ‘bit’ of the wall/object which is very annoying and often results in death. That is the only real flaw I can think of in the original, and it manages to appear again in the sequel! What really grates with me though, is that Uncharted 2 seems to introduce some extra problems that should not have really appeared. Some reckon that the controls have been tightened for the sequel. As far as throwing grenades goes, they’re probably right: it feels a lot more responsive, it feels right. Firing weapons? Not so much. In fact I couldn’t really tell if the controls were any sharper in the sequel. The problem in my eyes are your opponents…
Even some of the relatively weak enemies simply won’t die. You could empty half a clip into some and they’d still get back up. At least in the original I could score a headshot and 9 times out of 10 it would kill them. I mean, could you survive a headshot? Exactly. It was relatively believable. Uncharted 2: Oh no, a headshot doesn’t even stop them. And yes, I’m talking about the guys without helmets. I don’t mind the fact that enemies in Uncharted 2 now have extra body armor and helmets, it’s just that once you’ve shot a helmet off, and you shoot an exposed head they just don’t die. I’ve often wondered if there’s a bit of sloppy collision detection going on.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that at least in the first game each encounter was at least a fair fight. If they scored headshots on you, you were toast, and they were likewise. It felt like an unwritten rule, a fair bargain. For me, Uncharted simply blows that notion right out of the water. Here’s a case in point: when you encounter ‘the head honcho’ on the train, he can seemingly survive a direct grenade, and an entire clip of automattic bullets to the face. WTF.
You might call the above the good, the bad, and the ugly. But whatever, that’s my rant over. You must understand that I’m very passionate about the Uncharted series and any flaws I highlight are just being magnified under my close scrutiny. In the end, what I’ve described isn’t a deal-breaker. The average gamer will play right through the game without noticing what I’ve mentioned. Let’s talk about the good bits, shall we? I love the new stealth mechanics because they feel so right. There was a limited amount of stuff you could do in the first game when sneaking up from behind, but Uncharted 2 adds plenty of extra stealth moves from behind cover which is pretty satisfying.
The train section is one of the most epic parts of the game, and there is simply nothing in any other video game that can compare. I won’t divulge too much information, as you need to experience it for yourself. Another breathtaking moment is when you reach a high vantage point in Nepal and see far into the distance. It almost rivals real life views. Very impressive. As f0r the snow- they way it behaves and sticks to the characters made me feel a bit cold as it behaves so real! That’s one of the innovations that Naughty Dog should be proud of.
Anyhow, that’s me done for now. I really wanted to praise the sequel 100%, but I also had to air some important issues that I wanted to get off my chest. As ever, this can be a debate if you want it to be. Just sling me a comment and I’d be happy to chat some more on this topic!