I just donít understand how this series gets so much praise.
I rented the first game and didnít like it. I saw the U1+2 pack on sale and decided to give the series another go. Played U1 again and it was just as bad as I remembered it. I was told U2 was much better so I tried that as well. Turns out U2 still had the same fundamental flaws as U1, but was better looking.
There are just so many glaring issues with the gameplay that I donít know how some people are saying U2 is one of the best games on the PS3.
First of all, the good stuff: the writing is great, easily some of the best in video games. I donít think anyone denies this. The environments in U2 look amazing, especially the Nepal stage, and the music that went with it was also very beautiful.
However, itís what happens in between each story cutscene and Drake punch line thatís the problem.
Firstly, the platforming. Itís so damn repetitive. Itís the same few ledge climbing/shuffling/dropping/jumping manoeuvres over and over and over again Ö FOR ABOUT A BILLION LEDGES. Itís not even challenging. Thereís barely any thought involved beyond locating the next protruding discoloured brick. Sure, occasionally there are some hard to spot areas but for the vast majority of the time Iím just holding the left stick in the required direction and pressing jump when required.
Then there are the shooting segments. Oh God the shooting segments. Waves upon waves of enemies pop out of nowhere and swarm you from all directions. Your guns spray like crazy. Your shots seem to do barely any damage at all. When you do manage to hit an enemy they seemingly enter this Agent Smith-like dodging state to avoid further damage.
Who designed the shooting mechanics and what were they trying to achieve!? If the bullet spray was designed to make the gunfights feel realistic, then why isnít the damage and amount of enemies realistic as well to balance it out and maintain consistency? Why is an assault rifle less accurate than a 9mm? Why does it take over a dozen rounds from a MG nest to kill one foot soldier? If they were going for cinematic action then why make it so hard to hit and kill the seemingly endless legion of grunts to begin with?
It takes half a clip to kill an enemy, multiplied by four to five enemies per wave, multiplied by three to four waves per area, multiplied by three to four areas per chapter, multiplied by 20-ish chapters.
Even the cover mechanics are clumsy. If Iím hiding behind cover, and I aim at an enemy to my side or behind me, why does Nate STAND UP TO SHOOT and get himself shot by the enemies in front in the process? I already have clear line of sight to my side and rear from a crouching position! Itís lazy programming, plain and simple. Not to mention all the times you end up hiding behind the wrong wall when you press the triangle button.
How does a third-person cover shooter get the covering and shooting mechanics so wrong?
There are some exciting action set pieces, but they are overshadowed by all the mediocre shooting and platforming segments before and after them. And the sheer amount of it is just tiring. Oh look, another locked/blocked/collapsed/out of reach door/ladder/platform. Itís pretty clear that Naughty Dog was padding out the gameplay.
I wonít bother mentioning the HORRENDOUS jet ski chapters from the first game.
From playing about twenty hours between the two games, Iíve come to realise something: one does not enjoy the gameplay in-between story cutscenes. One endures the gameplay in order to get to the next story cutscene. Remove the cutscenes and you have a mediocre third-person shooter/platformer at best.
If I took Indiana Jones in <insert your favourite Indie movie here>, turned it into a game, broke it into twenty segments, and inserted repetitive platforming and frustrating shooting sections in between each segment, would that make a good game? No. It would make a repetitive and frustrating game with high production values and a cinematic feel. Thatís what Uncharted 1 and 2 are.
And even the writing becomes predictable. You know a witticism is coming because thatís all Drake ever does.
If I had to allocate a score out of 10 for the series in general, I canít bring myself to give it more than a 7.5/10. I donít believe gameplay should ever take a backseat to being Ďcinematicí. Objectively speaking, thereís just no way a series with the fundamental gameplay problems mentioned above is worth all the 9/10s, 10/10s, GOTY and GOAT accolades it receives.
I honestly have no issue with people liking the Uncharted series. What irks me, is that by raising a decent game to stratospheric heights, itís just encouraging more developers to abandon gameplay in favour of something thatís not gameplay.