Review by ryanmurakami

"Too Long"

I enjoyed the first Uncharted. It was one of those games that kind of surprised me. I'm not usually attracted to, what one might consider, “mainstream” games. I'm usually more into weird, obscure titles. But, I'd like to say that I can recognize a damn good game when I see it, regardless of its social position.

Uncharted was one of those games. The controls were tight. The cinematics and camera controls were new and interesting. The graphics were absolutely amazing. Playing it was just fun. There was something remarkably intuitive about the whole experience. The game makers were also game players, and they tried to make a game they wanted to play.

So, when Uncharted 2 came out and all kinds of awards were bestowed, I knew what to expect. I thought it would be good, I thought I would like it, etc. I borrowed the game from a friend when he finished it. I stopped halfway through and forgot about it… but eventually finished it for the sake of completion.

Uncharted 2 is too long. And it's not just that it is to long, it's that it feels too long. The big boss guy says something like “do you know how many people you've killed…” and it rings a little true. You kill and insane amount of people. Like, piles and piles. Digging the graves would take billions of years. Actionbutton.net (one of my favorite sites) reviewed the first game by referring to it as the reason “why video games are referred to as ‘murder simulators'”. I will at least say that I didn't get that feeling when I played the first one, although looking back it is totally true. But Uncharted 2 really does feel like a murder simulator. You feel awash in blood. You start hearing “There he is!” in a sorta Spanish accent when you're taking a piss at the toilet (or out back. whatever you're in to). Red lines make you nervous. There's just way too many enemies.

Here's why Uncharted 2 feels like it's too long, too much murder, too much climbing, too much back and forth with chloe and running around in circles. Because I've already played the first one… And most other people have too. The second Uncharted is an improvement on the first, but only as the second Mario (lost levels in America) was to the first. It's just more levels with more stuff. If played back to back, you're playing the same game. Once you're into, say, the 6th or 7th hour of duck, shoot, climb, move, shoot, climb, repeat, your'e bound to get sick of it.

Uncharted 2 is desensitizing. Like watching Faces of Death in 4th grade at your friend's house. Somehow, you're able to start laughing at the way the guy's body just flopped around after his head was cut off. Eventually, the game goes from being a ‘murder simulator' to being a ‘job.' A game that started, back at the beginning of the first one, as refreshing becomes the bad taste in your mouth after coffee. It's the reason I just stopped playing the game. Why do I want to keep doing the same thing over and over? Instead, I did the dishes, because at least there's different crap crusted on the plates each time…

But why did I finish it? Because I'm a completion junkie. Sometime in my first few years of university, I realized that I started a lot of things but finished few. I made some sort of internal, blood pact with myself that I would finish more things. Somehow my brain shorted and included video games in that pact (the intention was for me to complete meaningful things). So, I finished Uncharted 2 to say I had completed it, and to return it to my friend. I finished it, and gave it back to my friend. Yes, to restate, let it be known that I have completed Uncharted 2 in its entirety. I even completed that stupid battle with the dude on sap-steroids.

The best way to express my dissatisfaction with this game is a metaphor + explanation. I love short songs. As I get older, I like my music to be shorter and faster. I view the perfect song length at under 1 minute. Any masterful song writer can express everything in that time that is worth expressing. I would be okay if its a little longer (1.2-1.5 minutes can be okay too). But the reasoning is the same, why put in filler? There's a million bands, there are a billion songs, so why waste the listener's time with anything less than awesomeness? The same applies to game design. Don't have the player doing anything more than they should. You should have a concise (artistic) reason for doing things (artistic added because ‘making money' should never be critically applauded as a reason to make art). Uncharted 1+2 is similar to a little PSP title name, WTF. Specifically, the mini-game where you put the tops on pens. The point of the game is to make money by doing repetitive actions over and over. Why do you make money? To get virtual toys out of gacha-gacha machines. Yes… this is the basic idea of Uncharted.

Okay, okay, one more thing. Here's something comparable to Uncharted. You'll need two TV's and a roll of bubble wrap. On one TV, put on an Indiana Jones movie. On the other, put on Rambo. Now pop the bubbles. When you finish popping the bubbles, go back over the ones you've popped to make sure they're all popped (this is a little comparable to a second play through, or the second game). Now, you've pretty much played through both games. You can tell someone that you've completed them, I give you permission. If they ask you why they don't see any trophies for the game in your PSN account, tell them you were playing with your Japanese account.

Oh, maybe the movies should be in Blu-Ray.

So, let's start a rating system with this review. We'll go out of 10, that'll work, start with a 5. Each point will be explained:

+1 – being a game my wife doesn't mind watching me play

+1 – having good art design coupled with insanely detailed graphics

-1 – being too long

-1 – having to do the same thing over and over

-1 – being too hard for me on normal difficulty (I don't wanna play a game on easy, cause that's for sissies (aka. little kids))

-1 – having girls with glassy eyes that make them look like those life-size robot female things that rich otaku are buying in japan.

That… seems about right. 3/10. I liked the first game, I did, but it's really like the difference between a good idea and good execution. Uncharted was a good idea with bad execution.


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 05/24/10

Game Release: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (US, 10/13/09)


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