I wrapped up the Uncharted remaster collection tonight. The ratio of “shooting hordes of men in the head” to “solving puzzles and climbing on things” in Uncharted 3 was a little more weighted towards the puzzles and climbing side of things, which was nice. Still a ton of combat, of course, and I’m not a huge fan of that side of these games, but I get the whole combat-as-a-puzzle gimmick they’re going for now and that makes it a little more tolerable.
Side note: I only found one waterfall that I could actually get to, and there wasn’t any way to get behind it. I will give them a pass. This time.
Uncharted 3 is definitely a roller coaster of a game. I say that because it’s very thrilling but requires the player to sort of buy in to the way you’re supposed to play it in order to get the most enjoyment from it, and if you try to go against the designer’s intentions, you are going to wind up off the tracks and dying in a crumpled mess very quickly. There are some sequences that are almost Dragon’s Lair levels of trial-and-error gameplay, where you WILL run down a corridor chased by a wall of water, dying over and over again until you know every possible turn and jump… and once you have mastered that, then it’s a beautiful, action-movie-like sequence as Drake dashes effortlessly down the hallway and jumps to safety at the last possible moment. It’s an adrenaline-pumping moment that …well, that honestly felt like the director REALLY wanted a cutscene here but was told that he couldn’t have a budget for a cutscene, so you get to die over and over again until you play it the Right Way.
I play a lot of games where the enjoyment comes out of having an adversarial relationship with the game and its rules. The Uncharted games have been games where the enjoyment is heightened once you are submissive to the game’s story-line, and where trying to play against the designer’s intentions is a quick trip to Frustration City. If you let yourself go, then they are brilliant adventure stories with a quick-witted and charming (if somewhat homicidal) protagonist on a quest to save a) The World, b) The Girl, and c) His Best Friend, not necessarily in any particular order of importance.
It also helps if you don’t try to make any particular sense out of the world. Let’s completely ignore all of the Awesome Ancient Puzzle Contraptions that are in sealed rooms that you can only get into because one of the walls has collapsed, and instead talk about Bob.
Bob is the name I gave to an NPC who stands on a little ledge on one of the ribs of a rusted-out wreck of a container ship that serves as one of the game’s platforming challenges, and he is there solely to be facing away from the player when you climb up to the ledge and push the Awesome Stealth Attack button to yank him down off the ledge to his death, with mandatory scream.
Once I got up on Bob’s ledge, I looked around. There wasn’t any bridge to the ledge, or any other way to safely get to it, and the only way OFF the platform was to make a jump across a gaping chasm of instant death.
Look, I’m not going to demand realism from one of these games, but it wouldn’t have hurt to give Bob a little rope ladder to explain how he got there and how he planned to leave.
Also they should not have put so many spiders in the game.
I still had a lot of fun with the series, and actually thought that they got better with each installment. I will probably pick up 4 the next time it gets priced down during one of Sony’s regular digital sales.
On an entirely personal note, I have a trip to Belgium coming up in a few months, where they apparently speak French? And I don’t know a word of French and honestly when I hear it spoken it all comes out as a solid blurrrrrrrrr of noise where Ican’ttellwhereonewordstopsandthenextbegins. One side benefit to these games is that they let the player chose the spoken and subtitle languages, so I got to set them to French audio and English subtitles.
I still don’t know a word of French, but 30 hours of listening to Nate make wisecracks in French and be threatened in French has at least gotten me to the point where I’m starting to understand where the words start and end. So at least I’ll probably be able to pick train station names out of the blur. Totes educational.