I picked up the original Uncharted in the pre-Christmas rush for a little more than it usually sells for. Alas, the effort was wasted, since I failed to plug in the disc for well over a month. But hey, now I know that I could have saved a couple of pounds around the deadlines doesn’t make me bitter, not at all. Nope.
Uncharted comes from a heritage of Jak and Daxter games, which are staples of any good previous generation gamer’s collection – certainly, they were in mine. (P.S., Calum, if you’re reading this, give me back Jak 2!) Slowly, Naughty Dog has evolved from producing games with luxurious amounts of platforming and no gunplay, to a climax in Uncharted where there is a fragment of platforming among hours upon hours of dreary shootouts.
Allow me to summarise the plot of Uncharted, without spoiling a thing: you play as Nate Dogg. He hunts for treasure, and uses all his meagre wits to open innumerable secret passages, work out complex puzzles, and generally prove that the Aztecs were fantastically good mechanical engineers. And every time you break into a tomb where no-one has treaded for 400 years, there are bad guys to shoot. How? How do they get into every single chamber before you, when you’re solving all the puzzles? It’s like Nathan is going a complex route, when they just used the stairs. (Hah, I made a reference to my own game. Bite me.)
To kill an enemy, you shoot 10 rounds of ammunition into them. They have no fear. I was playing on ‘easy’, because I’m a wuss and also terrible at murder (is that a positive?), and I would shoot 9 rounds into some guy’s neck. As he stands in a pool of his comrades’ corpses. That brave fellow would continue shooting at me for all his worth, without the slightest worry that he would never see his wife and toddler ever again. Truly, I would love to see a game where you shoot someone, and they go, “ARGH, YOU SHOT ME, YOU ASS,” then hide in the fear that you’ll shoot them again.
The only other method is headshots. Unfortunately, all the high-ammunition weapons have a built-in inaccuracy. The enemy’s eyes can be in the crosshairs, and you’ll hit the wall behind them, and their shoulders, but no head. I surprised myself when I took out a room full of guards with a pistol, rather than my ultra machine gun thingmabob, because the pistol actually fires where you point it – an amazing development, I’m sure you’ll agree.
The making-of videos were hilarious. One of the developers joked that Nathan Drake was supposed to be an imperfect character! He had a straight face. I chortled heartily.
The 5 minutes of platforming interspersed in the 8 hours of shootery is good. If your tastes are anything like mine (and they’re not – I have found nary a person who is as disdainful of shooters as I) then it might be worth picking up for the platforming. Just don’t buy it before Christmas.