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PS3 - Uncharted 3



The pack-in in my PS3 bundle was Uncharted 3, so I'm playing through it. (Probably much to my wife's annoyance as she would really rather I didn't play shooters.)


Playing through it is a good description as the game is linear. Sure, sometimes there are battle areas where you get a little more choice for directions to go, and there are short branches for "hidden treasure" (which doesn't seem to do anything from a gameplay perspective). But there's really no chance of getting truly lost - you are either killed/captured if you get too far off course (and then restart from the last checkpoint) or you get to fumble around until you find the way back to the path. Time is also flexible - although the game tries to hurry you along, typically there's no penalty for going slow.


In theory, the reason for this linearity is so the story isn't compromised. The problem is the story is like an action movie - with all of the problems they have. Now, I haven't played the other Uncharted games, so there's probably a bunch of backstory which would help explain Drake's motivation in doggedly seeking this lost city in the face of almost overwhelming opposition, and why his friends would follow him through this near suicidal adventure. I also don't understand the villains. They send hordes of minions out to kill Drake, but then don't kill him when he's at their mercy. (And minions who would rather fight Drake than escape a burning building.) The villains also seem to have the ability to follow Drake through every puzzle, almost like they know the answer, but never get ahead of him.


Then there's the combat. I'm gradually learning how to make better use of the hand-to-hand combat rather than just mashing the square button. There does seem to be some intelligence as I found last night if I maneuvered myself close to a club I'd pick it up and use it. There also seems to be some timing as I get better results pressing the square button slower rather than as quickly as possible.


I'm also figuring out how to shoot from cover, although aiming from cover seems to expose Drake more than I'd like. The game also doesn't explain the advantages between the different handguns (you can only carry one at a time).


I'm playing on "Normal" difficulty, which is still probably a little on the easy side for most of the game. Not only can Drake take a huge amount of damage, but he regenerates if you can avoid getting hit for a minute. None the less, there's a few spots which were very difficult to get past, like the RPG attack on the top of the castle. (It turns out it's better to be more exposed so you can avoid the rockets than take cover and die in the explosion.) And while having Drake run towards the camera may be more cinematic, it makes it much more difficult to follow the one safe path!


Last night I had a gun battle with a bunch of pirates in a ship graveyard. (Why pirates would be patrolling inside the graveyard is one of those action movie plot holes - try not to think to hard.) The problem was Drake was unarmed and there wasn't any good cover other than underwater. (And you thought you hated swimming as Mario...) I eventually found a place which had some weapons, then (after a couple more deaths) I found a machine gun nest which I could take out. This made it much easier to handle the bad guys with sniper rifles, although I still died a couple of times being attacked from my blind side & via a few grenades.


But eventually all of the bad guys fell to my bullets & fists and the graveyard was strangely quiet, with nary an obvious exit. Finally I realized I needed to climb a tower (there's lots of climbing in Uncharted, but it's rarely difficult). What I didn't know is climbing the tower triggered a few more baddies to come out of hiding and send me falling to my doom in a hail of lead. So it's back to the last checkpoint to try again...


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Hm... I thought the first two Uncharted games were somewhat okay, but I never got warm with the characters or the shooting sequences. I still kept them since they were still better than most other HD games I played, but ultimately decided that I don't need to play Uncharted for a third time :)

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Still haven't cracked the pack-in copies of Uncharted I & II that came with my PS3 yet. Been playing Split/Second too much. It's like Burnout, with exploding buildings. :D

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I finished Uncharted 3 last night while waiting for GParted to resize & clone my HD. I guess it was better than average, but I still feel underwhelmed. Too much the action movie plot, I think.


So now I'm thinking about if I want to replay it. Sure, I could crank up the difficulty (from Normal) and spend my time trying to avoid being shot. But I did that for Goldeneye on the N64 and there's a point where the challenge becomes unfun. Because the game is so linear there's very little reason to go back and explore since I don't have a burning desire to get all of the meaningless treasures scattered just off the beaten path. (And in these days of YouTube walkthroughs there's little cred in doing it; unlike getting 101 stars in SM64.) I kinda want to go back and replay some of the battle sections & try some different tactics, but then I'd have to slog through the rest of the chapter filler.

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I installed Steam on my Aspire One netbook the other day. Portal crashes, but Half-Life works (although it gets a little stuttery with the flashlight on). And other than graphics, HL1 puts U3 to shame.

1. HL1 is just as linear, but doesn't feel that way. Maybe it's because you end up criss-crossing your own path.

2. HL1 is huge! The criss-crossing path helps this some along with the quick-load of new areas. But I bet if I time how long it takes to finish HL1 it would be at least double U3.

3. HL1 tells it's story better, and it does it without cut scenes or big chunks of dialog. Yes, you have to stop & listen to the NPCs to get the whole story, but that makes it more real.

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