I’ve started playing through Uncharted 2 and am up to the seventh chapter so far. A few discussion points came to mind while playing the game that I thought I’d write down in no particular order.
Uncharted 2: Among Ladders
There sure are a lot of ladders in this game across a range of varying environments. The same unfolding ladder that appears on the side of buildings in American movies also appears in a sewer canal, a train and a Nepalese temple.
Uncharted 2: Sweet, sweet contextual animation
I think animation is as important as pure graphical fidelity and A.I in terms of creating a believable environment and in Uncharted 2, it is simply incredible. I remember the animation being quite polished already in the first Uncharted. It was only a small thing but I remember a scene where Nathan Drake is walking and swimming through a delapitated submarine and being impressed with the animation of the character transitioning from swimming to wading to walking, and little touches such as stooping his head so he doesn’t hit it in the narrow door frames. Uncharted 2 continues this level of animation right off the bat with the train wreck scene where once again, you are simply pushing the avatar upwards and forwards but the character model itself is constantly contorting, stretching and reacting to the environment in a realistic fashion.
Uncharted 2: Video games as movies
Coming out early next year, David Cage’s Heavy Rain is a game thats almost solely designed around creating an interactive cinematic experience. I think Naughty Dog have set a pretty high bar for them. Without having to use quicktime events (QTE), Uncharted 2’s cinematic feel comes from its natural sounding script, competent shot selection during cutscenes and its narrative pacing which is certainly evocative of Hollywood action adventures films.
Uncharted 2: Set pieces are awesome
That whole fifth to seventh chapter where you are chased down by a truck through a narrow alleyway and then when you’re in the collapsing building with the helicopter trying to kill you. Holy shit, that was incredible.
Uncharted 2: I have double standards for ‘realism’
There are multiple times during the game that call for Drake to make incredible leaps where he only just manages to get his fingertips on the edge of a precipice, pulling he pulls himself to safety. This never gets old for me. However, I have the same problem with this game as I did with the first regarding the bodycount which I feel is unrealistically high and goes against the idea that Drake is the embodiment of the Everyman. The shootout in level 4, The Dig, has you killing close to thirty armed soldiers in a single area. There is no need for it to be that high. I wouldn’t mind seeing the game try and offset the balance by having the weapons do more damage but drastically reducing the number of people you fight. Or keep both options there and call them ‘cinematic mode’ and ‘game mode’ or something. As it stands, that little showdown in Borneo reminded me of the bit in Hot Shots: Part Deux where Charlie Sheen breaks the record for the most number of onscreen kills.