So I’ve had a lot of time to fill with having basically no internet, just enough to write these bloody articles. So I can’t play online games, I can’t play my digital games because I apparently can’t log into my full PSN account to unlock them. So I was in dire need of something to kill some time with. Upon finding the Uncharted collection with games 1, 2 and 3 for $15, that was the challenge for me.
For those unfamiliar with me, I played a little Uncharted way back when the original came out. I never owned a PS3 so I never got the chance to fully play them. But after playing just a little bit of the original Uncharted and watching bits of the other two games in this collection, I’ve had the opinion for a while now that the Uncharted series is extremely overrated. So what better way to challenge that opinion by actually forcing myself to play through the three games that really brought everyone to the opinion that the Uncharted series is legendary.
So let’s start with the one game I actually played a little bit before, shall we?
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
As an opening game in the series, it certainly doesn’t start off strong. A lot of people seem to agree that this game is very weak and not the best representation of the series, but hey it still counts and I’m still going to criticize it!
For a starting game, holy shit is it rough. It’s clear that this game was made in a time where all every gamer wanted was an endless shooting spree. It didn’t matter what the game was, just have an endless supply of enemies and an endless supply of guns and just let the player roam free. The constant fighting really turned me off of the game several times, to the point I would’ve stopped playing had I not been challenging myself to finish the entire 3-game collection. I don’t understand why an adventure game that is very reminiscent of Indiana Jones has to have a constant barrage of moments where you’re in a small area and you fight 3-5 waves of enemies, who apparently are parkour experts in massive amounts of body armor. If the shooting sections were shorter, the game could’ve been a lot better, there was just too many long pauses in between the puzzles and exploration sections, which in my opinion is what makes these kinds of games so much more enjoyable.
In terms of the characters, Nathan Drake’s the only one with any interest to me and that’s really only because he quips like any other male protagonist that we all love so much. Sully to me is just your average old man with a bit of an ego and a perverted mind and Elena honestly, is either a bitch or completely uninteresting. More on her later. A lot of the character interactions seem a little too forced, especially with Nathan and Elena, almost like these two have known each other for years before all this happened.
Most of all though, the story just never captures my attention. Not Nathan’s quest, not the journey itself, not El Dorado, not the story of Francis Drake, the Nazis’ own journey, anything pertaining to this story just wasn’t interesting at all. The villains especially too are so weak it’s pathetic. How someone created these three “villains” and thought there was anything to hate about them is a mystery to me, especially given how the final boss of this game comes out of nowhere. And because that was a thing back then, the final boss is a QTE. Woo. Woo. Wooooooo…
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Now we’re talking about the game that a lot of people, including my friends who can’t believe I think this series is overrated, they all say that this is one of the best games ever made, easily the best in the series. I went into this one with a completely open mind, who knows, maybe it really is one of the best games I’ll play.
Spoiler alert, it wasn’t. Not even fucking close.
It was certainly better, a lot better than the first game. But the excess fighting is still there, I was told there was a lot more adventuring, I assumed that meant I wouldn’t have 10-15 minute waves of enemies again, instead they just spread them out across the map rather than in one small place, that’s not that much of a change. I found there to also be a few sections where the correct path to climb was not easy to find and even the hints were so terrible that they do nothing but piss you off further. HINT: Climb through the open window, THANK YOU SO FUCKING MUCH GAME, I HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WAS SUPPOSED TO DO WHEN THERE’S A GIANT FUCKING OPEN WINDOW STARING AT ME IN THE FUCKING FACE!!!
The real improvement comes with the characters though, in terms of the main villain Lazarevic. Sure there’s Harry, but he’s just a British prick, fuck him, he has no importance. Finally we got a villain who actually had a mean streak, who was actually dangerous and actually fucking killed someone! However when the boss battle against him is literally “run in circles, shoot glowing blue thingies”, it’s a bit of a letdown.
But most of all, there’s Chloe Frazer. As I said earlier, Elena to me is either a pain in the ass or a boring pain in the ass. Which makes it that much more frustrating to see that Elena is the end goal love interest. Because Chloe on the other hand, she actually has a personality beyond just being a “strong woman”, Chloe is able to be that and on top of that have a sense of humour and still is able to be sexy. I’m sorry if any feminists disagree with my assessment, but tough shit. Chloe is easily better than Elena in my opinion and yes, as she walked away from Nathan, I agreed with her, I was going to miss that ass. I will admit however in the closing moments, Nathan and Elena’s banter with each other was pretty funny.
The game itself is good, but I really don’t see what was so special about it. Maybe it was a sort of GOTY at the time sort of situation, but man oh man I don’t feel like that game is all that great and I don’t know if it’ll age well either.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
It’s funny, because for how I hear so many people calling this game the weakest of the franchise, up until the very end of the game, I was actually about to put it above Uncharted 2, the game people say is one of the greatest titles, period.
This game has what I’ve been waiting the full three games for, an actual villain. The first game didn’t have one, let’s be honest and the second one was basically a warlord, powerful and scary, but didn’t elicit an “I hate you!” response. Marlowe and Talbot on the other hand, those two actually had a hate-able personality to them and their actions added onto it. Not only that, but they actually succeed many times at foiling you, rather than just destroying everything around you, as Lazarevic did. However, their exits were less than stellar, especially Marlowe, not that I expected a big boss battle with her of all people, but it didn’t have the value at the end I was looking for.
The story itself was a much better mix of fun and danger where the first two games felt more like an endless string of epic moments. There were breaks in the action, a chance to get ready for the next round. And the addition of Cutter really helped with that charm and personality some parts of the game were missing beforehand. Mix him with Chloe and you’ve got a pretty damn good cast until the game pushes you right back into the mediocre arms of Elena.
However, the game towards the end really pisses away all the good will. The horseback section is very bland, basically just a hop on, throw the guy off and hop back onto your horse section. Once you get to the final dungeon, it’s a practice in patience and even then you’re hammered will bullshit and lucky Hammer shots from the AI. I died way too many times to errant Hammer shots in the sandstorm section. The “upgraded” enemies are a real pain in the ass, even on easier difficulties and the reliance on the “drugged” sections of the game really swings away the narrative that was already doing fine before these sections came up.
By the end of the game, the final chapters are basically a couple rounds of run and gun, followed by a very underwhelming end to the two villains, especially Marlowe, but Talbot’s wasn’t that great either. The game before the last couple chapters could’ve tied Uncharted 2, maybe even surpass it, but a very poor ending really takes it away from any chance at greatness.
So hours and hours later, after playing the initial trilogy of what so many people are calling one of the best franchises on the PlayStation, I really have to ask what the big deal is. Could it be that this type of game isn’t for me? I don’t think that’s the case, as I’ve enjoyed the new Tomb Raider games and by playing these three games in the Uncharted series, there is an interest in the characters, at least some of them, so it’s not like I’m going into every game without a care.
If you were to ask me why I can’t get into these games as much as everyone else, I think it really comes down to two things. One, I really can’t stress enough how much I hate Naughty Dog’s third-person combat, the same deal applies to The Last of Us, another game I have not been able to get into and it’s now pretty likely after playing these three games, I’m not willing to spend money to give that game a second shot. The combat just seems too sluggish, the cover system is half-assed and ridiculously unresponsive at times and the AI no matter what the difficulty is has a pretty good chance of taking you down even when you’re playing at your best with lucky Hammer shots, spawns you can’t see and a piss-poor HUD.
The second reason is honestly a lack of good storytelling. What I feel the Uncharted series is from these three games, is an endless supply of jokes and witty banter, but without the engaging storyline to go along with it. Yes, Nathan Drake is an entertaining character, yes Sully’s a great partner, yes Chloe has a nice butt AND really adds a charm to the game that the rather boring and cliche love interest Elena doesn’t have. There’s a lot to love here, it’s all set up, but the story never follows through. Each game doesn’t end well, the story kind of falls flat by the end, there just isn’t a whole lot to hold onto, in my opinion.
But hey, people are welcome to their own thoughts and considering so many people do rate it highly, who am I to judge? I’ll just continue to sit where I am and question it though, I really don’t get the hype.
Overall Score for Uncharted 1-3