So I've been working through my PS4 backlog and the Uncharted Collection happened to be next in line. I've never played any of these games before and knew absolutely nothing about them except that the main character's name was Nathan Drake and that they were primarily considered to be platformers. So I was pretty much blind to the whole series and just enjoyed the hell out of them. Which I shouldn't have.
It's not that I didn't want to like them, it's just that all of the pieces create a certain type of game that if I had heard of it before playing, I probably wouldn't have touched. I've never had good experiences with platformers or puzzle games, I have a hard time getting into games that are mostly focused on story, I'm not a huge fan of Naughty Dog games (Crash, Jak, TLOU), and the general premise of the Uncharted series sounds like a cross between Indiana Jones, The Mummy, and National Treasure. Not that that's bad, just a little hard to digest.
For context, I played all of the games (just 1-4; I don't have Lost Legacy at the moment) on easy and on a newest gen console. I don't know if this or the fact that the first 3 were remasters affected my impression of them.
The platforming in all of the games was significantly better than most games I've played before. Sure, there were markings on the surfaces you should climb and some of it could be a little frustrating at times, but nothing like aiming for one ledge and instead jumping off a cliff. Most of the times I died while platforming were mostly due to me just not paying attention.
The combat was actually kind of enjoyable. You were only able to carry a one-handed weapon and one two-handed weapon but could pick up any that enemies dropped. Variety was pretty decent and actually using them was mostly satisfying. Ammo was neither too scarce nor too plentiful. And the cover system wasn't all that bad either.
The environments felt open enough where there would be certain sections you could explore but narrow enough to guide you in the right direction. There were plenty of different areas like jungles, fortresses, museums, etc. and most of them felt unique but you mostly never remained in one for too long.
LIGHT STORY SPOILERS
The stories of each game were pretty straight forward but kind of dove into the mystical realm. In the first game, you fight mutated humans who have been transformed by the treasure of El Dorado. In the second game, you find a lost city defended by inhuman guardians who drank water from the Tree of Life. In the third game, hallucinogenic water turns enemies into flaming jackals. But you do get to learn a little bit about Nathan's past which I thought was pretty interesting.
But I think what drew me in so much were the characters, which almost never happens for me. Nathan is a little overconfident at times, but honestly seems like a genuine guy. Sully seems like that reliable older friend that just wants what's best for everyone. And Elena starts out as just a reporter but eventually turns into the perfect counterpart to Nate and his antics.
The games, in my opinion, had just a perfect length. They touched on each story aspect just long enough to produce tension but were able to get to the point when they needed. Some of the antagonists were better than others but weren't all evil-bad-guy all the time. Just, you know, kind of.
This is by far, the best looking game of the four I played. This is also the one that was the hardest for me to get through. Not because it was bad by any means, it just seemed to drag on, at least when compared to the first three.
Each section of the game just seemed to overstay its welcome. A lot of the chapters resorted to some combat, some platforming, and some cutscenes. Every few chapters you would have a chase scene which wasn't amiss from the first games, but didn't feel as clunky back then. Moving around also felt a bit stiffer in this game.
MORE LIGHT STORY SPOILERS
The story was kind of lackluster and felt like a weird excuse to get Nathan to look for some more treasure. I mean, it literally was that, but there wasn't that feeling of wonder through discovery. It felt like more of a brother-bonding adventure with a history of pirates thrown in. I was also expecting a little bit of mysticism thrown in (like ghost pirates!) but was surprised to find none of it. Still the world felt weirdly alive, for places that had been abandoned for hundreds of years.
The combat focused a little more on melee than previous entries while firearms still played a primary role. Shooting felt a little more realistic this time around while still being arcadey enough to be compared to the other games. Platforming and exploration was a little more open-ended but added some cool mechanics like sliding down hills, using a grappling hook, and climbing walls with a piton that I thought were welcome additions.
Overall, I loved this series and was amazed to be so drawn in by everything these games had to offer. The characters were amazing, the environments were great, the gameplay was fun, and I felt like all of my time playing was well worth it. I haven't been so impressed and surprised by a video game or series in quite some time.
- Finished Uncharted 4, best game in the series.
- SIB Uncharted 4 without having played any of the other Uncharted games
- Uncharted is the perfect example of a franchise that respects itself and its players. It recognizes its limits and improves with every subsequent sequel. More game developers should aspire to follow their lead instead of watering down franchises for profit and mass appeal.
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