Interactive movie, it’s a phrase that has haunted gamers since the days of titles like Defender of the Crown. Interactive movies were the future, but they turned out to be steaming piles of full motion video spread throughout the games of the 90’s. Uncharted 2 is different, it’s not touted as an interactive movie, but I like to think it is the first and best example of such a thing. Uncharted 2 brings a heap of great things to the table, yes it plays like a trigger happy Tomb Raider, but there are significant differences.
The Production values.
I challenge anybody to show me such captivating cutscenes in any title currently available. From the opening scenes through to the gritty end it shovels humour, amazing graphics and terrific pacing down your neck faster than you can swallow. The game is so very clever in the way that the camera angle changes on the fly and draws the viewer in. Testament to the clever Sony campaign that protrayed a gamer struggling to expalin to his girlfriend that it was not a movie.
The smooth gameplay.
There are generic levels and settings, but that is where it stops, Drakes adventure just drags you along, the controls are intuitive and forgiving. There are constant changes of pace and environment, one of my favourite and easily best realised levels is played out on a moving train. If you get a chance to look at the scenery around you, it is fantastic and is as close as I ever want to get to such a situation.
Puzzles and troubles.
With any game like this you will be limited to the choices available to you, it soon becomes obvious that there is generally only one way forward, just look out for that familiar pattern on the wall and you will be able to climb like a monkey. Where Uncharted beats Tomb Raider is the forgiving way that it plays out, you won’t be trying that impossible jump over and over constantly missing by a pixel, Drake has a knack of making the most ridulous leaps without effort, it just makes the game more fun and playable unlike the now dusty Lara Croft resting under my TV.
Things I don’t like, well I never have a fondness for Boss Battles and yes Uncharted has a few, but they are relevant, story related and not too distracting. In fact some of the key encounters are very well constructed and so well integrated that they do not feel like a traditional Boss fight at all. My real complaint comes along with such encounters as emptying a full machine gun into the head of a Yeti, I defy any living thing to brush off that kind of violence, but the bugger still stands.
In summary, it is the only game this generation where I have actually sat down and listened to the story, I am normally the master of the skip cutscene button, but this is quality. It has been the best reason to own a PS3 so far and will deserve at least a couple more playthroughs in the future and if I ever want to show off the console, it will be Uncharted and the train level that I crank out. The exploring, climbing and jumping is satisfying and fun. the combat is well executed at all levels from gunplay to melee, with some really great takedowns utilising the environment. There is also the addition of online multiplayer and some co-op missions whihc I have yet to really try.
A great package and a showpiece for the console makes Uncharted 2 money well spent.