Narrowing years of gaming experiences down to a favourite ten titles is something that’s taken me years to get comfortable with, but I’m finally doing it.
My number five spot goes to…
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Directors: Bruce Straley & Amy Hennig
Soundtrack: Greg Edmonson
Genre: Third person action
Platforms: Playstation 3
I played it on: Playstation 3
. . .
Unlike movies, video game sequels tend to be better than the original.
Developers have a chance to look at what didn’t work and fix it, while looking at what did work and refine it, give us more of it, or both.
The original Uncharted game, subtitled Drake’s Fortune, was a Playstation 3 exclusive that, for the most part, cruised across the line in the peloton of other third person action and adventure games.
The overall pacing was off, the story was generic, and the combat system felt unfinished.
Luckily, mainstream critics were incredibly kind to the game, and it sold well enough to warrant development of a sequel.
Also, it looked amazing running on the then new PS3 hardware, and featured one of gaming’s most charismatic and likeable leading men in Nathan Drake.
And Nathan Drake, along with his supporting players, are at the heart of what makes Uncharted 2 so fucking fantastic.
Not only is he impossibly handsome, but he is such a well rounded character I found myself actually caring about him as the game progressed.
And not it’s not just Nathan that players warm to. His loveable mentor Sully and the rest of the cast are all brilliantly written and acted.
In fact, the characters, script, and story are so well developed it puts some thematically similar Hollywood movies to shame.
But this is a video game, so story and characters are nothing without great gameplay to back them up, and Uncharted 2 delivers on that front as well.
Controlling Nathan as he explores an ancient temple or Himalayan village feels so fluid and natural, and while the controls are obvious (X is the dynamic action button, right trigger fires your weapon) they’re all incredibly responsive.
The little animation touches really help too. For example, if Nathan’s running parallel to a wall and he get too close, he’ll run his hand along the wall so you don’t run him into it.
These kinds of tiny little details abound in Uncharted 2, in the humans, the vehicles, and the environments.
Speaking of, this game has some astounding environments, including incredible set pieces designed to deliver some of the most jaw dropping action sequences you’ll ever see in a video game.
No game before, or since, has delivered action this memorable (in a good way).
In fact, everything about Uncharted 2 is memorable in a good way.
It’s the game that showed character and story could be just as important as the gameplay, and it truly made other developers attempting a story driven action game to sit up and take notice.
Gamers weren’t going to accept an underdeveloped script or cheesy voice acting anymore, so developers really had to up their game. A lot of them did, and we now enjoy a much higher standard of production values thanks to Uncharted 2.
This kind of rhetoric gets thrown around a lot but honestly, any gamer who hasn’t played Uncharted 2 is doing themselves a huge disservice, whether they’re a fan of the genre or not.
Uncharted 2 is the best game I played on PS3, and it truly is one of the greatest games of all time.
Fighting the Sasquatch in that ice cave is alone worth the price of admission.
Were you blown away by uncharted 2? Let me know by leaving a comment!
PS. I am fully aware of the online multiplayer and co-op elements included with Uncharted 2.
I understand they are part of the overall package, however I made a conscious decision to focus solely on the single player experience for this article.
You can follow me on twitter: @rustyshell and Miiverse: zinger_AU
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