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LTTP: Uncharted series

blue_phazon

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Jul 8, 2011
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Uncharted 2 will be good for you, OP. Especially considering your gripes with the combat encounter design. That area is a huge improvement in UC2
 

GametimeUK

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I find it really weird that I love Uncharted 1 more than pretty much anyone I encounter on message boards. I really, really enjoy that game still to this day. I can't even put my finger on what it is. I think it's just how gamey and shooty it is. I kind of like the endless mowing down of waves of enemies I think.

OP, Uncharted 2 is the best in the series. Enjoy. Also, Uncharted 3 also has some of the craziest moments too.
 

Spring-Loaded

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Apr 16, 2012
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It's not that it a weak. It's that there not too much of it.
Yeah. Or, to be more specific, the core gameplay frequently takes a back seat to walking/climbing sequences that feel like filler.

The big, intricate arena shootouts are fantastic and the traversal, enemy A.I. and combat really shines there. It just sucks when there's forced stretches of cooldown after every little bit of combat/excitement.
 

Theslammer

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Jun 27, 2014
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Yeah. Or, to be more specific, the core gameplay frequently takes a back seat to walking/climbing sequences that feel like filler.

The big, intricate arena shootouts are fantastic and the traversal, enemy A.I. and combat really shines there. It just sucks when there's forced stretches of cooldown after every little bit of combat/excitement.

As someone who loved UC4, I think it shows the most
during the islands sequence when you and your brother are searching for clues and then the speedboats arrive. Since they opened with the awesome chase sequence, you kind of go from traversal to more of it during the rainy sequence. And the rainy sequence is cool, but it may have been paced better had it been preceded by the speedboat chase.
 

the-pi-guy

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Nov 4, 2014
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Uncharted 1: 8/10 -it's pretty good, has issues.
Uncharted 2: 15/10 - I thought this game was like beyond perfect. I played this whole game 10 times. Still amazing from start to finish.

Uncharted 3: 8.5/10 -has some pacing issues. I didn't have as much fun here until much later in the game.

Uncharted 4: 12/15 - pacing could have been better. But otherwise, i love everything about it.
 

Henkka

Banned
Aug 14, 2014
3,705
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0
Just my 2 cents...

Uncharted 2 is one of the best games ever made. Entertaining story, great controls, sublime pacing.

Uncharted 3 is very similar, but fails to live up to it's predecessor, I feel. It sort of repeats the beats of UC2 in different settings, but doesn't feel as fresh since you've already played UC2. It's also where UC starts becoming more and more "cinematic", with more focus on forced walking sequences, chase sequences etc.

Uncharted 4 is incredibly beautiful, but they decided to make it even more "cinematic" than UC3. It's the longest game of the franchise, but there's a distinct and intentional lack of combat encounters. Instead, there's a huge focus on... Climbing, that's essentially the same as it was in UC1, only with a badass rope. From a technical sense, it's a masterpiece, but hard to see myself replaying it often.

As someone who loved UC4, I think it shows the most
during the islands sequence when you and your brother are searching for clues and then the speedboats arrive. Since they opened with the awesome chase sequence, you kind of go from traversal to more of it during the rainy sequence. And the rainy sequence is cool, but it may have been paced better had it been preceded by the speedboat chase.

That part of the game dragged the worst for me, yeah.

In Chapter 11, you go from a forced walking section to a climbing/puzzle section. After that's done, there's another puzzle section, where you essentially repeat the same puzzle 3 times. Admittedly, this is followed up by an incredible setpiece... But it's a setpiece, so it's still light on the "core" shooting gameplay of Uncharted.

That's followed by Chapter 12, which is literally nothing but sailing around on a boat and climbing. Oh, and a puzzle.

Then it goes to Chapter 13, which starts out with... Forced, wounded walking. That was the part where UC4 kinda lost me, and never recovered.
 

Tommi84

Member
Nov 15, 2013
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515
Uncharted 3: 8.5/10 -has some pacing issues.
Some pacing issues really doesn't tell the whole story. The biggest, BIGGEST stupidity is the desert:
the guy survives a plane crash, walks through desert for hours, starts to having heat stroke and derious dehydration, barely survives it by reaching outpost, founds enemies and BOOM! he's a killing machine with 100% stamina and vitality in a second. Seriously, how dumb is that?

I know it's a game, I undesrtand the zombies from U1, Shambala from U2, but this is just ahowing that creators are mindless crazies.

Not to mention that they boast about sand tech and how long you see it? 20min?
 

lyra-ixi

13 year old console warrior. Put me on ignore.
Aug 3, 2014
13,660
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970
Stop at Uncharted 2. It's downhill from there.

lol actually that's when it starts getting good. the first game is terrible. i just couldn't enjoy it at all. Uncharted 2, 3, 4 and the best. i wish it was just a trilogy. the first game shouldn't exist.
 

MazeHaze

Banned
Aug 11, 2013
2,389
40
0
Akron, Ohio
lol actually that's when it starts getting good. the first game is terrible. i just couldn't enjoy it at all. Uncharted 2, 3, 4 and the best. i wish it was just a trilogy. the first game shouldn't exist.

I liked uc1 the best, played all 4 of them this year.

It's the perfect length, took me like 6 hours. The other 3 games are all like 5 hours too long for how repetitive the gameplay is.
 

MegaSackman

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Aug 14, 2014
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I thought about playing the last of us between 2 and 3. Or is it better to play it after 3 based on release time? May add my experiences with that game to this thread even though it isn't an Uncharted game.

Uncharted 4 is influenced by The Last of Us in its design, I'd say you play U3 first but try to play something else before because you'll feel fatigue.
 

itshutton

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Apr 20, 2016
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Keep posting OP, very much looking forward to seeing if you perceive a big jump between 1&2 and your thoughts on 3.
 

-shadow-

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Sep 22, 2015
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I've received the Remaster Collectiom yesterday. Can't wait to replay the games at 60fps! Great games!
 

Theslammer

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Jun 27, 2014
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Just my 2 cents...

That part of the game dragged the worst for me, yeah.

In Chapter 11, you go from a forced walking section to a climbing/puzzle section. After that's done, there's another puzzle section, where you essentially repeat the same puzzle 3 times. Admittedly, this is followed up by an incredible setpiece... But it's a setpiece, so it's still light on the "core" shooting gameplay of Uncharted.

That's followed by Chapter 12, which is literally nothing but sailing around on a boat and climbing. Oh, and a puzzle.

Then it goes to Chapter 13, which starts out with... Forced, wounded walking. That was the part where UC4 kinda lost me, and never recovered.

See, I actually liked that puzzle a lot. I felt like I had
I fun puzzle to do, an incredible set piece, then a big swerve in the story where Elena surprises you. It was a great sequence and while I get following it up with something quieter, the islands part should have ended with an exclamation mark. That's the one area where the pacing really felt off. And it's a pity because once it picks up again, a lot of good stuff happens involving the action sequences, a great collapsing building/rope climbing set piece, the fight with Nadine and the plot twist that your brother made up the whole story. Very cool. Just wish there wasn't so much downtime preceding it.
 

dedhead54

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Jun 12, 2005
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I started the series for the first time this year around the time UC4 came out and I powered through 1 (felt the same way about it that you did) and 2 (i'll let you decide but I loved it) but I was completely fatigued after that and have yet to start 3. It is next up on my list, though.
 

Henkka

Banned
Aug 14, 2014
3,705
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See, I actually liked that puzzle a lot. I felt like I had
I fun puzzle to do, an incredible set piece, then a big swerve in the story where Elena surprises you. It was a great sequence and while I get following it up with something quieter, the islands part should have ended with an exclamation mark. That's the one area where the pacing really felt off. And it's a pity because once it picks up again, a lot of good stuff happens involving the action sequences, a great collapsing building/rope climbing set piece, the fight with Nadine and the plot twist that your brother made up the whole story. Very cool. Just wish there wasn't so much downtime preceding it.

Don't get me wrong, I loved Chapter 11 as I was playing through it. Obviously, the writing and presentation is best in the industry. The puzzles were nice. It's just that, as I was playing it, I was under the impression that the rest of the game would be paced more like Scotland, which I thought had a nice mix of platforming and combat. It was in Chapter 13 that the reality started sinking in.
 

MMarston

Was getting caught part of your plan?
May 19, 2014
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Controversial opinion: I prefer Uncharted 2's visuals way more than Uncharted 4's. I mean, yes, no shit UC4 takes the cake in terms tech advancement. However, UC2 pulls a much broader range of art and design, and nails that. It's a big reason why its levels are so replayable for me.
 

roytheone

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Feb 3, 2014
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Controversial opinion: I prefer Uncharted 2's visuals way more than Uncharted 4's. I mean, yes, no shit UC4 takes the cake in terms tech advancement. However, UC2 pulls a much broader range of art and design, and nails that. It's a big reason why its levels are so replayable for me.

I am kinda curious how the ps 3 original holds up and how much of what I played still looking very good is because of the remaster.
 

he who dwells

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Oct 10, 2014
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Controversial opinion: I prefer Uncharted 2's visuals way more than Uncharted 4's. I mean, yes, no shit UC4 takes the cake in terms tech advancement. However, UC2 pulls a much broader range of art and design, and nails that. It's a big reason why its levels are so replayable for me.

Agreed 100%. From a technical standpoint UC4 is obviously way more advanced, but imo UC2 had much more environments that made the art style of the game better for me.

UC4 nearly spent half of the game in the same environment and that was one of my main disappointments of the game.

Both are some of the best games out there tho.
 

Susurrus

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I've actually been doing a similar thing. I played Uncharted Golden Abyss on a plane ride shortly after it was available from plus, but the rest of the series I hadn't played till recently. But i'm playing the original PS3 games because i had the dual pack already from a long time ago, and 3 from PS+. Finished 2 recently, been playing Ratchet and Clank and once done will play 3.

It has been enjoyable so far, but ya 2 was definitely much better than 1. Golden Abyss was enjoyable, too, but I guess you could say I played it out of release order even if it was a prequel game.

The PS3 games still hold up very well, but to be honest I haven't seen the PS4 remasters or UC4.
 

MMarston

Was getting caught part of your plan?
May 19, 2014
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I am kinda curious how the ps 3 original holds up and how much of what I played still looking very good is because of the remaster.

I never picked up the remaster but based on comparison footage, PS4 faces were retouched a to match that of UC3 (Elena definitely looks different, Chloe had strange chameleon eyes in PS3) and there were a few weird texture replacements here and there. Otherwise, both versions are a spitting image of each other barring performance.

UC1, on the other hand, was a definite overhaul. The original looks very dated -- characters looked like plastic compared to the remaster.
 

Theslammer

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Jun 27, 2014
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To the OP:

I'll be honest: I thought each Uncharted was better than the previous one. Plenty don't share my opinion and liked 2 the best of the PS3 ones, and then some like 4 the best. I think 2 had the best pacing, but 3 was overall quite fantastic with some amazing set pieces as well and great gameplay improvements in the grenade and melee department. Then 4 really ups it with its arenas and improved stealth, though some parts of the game feel slow while others feel far better paced. It has what may be my favorite set piece, though, but we'll see what you think when you get there.

2 through 4 are all fantastic to me, though, so no matter how I rank them, they're all terrific games.
 

kromeo

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Oct 21, 2015
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All I really have to say about the games is:

2>3>>>>>>>>1>4

I don't like Elena, my heart sank when she miraculously appeared in the middle of 2
 

JP

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Update 7-1-2017: Finished Uncharted 2. Look at the bottom of the OP to see my thoughts on it.
Try and go into Uncharted 3 with an open mind, I've loved all the games with Uncharted 3 being my favourite of the original trilogy.

EDIT:
Just read this post.
I am kinda curious how the ps 3 original holds up and how much of what I played still looking very good is because of the remaster.
You may want to have a look at this, if you've not already seen it. I returned to the PS3 games and thought they were still surprisingly strong in places although they really did an exemplary job of the remasters.

Digital Foundry - Hands-On With Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection - Not Just A Remaster (YouTube)
 

roytheone

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Try and go into Uncharted 3 with an open mind, I've loved all the games with Uncharted 3 being my favourite of the original trilogy.

EDIT:
Just read this post.

You may want to have a look at this, if you've not already seen it. I returned to the PS3 games and thought they were still surprisingly strong in places although they really did an exemplary job of the remasters.

Digital Foundry - Hands-On With Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection - Not Just A Remaster (YouTube)

They really did an amazing job with the remaster. It makes me look at other remasters that are only slightly better looking and still 30 fps and it makes me wonder if either they put in less time, didn't really care or if Bluepoint is just amazing. Probably a combination of all three.

.

Also, what difficulty are you playing at, OP?

Normal. Thought about dropping to easy at certain points at the end of 2 since it got a bit too hard for my tastes, but ended up making it on normal.

I've actually been doing a similar thing. I played Uncharted Golden Abyss on a plane ride shortly after it was available from plus, but the rest of the series I hadn't played till recently. But i'm playing the original PS3 games because i had the dual pack already from a long time ago, and 3 from PS+. Finished 2 recently, been playing Ratchet and Clank and once done will play 3.

It has been enjoyable so far, but ya 2 was definitely much better than 1. Golden Abyss was enjoyable, too, but I guess you could say I played it out of release order even if it was a prequel game.

The PS3 games still hold up very well, but to be honest I haven't seen the PS4 remasters or UC4.

Ha, I am doing the exact thing right now, playing ratchet to break up the games a bit! Great game from what I played! Also very beautiful.
 

Susurrus

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Ha, I am doing the exact thing right now, playing ratchet to break up the games a bit! Great game from what I played! Also very beautiful.

Agreed. I have played all of the R&C games on their original platforms, except for the PSP games I played the PS2 ports, but they have always looked beautiful. I started the series after PS3 was already out for a bit, but before the HD remasters, so I played the PS2 versions on my BC PS3 but was stunned by how nice it looked. Great series, too. I was a bit skeptical of the PS4 reboot since it was a reboot, but they did it justice anyway and I have been having a good time. Will probably finish the final level tonight, then move onto Uncharted 3 (PS3 PSPlus Digital).
 

TheOfficeMut

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Aug 21, 2014
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I need to replay Uncharted 4 at least twice more before I have a good verdict on where that game stands amongst the other three. As for now, I'd rank the games as follows:

Uncharted 2 > Uncharted 1 >> Uncharted 3

If I included Uncharted 4 as it stands in my memory, I'd place it as follows:

Uncharted 2 = Uncharted 4 > Uncharted 1 >> Uncharted 3

After replaying the Uncharted Collection almost a year ago I grew to appreciate Uncharted 1 considerably more. It was such a blast to play and I definitely prefer its setting to Uncharted 3. I think the supernatural creatures are what make the game second/third best for me. Uncharted 3, while fun, doesn't feel as memorable. It also doesn't help that the last lost city you discover is so short lived and quickly comes crumbling down.
 

krae_man

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Jan 5, 2008
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I need to replay Uncharted 4 at least twice more before I have a good verdict on where that game stands amongst the other three. As for now, I'd rank the games as follows:

Uncharted 2 > Uncharted 1 >> Uncharted 3

If I included Uncharted 4 as it stands in my memory, I'd place it as follows:

Uncharted 2 = Uncharted 4 > Uncharted 1 >> Uncharted 3

After replaying the Uncharted Collection almost a year ago I grew to appreciate Uncharted 1 considerably more. It was such a blast to play and I definitely prefer its setting to Uncharted 3. I think the supernatural creatures are what make the game second/third best for me. Uncharted 3, while fun, doesn't feel as memorable. It also doesn't help that the last lost city you discover is so short lived and quickly comes crumbling down.

I'm convinced that a huge chunk of the end of Uncharted 3 was cut.
The supernatural being Nate tripping balls for 5 minutes, then destroying a massive city with one gun shot in a cutscene couldn't have been the intended end of that game
 

roytheone

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Feb 3, 2014
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Uncharted 3: Drake's deception


Alright, completed uncharted 3, and...eh….its better then 1? But compared to 2, it is definitely a step backwards. But lets start with the good parts first:

There is still a lot of variety in environments. Desserts, Arabic cities, London, a French mansion, it may be even better then in 2! And they all still look great, again the graphics still manages to impress. Also very few repeat environments from previous games, which helps to keep the whole series fresh.

The character work is still great. The interaction between Nate, sully and Elena are interesting and believable, and you actually want to get to know these characters better. I will say that Chloe and newcomer Cutter kinda….not do a whole lot in the story. They are just kinda there. Missed opportunity.

The set pieces are still great. The plane, burning building and sinking boat are impressive and actually fun to play through, they aren’t just the type of set-pieces that look cool, but offer 0 gameplay.

I think the puzzles are actually better then in previous games. They are bigger and more involved, and actually require some thinking instead of just copying what is in the notepad. Solving them felt good instead of a waste of time like in 1 and 2. It’s unfortunate that the puzzles kinda just disappear about halfway through the game.

I like the added melee options and animations in the combat. Melee feels a lot more viable in this game with you being able to steal a gun from an enemy, pull the pin from a grenade they carry and more. You are way less often just locked in a stupid QTE that would just get you shot like in 1 and 2. Nice improvement.

And finally, the “supernatural” enemies are by far the least annoying of the trilogy. No annoying weird licker like enemies or ridiculously bullet spongy Inca's. Instead we get ghost riders that you have to kill twice.

So that are the good parts, but now on to my complaints that put the game firmly below 2 imo:

There are a LOT of bad, frustrating encounters in the second half of the game. Like the encounter in the ship graveyard where you have to fight shotgun guys and shield guys in a ridiculously small arena. Or the airfield fight where if you fuck up the stealth there seem to be a billion waves of enemies, they just keep spawning and spawning. And many encounters from the dessert on just have waaay to many shotgun dudes that take a ridiculous amount of bullets to kill. That combined with normal enemies being able to kill you VERY QUICKLY suddenly can make the game very frustrating.

The melee brawl parts were fun in the beginning, but got old very quickly. They are just glorified QTE, you have very little actual options during the fight. Some of the takedowns look cool, but…..this ain’t arkham level of melee brawls, that’s for sure.

Story wise, I thought the villains this time had a much more potential than in previous games, but the game does very little with them. I would have wanted to know way more about them and their organization. For example, the relationship between the woman and Sully came up like...once. They could have done way more with that imo. Talking about Sully, I also thought the flashback scenes showing the relationship between young Drake and Sully were very interesting, but again had more potential, I wish there was more of that in the game. Lots of missed potential in this game.

Fuck the final boss fight just being a QTE. Thats always dumb.

So yeah, all in all it is still a great game, with some great encounters, fun combat, interesting characters and impressive set pieces. Yet, compared to 2 there are very few parts where the game improves, and quite a few where it regressed, especially on the front of combat encounters. And the missed story opportunities are really a big shame.

So, now that the ps3 trilogy is done, next up is the final game in this series: GAF’s own goty 2016: Uncharted 4!
 
Dec 17, 2016
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The Frigid North
Stop at Uncharted 2. It's downhill from there.


This is definitely not true. Uncharted 4 was tied for my favorite game last year and I enjoyed it enough that I played through it 4 different times. Its pacing is a little odd perhaps but it was an excellent game regardless. Uncharted 3 may have been a step backwards but by no means a bad game.
 

bananafactory

Banned
Nov 6, 2013
26,335
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Can't wait for your Uncharted 4 write-up. Hope you like it as much as I do

I'm one of the few who like 3 more than 2 but I understand your issues with it
 

roytheone

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Feb 3, 2014
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Uncharted 4: A thief's end


So I finally beaten Uncharted 4 (blame Zelda for me not doing it earlier ;) and...well...I think it actually does almost everything better than the previous games in the series except for one very important thing. But we will come to that thing later, first of all, HOLY MOTHER OF GOD DOES THIS GAME LOOK AMAZING. Maybe the best looking game I have ever seen. The faces are incredibly impressive, the facial animation best of class, environments all look amazing and the views are awe inspiring. It is a shame it is no longer 60 fps like the collection was, but not a huge issue since it is a very stable 30 with only a few drops here and there. I was impressed pretty much the whole way through. Naughty dog really are wizards on the technical front.

Then the combat. The hugely increased focus on optional stealth is a pretty big improvement. Stealth is now actually viable and pretty fun! It also helps by giving you the opportunity to scope out the combat arena before the shit hits the fan, and because you get spotted at different points, every encounter feels different. There is no encounter where you just stick behind the same piece of cover over and over again. Also, the melee feels a lot faster and useful in this compared to the original trilogy. Finally, they greatly decreased the number of shotgun guys compared to 3 (thank heaven), shield guys are totally gone (thank heaven again) and I think there is only 1 encounter where there is a reinforcement wave (thank heaven a third time). This makes the encounters a lot less frustrating, the only encounter I can think off that annoyed me a bit was the one in the collapsed tower. But for the rest a huge improvement on 3 and even on 2.

The climbing, well, it is still uncharted climbing. It seems you have more routes this time and you have to figure out how to reach something a bit more often, but all in all, it isn’t really better or worse than before. The puzzles are a bit more involved this time and actually required me to think instead of just copying what was in my notebook. Nothing mind breaking, but a nice change of pace from time to time.

Something I did found surprising and really liked was the more open area where you could drive around in the jeep, do some optional puzzles/climbing/encounters while the gang talks about stuff. It is something different than in previous games and I really liked the freedom. A good way to get some optional exposition out there while also keeping the player occupied with gameplay. I wonder if that level was a sort of test bed for naughty dog’s next game?

One thing I do think was missing a bit where the action set pieces. There was one cool one with the car chase and the rest was mostly collapsing buildings, collapsing bridges, collapsing jeeps, pretty much everything collapses. And then even the car chase was already kinda done in both 2 and 3. Wished it had 2 or 3 more big set pieces that weren’t shit falling or collapsing.

So, with the gameplay related things out of the way, on to the story. And man, the story is actually really good! The characters are not only still interesting, Nate and Elena and their relationship gets deepend a lot. The premise of them having settled down but still kinda longing for their previous lives is very well done, as is how Sam is used to make Nate realize what his obsession with finding treasures did to the people he care about. Talking about Sam, I think he is a….decent character. Not bad, his relationship with Nate is well done and he serves his purpose in the story, but he himself as a character is nothing spectacular. He also comes a bit out of nowhere since he is never mentioned at all in the previous 3 games, and I am pretty sure things were said in those games that actually contradict his existence. Not a huge issue though. The villains are….decent. I can actually understand Rafe’s reasoning for hating Sam in this game, but in the end he just turns into crazy jealous guy. Which also has an annoying boss fight that asks for completely different skillset than the previous 15 hours. I kinda hate that stuff. It is kinda shocking how a series that has nailed a lot of character work never produced a compelling villain.

The story about Libertaria is begins off kinda weak if I am totally fair. It is again a lot of “we found a map that leads to the treasur...oh wait it leads to another map and hey it points to a map that highlights a map so that we can find a map within the map when we have the map. I rolled my eyes when that happened for like the fifth time in a row. However, when you finally reach Libertaria the city itself and its backstory is MUCH more fleshed out compared to the previous games. Not only do you spend more time in it, you actually learned what happened to the city and how it fell to ruin. And that story is actually very interesting and well told. It made me retroactively disappointed that this level of attention wasn’t spent on the other 3 hidden cities.

So all in all, I would say that a lot of the individual elements in this game are the best they have ever been. Combat, graphics, story, character work, all very good. However, my one big gripe with this game is the pacing. There is just way, WAY WAAAY to much downtime where you do nothing but climbing. The climbing isn’t bad, but the other parts of the game are so much better that it is a shame climbing is by far the biggest part of the game. While 3 had too much combat, this one actually has the opposite and has not enough combat. Yeah, I know, hard to please ;) This makes it so that I still prefer 2 over 4, but 4 is a strong runner up!

Well, that's that, I am finally done with the series….or am I?
 

DieH@rd

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Dec 9, 2006
35,046
4
0
[ Which also has an annoying boss fight that asks for completely different skillset than the previous 15 hours.

According to the comments from Neil Druckman, they wanted to include a short swordfighting sequence when two brothers explored that house with historical artefacts, which would then make the end sequence more impactful...

...but they had to cut it because they were tight with time.

But in my case, I really enjoyed the end fight.
 

roytheone

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Feb 3, 2014
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According to the comments from Neil Druckman, they wanted to include a short swordfighting sequence when two brothers explored that house with historical artefacts, which would then make the end sequence more impactful...

...but they had to cut it because they were tight with time.

But in my case, I really enjoyed the end fight.

Hmm interesting. That wouldn't only have made the sequence thematically better, but also gameplay wise since at least you already used the mechanics once. Shame they cut it.
 

Kill3r7

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Jun 19, 2014
8,896
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Congrats!

My rankings of the games are exactly the same as yours for much of the same rationale. It is good to see that UC2 still holds up incredibly well.
 

Dragon1893

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Feb 20, 2013
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Uncharted 4: A thief's end


So I finally beaten Uncharted 4 (blame Zelda for me not doing it earlier ;) and...well...I think it actually does almost everything better than the previous games in the series except for one very important thing. But we will come to that thing later, first of all, HOLY MOTHER OF GOD DOES THIS GAME LOOK AMAZING. Maybe the best looking game I have ever seen. The faces are incredibly impressive, the facial animation best of class, environments all look amazing and the views are awe inspiring. It is a shame it is no longer 60 fps like the collection was, but not a huge issue since it is a very stable 30 with only a few drops here and there. I was impressed pretty much the whole way through. Naughty dog really are wizards on the technical front.

Then the combat. The hugely increased focus on optional stealth is a pretty big improvement. Stealth is now actually viable and pretty fun! It also helps by giving you the opportunity to scope out the combat arena before the shit hits the fan, and because you get spotted at different points, every encounter feels different. There is no encounter where you just stick behind the same piece of cover over and over again. Also, the melee feels a lot faster and useful in this compared to the original trilogy. Finally, they greatly decreased the number of shotgun guys compared to 3 (thank heaven), shield guys are totally gone (thank heaven again) and I think there is only 1 encounter where there is a reinforcement wave (thank heaven a third time). This makes the encounters a lot less frustrating, the only encounter I can think off that annoyed me a bit was the one in the collapsed tower. But for the rest a huge improvement on 3 and even on 2.

The climbing, well, it is still uncharted climbing. It seems you have more routes this time and you have to figure out how to reach something a bit more often, but all in all, it isn’t really better or worse than before. The puzzles are a bit more involved this time and actually required me to think instead of just copying what was in my notebook. Nothing mind breaking, but a nice change of pace from time to time.

Something I did found surprising and really liked was the more open area where you could drive around in the jeep, do some optional puzzles/climbing/encounters while the gang talks about stuff. It is something different than in previous games and I really liked the freedom. A good way to get some optional exposition out there while also keeping the player occupied with gameplay. I wonder if that level was a sort of test bed for naughty dog’s next game?

One thing I do think was missing a bit where the action set pieces. There was one cool one with the car chase and the rest was mostly collapsing buildings, collapsing bridges, collapsing jeeps, pretty much everything collapses. And then even the car chase was already kinda done in both 2 and 3. Wished it had 2 or 3 more big set pieces that weren’t shit falling or collapsing.

So, with the gameplay related things out of the way, on to the story. And man, the story is actually really good! The characters are not only still interesting, Nate and Elena and their relationship gets deepend a lot. The premise of them having settled down but still kinda longing for their previous lives is very well done, as is how Sam is used to make Nate realize what his obsession with finding treasures did to the people he care about. Talking about Sam, I think he is a….decent character. Not bad, his relationship with Nate is well done and he serves his purpose in the story, but he himself as a character is nothing spectacular. He also comes a bit out of nowhere since he is never mentioned at all in the previous 3 games, and I am pretty sure things were said in those games that actually contradict his existence. Not a huge issue though. The villains are….decent. I can actually understand Rafe’s reasoning for hating Sam in this game, but in the end he just turns into crazy jealous guy. Which also has an annoying boss fight that asks for completely different skillset than the previous 15 hours. I kinda hate that stuff. It is kinda shocking how a series that has nailed a lot of character work never produced a compelling villain.

The story about Libertaria is begins off kinda weak if I am totally fair. It is again a lot of “we found a map that leads to the treasur...oh wait it leads to another map and hey it points to a map that highlights a map so that we can find a map within the map when we have the map. I rolled my eyes when that happened for like the fifth time in a row. However, when you finally reach Libertaria the city itself and its backstory is MUCH more fleshed out compared to the previous games. Not only do you spend more time in it, you actually learned what happened to the city and how it fell to ruin. And that story is actually very interesting and well told. It made me retroactively disappointed that this level of attention wasn’t spent on the other 3 hidden cities.

So all in all, I would say that a lot of the individual elements in this game are the best they have ever been. Combat, graphics, story, character work, all very good. However, my one big gripe with this game is the pacing. There is just way, WAY WAAAY to much downtime where you do nothing but climbing. The climbing isn’t bad, but the other parts of the game are so much better that it is a shame climbing is by far the biggest part of the game. While 3 had too much combat, this one actually has the opposite and has not enough combat. Yeah, I know, hard to please ;) This makes it so that I still prefer 2 over 4, but 4 is a strong runner up!

Well, that's that, I am finally done with the series….or am I?

Great write-up.

Just one comment, UC3 is by far the one with less combat of all the pre-UC4 games. Look up the enemy count for each game.
It's pretty noticeable just from playing it, considering how much I agree with you in general this observation just stood out to me.
Unlike pretty much everyone the pacing didn't bother me in UC4, taking in the environments while hearing the banter between the characters was enough to keep me entertained.

I tend to avoid UC lttps like the plague and seeing a new one posted makes me roll my eyes because of how many there are but I'm glad I gave yours a read.

Now join us in the wait for Lost Legacy.