Uncharted fails to impress after Heavy Rain enamourment
I got around to playing Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. I started it yesterday and only played a short while (I never even got to the first real shoot-out, after the one on the boat). However, I already have stuff to opine about.
Although I expected to like the game, I really struggled to keep playing it even as long as I did. Frankly, if so many people haven’t said so many nice things about it, I’m not sure I would be continuing to play Uncharted.
I’ve seen very little of the story, but I found every bit I saw cringe-worthy. It’s all one Indiana Jones cliche on top of another Indiana Jones cliche. Normally, I would shrug this off; but the “fantastic writing” in this game has been praised so much and by so thoughtful individuals that I really had a hope it would be better than the usual fare. (Though, to be fair, it was a slim sliver of hope: Vanya had already told me they were all wrong.)
But the bad writing is not why I found myself reluctant to play Uncharted. This honour goes to two other aspects of the game. One is the way the levels are peppered with hidden collectable treasures, forcing Nathan Drake to check under every bush, climb every rock and generally run around in circles like someone who is urgently looking for a loo. It doesn’t help that (reason number two) he literally runs around: it’s the default mode of movement except when danger is imminent.
Compare that with the way characters move in Heavy Rain, which I just finished playing and loved. To be sure, the controls are a bit sluggish and unresponsive, and it can be hard to position yourself where you want; but in Heavy Rain people generally walk at a speed that fits the situation they find themselves in. Not to mention that they walk in a straight line from where they are to where they want to be: nothing is secretly tucked away in the corners of their world.
I find it odd that I started my rant with complaints about the story of Uncharted, when Heavy Rain‘s was by all measures abysmal. Yet, I thought it was a fantastic game and never doubted the need to see it through. If Uncharted was really the games writing masterpiece people made it out to be, would I have minded the haphazard to-and-fro of the protagonist? Or has Heavy Rain changed my perception on how a game character should move, if not for good, at least for as long as to need a readjustment period?