Just finished Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception on PS4. I still loathe this series. Graphically the games sure have improved and it's crazy how good this game looks, considering it's just an upscaled PS3 title. Also the sound and music are as good as it gets. Alas, with everything else they stuck with what I've loathed about the series since the original game.
First off: I fundamentally hate the nature of these games. I like these adventure kinds of games, visiting exotic locations, uncovering ancient mysteries and such. I even like the characters and some of their dialogue. However, I absolutely loathe that these characters and their adventures are used as the background for a game that is like 90% combat, utterly mediocre combat at that. I enjoy even the most brutal and minimalist shooters but God dammit, I don't want the adventures of the lovable Nathan Drake to revolve around killing people and little more. It especially hurts how oblivious the heroes are to all the violence. It just doesn't work. At all. "Ha ha, sully, donkeys are stupid." *breaks some guys neck* "Right you are, Nate!" *shoots a random guy in the face* But when it comes to killing the big villains they suddenly have qualms. What the fuck.
The one thing that the games really have going for them is how spectacularly they are staged. Lots of unreal over-the-top moments that often offer jaw-dropping visuals. The problem: I FEEL that it is staged. I don't give a shit about anything going on in these games because the most absurd situation is plausible according to these games' rules, no matter how dangerous a moment seems, I know that things are happening the way they are supposed to and the game will provide the most unlikely solution in a moment, I literally never get excited while playing these games. It doesn't help that the action presented in the cutscenes is in utter dissonance with the action happening during the gameplay.
And this fakeness is not limited to the action and cutscenes and whatnot, it's the exact same with the platforming and riddles. In a good platforming game you learn the rules: you get a feel for your character's abilities, you learn to look out for certain objects in the environment and you master that. In Uncharted there's nothing to master, there's not even consistency in the distances Drake is able to overcome. You just press X and hold the stick in the direction that the level art guides you and he will make that jump. What's funny, sometimes the game glitched out on me and Drake literally floated through the air to the closest ledge or platform. That's how shitty the platforming is in this game. It's as absurd in case of riddles. There are a few okay riddles in this game, albeit easy ones. But often you enter a room, you look around for important details but then one of the NPCs goes "look here, Drake" and suddenly the action button becomes available in a spot you had already checked. That's just so dumb.
Anyway, so the combat is mediocre and for me personally often highly frustrating, so much that I got close to rage quitting a few times. It blows my mind that with a hero whose main talent is parkour shit is not able to really use that to his advantage during combat. You can't outrun or dodge gunfire, switching positions even for a moment will often result in almost instant death. The game really forces you to stay in cover most of the time and just keep shooting until everyone is dead. But then there's sequences where you will get overrun or bombarded by grenades, which forces you to get out of cover, and then it's up to the gods whether you will get shred to pieces or not. It doesn't help that the health recovery is super slow in this game. And curiously Uncharted 3 was even less diverse than the previous games combat-wise. Even when you finally encounter some supernatural elements it's still the regular gun combat, whereas the previous two games used this stuff to really shake things up a bit. The game also fails to provide fun new weapons or anything of that sort. And the "stealth" mechanics are as crappy as ever.
Anyway, the game did provide some beautiful vistas, there were a few visally super impressive sequences that I truly enjoyed, the story was interesting at times, if painfully cliched and often utterly stupid. So it's not all bad. However, I sure wish it were more like the new Tomb Raider games which suffer from none of the issues I have with Uncharted. There the platforming is real, there's a lot of really good puzzles, the combat and stealth mechanics are much better, I get to actually explore exotic locations and the games actually acknowledge all the violence and cruelty. How Uncharted has been getting away without any of these things is beyond me.
Oh yeah, also, from what I understand the PS3 version had some sort of splitscreen coop which apparently has been removed in the PS4 remaster. Well shit.
Anyway, still looking forward to Uncharted 4, if only for the amazing views and to get some more time with the (during cutscenes) lovable characters.