Set Skyrim aside long enough to finish Uncharted 3 yesterday. I have to say, there were moments in this game that infuriated me, and while there were still some bright points, the second half didn't really live up to the amazing promise of first half for me. It's still a better game than 3/4ths of the 3rd person shooters on the market, but there were a few things:
- The puzzles and platforming were the best of the series, but the damn gun fights were TOO effing long! The pacing goes from steady and swift to dead stop while you're forced to fight wave after wave of thugs. You just hit these brick walls where the game turns into Gears of War's HORDE MODE and the guys get progressively tougher and more well armed and armored, and you're forced to deal with what feels like 400 of them before you can move on. Why not just give us the 7 or 8 we can see in the room when we enter, and move on. instead guys drop out of the ether, open locked doors, and just keep pouring in.
- The "illusion" of choice. Infiltrating the airfield, you can stealth your way in, ok. So I creep in, silenced pistol in hand, i systematically took down every guy I spotted, only to get auto-detected and have to fight another wave of 300 arseholes. What's worse, it doesn't matter how many of the guys you stealth, you still have to fight each and every one of the bastards that trots out in the pre-scripted "combat event". That's some pretty cheap, cheating game design there fellas.
- The villains - Sure I freaking HATED Talbot by the end, but he's a cartoon. I never know who these people are, outside of a one-off sentence dropped by Cutter earlier in the game, the bad guys have no real identity or reason to be detested. I found myself feeling kind of bad for Marlowe in the end, and the final battle with Talbot was overlong and a little cheesy. Who was this chick? Why was Talbot (and all their mindless followers for that matter) so vehemently loyal, and so visibly upset when she died. They were setting things up like she may have been, or had some connection to the royals, and Francis Drake, but none of it ever pays off. Among Thieves had some GREAT villains in Lazarovich and Harry, and heel turns and what not keep you guessing, nothing like that happens here.
- Crumbling floors, staircases, streets, etc - Why does EVERY FREAKING THING I step on have to collapse, break, explode, try to give me tetanus, kick my dog, or otherwise slow forward progression. I understand, it adds dramatic weight, but when it's EVERYTHING, then it just gets old. Surprise me a few times, great, woah, oh god! But every time? Come on game, just get on with it! I just want to see the next cutscene!
- The characters - The first half of the game hints at some truly great moments, and the sit down with Marlowe in the Yemen market promises even more, then... nothing. Zip. Nadda. Nothing really changes, and poor Chloe and Cutter just get unceremoniously dumped.
It's not that I didn't enjoy the game, that first half was a mindblowing trip, right up to the Villa, then Syria hit and I got bored, then Yemen, which was wall to wall awesome, then boredom again, then the airfield/Rub Al'Kali stuff, which was again, amazing stuff! The whole pirate side-trip should have been cut, there should have been more stuff in the desert (and we should have gotten there MUCH earlier), and the devs should have had more payoff on the Nate-Sully dynamic, and Marlowe and her cronies needed more background. These character bits could easily have replaced all of the monotonous "shooty-shooty bang bang" stuff that did nothing but bog down the proceedings.
I sound harsh, I know, but after the first few levels, this could have been a strong contender for Game of the Year for me, but after the end-credits, it'll be lucky to break the top 5, and that's just horribly depressing for me. A game that starts so strong!
As the ancient Tibetan philosophy states:"Don't start none... won't be none...".