A few more enemy character skins would have helped stave off the feeling of repetition. As you get further into the story, mercs carry more powerful weapons and increase in number and intelligence; it's no use standing behind the same bit of cover during a shootout, since they'll flush you out with grenades, destroy your cover with an RPG or flank you while other enemy solidiers keep you pinned down.
Hand-to-hand fights are just as satisfying, but less frequent since it isn't really a good idea to break free from cover and confront an Uzi-toting merc. In an effort to prevent button-bashing, the more powerful three-hit combos require you to press the r or w buttons after each blow has landed rather than steaming in there mashing away, and your reward is double the amount of ammo left by an enemy.
Jump to it
Although the on-rails shooter section on the back of a jeep is a great diversion (see the 'Wheels of Fortune' on the top left), a couple of jet-ski sequences aren't. Here you steer the vehicle as Drake and also shoot enemies and floating explosive barrels as Fisher, but since you have to stop the jet-ski every time you want to fire, these sections are robbed of the fluidity that the rest of the game boasts in abundance. They suck pretty badly.
Platforming sections are pretty straightforward most of the time, with the next ledge or grip always signposted and Drake's fluid movements making things even easier. The only quibble is that the distance he can jump seems to change from sequence to sequence, which obviously proves very misleading.
For instance, when the camera pans out and you're moving him sideways along a cliff face, he'll always make the next ledge no matter what because that's the only route he can take, but when the camera is in the default view behind him and you jump forward to reach a platform that's roughly the same distance as others you've tried before, he doesn't always reach it. Frequently placed checkpoints stop this becoming annoying, though.
Puzzles are surprisingly thin on the ground, perhaps as a deliberate way of setting Uncharted apart from Tomb Raider. When they do crop up, an icon appears and pressing Select opens an illustrated journal to the exact page related to that puzzle. They're extremely quick and easy to solve (no laborious cog puzzles here!), and the journal leading you by the hand doesn't exactly make them any more difficult. Hopefully a sequel will include a few more truly taxing puzzles.
And the good news is that a sequel, and possibly even a full-on franchise going by recent comments from Naughty Dog, is planned. The game thankfully doesn't leave any loose ends dangling or even hint at a direct sequel that continues this particular treasure hunt, just the feeing we haven't seen the last of Nathan Drake and co. Will you play Uncharted again after the 12 hours or so it takes to complete the story? Well, yes, probably.
Although there are no alternative routes and no multiple endings to discover, there are plenty of hidden treasures to collect and medals to earn for stuff like getting 50 headshots or killing 50 enemies with a certain weapon. We had a good nose around each area and still only managed to uncover 36 of the 60 treasures, so finding them all isn't easy. And once Home is eventually released, these medals and treasures will be converted into trophies which you can proudly display around your virtual pad. If you're the kind of person who likes to do that sort of thing.
If Sony really is pinning its hopes on Uncharted being a PS3 system seller this Christmas, it couldn't have picked a better game. Uncharted looks great, it's exciting, it's very funny at times and it should have huge, mainstream appeal for anyone old enough to have grown up with Indiana Jones or young enough to be growing up with the less-good National Treasure movies. We just hope enough people take a chance on a new, original game that isn't a sequel or a film licence. Try the four-level demo if you're unsure that this is for you and we guarantee when you're done you'll be left wanting more.
Extremely polished adventure boasts memorable characters, exciting action and slick combat. Too linear for some, there's room for improvement, but then what are sequels for? Exactly.