While Naughty Dog is currently developing their post-apocalyptic adventure The Last of Us, a little part of me hopes and expects that they will one day come back to arguably their most popular franchise, Uncharted. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is one of my favorite games of all time, and the other two games are right up there. The series is not without flaws however, even after three games. Here are the things that Naughty Dog has to do if they want to wow me with the next Uncharted game.
No More Lost Cities
After two entire storylines revolving around a crazed villain searching after a lost city, enough is enough. If they decide to include another storyline about a lost city, I could summarize it for you right now without even seeing the game. Drake finds out about the city, soon learns that a crazy villain is after the riches/powers found in the city, sets out to stop him/her, and eventually learns that the city was either a giant metaphor or full of evil things, and ultimately the city is destroyed. I just saved you ten hours of your life. You’re welcome.
No More Supernatural Enemies
One of the problems that has always plagued the Uncharted series is the presence of ridiculous supernatural enemies. In Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, it was zombie-like creatures, in Uncharted 2 it was giant blue people, and in Uncharted 3 it was fiery demons. For the most part, these enemies were overpowered and incredibly difficult to kill, making the game very frustrating. If there is another Uncharted, there had better be no supernatural enemies.
Use More Familiar History in the Storyline
While Uncharted generally does a good job of weaving history into the storyline, the history used could be more relevant and mainstream, more like the history found in the National Treasure films. For example, instead of running around some random Arabian desert, Drake could be finding secrets hidden in the Great Pyramid or in the Parthenon. This way, the plot of the game could be a little more relatable and seem even more plausible.
Don’t Recycle Successful Techniques Too Much
When Naughty Dog started Uncharted 2 with a vertical train-climbing sequence, I was wowed. In Uncharted 3, I found a remarkably similar vertical sequence, this time on a cargo plane. Another example of this subtle repetition is the trend found in many puzzle levels, this trend being that once the puzzle is solved, players must find their way out of the area, now fighting off enemies who always seem to follow Drake and his friends down the secret passages they discover. Naughty Dog is full of great ideas, I just wish that they wouldn’t lean on these great ideas and use them too many times, as the fun in these sequences gets diluted.
Make Some Truly Meaningful Plot Changes
Over the course of the Uncharted series, there have been very few new plot developments that carry over to the next game. While there have been many great allusions to Drake’s past, the only changes that happen in the present are the introduction of new characters, for the most part. I wish that Naughty Dog would be bold enough to shake up the cast of characters a bit more and perhaps make some lasting changes in Drake’s saga.