• Friday, 1 June 2012

      Uncharted 3 flawed Climbing system

      Ok I've finally had the chance to play Uncharted 3 as I'm currently playing through Campaign mode now.
      This is not a review as I just wanted to point out the opportunity flaw this game missed.

      We can all say that the best developer in the world is Naughty Dogs developer, they've pushed the PS3's graphical capabilities as well as introducing a great unique memorable character Nathan Drake and telling a great immersive stories in the Uncharted trilogy.

      One important thing I wanted to talk about which is the reason why Uncharted failed in this opportunity is the climbing system or platforming. Uncharted is broken into 3 different gameplay segments- Gun shooting, platforming/climbing and puzzle solving. The segments were further improved upon greatly in Uncharted 2 which we saw as a big jump. Now for Uncharted 3 we would expect more jump and newly improve features, however Naughty Dog failed on this and only focused on character development, graphics, multiplayer and story.

      All you do is jump when climbing, you are not really doing much or interacting with Drake virtually during climbing.

      The problem with ANY game's platforming or Climbing system is that it doesn't connect to the player or draws them closer to the climbing. Tomb Raider pioneered this climbing system, however Uncharted revolutionised it (my words are opinion if you don't agree). Now many games are copying or using this climbing system which does not immerse the player. The worst game to use this climbing mechanic is Enslaved- Journey to the West. I still find The Escapist: Zero Pronunciation review of this game to be 90% accurate. Because one of the flawed highlights to the game is the climbing system, all you do is move the analogue to make Monkey's head face a specific direction and then jump to that location. How is this meant to be fun and engaging?

      Unfortunately Uncharted 3 uses the same "old" feature, imagine platforming as you are climbing like you are meant to do. Suddenly you've died up to 6 times, will you keep climbing normally or  rush your climbing? Because I know 80% of all gamers will rush their climbing.
      This is WHY logic comes to your head, "if I can climb by rushing, why did the developers put this climbing system there in the first place? it's a waste of time".
      Another example is God of War, Kratos uses the Chain Blades to climb and to platform, also you can speed up (rush) your climbing. Many gamers will rather speed up their climbing than climbing normal like they are supposed to.
      Which brings up the question once again, if Kratos can climb normally and can also climb faster, why can't the developers just allow Kratos to climb faster without the player speeding up the climbing?

      This is why I am bringing up this flaw, however a game which was controversial and bashed by everyone manages to capture how a climbing system should be implemented in a game which is Ninja Gaiden 3. Apart from Ninja Gaiden 3 another game allowed the user to connect with the protagonist whilst climbing is Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. The most impressive thing about Shadow of the Colossus was "Physical" reaction you get from the player-->protagonist-->boss. It just felt so good because you know that your character depends on your action during climbing.You control how the character climbs and if you fail, the character will fall.

      You will always hang on to the Grip button if you don't want to fall off.

      How does this connection work? There is a Grip Button which allows the protagonist to hang onto any ledge or soft surface in the game. Once you are holding down the hold button, the character will never let go, this is when you use the Analogue to control the direction the character is meant to progress. The reason why this method connects mentally to the player is that, when hanging onto the bosses, the bosses will wiggle and shake their bodies, thus weakening the grip system and your hanging focus. Which means while climbing and the boss shakes its body, you can fall off; this is why you depend on the Hold button.

      The reason why I love this game's climbing system is that, YOU ARE THE ONE CLIMBING. Other games using old climbing system only allows YOU TO DIRECT the position the character would climb to.

      As I mentioned earlier, Ninja Gaiden 3 stepped up it's game by introducing a new updated way of climbing, which is called Kunai Climb.
      You run up a wall and to hang on, you hold both Left Trigger and Right Trigger at the same time. Doing this will allow Ryu to hang on to the wall permanently. Now to climb up you just have to alternate your button presses, Left: Right: Left: Right etc. Depending on how fast or slow you press the buttons controls the speed of Ryu's climbing. This is exactly what I mean by connecting the player to the protagonist when climbing. Because it feels like you are climbing instead of feeling like you direct the way the character climbs.
      Each time I perform Kunai Climb, it always feels like I'm controlling Ryu's arm.

      Use Left Trigger to control Ryu's Left Arm and use Right Trigger to control Ryu's Right Arm

      This was a major step forward in Ninja Gaiden 3, if only good developers can see this and recognise this, they would implement it to their games. I was deeply disappointed with Uncharted 3's climbing system and a missed opportunity to update the climbing was missed. In fact Dragon Dogma manages to use this Grip/Hold system to allow players to hang and climb on bosse.

      I believe that this Hold/Grip system will suit games like Tomb Raider and Uncharted instead. If the developers can find a way so the player can get into a Climbing trigger mode, when in this mode would grant the player to be able to use Hold/Grip function.
      Or simply sacrifce a button map and add a Grip/Hold button instead.


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