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Uncharted 2 Day#3: Chloes and Daggers

The third day of Uncharted 2 is starting to really show the game’s chops. There are a number of set-pieces and they are quite dramatic scenes. The use of camera angles is impressive and there are a lot of good graphics. There’s also a lot of cutting between player control and in-game cutscenes, which makes the game move smoothly narratively but it feels like it deprives me a little of agency. There are also a lot of important game paths that I’m constantly missing because they look too much like the background, but overall the game is still fun. Spoilers within.

I start back at the shack to try to find the way to Sully again. I die once right away from a lucky enemy. Oh, I don’t have to get up to where Sully is.  When I run out the second time to save him, I notice gunfire on the cliff in the distance and I realize that I just have to shoot the guards approaching him  from where I am.  I wish that were more obvious. I kill the attackers and fight off another wave. I then have to throw a grenade into a manned guard tower that attacking both me and Sully. I don’t realize that right away — I have to use a hint to figure out how to attack that base. It takes me a while but I get the grenade in finally. I then run back up to Sully by way of a new ramp, and we together to turn to head into the jungle, arriving in a CS as Drake and Sully reach the entrance to a tomb and Chloe joins them.

We go in the tomb and almost immediately jump into a hole in the floor. The characters take out flashlights and those are some nice flashlight effects. There are lots of skeletons on the ground here. Drake CS says to look for clues and so I start wandering around. Honestly, there are nice visual effects over all.  We find an area with cargo after walking through a sudden burst of bats. Drake finds more resin CS and he lights it in a neat burst of blue flame. The blue light reveals blood stains on the floor, the results of some kind of massacre it seems.  I have to follow the stains to find the next step. I get turned around once,  but then follow it to a wall. I have to use the generic triangle button to trigger a CS of Drake and Sully agreeing to push the dead end the blood ends at to reveal a new passage.

I  get control back to walk down the hallway. Drake thinks that all these people killed each other. At the end of the hall,  we see (in CS) a skeleton with a box.  Drake goes to get the box and screams, but he’s faking the scream to trick the others. The box contains map and a dagger that’s a ritual tool; Drake thinks it’s a key. The map points to Tibet and series of temples that Sully says are now a city.  They leave CS to a shot of the skeleton.

I get control back to leave.  Chloe runs ahead and I follow.  We climb up, and it cuts to a CS of Sully and Drake climbing out of the tomb.  They hear Flynn coming and as they prepare to run, Chloe returns and pulls gun on them. Flynn arrives and Chloe gives him the map but not the dagger.  Flynn mocks Drake and Sully a bit and then prepares to enter the tomb. Chloe escorts us away but then attacks the accompanying guards, getting a flesh wound in the process. She gives Drake the dagger and tells him she is going back to buy Drake and Sully some time. I get control back to escape and it’s a straight run from the start. We’re getting shot at along the way, and then a guard drops in front of me.  I fist fight him but I forget the riposte for the grab, and so I take more damage than I should as I beat him up.  I do a little climbing when a set-piece causes some rock to collapse beneath me. I get a CS as Drake and Sully approach a cliff.  They decide to jump, but Sully tells Drake he’s too old for this and he’s not going to Tibet. They then jump, and Flynn comes around just in time to see them swimming away.

We cut to a CS of a jeep driving into an old-ish city. Drake is driving, talking to Chloe on radio. We seem to be in Afghanistan, and Chloe wants to meet in the safer old market. Flynn’s client is taking advantage of the civil war to cover his search. Drake then gets chased by a truck, and there’s CS of truck ramming Drake’s jeep. There’s a nice skid out camera as the jeep goes down. I get control back crawling out of jeep — welcome to chapter 5! I’m taught a new run-and-gun mechanic (hold down L analog and shoot) to use in this set-piece where the truck is chasing me and I have to shoot it while running. I die once but then get it. It’s a very nice action cut-piece in a Sonic-too-fast-to-follow style. My shots cause the truck to blow up and flip over,  and when it does, Drake stops running. There’s a CS of Drake entering square, looking at his map to determine where the old market is, and then ducking under cover as a new set of guards enter. A bus drives in that distracts the guards and they move past my cover spot off-screen.  I have to take them out from behind to proceed. I die once because I’m a crap shot but then get it (and a 20 headshot achievement to boot). I walk up to the flipped over bus and it explodes, blocking my path, and forcing me to find another way out of here.

I know I have to climb my way out of this blocked part of highway, but the environment gives me no clues on where to start to climb. I have to take a hint to figure out what the first step is. I start climbing from the stand the hint indicates. It’s a very Prince of Persia style climb, but on much more naturalized (and therefore harder to spot) environmental elements. I die once from a wrong button push on climb and then get through the first part of this scene.  The rest of  this journey is a little puzzly but not too hard — I have to stealth takeout a guard (some Assassin’s Creed cool), and do a bunch more climbing. At the end of the climb,  I walk in on guards before I can hide and a fight ensues. It’s a long fight in two stages, and in the second stage a truck with machine gun shows up to kick my ass. I hold out for a while picking off guards and then the truck blows up suddenly. Chloe is there with a LAW rocket.  That’s an interesting moment of lack of agency; I would have assumed it was my job to take the machine gun, but the game chose the cinematic entrance instead. We cut to CS and she hands Drake the dagger as they flirt. Drake notices symbol on dagger matches symbol on wall. They release a high vantage point will show them the way. Chloe suggests a hotel downtown, and Drake mistakes the fact that she’s looking for a high building for a request for sex. Confusion alleviated, they start to leave. I save and call it a night.

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