While playing Tuesday’s release of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, I noticed something felt strange about aiming, but I’m not alone. There’s been a small outcry about the differences in aiming between Uncharted 2 and 3, but Naughty Dog says it isn’t just our imagination – it was designed differently.
Perhaps it was more noticeable to me as I spent the days leading up to Uncharted 3’s release going back through Uncharted 2 to listen to the music. During that playthrough I got accustomed to the way bullets would spray all over the place, not always hitting the target at which I was aiming. In Uncharted 3, something feels very different, but in a way, I like it.
Naughty Dog community manager Arne Meyer warns against aiming comparisons between games, and with good reason – they’re two completely separate sets of mechanics. In Uncharted 2, the path of the bullet was predetermined so that when you aimed, the bullet could leave the aiming reticule and miss the target by a wide margin, making it difficult to assess accuracy.
For Uncharted 3, they wanted to give players a better way to tell if their bullets were actually hitting the mark or not. Instead of having the bullets simply spray in a predetermined direction, they initially leave the gun in a straight path. Of course, this would lead to impossibly accurate guns, so Naughty Dog implemented recoil, where the aiming reticule bounces around as the gun experiences kickback.
As Meyer puts it, “With Uncharted 2 it was pretty much guaranteed you would aim in one of the eight directions and it was hard to deviate from that (imagine it being almost like a traditional eight-way arcade stick). With Uncharted 3, you can deviate from the straight path from each of the eight directions much easier and more precisely.”
I’ve yet to fully grasp the system, but as I get used to the new mechanic, I can see more clearly what he means. At times, it doesn’t feel like I’m doing as well as I would in Uncharted 2, but I’m so glued into that method that I slip back to old habits of allowing my gun to just spray away, making myself less accurate as I shoot.
Meyer says the aiming is the same as in Uncharted 2, with the only difference there being controller sensitivity. Players can change the sensitivity in one of the menus, so if it doesn’t feel quite right, you can adjust it to your liking.
There were also some changes to the way weapons worked. Meyer says the AK was altered to be less accurate at great distances, since players in Uncharted 2 tended to grab the AK and stick with it the rest of the game. In Uncharted 3, they’ll have to alter strategies and pick up a different weapon based on the situation, such as the GMAL or M9.
Naughty Dog seems confident that their new mechanic will be the best method for gameplay. The jury is out and playing, but I’m beginning to see some of the light. It might take some adjustment, but I think the gameplay will hold up just fine.