| 08-21-2009, 09:02 AM||
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves will be about 40 percent puzzle-solving and 60 percent action, but developers Naughty Dog hope you don't notice that.
What they want you to notice instead is the pacing of this second entry in the franchise, that the action is more tense, the exploration more seamlessly integrated into the title and the puzzles more subtle.
"I think gamers are going to notice that it's going to be a little more action packed," said Naughty Dog spokesman Arne Myer. "There's a little more tension, a little more action behind everything (Nathan Drake) does."
Naughty Dog tried worked to create a game that is much bigger than the first title, one that has broader scope and a better sense of scale.
Meyer showed off a new level to press attending a behind closed doors meeting with them during this week's Gamescom in Cologne, Germany.
In it Drake has been sent to snowy mountains where he has to work with a Tibetan guide to find a hidden temple in an ice cave.
"We've been showing off a lot of action," Meyer said. "In this section we wanted to change it up a bit and show a bit of exploration and puzzles."
The scene opened in the mountains. The nearby Tibetan guide, wearing a widebrim hat, layers of colorful clothing, stands on the edge of a frozen precipice.
Drake shoots resting on the edge of a higher cliff near a chasm and uses the rope that falls out to swing across the gap. He free climbs up and around the mountain, higher and higher until he discovers stones carved out of the mountain side, following them into the entrance of a cave framed with ornately carved statues.
Outside snow falls, slightly obscuring the view. Drake's pants legs slowly get wet as he trudges through the snow, leaving light foot prints in his wake.
When he enters the mammoth caves the snow stops. The cave is lined with statues, ledges, mechanisms. Meyer spends the next dozen minutes or so using switches to open doors and shift carvings. The room-size puzzle involves a lot of scrambling between ledges, jumping from platform to platform and pulling switches.
Throughout the level Meyer controls the camera angles with one of the thumbsticks as he plays.
After completing the area, which leads Drake to a giant statue of what appears to be Kali, Meyer said that the puzzle is one of the largest pieces included in the game.
"It's pretty involved," he says. It looks it.
"We really tried to fit the length of the puzzle with the pacing of the story," he said.
While the game's campaign doesn't include any cooperative play for a second gamer, much of the game does have Drake working with one or more companions.
"We thought about whether we could have cooperative in the game," Meyer said. "But the game is really centered around Nathan and his personality. It didn't really make sense to do coop."
After the demo wrapped up I told Meyer that I was concerned that the game could shift too much of the focus of the gameplay on puzzle solving, making it essentially Tomb Raider. But Meyer said that is Naughty Dog's goal. What the developer hopes to do is create a more seamless experience that shifts between shooting, exploration and puzzle solving.