The Burning Chateau (Uncharted 3)
Every game in the Uncharted series has given us a host of memorable set piece moments, some of which have some really interesting gimmicks involved. The burning Chateau is one such example of that, presenting players with multiple threats to overcome. After navigating a tomb and a labyrinth of underground tunnels, Nathan Drake and Sully find themselves in an abandoned Chateau. Here they come face-to-face with the the villain, Talbot’s, henchmen.
The enemies set fire to the Chateau and our heroes have to fight their way out while racing the clock, as the burning building crumbles around them. Uncharted 3’s spectacular visual effects are on full display during this sequence, as players make their way through a short but nail biting sequence trying to quickly take down enemies all while dodging flaming debris.
Battling the Tank (Uncharted 2)
A few henchmen with guns are no problem for Nathan Drake, but a tank might be a different story. After a quiet moment in the Nepalese village, a lumbering tank bursts through and sets its sights on Nate and his ally Tenzin. A harrowing chase ensues, that sees them fleeing from the destruction of the tank while simultaneously trying to find a way to take it down. He is our valiant hero of the story, but the tank is an enemy that even he won’t want to mess around with.
The chapter itself is called “Cat and Mouse,” denoting the kind of experience players will have. After a lengthy chase and a combination of multiple rocket launchers and grenades, Nate takes down the mechanical beast.
Finding the Nazi U-Boat (Uncharted)
The Uncharted series has always been about a sense of wonder and discovery. That theme was present from the very first game, where the series’ adventurous spirit came to the front. After exploring the island for a while in search of El Dorado, Drake stumbles upon a mysterious World War II Nazi ship that has been marooned.
It’s a surprising sight to behold right off the bat, but there’s also surprises that lie within the ship. As Nate explores the U-Boat, he finds the mutilated remains of the crew and the story of how they got to be there. While leaving the ship, he accidentally activates a torpedo and narrowly escapes by crawling through one of the torpedo tubes.
The Train Crash (Uncharted 2)
Uncharted 2 set its adventure at a breakneck pace right from the beginning of the game. The opening scene sees Nathan Drake waking up covered in blood and sitting on a train, only to find out that said train is precariously hanging off the side of a cliff.
The opening sequence teaches players the essential controls of the game, while having them scale the falling train and dodging pieces of falling ice. It’s a breathtaking opening that sets the tone for Nate’s incredible adventure to come, and poses the mystery of how he got in this situation in the first place.
Walking Through the Village (Uncharted 2)
The village sequence in Uncharted 2 isn’t a set piece in the traditional sense, as it completely slows the action down to give players a chance to breath. After narrowly making it out of the train crash, Nate is found by Tenzin and brought to his village in Nepal.
After recovering, the player has a chance to walk the village seeing its inhabitants and their daily life play out. It shows a human aspect to a game that’s filled with huge set pieces and action, letting you take in the sights and culture. The sequence may not be as pulse-pounding as others, but helps invigorate the game with new feeling and pacing.
Escaping the Museum as Young Drake (Uncharted 3)
Uncharted 3 gave us an interesting look at a piece of Nathan Drake’s childhood, and it turns out he was just as adventurous back then. In an effort to get Sir Francis Drake’s ring, Nathan steals the key to its display case and sneaks in. Unfortunately, the game’s villains have the same idea and our hero finds himself in a difficult situation.
Young Nathan Drake is of course much more vulnerable than his adult counterpart, and this means you have no other option than to run. While enemy goons fire on him, the young hero dashes over rooftops dodging bullets . It’s a heart-pounding series of events that ultimately leads to Nate meeting his most trusted friend and confidant, Victor Sullivan.
Taking Down the Helicopter (Uncharted 2)
When Nathan Drake arrives in a city of Nepal, he finds the location swarming with the forces of Lazarevic. He finds some strong resistance in the city, while making his way to the Hotel Shangri La to meet up with Chloe. After arriving at the hotel, you’re set upon by an enemy helicopter which brings the entire building crashing down.
A harrowing escape sequence that sees Nate surviving the crumbling building, is followed by a difficult showdown to take down the helicopter. The sequence really shows how an epic set piece moment can be woven in with gameplay segments. It’s just one of countless pieces of Uncharted 2 that are unforgettable.
The Cargo Plane (Uncharted 3)
Nathan Drake is the epitome of the heroic action star, and never is that more evident than his ridiculous survival from falling out of an open cargo plane. Nate sneaks aboard the plane owned by the villain Marlow, in order to rescue the captive Victor Sullivan. He’s discovered on board by one of Marlow’s agents, and the ensuing fistfight results in both men being flung out of the already-in-flight plane.
Nate fights his way up the cargo back into the plane, only to have it explode due to massive decompression. The hero has to desperately grasp for any handhold he can find as the vehicle and its cargo plummets into the dessert. With only moments left he manages to cling to a supply crate and deploy its chute, making this yet another brush with death for Nathan Drake.
The Train Sequence (Uncharted 2)
Uncharted 2’s opening sequence with the train crash is jaw dropping enough, but what led to that crash is even more impressive. This massive sequence lasts multiple chapters, even seeing the climate change during the time Nate makes his way across the train. After reaching the train yard and sneaking aboard, Nate must systematically make his way up the vehicle, fighting enemies and dodging obstacles the whole way.
The breakneck pace is kept up for over an hour, with the threats becoming stronger and more dangerous as players progress. The entire thing culminates with the train crash set piece we began the game with, catching players up to speed and letting the story progress from where we started.
Escaping the Ship (Uncharted 3)
The Uncharted series is filled with close calls and unlikely escapes for our hero Nathan Drake. None feel like as much of a miracle though, as when Nate escapes from the capsized cruise ship in the third game. Caught aboard a ship quickly sinking, Nate has to quickly struggle past enemies while the water levels rise closer and closer. Cracks in the glass and groaning noises set players on edge as they search for the way out, constantly being pestered by enemies all the while.
The incredible water effects of Uncharted are on full display as the situation threatens to drown Nate. The sequence give us a look at the technical prowess of the series, while also providing a tense, action-packed gameplay sequence unlike any other.
What are some of your favorite set piece moments from the Uncharted series? Which ones had you gripping your controller the hardest? Let us know down in the comments.
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