Remember the train wreck section from Uncharted 2? Well now forget it like a cheating ex-lover, because there's a new Uncharted epic in town and it's called 'That airport level what they showed at GamesCom'.
It's been a while since we've ogled Uncharted 3 from uncomfortably close range so we thought we'd give Naughty Dog's latest another going over.
We make it sound like a considered decision but, in truth, we couldn't help ourselves, not when the developer showcased this stunning airport scene in Cologne.
While most of our Dissected pieces pick apart the finest of details from a game, this is more an exercise in pointing out just how vast number 3's airport level is. Mechanically, Uncharted hasn't made any huge sweeping changes of note since the original, it's just been getting, bigger, better and bulging with epic.
Naughty Dog lay its cards on the table at the beginning of Uncharted 2 with the aforementioned train scene. As you progressed from one precarious position the magnitude of the catastrophe you were playing on started to reveal itself. Then, just when you thought you were safe to take a breather, something else would give way opening up a whole new angle to the carnage and a new set of problems.
The gameplay segment showed off at GamesCom has all of that with a gun fight and a car section tacked on to the beginning. The most impressive bit is how most of it flows seamlessly from one gameplay type to the next with the only real cut separating play inside and outside the plane.
It all starts simply enough, with Nate and Elena sneaking onto a well-guarded airstrip. What's important though is Naughty Dog's placement of one of those Uncharted vista moments. Drake looks across the airport to see a hanger, a load of containers, the runway and of course the plane itself.
All very vast and pretty as usual but it's not just there for effect and, as the level pans out, you'll cover pretty much all of it.
After a Superman leap and a scuttle down some ladders, Nate and Elena are on the ground and at the gates of the airport. There's a bit of handholding and a tender moment as Drake leaves his lady behind throwing out some classic lines about losing her and a dangerous situation or something (you can see all the longing looks in the screenshots below).
Drake makes his way further into the airport and is instantly spotted like the amateur he is. Cue gunfire and some Jackie Chan scrambling from our man in an attempt to catch his plane as it starts to crawl away.
This is where the design smarts of this level start to unfold. Drake starts off very closed in but, thanks to the layout of the environment, the player can take advantage of the hero's mobility in one of the most effective ways we've seen in the series.
Hoisting himself up onto the containers, Drake takes advantage of the multiple levels available to him until he makes his way on to a building roof. The map is as big up and down as it is wide and there's been no scrimping on the detail either.
We get a trademark cinematic flourish from Naughty Dog as one route is closed off with an explosion and tumbling objects. As we saw in number 2, the control is delightfully swiped out of the player's hands as Nate is knocked back and given back without anyone really noticing.