I am not trying to hate on the series, I legitimately am wondering. A while ago, I watched a Let's Play of Uncharted 1, and I just finished playing through Uncharted 2 and 3 (about 10 minutes ago).
Let me get the things I liked out of the way first: I thought the characters were likeable (with the exception of Chloe), and the stories had good endings that gave me the same feeling I get when I am walking out of a movie theater. The main orchestral theme is also amazing. I also quite like the multiplayer in Uncharted 3, but it's mostly a just diversion from games like Dark Souls, Battlefield 3, and Team Fortress 2.
But there are so many things that were incredibly weak, in my opinion. The core gameplay could be absolutely infuriating- this is counting the enemy AI and behavior, shots to kill, and friendly AI. The frequency, distance, and accuracy of enemies' grenades rivals Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
The way that Drake reacts when hit with an RPG/grenade (exposing himself to enemy fire- usually snipers, of course), the behavior of snipers, and heavies in general all seemed like poor game choices. Looking at my statistics, I had 154 restarts across 22 chapters in Uncharted 3. Maybe I just suck, but that seems a bit high. I think my blood pressure got a bit high too, though. A lot of the deaths, though avoidable, still seemed a bit bullshit, with distant RPG-ers, shotgunners who flank right by my friend, or 10 snipers all trained on me.
In many occasions, when there is a puzzle, Drake will say "there's probably a mechanism I have to turn." 5 seconds later, it will tell me to press up on the d-pad for a hint. The game treated me like an 8 year old. The loose controls could also lead to janky platforming, but I can't really complain too much about that. One thing that wasn't bad, but that was a bit odd, was the fact that so many doors and mechanisms required your partner's participation. That sort of makes sense in co-op, but the game doesn't have a co-op campaign, so why can't I just open the door myself and get on with it?
In many occasions, it seemed like the writers resorted to using the games' supernatural elements to save their asses when they wrote themselves into a corner.
Speaking of supernatural elements, the coked-up natives at the end of 2 and the djinn at the end of 3 were both miserable to fight. The natives had way too much health and the Djinn were poorly executed in almost every way, which is a shame because they behaved a bit like Prometheans from Halo 4, which were actually fun to fight.
All of these gameplay elements led to me dreading combat. I would walk into an area and think, "shit, there are going to be 14 enemies that are going to jump up behind these chest-high walls. Why can't I just get on with the story!?" It was disappointing that the actual game was a burden and an interruption in the stories, which were the best parts of the games.
The games- Uncharted 3 specifically- aren't a shining example of the technical beauty of modern gaming that many seem to make them out to be. I experienced slowdown at the end of Uncharted 3, textures were blurry all around (except for Drake's and Sully's character models), and pop-in was prevalent about half the time. The Playstation 3 (and Xbox 360 as well) are so old that the only way to impress me on those platforms anymore is to have an exceptional art style, like Halo 4, Dark Souls, Borderlands, or Bioshock have. Even Sound Shapes.
But players and critics seem to love the games. It's crowned as one of, if not the best Playstation 3 series. IGN gave Uncharted 3 their 6th 10/10 ever. The series has an average Metacritic score of 92. Uncharted 2 received 200 GOTY awards, and Uncharted 3 took home hundreds of both GOTY and other awards as well.
I don't get it. How can people play through those games and not have the same dread of combat (and mediocre response to the visuals)?