The combat, meanwhile, borrows heavily from Gears of War, with a strong emphasis on firing from behind cover. Drake's pretty resilient, able to soak up a dozen bullets or so and then rapidly recover from the brink of death, but if you run around in the open, he'll usually die pretty damn fast. He's extremely good at cowering behind pretty much any waist-high barrier, though, and he can blind-fire around corners or easily pop out to take a few aimed shots. He can also easily duck and roll between cover points when things get too hot (again, a la Gears), something you'll find yourself increasingly relying on as the game progresses.
Granted, running around in the open does sometimes have its perks; Drake can quietly take down unsuspecting pirates with a quick sleeper hold or neck-snap if they're looking the other way, and if you prefer the run-right-up-to-them approach, he can unleash lethal, dramatic punch-kick combos that vary widely despite using only two different button combinations. He's also handy with guns, able to carry two at a time (a pistol and a rifle), as well as a handful of grenades, which are thrown using the Sixaxis' tilt controls. (It's awkward at first, but try it a few times and it'll feel surprisingly natural.)
Your enemies, for their part, are whip-smart, whether they're simple, shotgun-toting pirates or armored mercs. They'll keep moving constantly, and they're almost as good at using cover as you are. They'll also duck out of the way when you draw a bead on them and toss grenades to flush you out of hiding, all while trying to flank you if you're behind cover. And their aim - whether it's with guns or grenades - is usually dead-on.
With all these cool ingredients, the gunfights - when they're good - rival the best of what Gears has to offer (only without the chainsaw guns), and they'll leave you feeling like you just survived something really deadly in the coolest manner possible. Sadly, these moments don't come along that often, and most later firefights ditch the style and strategy in favor of just swamping you with wave after wave of hyper-aggressive enemies, which feels like a grind. Not the fun kind of grind, either, but the frustrating kind that you have to relive, over and over, until you can slog through it without dying.