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Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune sorta review

May
20

Scattered thoughts after finishing this game last Friday (and not getting this up for a while)

– The game showed up in my mailbox one day before things got really busy for me. Much faster than usual from GameFly, at the least convenient time possible. Even after things got less busy, it sat in the envelope by my TV, continually put off for another day, a reminder of money not well spent.

I had nothing else to do two Saturdays ago, and found out the problem wasn’t waiting a few weeks to play it, it was not playing it immediately when it came out in November. Uncharted is seriously great, a game fully showing with a PS3 can do and good enough to sell a few people on the system.

The best equation I can figure to describe is Goldeneye + Prince of Persia + Pitfall, but maybe I shouldn’t use games that are well over 20 years old as examples. Everything blends well, down to hanging from a branch and firing a gun with the other hand. The puzzles aren’t particularly hard, but they’re not supposed to be. (One of my small disappointments was the puzzles seeming disappearing late in exchange for long gun fights.) Even the vehicle stages, which normally feel forced in these type of games, work pretty well.

The characters and the story are good, you’d know they’re setting up a sequel (and franchise) even if there wasn’t a colon in the title, and people are going to be counting down the days to get it. It actually feels like you’ve played thru a movie by the time the credits role.

The only downside is, if you’re like me, you probably don’t see a need to replay it again at a higher difficulty level (though they give you lots of rewards to try and make it worth your while.) But the first time thru is good enough, and you’ll want to play all the way thru. Either buy it or rent it for an indefinite amount of time.

– it took a little long to finish than it probably should’ve. I have a rule against fighting subhumans/aliens after dark (blame Perfect Dark), so I was kinda slowed down late. (Also the TV not working, which is a story for another day.)

– I’ve been downloading demos, and look forward to the Bourne one because I like the movies. I was trying to figure this out when I saw the third movie and wasn’t sure, but I think the last movie I saw in a theater before that was the second Bourne move. I’m not that big of a fan, I’m just not that a big a fan of movies or movie theater prices. Anyway, I was hoping the movie experience would translate to game play, and it seems like they’ve got a close enough facsimile in the game.

Like Uncharted, there’s a lot of third person puzzle, and occasional fights, though the puzzles in Bourne are less turning stones the right way and more trying to evade people who are trying to shoot you. Both games have bits where you’re commanded/told to press a button at specific moments and success depends on timing, but it seems a lot more often in the Bourne game.

Unfortunately, at least at this point of the demo, Bourne is not a really a PS3-era game. (“next gen” seems like a date term when it becomes the standard.) Anytime you die, which is gonna happen quite a bit when you have marines shooting at you and you can not shoot back, you’re dropped into a loading screen for a few seconds. You know, complete with graphic and protip.

In Uncharted, I died a lot and in many different ways, like I figure I would if I played the full Bourne game, but I never lost the rhythm of the game while waiting for loading. There’s loading when you start up your saved game, but there’s no loading form death to death, from chapter to chapter, or from narrative scene to gameplay. It’s all very seamless, and that’s what I now expect out of games in 2008. (Uncharted was a XMas release, clearly ahead of it’s time.) Loading screens during gameplay are so…PS1 era? 2000? Something we all should be well past?

It’s 2008, either program your game to be able to quickly pick up at your last checkpoint, or don’t program it for a PS3. This generation of consoles isn’t really specifically about HD picture quality or connectivity, it’s about taking the quality level of gameplay up a notch. Loading screens are about three notches down.

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