Friday, September 11, 2015

Game Review - Uncharted: Drakes Fortune

This game was kind of a weird one for me. It seemed to have all the ingredients for an amazing game, all the parts and pieces of a groundbreaking, fun experience, and yet I found myself too often annoyed throughout the experience. I'll break down the bits of this game that were amazing and then follow up with what left me wanting.

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is basically Indiana Jones: The Video Game. You play as a treasure hunter working through old ruins, searching for the lost relics of the ancient world, all the while pursued by pirates and mercenaries. The main character, Nathan Drake, has to solve puzzles, climb ledges and leap across platforms, all the while shooting and being shot at by various baddies working for their nefarious employers. Sounds amazing right? What could go wrong? Well, I'll explain what did it in for me.
We'll start with the puzzles. Nathan is occasionally stuck in a room where he has to solve a small puzzle while referencing a diary in his back pocket. These moments were the highlight of the game for me, as I love solving puzzles. I loved the opportunity to engage my mind, match symbols to references, rotate and shift objects to unlock the next session. My only grip with these is that they were maybe THREE throughout the entire game. Really, only three. That's a long time to wait for what I enjoyed most.
Next up, the acrobatics. Uncharted allows the world Nathan lives in to feel real and interactive. He climbs ledges, leaps over objects, scales branches and vines, swings on chains, and leaps across platforms. It all feels real and imaginative, and I think anyone who hasn't encountered this concept before will be thoroughly intrigued. The problem? Well, I played Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and that game's athletics beats the SHIT out of Uncharted. The Prince could not only do everything Nathan could, but he could also run along walls, leap off of walls, shiny up and down columns, and swing on poles like an acrobat. See, Uncharted didn't do anything wrong here necessarily. It's just that all of Nathan's athleticism felt sub par to me. I felt like I was fooling around with the captain of the cheerleading squad when I'd already slept with a model. Sorry Uncharted, you're hot and all but . . . uh . . . I've had better.
The shooting wasn't anything spectacular or new. It wasn't game breaking in any way. You roll, you shoot, you take cover, you reload. Some enemies are tougher than others, some aren't. I did like how this game's opponents felt smarter than most. They can and will attempt to flank you and wreck your day, so props to that, but the shooting part of this game was my least enjoyable experience, which was unfortunate because it made up the huge bulk of the game. Run and shoot, run and shoot, run and shoot, run and shoot - Oh! A single puzzle! - Run and shoot, run and shoot, run and shoot . . . you get the point.
So yeah, like I said, this game had all the parts of an amazing game I should have loved to death. Unfortunately, they just didn't put the parts together well enough for me to like it anymore than 3 out of 5 stars. Oddly enough, I feel bad for saying that, too. Looking back, I really wish I'd liked this game more.

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