Sunday, August 11, 2013

So I played this OTHER game...

Ramblings Post #229
I am still a gamer. I'm five games behind the Thunder in my middle of my 4th season of NBA2K, I have just started my first season after promotion to the Argentinian Premier League and I am just hoping for a mid-table finish in Football Manager 2013, and my troops are poised on the border as I contemplate invasion in Civ 5. I've also just recently gotten the water flowing to the Wasteland in Fallout 3, the English just declared war for no reason in Total War Empire and one day I promise you I will get 2 million in revenue from cigars in the original Tropico, this I swear! So, you might say, I'm a gamer.

I did not like Uncharted 2, so why am I playing Uncharted 3?

Maybe I'm a little too "old school" or maybe I just don't get this new style, but I when I play a video game I expect it to be a video game and not whatever this was. And this was less video 'game', more interactive story/puzzle arrangement with cinematic movie cut-scenes spliced in as an excuse to set up a multi-player experience.

So let me tell you how I really feel.

For those who haven't played the series, the hero Nathan Drake (using the Indiana Jones Random
Destruction of Historical Sites Theory) flits around the globe finding incredible secret cities and major artifacts. The trick of the game is that is more "cinematic" than the average game with visual angles that enhance the story.  For instance as the building around you collapses, the visual angle shows you the incredibly detailed destruction animation, as opposed to say the path you could be using to escape. Which makes for interesting game, game play.

This is actually in the game...looks great, doesn't it?

My major problem with the game is that is so transparently a puzzle. As I said in my previous critique of Uncharted 2, I know that all video games are basically puzzles. Most, if not all,  just hide it better than this series. The game is a continuing series of gloriously painted static locales with only one pathway through, grand set pieces that amount to little more than fast twitch exercises and puzzles so unintuitive that if the game did not literally stop and point out to you what comes next (which it does frequently) every player would still be in the French Chateau. Seriously. 

Further, the fight animation comes with continuing pop up cues, the enemy AI are straight out the Minion Academy and those aforementioned grand set pieces, the part which makes it like the a game it should be, usually require a particular weapon to complete. Thus there is no real choice in playing style, there is only the narrative. The makers also managed to infuse that an annoying effect from Far Cry 3, deciding in some inane meeting to let the player experience what the hero is seeing when he's drugged! Not that it appears to have any real effect on gameplay, but oooh, look how everything is all wavy now.

And I call it an excuse to set up multi-player because it's so short. I know, the old complaint, "not only is it bad, there is so little of it!" Here, because the game has so little replay value, you would think they would make it long enough to crack your spine. I finished it so quickly I had to check the online walk-through to make sure that really was it! And this for a game that came with a 12GB download for the cut scenes alone! Also, the game opens with a default to the multi-player selection instead of the single game. That might be considered an indicator. Just saying.

On the plus side, you don't have to keep your companions alive, they can look after themselves.

Well, maybe now that I'm done with this "game", I promise myself this time for real that I won't pick up the producer's next game, the heavily praised Last of Us. This style of game play is not for me. Instead, I can concentrate on establishing a dynasty in Middle Europe. I got that game here someplace. Ooh, wait, I still have some cities in SimCity 4 percolating around here somewhere!

What's the barkeep? The original question of why bother? Oh, because it was free. Let me get a Mirmosa, and do you serve brunch?

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