Tuesday, January 01, 2008


Happy New Year everyone! Hopefully everyone reading this has played Uncharted or doesn't plan to play it at all because I'm going to spoil the hell out of the game. Read at your own peril! Haha...

During the PS2 years I treated Naughty Dog and Insomniac much like Pepsi and Coke. I am definitely a fan of Coke (Mexican Coke FTW) and Ratchet was my addiction. I fell in love with Ratchet and finished all of them - aside from that terrible Dead Locked one that should have never come out. I tried to play every Jak game and could only stomach them for an hour at the most. I don't know why - they just didn't grab me.

With the PS3 things have definitely changed. While I still <3 the Ratchet (absolute must play if you own a PS3) I couldn't stand Resistance what so ever. I played it long enough so that it became a modern shooter (health regeneration) but quit after that. A lot of people tell me it's a great game and they very well may be correct - but the game isn't for me and I'll probably never finish it. Uncharted on the other hand - is the first Naughty Dog game I've completed since umm...Way Of The Warrior I'm guessing? Uncharted offers everything I want in a videogame - good story, good acting, fun platforming, short game time, good feeling main character, etc.

BTW, avoid the demo of Uncharted that you can download on PSN. I downloaded the demo and never wanted to play the game after playing it for some reason. I was having lunch with 2 of the sound guys from GoW2 (Chuck and Todd) who had both played it and told me how good the game was - if it wasn't for that lunch I would have never played the game. In fact...almost all demo's I download off of PSN turn out to be not fun for some reason - Simpson's, motorstorm, etc.

Anyway, after beating Uncharted and barely just starting Assassin's Creed I must fully admit that 'next-generation' character interaction is upon us. These 2 games have completely raised the bar on how a character interacts with the environment. And I'm not even talking about super technical things like how Uncharted has IK on the feet and AC's doesn't - just the small things that really help sell the world. Drake walks down the German boat and blends from his normal navigation to putting out his hand and stepping over something in the way then going back to his normal nav. All the while I never let go of pushing nothing more then 'forward' on the controller. Knowing how much work is needed to get all of this to work I was definitely impressed. (Animation, level design, collision, detection, blending, etc)

Not all is perfect with Uncharted - thats for sure. After playing this game and Resident Evil 4 I'm pretty convinced that Jet Ski's should be banned from all videogames. Including Wave Racer. There is this great chase scene where the chick drives the jeep and you get to shoot fools nonstop. It's all fun and exciting and you wanna do it again when you finish. Then you get on a jet ski and Drake is all, 'I'll drive!' The problem is that you control Drake for driving and the chick for shooting. So you have to come to a complete stop to shoot then drive some more. Rinse, Wash, Repeat. Not to mention going up the waterfalls and what not. Definitely the lowest point in the game.

I'm slowly starting to get sick of achievements - especially in 'real' games. My friend Nate says they should be removed from all games except for arcade games or maybe just in multiplayer. As I'm playing Uncharted and blowing dude's heads off it rewards me by saying, '20 kills with the handgun' or whatever it says. Even though I like the handgun now I start feeling the need to get 20 kills with all the guns that are in the game. Which *may* have been OK if all the guns were drastically different or classed out but it felt like there was a lot of overlap. I couldn't really tell the difference between the AK and the M16. At one point I stopped the game and thought to myself, 'man - I'm just playing the game of kill X dudes with certain guns and not playing Unchrated.' At that point I just finished the game with the guns that *I* liked.

The melee definitely feels tacked on as well. They try a few mechanics such as if the enemy is killed with a special combo (square, triangle, square) then they drop twice the normal amount of ammo. This combo feels messy to say the least and I could never tell when to push the next button or if I had really performed it correctly.

The kills on the other hand are really well animated and feel rewarding. I like the leg tackle and some of the other ones. However I think I went through the whole game and used melee maybe less then 10 times total.

While I had a lot of fun with the story - there were too many bad guys. They could have easily cut one or combined 2 of them into one to clean things up. Speaking of bad guys, the final battle definitely could have used some lovin'. To the ND guys - I'm not hating - I worked on a game with Hades and Ares so I fully understand how these things happen.

All in all though - everyone should check out Uncharted as it is definitely in my top 5 favorite games of 2007.

One of my New Year's resolutions is to try to blog more. So this is an attempt. Hopefully it was somewhat entertaining.

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