Articles tagged with uncharted

Leap of Faith

Posted by Ben at 13:50

When Uncharted 4 came out I wrote a piece about its disconnect between narrative and gameplay. Itís well-storied so I wonít retell the whole piece here, we all know it. Uncharted suffers from a form of Ludonarrative dissonance, itís practically the poster boy for it. Nathan Drake quipping his way through a blood bath. Joking as he murders countless people just because he wants to steal shit. Not for peace or to save the world, he just wants treasure, and for that heíll snap necks and kick people to their deaths. Really Uncharted should share more tone with Max Payne, but as I said, this is well covered, I should move on

Uncharted The Lost Legacy is kind of a spin-off from Uncharted 4. It started out as lengthy dlc that began to justify a retail release and a higher price, and it does. I finished it last week and itís good. Iím not going to write a full review for it because I donít have time, and itís not the sort of game we usually review, but itís is good. It feels less bloated than Uncharted 4 was, more gamey and light-hearted, but plays down the jokey tone. Actually itís the moments where it plays up to that tone that feel the most out of place, itís not something you associate with Chloe, she always felt more mercenary than Nathan. Teaming Chloe up with Uncharted 4ís Nadine, a hardened soldier, then having them bantz about, it feels like Naughty Dog still a bit afraid of making a Drake-free Uncharted game.

Before I move on, Iím not sure that Naughty Dog have retconned Chloeís nationality, possibly more that they just never dwelt on it before. It does, for those of us who arenít buried deep in Uncharted lore, feel like theyíve tweaked her a bit, but I like it. Iím not ordinarily too keen on characters being altered, just make a new character rather than have them not mention something that is now hugely important for years (like a brother youíre guilt-ridden over for example), but I do feel like theyíve done a decent job with Chloe. Itís also nice to play as someone who isnít another white guy. Iím not against playing as a white guy, I am a white guy, but Iíve been playing games for a very long time and playing something that stands out is a rarity. I want new experiences, new stories, not everyone cares I guess, but Iím bored and am not going to turn my nose up whatever novelty I can get.

Anyway, to the point, finally. Something Uncharted has always been guilty of, and itís far from the only game, Tomb Raider does it too, any number of games do. In Uncharted the characters throw themselves in to the unknown all the time. Iím not quite sure how to condense it in to a single word or phrase, but to explain: Thereís an obstacle, you could tentatively try to puzzle it out, inch your way through it, but instead the solution will be to climb to the top of it, past the point of no return and hope for the best. In Uncharted 4, particularly the Scotland sections, you climbed sheer rock, certain death below you, with no way of getting back if it turns out thereís no convenient footholds beyond a certain point. In Lost Legacy Chloe will swing across gaps with no way of getting back, she never gets stuck, thereís always a way up, over, or under.

I get it, itís a game, itís just jarring. Itís the Deus Ex Machina of platforming. As Iíve said, a lot of Unchartedís problems, the disconnect it suffers from, are due to it trying to make the characters grounded, likable, and human. Them also being bullet sponges, mass-murders, it shines a giant spotlight on it. Same with the climbing, Iím not sure if itís infinite luck or dumb action movie, but it doesnít sit right. The only way I can see to fix it would be to shrink down the environments, rather than climb a mountain you need to get over a fence. Not really that exciting is it?

My other gripe, and itís on a similar track, the people who built these giant elaborate puzzles, why didnít them make them simpler? I can understand the puzzles where youíre really just supposed to rotate something, but the arm has broken or a mirror has shattered, so you need to climb up and move the final piece yourself, thatís not too bad. Thereís a particular puzzle in Lost Legacy though where the solution is to climb up the giant structure, make leaps of faith, and turn some water on. Itís the only way of solving the puzzle. Why did the long dead civilisation make it so difficult? ďTo keep people out!Ē, yeah, sure, how do they get in though? They might know the solution, but they still have to go through all the leaping and climbing

I know both of these complaints are minor, itís just a game, excuse the gamey aspects of it. I know, and fair enough. Why do I need to single Uncharted out for it, Iím not sure, I think it might be the worst for it, or just itís the one that shines a spotlight on it. Maybe itís the series that feels the most like it could move past the gamey side of gaming, it has the budget, Naughty Dog have the talent. Who knows, I donít, but I do feel like, if we get another Uncharted it might be the game to move things on.
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Posted by Ben at 13:41
Iíve just had a horrible moment of realisation while reading my own posts. Click on my name at the top (open it in a new tab so that we can still talk), scroll past the news stories and opinion pieces and youíll see various reviews Iíve posted. If you go back 10 pages or so youíll see one number appear more than any other, 8.

Bulletstorm got an 8, L.A. Noire got an 8, Fallout New Vegas Old World Blues got an 8, Deus Ex Human Revolution The Missing Link got an 8, Sonic Generations got an 8, Dear Esther got an 8, Catherine got an 8, Binary Domain got an 8, even Journey got an 8. The last game I reviewed that got higher than an 8 was the Minervaís Den dlc for Bioshock 2 (it finally came out last year). Thereís a few lower scores in there, the Sleeping Dogs dlc got a 7, as did the Prince of Persia 3DS port, the Naruto 3DS game got a 4 because itís rubbish.

Thereís only a handful of scores I feel like I might have got wrong, one is that Prince of Persia game, I donít like the classic Prince of Persia games, which I factored in and graded up rather than down, itís not a bad game though. The other is the first dlc for Castlavania Lords of Shadow, I think I gave that an 8. It wasnít terrible, but given its cost and the paucity of content it was marked too high, or perhaps the 2nd dlc coloured my view of the first.

It got me thinking about why I score games as an 8 so often, and why Iíve never given a game Iíve reviewed for the site a 10. When I look at the games from paragraph 2, theyíre all good games, but theyíre all good games with something quite obviously wrong with them. Bulletstormís tone put me off, and I didnít think the game did enough to encourage me to do more than whip and kick. L.A. Noire was superb at points, the Homicide chapter was great, but the facial tells didnít really work, and the pacing fell apart toward the end. Binary Domain is one of my favourite games of the year, until recently it was comfortably in my top 3 games of the year, but it lacks punch and thereís some poor sections that drag it down (the swimming section at the start of the game for example).

The exceptions I suppose are Dear Esther and Journey, neither of which really do anything wrong, but then given what they set out to do thatís not a great surprise. I didnít fall for Journey the way everyone else seemed to, Iíd have liked it to be more involved, a few more puzzles, but the way it conveyed its message was very well done. Dear Esther is incredible, I think I said in the review (or possibly on an mfgamers podcast) I donít think Iíve ever played a game so affecting before. The rush of realisation in the final 2 chapters is incredible, itís a game you want to force people to play. But then you remember that most people will hate it, hate its meandering pace, will hate that you literally do nothing but walk and look at the sights, thatís not a 10/10 game.

I think the reason there arenít more nines or tens is because of the types of games I review. In amongst my Ďrecentí reviews was a Dragon Ball Z game, itís either that or Prince of Persia that was the last game I got sent to review, neither are terrible games, but neither are great either. We also had a spell on the site where we didnít score games, the text was enough, thereís a few games amongst those that would have got a 9 at least. There was also a period this year where I wasnít writing for the site, in that time Duane reviewed Sleeping Dogs and gave it an 8, I read Duaneís review and itís spot on, but Iíd have given the game a 9 (personal taste and all that). Dishonored, superb game, that would have got a 9. The Witcher 2, that might have got a 10, itís an incredible game.

We also donít seem to review a lot of Ďbigí games, I talked about this in the last blog post I wrote, we tend not to because by the time we get and play the games theyíve been reviewed to death elsewhere. It means we donít tend to review things like Mario Galaxy (definite 10), Halo 4, Gears of War 3, Uncharted 3, or even Super Mario 3D Land.

Itís been lost in amongst my ramblings but the reason I started this post was actually due to something I read on the internet. It was in a thread condemning MCVís recent article that gave a false impression that the reviews for Hitman Absolution had been uniformly great. When MCV corrected it they mentioned some 7/10 scores, which prompted someone to write (Iím paraphrasing) ďsince when was 7/10 a positive score?Ē

I consider a 7 to be a positive score, if I give something a 7 I consider it to be a good game. Itís not as good as an 8 obviously, but it doesnít mean you shouldnít buy the game, only that you probably arenít going to love it. Iím sure though we all have soft spots for some games we know shouldnít really score above a 6 or a 7. Iím sure developers are disappointed when their games donít get better than a 7, but Iím starting to wonder where the blame lies with that.

For what itís worth, if you see me give a game an 8 again, or even a 7, it means I think you should play it. In fact thereís every chance that it might still be one of the games of the year.
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Posted by Duane at 17:10
Naughty Dog, developers of the Uncharted series, have released a new trailer for their upcoming survival game "The Last of Us"

ďWhat you watched here is only a peek into how alone and forsaken the world has become,Ē Naughty Dogís community strategist Eric Monacelli stated. ďOur world is a brutal, lethal place in The Last of Us. Be ready for things to get much worse.

ďWe canít wait to share this genre-defining game with you. The hounds have started to bay. Get prepared for the coming months and look out for more information at E3.Ē

The tone of the trailer certainly has yours truly interested and it'll be one of the games I'll be looking for more from at E3 thats for sure!

Show/hide video

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Posted by Mark at 10:43
Remember that "PlayStation Certified Device" thing, where PlayStation games would be playable on things like phones and tablets? Turns out Sony just have, too!

US games ratings board the ESRB have rated a handful of new games for the service, the first lot since those which launched alongside the Xperia Play phone early last year.

Those games are the PS1 title Rally Cross, the more recent PSP games Daxter and Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror, cross-platform flOw, and eight tables for Pinball Heroes based on Uncharted, PAIN, Motorstorm, Hot Shots Golf, ModNation Racers, Fat Princess, WipEout HD and Hot Shots Bowling.

Most of those have come away with E For Everyone ratings, bar Daxter (E10+) and Syphon Filter (Teen). None of them seem to have come away with release dates yet- but when they do emerge, they'll be playable on the Xperia Play and Sony's newer Tablet S and Tablet P.
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Posted by Ben at 14:20
Some people will see this as good news, I don't want to be rude and could see it getting worse so I'm keeping my mouth shut, but David O. Russell is no longer directing the Uncharted movie.

'Amicable' and 'creative differences' are the words being banded around. Personally the creative differences line gives me hope that Naughty Dog are making sure things done right.

Oh, also the Akira film has lost its director, with any luck that project will now die forever.


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Posted by Ben at 17:35
Here's some good news. According to Joystiq Mark Wahlberg is by no means nailed on to play Drake in the Uncharted movie.

Justin Richmond, Uncharted 3's game director said:
"First of all, all that stuff was denied by David O. Russell...

He actually called us up and was like, 'I don't know what these guys are talking about.'"

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Posted by at 16:08
Yeah it's not the best news in the world. Mark Wahlberg is going to play Drake, Robert De Niro his father, and Joe Pesci his uncle.

The plus side is that the budget should be fairly large, but then I imagine the studio will have a fairly large say in things too

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Posted by Ben at 14:01
Straight of the bat let's just say this is a rumour, and it includes the names Robert De Niro, Joe Peci, and Mark Wahlberg

Wahlberg is the real worry, actually none of them are exactly perfect (Bruce Campbell as Sully surely?), but given his last attempt at a videogame film was diabolical it doesn't fill me with optimism.

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Posted by Ben at 18:00
First Showing are reporting a press release from Sony declaring that David O. Russel, who previously worked on three Kings, is set to write and direct the Uncharted movie.

It's certainly got potential, but it would also be very easy to turn into family friendly dross, so let's not hold our breaths

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Posted by Ben at 17:43
Been a while since we've had any movie news.

According to Kotaku Sony are very pleased with the Uncharted script provided by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer.

They're also reporting that David O. Russell, or Three Kings and I <3 Huckabees fame is amongst the favourites to direct.

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