A Perfect 7.

While I talk a lot about specific games on here, I don’t really consider my posts to be “reviews”, and I certainly don’t assign scores to any of the games I talk about.  If I finish something, I think it’s probably worth playing, unless of course I am finishing it just out of guilt for having spent money on it.

Also sometimes – often! – I will play a game just because it has cute characters.  I’m not particularly deep.

Despite my no-score policy, sometimes I find myself playing something that is just so definitively the example of a specific number that I can’t help myself, and that’s my rather mediocre segue into a few paragraphs blathering on about Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, a perfectly enjoyable game but oh-so-much the archetypical example of a 7/10.

I am, to be sure, a decade late to this particular game, but in fairness I DID try to play it back when it originally released. I downloaded the demo from PSN, cheerfully walked through a lush jungle environment for a couple of minutes, and then was asked to cross a log while balancing myself with the Sixaxis controller.

Three or four attempts later, I came to the conclusion that, even if I ever got across the stupid log, there would probably be plenty of other opportunities to be asked to do similar things later on in the game and that I should probably not even bother playing it.

On the other hand, people rave about Uncharted 2, and to a lesser extent Uncharted 4, so I’ve always been a little curious to go back to the series.  Just, you know, not with the dumb logs.

The dumb, dumb, DUMB logs.  My vocabulary today is not especially varied.

Then came the “Nathan Drake Collection”, which bundles up shinier and prettier versions of the first three games and takes out the balancing bits.  I could not have asked for a remaster more closely in-line with my interests, so I waited until it was on sale for 8 bucks and bought it so it could sit comfortably in my backlog.

Now that I’ve actually taken the first game OUT of my backlog and given it a run-through, it’s… well, it’s OK! I think I’ve covered that with the whole seven thing.  It’s very much an example of a game trying to be Cinematic, and there were a lot of times where I felt that I was just pressing forward and occasionally hitting X to jump on my way to the Next Big Scripted Moment, but it has enough Cool Scripted Moments that I didn’t mind the sensation of being on an amusement park ride TOO much.  I got into scrapes, I met some suitably villainous villains, I was startled by the Big Twist about 2/3rds of the way through, I eventually Saved The Girl and sailed off into the sunset.

I’ve heard the series described as “Dude Raider”, so I was expecting a lot of clambering across the walls of tombs and jumping from one precarious handhold to the next and falling off things and dying a lot.  I got that in spades, by the way, and by and large it was pretty enjoyable stuff.  I’m knocking a point off here, though, because I didn’t feel like the platforming followed a consistent set of rules.  At times, it felt like whether or not I could make a particular jump depended entirely on whether I was doing what the game wanted me to.  That’s a personal sensation, so I may be being unfair.

I also wasn’t QUITE expecting the game to have such an …emphasis on combat.

Basically, for a lovable scamp, Drake spends an AWFUL lot of time playing “insert bullet A into bad guy B” and there were a lot of times when I’d wind up replaying a combat arena for the nth time, knowing THIS time that after I killed THESE four guys that another guy was going to spawn on THAT ledge with a grenade launcher so I needed to be ready for him and oh god can we JUST GET BACK TO THE PLATFORMING ALREADY.

So, that knocked another point off the score and took it down to an eight.

It lost the final point for committing the greatest sin you can commit in a game:

This is a waterfall.  I am in a cave behind the waterfall.  There’s nothing cool back here.  It’s just a little depression in the cliff face that you can walk through the waterfall to get into.  Seriously?  Put something cool in here and we’ll talk about getting you your eight back.  For now, you get a seven.

 

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8 Responses to A Perfect 7.

  1. Red Metal says:

    In the grand scheme of things, the original Uncharted comes across as a prototype to Uncharted 2 than a fully fledged game. It also doesn’t help that Nathan Drake’s personality clashes with the gameplay, which involves killing hundreds of bad guys, so it ended up being a case where the right and left hands were at odds with each other. Not a bad game, but not a spectacular one either.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. baudattitude says:

    Thanks for commenting!

    “Prototype” is a very good word for the feeling I came out with, and I’ll probably steal that for future use. 🙂 It did feel like there may have been a “combat encounters” team and an “environmental challenges” team and that they may not have had quite enough time to stitch the two sides of the game together before needing to ship it. There were several instances of “oh, look, a courtyard full of convenient waist-high walls and crates. I wonder what’s going to happen when I take one step into it?”

    I’m quite looking forward to the sequel, both because I’ve heard it’s a fun ride and because I’m curious to see how the gameplay evolved after they knew they had a hit and presumably had a little more budget and freedom to work on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Red Metal says:

      The sequel is an improvement in most of the ways that matter to me (and I suspect most people). A few of the original’s flaws remain, and while I don’t consider it one of the best games ever made, there’s no denying that it’s a solid effort. I consider it and The Lost Legacy the high points of the series.

      Liked by 1 person

      • baudattitude says:

        I’m going to start 2 tonight and see how it goes! I think Lost Legacy shows up in the PSN sales pretty regularly, so assuming 2 does well by me I have something to keep an eye out for. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pete Davison says:

    I enjoyed Uncharted 1 and 2 when I originally played them, but not enough to want to play the others in the series and not enough to want to revisit them. They suffered a bit from the things I dislike most about modern Western games — predictable shooting galleries of enemies between interesting bits (and the necessity to repeat those shooting galleries over and over and over until you get them right, hearing the same annoying dialogue every single time) and an emphasis on pretty, realistic animation rather than responsive controls.

    That last point didn’t bother me so much back when I first played the original Uncharted, but it REALLY bugs me today. I don’t need my character to feel “heavy”, particularly when I’m playing an action game; I want them to respond to my controller actions. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can lose a sense of weight and impact to the things you do — it’s just not necessary for something as fundamental as moving around!

    Liked by 1 person

    • baudattitude says:

      The shooting galleries are pretty bad and I do repeat them a lot. There’s one in a church where I happened to be standing directly on the spawn point of a wave of enemies when they appeared; that was a bit of a rage-inducing moment. What has been helping is that I’m actually playing in French, and I can’t speak a word of French, so the dialogue is just rolling over me except when there are subtitles. It definitely helps with the random taunts from enemies, everything is blah blah blah DRAKE blah blah.

      (No, I don’t normally set games to a language I don’t understand. I have a trip to Brussels coming up and I figure it will be useful to at familiarize myself with the cadence of the language.)

      I can’t help but notice that neither person commenting on this post has had anything positive to say about 3. That might be something for me to keep in mind. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Pete Davison says:

        Well, I haven’t played 3, so that’s why in my case! As I say, I’d pretty much had enough by the time I was done with 2. Popular opinion seems to regard 3 as worse than 2, better than 1 though. Make of that what you will.

        Like

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