What We Played #27

Continuing his sprint through Nathan Drake’s personal story, Kris spent a day playing through Uncharted 2: Among Thieves’ single player. His verdict at the end? “It was good”. Sounds to me like his whelm was definitely undered.

“The blue guys nearly made me give up”, he tells me, “they’re just awful and completely change all the combat rules that have been carefully set up throughout the rest of the game”. Kris did not enjoy the more stealthy sections either, finding them “awful”. The primary cause seems to be the no-shades-of-grey nature or those sections where either none of the guards know where you are or they all do; there’s no middle ground.

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The game’s controls come in for both criticism and praise. The criticism is that “whoever decided to bind ‘cover’ and ‘drop to ledge’ to the same button has clearly never actually played the game”. While the praise is reserved for the fact that the motion controls have been removed. Lastly, though Kris preferred the story telling in Among Thieves he likes the story from Drake’s Fortune more calling it “more robust with a much more defined sense of what you were chasing”.

Staying with all things Drake, his latest outing gets something of a ‘mixed’ reception from Peter.

I’ve finally got some proper time with Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception this week. I’m not sure I like it. I mean, I love the dialogue and scripting but I know exactly what to expect from the narrative and the greater game mechanics are still based on the premise that Drake is the only one that can climb and there are lots of gates/doors/collapsed things which just need climbed over and given a shove from the other side.

I also find a lot of the camera angles and perspective shifting to be irritating. Running towards the camera as the world blows up behind you is very cinematic but not very pleasant to have to control. Still, there’s nothing like it for characterisation and cinematic presentation, which I really enjoy in videogames. I’ve also heard that Chapter 11 is amazing and I’m currently at chapter 9, I think so maybe I’ll forgive it the minor irritations when we get there!

I just hope for all our sakes that Chapter 11 lives up to its reputation when Peter gets there.

[drop2]Dan basically put the rest of the world on hold to adventure his way through The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. The epic collection of words in his review were enough to bring down the site earlier this week, despite the name-calling directed towards Lord Ghirahim. Dan’s now trying to choose between playing either Disneyland Adventures or Skyrim next. I’d suggest to go with the one least in need of a patch or two…

We’ve not exactly been short of Zelda games this year if you availed yourself of a 3DS. Pre-price-cut purchasers got free copies of The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II The Adventure of Link while all 3DSers got a chance to grab Zelda: Four Swords for free back in September. Last but not least is of course the 3D-enhanced version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D.

It’s that last Zelda that Joseph has been playing through for the very first time recently. Having now finished it, he confidently calls it “a damn good game” and “a lot of fun”. He’s also indulged in some more Japanese-style gaming action with Dissidia: 012 Duodecim Final Fantasy which he says is “alright” but “essentially just Dissidia 1.5”, finding little new except for a few characters.

Next he returns us to this week’s underlying thread of being underwhelmed with Uncharted. As he nears the end of the Drake’s third outing he’s finding the experience “a little hollow”. He cites the game’s overly cinematic feel with it having failed to strike the balance between gameplay and spectacle that Among Thieves had. He ends by daring to suggest that it also feels “a little too linear”.

[drop]Flying in to Drake’s rescue with an Uncharted 3 verdict of “excellent”, is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a “quarterback sized mohicaned wizard in very tight shorts.” Yes, Tuffcub has a new favourite game, the newly free-to-play DC Universe Online, which is consuming much of his gaming time. Despite still continuing his valiant crusade through Batman: Arkham City though he admits to “still really, really struggling” with the game. It seems to be little more than dogged determination keeping him going with that one.

Aran has been spending almost all his time playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and when not playing it, aside from a bit of “shoot some fools” Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer tomfoolery, he’s been waxing lyrical about Skyrim. You can read about some of his adventures here. Just a few of his comments are “amazing”, “it’s gaming perfection for me” and “I could play this game forever and not get bored”. Even the odd floating-mammoth glitch is taken in his stride.

Someone else having “a lot of fun” online with Modern Warfare 3 is Blair. That’s when he’s not “thoroughly enjoying” Assassin’s Creed: Revelations or playing Uncharted 3, which he’s now taking a bit of a breather from while he psychs himself up for his Crushing run through.

As for myself it’s been the usual Gran Turismo 5 online sessions and lots of Fallout: Whiterun Skyrim. It does feel uncannily like Fallout to me, far more so than it does Oblivion. It looks like Fallout, plays like Fallout and glitches like Fallout. Being like Fallout isn’t necessarily a bad thing I just expected it to feel more different. Instead it feels like I’m wandering around a vegetated area of The Wasteland, where the local irradiated geckos now fly and breathe fire, while I’m armed with a sword and bow instead of a plasma rifle.

For all the talk of Bethesda’s new ‘Creation’ engine it seems remarkably close to Gamebryo’s engine that we’re familiar with from Fallout, glitches and all. It’s almost as though they’ve slightly spruced-up a reverse-engineered version of the older engine and slapped a new name on it. Or slightly spruced-up the older engine itself and slapped a new name on it. Some of that can be explained away by Bethesda’s continued use of Havok’s physics middleware, but still… I can’t help but wonder.

I doubt those wonderings will stop me sinking a Fallout-like 200+ hours into Skyrim though. So far it’s meant my copy of Uncharted 3 has remained firmly shrink-wrapped and comments like Peter’s and many others aren’t encouraging a hurried unwrapping.

Hands up all those who’ve played an unhealthy amount of Skyrim (or anything else) this past week.

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28 Comments

  1. Here’s to another 6 months Greg!

    This week it’s been the Uncharted 3 mini-game in Home (for some free exclusive in-game MP DLC), Dead Island (still) and MW3 (obviously).

    Held off getting my Dead Island Platinum as I didn’t want to head to the Prison until the arena DLC comes out on Wednesday, as I’m not sure how you’re going to be able to access the arenas, and once you go to the Prison you can’t come back.

    Didn’t like MW3 that much at first (compared to MW2) but I love it now – it’s taken a while to adjust to the smaller, tighter maps. Started the campaign last night which is enjoyable, but Spec Ops is again the highlight for me, it’s great fun co-op.

    And maybe there could be an article/thread about “What we didn’t play” since I have such a backlog of games…..for me I need to finished off LA Noire, Renegade Ops, Might & Magic, and BF3.

    • If I tried to list all my games that either aren’t played or are only part played and waiting to be finished it would be a depressingly long list and even include two PS3 European launch titles! :-)

      • Lol…true. In some cases it would be interesting to see what some people have pushed aside, and what they were replaced by. I’m sure it would cause some shock, and even angry, reactions. I barely started GT5, DiRT3 or Brink to name a few big games! And I’m still angry with myself for not playing Ico in HD yet. Now I’ve just decided to buy fewer games and didn’t buy Deus Ex, Skyrim or Rage, that all caught my eye. It’s funny though, you don’t miss what you don’t have. That said, Deus Ex is hard to avoid when Zavvi are offering it at £12.95 online this week.

      • My copy of Ico/SotC HD is sat in the still-shrinkwrapped pile along with UC3. Zavvi got some of my money this week for a copy of Saint’s Row 3 when they were doing an extra 10% off on Wednesday. No idea when I’ll find time to play that but couldn’t resist a bargain!

      • I’m pretty sure Deus Himself has declared that not owning a copy of Deus Ex:HR is a sin ;)

        It really is a brilliant game, personally my runner up GOTY – after Skyrim of course.

      • I know what you mean, I’m more of a game collector than a game player these days! I’ve got Uncharted 3 coming for Christmas, but that will go straight to the top of the pile. Talking of Uncharted 3, I recommend anyone try out the Home game, it’s done really well. Home gets a lot of stick but the U3 mini-game is the best thing I’ve ever tried on there, and it’s the second time a mini-game has given me some in-game content (Dead Island being the first).

      • @ MayContainEvil….great, just what I didn’t want to hear ;)

        *goes off to buy Deus Ex that will never get played*

  2. Skyrim, Skyrim and more Skyrim … 64 hours and counting.

    • I’ve only played 42 hours myself, which has been the entirety of my gaming week. I’m level 29 and am pretty kickass if I may say so myself. Though I did just get my ass handed to me, lightly charred, after thinking two named Dragons vs Me and Myoll (wifey) would go my way…

    • My god man!!!! Where do you find the time!!! To post that is, get back to skyrim!

      • LOL, even I have to take breaks … Skyrim is just too addictive.

  3. I have been playing nothing but The Elder Scrolls:Oblivion. My current playthrough is nearly at the ten hour mark and i have literally been dungeon diving. I have nearly 17,000 Septims and level 8.

    I’m a nord who is mainly a warrior who uses a sword and sometimes uses a bow whislt sneaking when in vampire infested ruins or feel like getting a sneak attack in. I have only done 1 quest and that was the corruption one in Cheyidal. :)I suspect i will only get bored of this when i have Skyrim. Which may be around March. :O

  4. Isn’t that strange. I find “the camera angles and perspective shifting” to be absolutely wonderful and incredibly immersive. The château being a stunning highlight so far.

    • I thought they looked great, but always pulled the rug out from under my feet with regards to control leading to a little bit less immersion. Like when the camera pulls out to show you how epic something is. Yes, a great and fantastic view, but unlike in a film where you just see the actors carrying on, the control of my character shifted in relation to the camera enough that I’m just waiting for it to zoom back in before carrying on.

      Bits where you run at the camera are similar when you have to negotiate jumps and stuff, and it just feels like a bit of a fudge.

      • For me that is just part and parcel of Naughty Dog and their games. Since Crash they like to place a reverse section in the game and for me it’s just a fun part. It sometimes means you have to re-do it and remember where the jumps are like a Simon Says sort of memory game.

      • Man i completely forgot those parts in Crash, my god they were a pain in the a** at times.

  5. Skyrim all week long for me. Had a quick hour on BF3, but then heard the Shouts of dragons calling me back to realm of the Nords.

  6. Uncharted 3 and F1 2011 this week. Really enjoyed UC3 mP even though it is incredible unbalanced and the lag(iest) game I have ever played

  7. Skyrim. That’s it.

  8. I have to agree with you on UC3, enjoyable but not as much as UC2.
    This week i have mostly been eating whatever food and potions i can scavenge/steal in the world of Skyrim.

  9. I agree on the stealth in Uncharted. It’s 3/4s baked. Roy’s going to have a fit, again, but I want stealth to be better realised in any future Uncharted games. All this really needs is two minor changes. Firstly to have awareness of where you are not be instant, but rather give you 10-15 seconds to get your crap together before the waves start coming.

    The other is also fairly minor. The game mechanics DO NOT change. You still take cover and sneak outside of their lines of sight in areas, get the drop on enemies etc. What I want is a level design change. There’s one particular area before the plane where there’s a large number of guards in an area with loads of cover to sneak past using, and guard patterns that subtly shift as you’re going through. I actually made it ALL the way through here on my first go, hugging the wall, not taking out any guards, only to get to the exit and see that there’s 3 guards just staring point blank at the only little patch of ground to it. So I now HAVE to start a fight and trigger waves of enemies.

    Remove those two guards, let me avoid this one single fight and I’m rewarded for careful and cautious play. Gameplay is mixed up, and variety is added. I’m not saying to make EVERY part of the game stealth-able, and if you’re discovered you don’t fail and have to restart, you just get the waves of enemies coming at you.

    It just feels like a total bait and switch in the game to have characters saying “lets do this as quietly as we can”, have you sneaking about, have all these pretty great guard patrols that shift and mix things up, and then have to fight your way through whatever you do. What’s the point?

  10. The Sly Collection, BF3 and the HD Resi Evil 4 and Code Veronica X. Busy week.

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