June 23, 2009

Uncharted Drake's Fortune MicroReview

So first with an incredibly overrated game, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. Yes, that's right, I had very high expectations for this game and Uncharted did not come close to meeting them. This game let me down so badly that I'm not putting a picture up. Before I begin, a quick background. Basically, you play as Nathan Drake (relative of Sir Francis Drake) and the game takes place basically on one island the entire time as you search for Drake's treasure. Now on with the review, starting with everything that sucks.

A large part of Uncharted Drake's Fortune involved shooting enemies. No surprise here, but Naughty Dog violates a principle of enemy shooting game: Don't put too many enemies in too little space with too little cover and too little ammo. The entire game you jump distances that are impossible even for Superman to jump until you get to a courtyard with either pillars or pillars that have been knocked down. Then, you get about 30 pistol shots to kill 60 enemies or 60 machine gun rounds (which expire very quickly) to kill those enemies. Sounds easy? Well it would be if you could actually hit your target, for you see, the Rebel Mercenaries you fight in the game (as opposed to the Trained Mercenaries which I will mention later) dodge bullets! And not like the matrix, they just kinda move right or left and dodge. I even went through the pain of running up to a Rebel, aiming for the heart, and firing, only to have him dodge. Not only are the Rebels magical, but you can't shoot them twice back-to-back, meaning you have to hit them, wait, and then shoot them again. What's worse is that the game refuses to register head shots as head shots!? This really pisses me off. To get a head shot, you had to aim around the middle of the chest and hope the enemy didn't dodge, otherwise, what should be a headshot, will just be a bullet that hits the target for minor damage or is dodged. Apart from shooting, the game involves hiding behind cover. Yes, it basically tries to copy Gears of War but fails. If you hide behind a pillar, you will die. If you hide behind a knocked down (horizontal) pillar, you face 50% death rate. Compile this with the horrible gun mechanics and you get a repetitive game whose shooting fails. Oh, and did I mention that after you kill 60 enemies, often times 3-5 more waves of 10 enemies come in from all arround the room, so basically you get surrounded. I am very good at shooting games and I died more in this one than all my previous shooter experiences combined.

A quick word on Trained Mercenaries. As you progress through the game, you eventually fight well trained mercenaries, then undead, and then a mix of rebels, trained mercs, and undead. Somehow, the Trained Mercenaries that carry Dragonuv Snipers, Desert Eagles, and MP 40s with laser sight are incredibly easy to kill, whereas the rebels that only use AK-47s dodge bullits and can't be killed. This sucks because 85% of the enemies are the rebels, and only about 10% are the trained mercenaries. Damn.

So what makes this game good? Well the graphics are nice, but the only reason I give this game a high rating is the story. The story is basically a myster/treasure hunt tale along the lines of National Treasure and that entertained me a lot. The characters (well, the good guys anyway) are very endearing and you quickly like them and their adventure. If Naughty Dog made this game about puzzle solving, exploring, and adventuring, or if they did the shooting system right, it would be a great game. Sadly, they didn't, altough they did get another thing besides the story right: jet ski shootouts! Twice, Nathan mounts a jetski and armed with a grenade launched you blast the hell out of enemies.

Overall, I would not pay more than $20 for this game. If you are bored, $30 because, after all, the story is awesome. It has marginal replay value because there are 60 hidden treasures, but the rewards (cheat codes) suck for finding them and they are really easy to find (they sparkle and shine, literally). There are also Trophies, which are basically PS3's version of the 360's achievements.

Rating: 6.5 (the reason being the graphics, storyline, characters, and mild entertainment)

Second opionion: 5 (with so much emphasis on shooting, I can't give it a higher rating).

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