Friday, January 25, 2008

Game Theories

Christmas at our house was like the "Gift of the Magi," except, not stupid. Hubby and I, we bought each other video games. Two sets of video games, and only one PS3. ::sigh:: Anyway, We've finally managed to play through our respective sets of games, and I thought I'd write some reviews. Maybe one a week. Here's the first and the best.

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
If you have a PS3, you need to own this game. You need this game like you need air, food and water, because this is the game your PS3 was made for.

For a long time, video game makers have been touting the cinematic qualities of their games. But in the video game world, "Cinematic Qualities" usually add up to long, talky cut scenes and movies with awkward dialog, and Parappa-style button-pushing sequences that get annoying real fast. But watching someone play Uncharted is like watching an Indiana Jones style adventure where the main character sometimes dies, and restarts the action sequence.

Aside from a tendency to push you into shoot-outs after cut scenes, Uncharted offers a great blend of platforming elements and third-person shooting (which I much prefer to 1st person shooters). The graphics are realistic, yet painterly, the animation is superb, and the dialog and story are better than half the action movies that came through the theaters last year. Nicholas Cage and National Treasure, Eat your heart out.

There are a hundred things I want to say about this game, but time and space are limited today, so I'll wrap up with the following

  • Game Play: It's a baby bear game--everything is just right.
  • Character design--superb! The main character, Drake, is easy on the eyes, and the female character, Elena is strong, capable and so realistic looking. Don't let the tank-top and shorts fool you, she's like the anti-Lara Croft.
  • Voice acting--awesome. Really. Nicholas Cage should watch and take notes.
  • Environment--beautiful. The texture artists deserve a raise and a trip to an island as beautiful as the one they created in the game. And the programmers who did the water need some sort of medal proclaiming that they have designed the Best Water Effects in the History of Video Games. Evah! I got shot a couple of times because I was distracted by the ocean, or the pretty, pretty waterfalls.
  • Chutzpah: This game is a platform shooter about lost treasure, Spanish gold, Nazi experiments, curses, zombies, modern-day pirates and germ warfare. It really has something for everyone, and it juggles every aspect in a most entertaining manner. I can't recommend it enough.