Friday, December 30, 2011

Gaming Review: Uncharted 3 & Gaming Alliance Meeting

Active Cinematic experience.  That's what the lead developers at Naughty Dog call the Uncharted series.  They are not liars.  Playing Uncharted, any piece of the trilogy, is like watching a movie.  Not as good as an Indiana Jones, but extremely better than that travesty Tomb Raider.  And I'm a Lara Croft fan!

Small nuances, for instance how Nathan will gently touch the wall on his way past, or stumble over things, make him a character that is comfortable to play.  I often find myself playing and thinking he's a real actor.  Or that he was at least based on one.  Which he was!  Uncharted's main character,Nathan Drake was based on Harrison Ford and Johnny Knoxville, actually.  Crazy, right?  I know.

I've played each of the Uncharted games, and found that though the creators very clearly designed a male Lara Croft, I'm so glad they expounded on what was missing from Tomb Raider.  Each of the Uncharted games have a plane crash, a train of some sort, and a boat.  Same things each time...and yet I'm always impressed.  It is Nate who makes the game what it is, and his great band of friends (Everyone but his girlfriend/estranged wife Elena Fisher.  She irks me a bit.)

Similar to the  way he touches things, the throwaway commentary he spills out is great as well.  When you're playing and feeling as though you've had just about enough of the shootout you're in, Nate will say something like, "I'm sick of this!"  He stumbles, stutters, and missteps.  He's a fragile character, something most video games won't give us, and that's what makes him so much fun to play.

Each of the games has focused on something that makes him who he is.  The first Uncharted revealed his intense obsession with the life, death, and treasure of the famed explore Sir Francis Drake.  Game two brought us into his feelings of romance and trust between old friend Chloe and on-again/off-again love interest Elena.  This game brought the previous themes together while also providing some backstory to the father/son relationship Nate holds with his mentor Sully.  A flashback sequence that allowed you to actually play as twelve year old Nate, gives the full story of how he and Sully came to be together, and also how the quest to learn more about Sir Francis Drake has been a part of that bond.

The story dips and turns in a few different ways, and leads us from France, to Yemen, and even the Rub 'al Khali desert.  The pair uncover a plot that reaches all the way back to their original meeting in Colombia, when Sully defied his employer Marlowe and rescued Nate from being shot over a rare Francis Drake ring.  The ring is actually a key in unlocking the doors to the Rub 'al Khali and the powers of the djin, which Marlowe will stop at nothing to attain.

The gun play is amazingly improved from the previous games, and the multiplayer co-op arenas and campaigns were a lot of fun.  They were also very challenging and not for the faint of heart. LOL  My husband and I spent at LEAST two hours trying to get past one campaign and that is not an exaggeration.
For all intents and purposes, Uncharted is a movie.  And keeping with that theme, a pretty good player can finish it up in a few sittings.  Kind of like watching the Lord of the Rings, but shorter. LOL

Because Uncharted has become somewhat of a cornerstone title for the Playstation franchise, there was a ton of buzz about this new release, so I knew it would be one for my Teen Gaming Alliance.  At one of our previous meetings, the teens expressed an interest in reading some "gamer-lit", books based on video games, so I made sure to purchase Uncharted:The Fourth Labyrinth.  I also thought it would be nice to discuss the similarities and differences between the Uncharted and Tomb Raider legacies.

The Drake vs. Lara discussion was one of my favorites of this particular meeting because the teens (all boys), had MUCH to say about why Drake was better in their opinion.  One teen expressed that Drake being American made him far more easygoing and humorous while Lara preferred quiet exploration.  I was amazed at that depth of thought to say the least! LOL  There was also talk of Drake not being as formally trained and having to rely more on his guns than Lara.  We briefly talked about the issues of Lara being drawn to look more "sexy" than serious and why the designers may have chosen to make her less busty in the new game to be released next year.

I did bring in some other treasure seeking books as well, and made some reference to the importance of Harrison Ford's portrayal of Indiana Jones in the development of Uncharted as well.   I didn't bring in too much other stuff, because I've learned that makes them think I'm "trying to hard" and they lose interest.  (oh brother) As anyone who works with teens will tell you, it isn't always easy to know when they're happy or even grateful for some things when they receive them, but I got some suggestions for next month's time travel themed meeting, so I'd say they weren't displeased. LOL


1 people wrote some stuff:

reese said...

Hi, can i ask you something? I'm looking for children books with such "scary" animal illustrations like wolf (or fox) eating pigs (or seven kids or Red Riding hood or birds in Chicken Little) or being pictured with a fat stomach. Have you seen any book of this sort? Any sort of help is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Great blog, by the way ;)

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