I think it says a lot that this is my first Platinum trophy game. I was close in the original Uncharted, but didn't feel like playing through it again. Uncharted 2, though, I didn't hesitate to restart on Crushing. I wouldn't say the game is perfect (there's stuff at the end, which I'll get to later, that brings it down), but it's up there with the best games.
The story, obviously, is the big draw, and it doesn't disappoint. The mix of action, romance, comedy, and a bit of thriller genres is great. It's interesting to me that I liked the love triangle stuff way more than the Shambala stuff. If a developer can get that same mix of romance and comedy, I wouldn't mind a game revolving around it, it would actually be really interesting. After the first few hours with Chloe I kept thinking where Elena went, I shouldn't have doubted Naughty Dog. Her entrance into the story line wasn't the most creative, but it mad sense. She's a journalist, so she's covering the bad guy destroying stuff. Makes sense, and dovetails with Drake.
I might take this back in the future, but Elena is probably the best female companion in video games. To go off on a tangent, I've never liked the way females are portrayed in games. I can count the number of real women featured in games on one hand. Hell, Jade, Faith and Samus are the only main characters that aren't sexualized to a degrading degree. I would love to see more, designed for and not pick a sex, female protagonists in games. It's the one thing holding the gaming industry back from breaking out of the "male in mother's basement" stereotype. I won't hold my breath, though, as I just don't think the industry is mature enough to handle that any time soon.
Back on track, the adventure plot line is fun, but gets dumb at the end. It's the same problem I had with the original game, where supernatural business is thrown in for no discernible reason, and isn't fun in the slightest. The guardians of Shambala have no point. Where as the original made an attempt to explain why the creatures exist, Uncharted 2 doesn't. If anyone can tell me why they're there, I loved to hear it. It's pointless, and adds an unnecessary change in gameplay. It wouldn't be that hard to cut them out without effecting anything. That is not the mark of a good plot point.
The gameplay is changed for the better from the first game. It feels more realistic when shooting dudes, they aren't all Terminators, but they throw in some bigger guys who can take more damage as a nice change up. I liked the Assassin's Creed type climbing, which I didn't notice in the first if it was there, and it cut some of my frustrations with the first's controls. That doesn't mean I didn't have stupid jumping errors, but when they happened it was usually my fault this time.
One thing that bothered me is the game's unflinching need to complete every animation. It became especially irritating during the final boss fight. As grenades would blow up behind Drake, he would grab his chest as if the impact was hurting him. It looks great the first few times, but when you're running away from a huge guy with a shotgun and your character stops for 2 seconds to complete an animation while you're mashing on the roll button is not fun.
I nitpick because I love. I love the look of the game, it does away with the dark tunnels of the first, and transports Drake to cities, villages, jungles, mountains, and even the beach for a quick cutscene. It's all beautiful and amazing to behold. I can't say enough about the story between the leads, it's the best I've ever seen out of a game, and one of a select few that I actually cared about the characters. Uncharted 2 isn't without its faults, but they don't drag it down.
Having played three games now (two PSN, one Disc), it's a strange feeling that Lara Croft atGoL is actually the most fun I've had so far. That's not a slight to Uncharted or Shooter, it's more of a compliment to Lara Croft. It's strangely addicting (as if I need to say it, but I collecting every last thing in the game, as well as speed runs), and probably one of my favorite game playing experiences in my, relatively, short video game life. The dual joystick shooting feels great. Where I had some trouble aiming in Shooter, it didn't become a problem here. The explanation most likely is auto targeting, but it just felt right. When I unlocked the ridiculous spear weapons that send mini-bosses down in two hits, I just had even more fun running as fast as I could to beat the 6-minute achievement.
You may notice that I said the game was one my favorite game playing experiences, that's because the story is dumb. It doesn't make any sense, nor does it really try to. It's all just random setup so you can get to rolling boulders over dudes. I couldn't even paraphrase the plot if I tried. Something about a mirror that an evil guy comes out of, or something... whatever. After the first "cutscene," which is really just a picture with talking, I pretty much abandoned trying to make sense of it. Which is disappointing because I'm one those people who always wants story over anything else. If the game doesn't have a good story, I can't get invested in the characters, which makes the whole playing the game kinda boring. But as I've said, Lara Croft was a hell of a lot of fun to play, so I can't be that mad at it (I can only imagine what it would have been like with a good story though...)
My first 100%! Hooray! Too bad the game doesn't have a platinum trophy... (though I am close with Uncharted)
PixelJunk shooter is fun. It isn't great, but it's fun. Having never played a dual joystick shooter before, the controls took some getting used to (hell, even at the end I still got confused sometimes). I loved the little guys you would pick up along the way that told the story of what was happening. Each one talking about how the natives didn't want to upset the beast, then nothing happening until after the credits. Funny and awesome.
The different liquids were neat to mess around with, but I really didn't enjoy the ice world very much. I mean, you can shoot lava but can't touch it? That... that doesn't make sense. I guess it was just a way to get the Inverter suit in there. Actually, I hate nearly every ice related level in any game. Ice and water levels, those are the worst.
I needed to collect everything, so it probably took longer to play this game than I needed to spend, but I wasn't bored until around the end. There's, obviously, a second Shooter available, I'll pick it up sometime in the future. I think I need to break from collecting diamonds. It's giving me a complex.
Uncharted is my first disc game on the PS3. I've heard nothing but great things about it and its sequel. Well, more Uncharted 2, but I can never go into a series in the middle, stupid videogame OCD (obsessive collecting disorder).
So I finished the first of Nathan Drake's adventures, and I wasn't disappointed... entirely. The game looks fantastic, though that may be because I've never owned or played a video game in HD, whatever it is I was blown away. The jungle was lush, and green, and having never been to an actual jungle seemed to be fairly faithful (Thats after the pop in...). I think the visuals are the best thing about the game. Now I'm sure that as I play more games it will become less so, but as it is I was blown away.
The story was serviceable. It was Indiana Jones light, and very much reminiscent of the National Treasure style. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't memorable either. I couldn't tell you any of the villains names, or why the hell you fight the guy at the end (if only Drake carried a cell phone, he could have called for help on the ride to the boat). The take on El Dorado was interesting. It was nice to have something other than the stupid city of gold BS. But the payoff was pretty dumb. Zombies? Really? The guy in the making of stated something about not wanting to make a game where you fight monsters in dark hallways. Yeah... that's exactly what you do at the end. I guess he didn't play his own game.
I can't comment on how good the gameplay is, I've only ever played Gears of War in the cover based genre, and I wasn't the best at it. Here, though, I had fun and that's more than I can say for some games. I've seen many complain about bullet sponging enemies, but I never really had too much of a problem with it. There was more than enough ammo lying around to even out the amount used. The game is challenging enough for me to get frustrated ( which I think is a good to a point, it makes me want to finish it all the more), but not enough to stop playing.
I really do like Drake and Elena. He's the type of hero I like best. Kind of bumbling, but in control. Sarcastic, but not a dick. He's a great character. I can't say enough good things about Elena. Video Games never portray females in a good way, and when they try they just wind up Tomb Raidering themselves. Here, she seems like a real woman, and very much the female version of Drake. I can only hope she continues to be great in th sequel. I never got on board with Sully. He just came off too goofy for the setting and story. It's one thing to have Bruce Campbell in Burn Notice, but that exact character here doesn't work for me.
One last thing I have to get off my chest. Why does every video game always have to end in some sort of half-assed climatic moment? Can't there be a game that doesn't turn into a final boss fight to end all boss fights but turns out to be kinda lame? Even my favorite game of all time, Psychonauts, falls into this trap. It's something movies have to deal with, and many action movies take different routes, but games usually never do. Even Indigo Prophecy did it. I realize that there is a mentality that you have to finish your game strong, but it ultimately feels forced and underwhelming. Focus on story before gameplay.
After a long battle with my cheap nature, I gave in a bought a PS3. Of course my froogleness couldn't be stifled so I obtained a "used" 160GB with Uncharted 2/PixelJunk Shooter2/Karate Kid Blu-Ray bundle through Amazon for $230. It arrived yesterday, and everything was still shrink wrapped. I totally just got a brand new PS3 for a used price, hell ya.
Once the excitement of my amazing accomplishment in cheapness wore off, I hooked the bad boy and proceeded to wait until 7pm because PSN was down. So that sucked.
Anyway, I bought Uncharted 1 and Assassin's Creed 2 as well, and played my first, of hopefully many, Nolan North game. Got to the 7th chapter of Uncharted until I realized I had hadn't eaten anything. I forgot how addicting video games can be (incidentally, the last time I played any real game was on my OG Xbox a few years back). Not to mention how amazing it looks.
Then I saw the trophy list. I realize why Jeff got so crazy with achievements. I want every single one. I'm fairly certain I could beat Uncharted in a day or two, but damn if I don't run around every single area looking for glowing beacons. I don't give a shit about silver frogs, BUT I DO. I want everything to have trophies, old games too. I can only imagine how many more times I'd play through Psychonauts...
I cut off the supply of Drake before it reached my heart, and wadded around the XMB, and, eventually, the PSN after it started working again. Netflix = joy. Within one second of pressing play I had Star Trek in HD. It was glorious. I didn't do much else besides that, download some games, and change settings...
I then finished my night with a bit of PixelJunk Shooter. Took a bit to get used to the controls, but eventually beat the first world(?) in like an hour (again, must collect all diamonds...). All those times Vinny talks about being a completionist, I get it. Sign me up for the support group.
It feels like I got my money's worth here (the PS3 is literally the most expensive I've bought. Except for rent...), and can't wait to collect everything Assassin's Creed throws at me.
BTDUB: my PSN name is translucentfish. If anyone cares...