Refined Uncharted Mechanics & Structure of Dark Souls

#1 Posted by Seppli (10251 posts) -

So I'm only playing Tomb Raider now. Got it from my PS Plus subscription. I've read quite a lot of hyperbole about it. "It's better than Uncharted!". Etcetera.

I did not expect to find a game that's actually living up to the hype. It really does play better than Uncharted. The movement is spot-on, and it ain't hard to top Uncharted's rather loose feeling combat. It might not quite pull of the spectacle of Uncharted larger-than-life set pieces, but I feel like Crystal Dynamics managed to make them more impactful and visceral despite of it. What really puts it over the top for me though? Its structure. It reminds me of Dark Souls. Might just be that the Bonfires and Campfires are so similar, but once I start veering off the beaten path to complete challenges and search for secrets and salvage, that's when it comes into its own.

Just saying. If you are like me, and didn't quite buy the hype that's been building around Tomb Raider, consider it's kinda like *Uncharted Meets Dark Souls*. Quite the proposition. Ain't it?

#2 Posted by csl316 (8989 posts) -

I dunno, to me it was Uncharted crossed with Metroidvania.

Also, game of the year.

#3 Edited by markies (62 posts) -

I don't know. I enjoyed playing the game but for me it's rather forgettable. While with Uncharted i still remember all the big moments and have fond memories of it. Having said that, overall gameplay was smoother than Uncharted :)

#4 Edited by NTM (7486 posts) -

Hm, I didn't think about the bonfires in Dark Souls when I went through Tomb Raider. I played the PS4 version, which was recent. I think the game is nearly great, but overall (and I'm in the minority in saying since I'm sure), I liked it more than Uncharted 2 from a fun perspective, but not as much as the first or third Uncharted games. The dialogue nor voice acting isn't terrific (Camilla, doing the best out of the cast in my opinion, only being credible); story isn't that interesting; the shooting while good, isn't spectacular feeling and I didn't really feel much need to go stealthily, even though I did do it as much as I could, and I didn't love the setting.

The atmosphere could have been a bit better, at least when it comes to a color palette. I really liked the automatic cover, and thought overall Lara animated well, which helped the experience of roaming around. After I got all the of the collectibles, I tried to go back and play it more for fun, but it's hard. I don't think it has that much replay value. I'm interested to see where the next one could go, but I hope it's better than the first. I don't really see the Dark Souls, even though bonfire/campfire. I also kind of liked the more intense sounding aspects to the soundtrack by Jason Graves, but there were far too many cues, not only from a music perspective, but also environmental sounds, that sounded like they were ripped directly out of the Dead Space games, which he had worked on as well.

#5 Posted by Demoskinos (15019 posts) -

Yep fantastic game well worth playing and the PS4 version is really damn pretty.

#6 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@ntm said:

Hm, I didn't think about the bonfires in Dark Souls when I went through Tomb Raider. I played the PS4 version, which was recent. I think the game is nearly great, but overall (and I'm in the minority in saying since I'm sure), I liked it more than Uncharted 2 from a fun perspective, but not as much as the first or third Uncharted games. The dialogue nor voice acting isn't terrific (Camilla, doing the best out of the cast in my opinion, only being credible); story isn't that interesting; the shooting while good, isn't spectacular feeling and I didn't really feel much need to go stealthily, even though I did do it as much as I could, and I didn't love the setting. The atmosphere could have been a bit better, at least when it comes to a color palette. I really liked the automatic cover, and thought overall Lara animated well, which helped the experience of roaming around. After I got all the of the collectibles, I tried to go back and play it more for fun, but it's hard. I don't think it has that much replay value. I'm interested to see where the next one could go, but I hope it's better than the first.

The writing and supporting characters are definitely its greatest flaw.

Tomb Raider is mechanically a whole lot of fun, and if one engages in the optional activities like the challenges, the more open and inter-connected nature of the gameworld becomes much more apparent. It's genuinely gratifying to explore, and very unlike Uncharted's linear levels in that regard. Exploration and secrets always felt rather tacked-on in Uncharted, since there's so little to explore, and only meaningless things to find.

On the whole I do agree however. Uncharted is indeed more memorable with stronger narrative and characters, as well as more and bigger set-piece bombast and environmental diversity, while Tomb Raider plays better and has a more engaging structure.

#7 Posted by RVonE (4664 posts) -

@seppli: I played it when it came out and I still think of that game pretty often; it was really satisfying to play it, despite it having some obvious flaws. It is, without a doubt, my game of 2013.

#8 Edited by NTM (7486 posts) -

@seppli: I didn't really enjoy exploring that much, due to the atmosphere. That's an important thing to me, and it didn't really do it for me in Tomb Raider unfortunately. It could have used a little more variety I think, though if it had, it may have been inconsistent. I actually felt that the collectibles in the end weren't all that worth it, and were more of a chore than anything. I sound like I hate the game, but I'll assure you that I don't, though I will say I don't think it's as special as some have made it out to be.

Some have argued that the game could use less combat, but honestly, it was extremely easy to get through a handful of guys through the story, and then after that, you're left with very little guys to fight when exploring after the credits as you jump back in, if you jump back in. I would have liked to fight more guys and test combat out in different ways, and they're pretty scarce then. It was also unfortunate to me that when you do go in after the credits, all the small areas are cut off into chunks, so you are forced to use the camp fires to go to each area, making it feel a lot less open.

I think what's there is fine, but a lot of it could use some more polish or a few tweaks to it to feel a lot better. It would have been awesome if they focused more on the cult aspect of the human enemies. I think Tomb Raider, if it felt slightly better to shoot weapons, it would have played better than the first and third Uncharted's to me, but as it is, it doesn't at all. It animates nearly as well though, and I like the cover system more than pressing O to get on cover.

#9 Posted by JackSukeru (5922 posts) -

I played it late last year and liked it. I wouldn't call the exploration amazing, because it's not like you'll find whole separate areas outside of the occasional tomb, but I enjoyed it. I didn't expect it to be there either so it was definetly a nice surprise. I enjoyed some of the "patched together" look of your weapon upgrades too, and the movement felt good.

I'm up for playing another one sometime, especially if they go for a more non-linear progression style of game where you have a few paths to pick between at any one time. That'd be cool.

#10 Edited by Nodima (1244 posts) -

I've been digging it a lot but now I'm at a point about halfway through the game where combat is becoming a given more than a tragic necessity and I'm finding myself extremely pulled out of the world they've set up so far and also not having a very good time fighting these enemies. So many fire bombs, so much reliance of wave spawning rather than just the initial set of 2-5 dudes.

The real shame is that so much of this game really is appealing to me, especially coming off of True Detective. The music and atmosphere of the game in particular is pretty stellar to me, with the soundtrack often reminding me of There Will Be Blood and the aforementioned True Detective while the setting is obviously indebted to Apocalypse Now almost to the point of being a blatant ripoff (that one shot early in the game, by the way, was dumb and unnecessary). It's clearly a crutch when it comes to the Mathias character as well.

But this combat doesn't seem to offer as many outs as Uncharted did, or at least it doesn't inspire me to leap around the environment and handle things with a measured insanity you can only approach situations like these with in video games. I feel like once I've been spotted, I'm spotted and the hoards will come. It's becoming uninteresting (not to mention butt-fuck hard at the point I quit last night) and I'm worried the latter half of the game is going to suffer from all the same gameplay failures as the first two Uncharted games, mistaking enemy flood (and perhaps more...nefarious enemy types) for legitimate challenge.

If this game had less combat - or, as designer might read that, less game - it would be a notably more engaging product. It's the tombs and the puzzles and the fear of stumbling across a wolf without my gun out that appealed to me with this game, not the human conflict. Which, again, is making less and less sense to me the more sense the game tries to make of it. If anyone went through the Uncharted games wondering how Drake made so many enemies, they're going to be befuddled by the number of men carrying submachine guns and molotov cocktails who want Lara Croft dead in the middle of an un-sailable triangle of islands haunted by a mystic queen from feudal Japan.

Also I should totally note that I've been in the camp that says Rockstar has handled third person action better than any other developer with the system they developed for GTA IV and have expanded upon with RDR, Max Payne and GTA V. It's an absolute perfect system, but loving the hell out of it and playing the hell out of those games as a result definitely leaves one at a disadvantage when returning to free aim-only games. My shots are always just to the left or right of where I want them to go and it bugs me. I want that snap.

#11 Edited by SaturdayNightSpecials (2417 posts) -

No, there's not much Dark Souls or Metroid about it, really. It's mostly linear except for a couple areas you go back to that branch off to other linear paths.

It was a fine "shooter with upgrades", though. I would play another one, but I'm not looking forward to sitting through another tiresome cliched story.

#12 Posted by phantomzxro (1578 posts) -

@seppli:

Tomb raider is a good game but i don't find it plays better than uncharted. People may like the combat better which i can understand but i feel uncharted has more dynamic fire fights that had more range of movement. Tomb raider is pretty cut and dry with the enemies pour in from one side and you start on the other and you take them out.

The cinematic events don't execute on the same level as uncharted. Also i was a little bummed that even the puzzles are more interesting in uncharted, which should be tomb raider's bag. What i do love about the game like others have said is its more of a metrovania feel with the weapon progression and weapons having exploration usefulness.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.