Sunday, February 19, 2012

Indiana Jones, minus what little tact and subtlety he had

I have come up with the perfect game: remove Batman from Arkham City and drop him into Uncharted 3. He wont need any more move moves, nothing out of character like guns or swords, nor would he even need to be voice acted or have anything to do with the story. Drake can still be there; he can be Robin.

Let me explain: Uncharted 3 has incredible linear levels with an almost open ended way to get through them. That Tomb Raider style platforming is still about as complicated and a kid's connect the dots picture, but that is because Drake is a mere mortal and does not have all of Batman's wonderful toys. The ship graveyard level I played through last night was just screaming for a grappling hook and the ability to glide. When the combat does kick in and the player is supposed to be stealthy Batman would again come in handy. He would have the sense not to stick to the wrong side of cover and take a shotgun blast to the chest, anyway. The weakest part of Uncharted 3 is Drake, and since Bruce makes everything cooler...

Enough fantasy. Uncharted 3 is not at all that bad. Naughty Dog has created set pieces worthy of the most outlandish Bond movies and then set the player free (more or less) to play in them. There are still ridiculous difficulty spikes, especially when the first batch of bad guys is dead and the second wave that was hiding in their back pockets all jump out at the same time. The stealth sections are still weak, but not because moving around unseen is difficult. There is no feedback on what your enemies can see (Metal Gear has spoiled me) and if you are discovered then the hired goon closet opens up and the number of bad guys to kill triples. There always seems to be one right way and innumerable wrong ways to handle any given encounter. Finding the right way means dying a whole lot, but the game has a very liberal checkpoint system: Naughty Dog knew when they were about to pull some serious bull shit so that dropped a save point just before it. How thoughtful.

Nolan North has polished off his already excellent voice work making Drake a very believable... believable what? I believe the term is 'flaming douchebag.' Drake is just not a likable character. He uses and abuses his mentor, drives away woman, tries to taunt like Spider-Man and sounds like an idiot doing so, and in general is just a selfish ass. The voice work from all parties is excellent, with banter that feels both unscripted and realistic, but it all just servers that fact that Drake is not someone I would hang around with. Naughty Dog is aiming for an every man Indiana Jones but they missed and hit Jersey Shore instead. No one wants The Situation: The Adventure Game, in which The Situation tries to score with the honies whilst managing a raging case of pubic lice.

Damnit, I hope no one from EA or Activision sees that steals the idea. To the copyright office!


And just because I need to post this every time I talked about Naughty Dog: remember this game?

I owned that game.

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