Tag Archives: PS3

Braid

51baP9k+ubLAnd then, the first and last game of the weekend[1], Braid. The downside of which is that I am obligated to find a way to review Braid. (The upside, obviously, is that it was a fantastic game, full of challenging and rewarding puzzles and a truly incredible (and incredibly presented!) climax to its story.)

The thing is, I don’t really want to say anything about it, because it is to be played, not told. So I’ll give you what you can see and what you can begin to intuit from the first two minutes of play, and then I’ll nod to myself and consider my job done[5]. Have you ever played Super Mario Bros.? The one for the original Nintendo (also there was a somewhat different arcade version) with the walking mushroom people and the giant lizard who kidnapped Princess Peach? Along every meaningful angle from which you could consider SMB, this game is the response to that game. </wise nod>

[1] I had played a great deal of it before[2], and I also took a break in the middle before coming back to wrestle with the last few, ultra-hard levels. Ultimately, there were seven such that a walkthrough was involved in[4], and of those, I only felt like I should have figured out two of them. The rest involved knowledge I had somehow missed having or ideas that would never have crossed my mind to attempt.
[2] Annoyingly, on the XBox 360. Will I go back for my gamerscore? Probably not![3]
[3] I mean because I’m pretty lazy, but honestly, going back for gamerscore feels like missing 100% of the point of the game, too.
[4] Awesomely, my host had the walkthrough and doled out the hints gradually, so sometimes it really was just a hint.
[5] If this sounds like a candyass way to conduct my affairs, well, a) maybe it is at that, but b) it doesn’t change the fact that I would be robbing you of an experience you owe yourself. If you play video games and people don’t sidle away from you because of things you say at social gatherings, then trust me. Just play the game. The five or ten bucks that it will cost you is worth it, as is the hour or three of time you’ll spend.

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

I like that the Uncharted games are end-of-year releases. My parents enjoy the seamless cinematic feel, I like having something to do out at the Ranch at Christmastime that is commercial-free; pretty much everyone wins. (Well, sometimes it’s a little too seamless, and I end up with my dad giving me good but unimplementable advice during a cutscene. Still, as complaints go, this is a pretty minor one.)

Drake’s Deception is, for the most part, exactly the same game as the other two, though I understand there may be co-op campaign play that I did not see any part of, and which I suppose could plausibly change things? Probably it just turns a previously unkillable NPC into a new excuse to restart from last autosave, though. Anyway, my point is, there’s not much to say that I haven’t already said about one of the previous games. If you like a mix of platforming[1], shooting with the occasional pinch of stealth or dash of fisticuffs, and all kinds of Indiana Jones style treasure-hunting and clue-divining that also has a subdued romance plot, over-the-top action sequences, and a pretty hilarious ongoing exploration of the mentor relationship, this is an oddly precise match for what you seek!

I wonder if, novelty of the first game aside, any of them are better than the others? I’m pleased, I think, to note that while they all flow from one to the next with continuity and such, there’s nothing like a trilogy feel here. I guess they could keep making them forever, though I should say that getting much deeper into Nathan Drake’s life without some kind of real change (a marriage, a break-up, a death, something to shake up the status quo) will start to feel cheap pretty soon. Maybe even by during this game, but certainly by the next one. So past writers of half of the current game or at the very least future writers of the next one? This was your warning!

Oh, and I should warn you about the [spoiler elided, or else presented in Sabean script if you prefer], but nobody warned me, so, you pays your money and you takes your chances.

[1] That, okay, is not as good by a long shot as what you get in the Assassin’s Creed series, but what is?

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

I visited my parents over the weekend, since my schedule is about to be in flux and it seemed like a good time before the flux takes hold, plus the holidays and all. So I spent just about the whole of Thanksgiving break with them, except that I worked on Friday. That’s nice! While there, I inadvertently treated them to a full-length, multi-hour cinematic extravaganza in the form of a Playstation 3 game. After the success of my recommending Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune when he bought the system and wanted something to play on it (not that he actually plays much of anything, but, you know)[1], he picked up the sequel a few weeks ago. And what began as a way to pass a few hours Saturday night quickly turned into a full weekend obsession during which I played the last third of the game for four hours past when I had planned originally to leave, because I was just sure that the climax was right around the corner, and I didn’t want to make them wait weeks for the conclusion and have time to forget what was going on.[2]

If you’re picking up on an undercurrent of admiration for the game’s writing and seamless graphics in that description of my weekend, well, you’re not imagining it. As to the latter, the only real difference between playing the game and watching its gorgeous cutscenes is that the game-play has fewer close-ups. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves picks up explorer Nathan Drake some brief years after the events of the previous game, convinced by shady friends to join in a search for Marco Polo’s lost expedition, a journey that will take him from the jungles of Borneo to the dizzying heights of Tibet and Nepal, not to mention deep into the legends surrounding Kublai Khan. Along the way he’ll crack wise, make lots of new enemies, and see lots of new ancient ruins! It’s good stuff. But on top of that, the writing is not merely good in and of itself, as it was last time; it actually takes note of the past and uses it. If I had been on the fence about the loss of meaningful breast-motion physics from the Lara Croft games to the Uncharted series, I no longer would be in any measure. I care about these people, and want to know what’s going to happen next. That I also get to play a video game along the way? It justifies the expense, but other than that, it’s purely bonus.

[1] V nz chggvat guvf va ebg13 fb ur pna’g frr vg, ohg V cerqvpg V trg n pbzzrag sebz uvz gung ur qbrf fb lhu-uhu cynl Unyb fbzrgvzrf. (Nyfb, vs V’z evtug nobhg gung pbzzrag bppheevat, vg vf yvxryl gb nfx jung guvf tvoorevfu vf nf jryy.)
[2] To be fair, this applies to me as well.

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

91B0KvHV0UL._SL1500_Check me out, I finished my second PS3 game! This was more of an ongoing thing, since it is not at my house and I don’t own it. But still! Definite fun times. In Drake’s Fortune, we follow the adventures of Nathan Drake, descendant of the explorer Sir Francis Drake, as he follows his predecessor’s footsteps in search of El Dorado, the famed lost city of gold. Standing in his way are rival hunters, a shady partner, a documentary filmmaker, Nazis, more barely navigable rock walls than you can shake a pointed stick at, and a semi-ancient curse. But in the plus column, hey, treasure! Right?

The game is an extremely pretty 3D platformer / cover-based third-person shooter in the vein of Gears of War if the latter were less focused on warfare and had a jump button. And lots of rock walls to climb. Pretty much, it’s a Tomb Raider game where they reduced the budget on breast motion physics and invested that money into storyline and dialogue. It was, I think, a good trade.

Resistance: Fall of Man

After long delays[1], I have finally gotten a PlayStation 3, what with the Blu-Ray playing capabilities and all. Resultingly, I also snagged one of the handful of PS3 exclusives that also looked in any way entertaining. And even more surprising than all of this combined, I finished the damn thing. It’s ever so slightly possible I may play through again, because there are lots of pieces of paper with more storyline that I missed and new weapons to kill the alien/zombie hybrid things with. In realism land, I won’t. But I might, and that’s a piece of shock in itself.

Resistance: Fall of Man chronicles a non-specific divergent history without an apparent World War II in which some kind of weird bio-experiment (that seems a lot more plausibly like alien technology to me) goes awry in Russia over the course of the 1930s and ’40s, and then suddenly breaks free and conquers all of Asia and Europe in a matter of months. The especial deadliness comes from the fact that the majority of humans caught up in the conflict are converted into new waves of killer alien/zombie hybrids themselves. So, never-ending supply of new soldiers. And now it’s late 1951, England has all but fallen, and it’s time for some random American dude to have a weird immunity to the alien takeover thing that makes him even more hybridized than the others, insofar as he gains powers and yellow eyes but retains his essential humanity, and then, y’know…. payback time.

I probably should be tired of games whose main point is to be mankind’s alien-killing service? But not yet!

[1] I mean, it launched, what, 2.5 years ago? I are slow!