Overload of Fall Releases
Once every few years, video game developers bless us with a massive amount of games leading up to the holidays. The 2001 fall release window had Silent Hill 2, Ico, Devil May Cry, Grand Theft Auto 3, and Final Fantasy 10. In 2004, Half-life 2, Halo 2, Metroid Prime 2, Metal Gear Solid 3, and World of Warcraft were all released in the month of November. Now, in 2009 we have Uncharted 2, Demon’s Souls, Brutal legend, Borderlands, Dragon Age: Origins, and Call of Duty. Trying to figure out what games I’m going to buy immediately, or Gamefly and then buy, or just wait a few weeks before buying, is what makes the holidays so much fun. Sure, I’m going into credit card debt after buying all these games, but hopefully my games won’t get repossessed until after I finish them.
Attention to Detail
Oh Naughty Dog, how you have answered the bell in terms of attention to detail. Too many times in games we as gamers are left to think about what could have been. We sit there and find issues where the game felt or looked rushed, or where the minute details were not looked into. I know that Naughty Dog has Sony behind them but I have seen other games with big backings that didn’t deliver that same attention. Uncharted 2 does just that as everything has been tweaked to perfection. The effects of the environment, the characters clothing, the enemies and their movements, it is all taken into account. No places is this more evident than walking through the snow as Nathan Drake or fighting on a moving train.
Item Satisfaction in an RPG
There isn’t a genre that gives you more bang for your buck than a good dungeon crawler. Demon’s Souls for instance is a game I will likely spend over 100 hours playing. It’s got enough rare items, weapons, and secret locations to ensure that I will be playing it long after I finish Brutal Legend or Uncharted 2. Now, Fallout 3 had a large map with a ton of places to explore and quests to complete, but there weren’t many great items to find. Sure, getting ghoul masks and mole rat sticks was fine, but there were countless times when I would explore an area just to find some Rad-x or a note somebody left before getting eaten by their mutant neighbors. I want to find obscure items, whose sole purpose is to help you obtain other items that are just as obscure in their purpose. I want to fight my way through a level of enemies to get some cool looking armor with only slightly more damage resistance. If your going to dangle a prize in front of my face in an RPG and tell me to go get it, you better make sure its something I actually want, and not just a note from the developer saying, “hey, I hope you enjoyed that level…because your not getting a decent reward.”
Staying the Course
Since Uncharted released this week why not another paragraph about the game? Well there has been a lot of talk lately about the “lack” of innovation in Uncharted 2 and it was even docked points by GameTrailers in their review of the game. We feel the need to jump on the side of Naughty Dog on this one and remind people that Innovation just for the sake of Innovation is not always a good thing. Naughty Dog did not need to come up with something groundbreaking because everything that they did do felt so well done and crisp that it made it feel groundbreaking. Yes they borrowed ideas from everyone else but why is that a bad thing? As a developer they took a successful idea that has been proven to work and they injected that Nathan Drake swagger into it and the result is an amazing product. Yes the multiplayer has been done by Call of Duty and Gears of War, but with the vertical element of Uncharted added to it, it feels new and fresh. If you can put out a product of such immense quality and dedication, then I think it should be ok that you didn’t try anything groundbreaking. Not every game out there has to have 10 steps of Innovation or some gimmick to make it stand out and be great.
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