Tag Archive: hollywood

The first Uncharted game Drake’s Fortune was one of the flagship games around the Playstation 3’s release; it was one of the first console exclusive games and served not only as a product with an engrossing narrative and tried and true gameplay mechanics, but it was a graphical benchmark with visuals that even by today’s standards are still stunning to look at.

When Naughty Dog announced they were to release Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, they claimed they were going to improve every aspect of the game, including graphics, and after playing it all the way through, I can happily say that they have indeed stood by their words.

It could be said that Uncharted 2 is a rip-off of a big budget Hollywood blockbuster; cheesy foreign villain, sassy sidekick and wise-cracking protagonist included. To be honest, you wouldn’t be far off the mark; but whilst I usually take a distaste toward such movies, interacting with one is a completely different matter. Apart from the aforementioned trademark characters, you also get your standard set pieces; explosions, helicopter chases, double crossing allies, explosions, gunfights on a train, the last ditch attempt, explosions, an aging partner who’s ‘getting too old for this shit’ and more explosions. But even if you’re a movie snob like me, you won’t care because Uncharted 2 is just unbridled and at times, brainless fun.

The game takes place a couple of years after the first game where the main protagonist Nathan Drake meets up with his old suspiciously British and treasure hunting friend Harry Flynn, who’s teamed up with Drake’s partially suspiciously British and glassy-eyed ex-beau, Chloe Frazer, who tell him of a client who’s asked them to steal a Mongolian Oil lamp which may hold the secret to Marco Polo’s lost fleet, and the treasures which were lost with them. With this, Drake and friends embark on an adventure of epic proportions and takes them to exotic locales and discover dangerous truths along the way. Pretty standard, right?

EXPLOSIONS!!!1!1!! YEAH!!!1!11!

EXPLOSIONS!!!1!1!! YEAH!!!1!11!

As I said before, the gameplay is pretty much your usual action adventure formula; Drake has to navigate through treacherous and often dazzling landscapes, and clues to your progression often aren’t too obvious, making the player put themselves in Drake’s shoes and consider how they would progress. There are no fancy gameplay gimmicks at work here; no bullet time or speed boosts, Drake is very human (apart from his uncanny ability to heal almost instantaneously from bullet wounds).

When it comes to combat, it’s largely gun-based with a dash of fisticuffs thrown in for good measure, and I’ll say this now – you will get into a LOT of gunfights, far more than the first game. Following the standard of modern games with gunplay, your health is regenerative, which to be honest if you’re looking for something truly challenging it can be a helping hand you didn’t ask for, but staying in good health can be a task in itself when you’re flanked by dozens of henchmen and all you have for cover is a wooden box that’s being torn to pieces. Hand to hand combat can be very cool, and now players can use proper stealth attacks which reward them with double ammo. There isn’t a giant arsenal of weapons available in Uncharted 2, but there are significant differences between the ones found to suit all situations, including old favourites like AK-47’s and Desert Eagles, along with heavy hitters like RPG’s and grenade launchers.

Whilst Uncharted 2 is at times driven by its cut-scenes, what really makes it stand out is that a lot of the action throughout the game doesn’t deny the player of participation; the world can be falling apart around you, and it’s up to you to get Drake out safely. It puts you straight in the deep end with a bullet-wounded Drake (which is apparently the only bullet which has ever harmed him) stuck an old train precariously hanging off the edge of a cliff in the middle of the Himalayas. From the get-go you have to navigate your way out of the cabin, as it falls apart and rocks from the cliffs fall down upon you. It’s moments like these that have you truly gripped and leave your heart racing, and because of your role in them they feel much more than simple set-pieces, and it’s not like this is the only one, these happen all the way throughout the game, each one as exciting as the next (the fight on the moving train is particularly spectacular).

I end up doing stuff like every day in my personal life. It gets a bit annoying to be honest...

I end up doing stuff like every day in my personal life. It gets a bit annoying to be honest...

The main standout new feature of Uncharted 2 is its multiplayer mode. With a lot of actions games the multiplayer feels very tacked on and become weak counterparts of the single player campaign, especially with modes like deathmatch, but Uncharted 2 offers a wide range of modes from classics like base capture, team deathmatch, and Uncharted’s take on capture the flag called ‘Plunder’, where you have to bring a treasure back to your home base, but you can only use your sidearm in the process. Along with these competitive modes you have co-op missions, in which you can team up with 2-4 others online, and either make your way through maps and fight waves of enemies to find a treasure, or in ‘Gold Rush’ much like ‘Plunder’, you have to drag the treasure back while your teammates defend you. All modes are a lot of fun and very addictive; much like a lot of multiplayer FPS games there’s also a ranking system which rewards you as you play. It would’ve been nice to play single-player levels in co-op, which wouldn’t have been too hard seeing as a lot of the time you’re accompanied with someone else, but the maps available while few in number are still a lot of fun to play.

Nate joins Sony's anti-piracy campaign...

Nate joins Sony's anti-piracy campaign...

Overall Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is a tremendous achievement, it’s by far the best looking game available on any console right now, the voice acting is top notch with (the now almost famous) Nolan North regaling his role as Nathan Drake, the musical score perfectly accompanies the action, and it’s one of the most engrossing experiences I’ve ever had in an action game. The multiplayer is a welcome addition which will bring players back long after finishing the 13 hour+ campaign but could stand to have a few tweaks like speeding up matchmaking times and more (FREE!) maps.

It’s an experience no Playstation 3 should go without, now if you don’t mind I’m off for a lie-down; I’m gettin’ too old for this shit…

– 94/100


Obscene on screen

Since the dawn of video gaming developers have been making movie tie-in games, and for a long time (but moreso recently) movies have been made of video games. Whilst there very, very rarely is a decent game based on a movie, I can confidently say there has never been a good video game based movie.

You can guarantee that with every Pixar movie there’ll be a video game to coincide with it, with every Michael Bay piece of crap there’s a game for parents to buy their kids when they leave the cinema and visit Toys R Us, it’s a given that pretty much every box office hit will generally have a poorly produced game that’s been churned out for the sake of cashing in on a franchising. Simply put; movie based video games are the lowest common denominator.

As I said previously, there are rare exceptions to when movie based games turn out well, like Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64, or The Chronicles of Riddick on the original Xbox. There may be more but those are two stand out titles that come to mind right now. Being a lover of cinema as well as the world of gaming (yes, I truly am a catch, ladies…), I can be pretty picky about what I pay £7 to sit in a crowded room and endure 50 minutes of adverts, some god awful trailers (another Katherine Heigl rom-com anyone? No? Didn’t think so…) and then watch a movie I may or may not like. It’s understandable since there are movies like Transformers out there, which in all honesty made me physically want to vomit. Seriously, it’s unbelievably bad. But a video game based movie and a Michael Bay directed movie do have something in common. I don’t want to see either of them because I know they’ll be garbage.

Michael Bay: You leather jacketed prick, how I hate thee...

Michael Bay: You leather jacketed prick, how I hate thee...

It may just be me, I have friends who like video game based movies, and box office figures show that others do too (critics would agree with me but no-one listens to them these days), so I’m not going to question the tastes of other people, for me to do so would be obnoxious, and I’d be no better than… Michael Bay.

The question I offer to you is, why is it necessary to even make video game based movies?

Since the 32-bit console era, video games themself have grown into an experience of their own, one that combines the element of cinema with the interactivity offered from games, creating a world which you participate in and a story which unfolds around you. One of the first games to offer the ultimate cinematic experience was Metal Gear Solid for the Playstation. The game was a seamless blend of cutscenes containing well written dialogue, colourful characters and an epic and often moving storyline to rival that of a big budget Hollywood blockbuster. Not only did it have the story, but it had excellent gameplay mechanics that kept you gripped and made you want to improve yourself to progress; it was a true evolution in gaming, and everyone started to recognise how much more games could be. The influence of Metal Gear Solid is still visible today, maybe the stories aren’t as good (as a matter of fact some are god-awful, for example, the Ninja Gaiden games).

So what’s the point in condensing an epic and engrossing experience into 90 minutes or more of celluloid fodder? The target market for video game based movies will of course be the people who’ve played the game in the first place, I wouldn’t want to see the experience skewed to a point where characters are altered and storylines are diluted, and the fact is, a lot of games these days are celebrated more for their gameplay as opposed to their story, and that’s all you get with screen adaptions; a story.

Halo ODST Live Action trailer: Halo: Great game, shitty storyline, so why make a movie?

Halo ODST Live Action trailer: Halo: Great game, shitty storyline, so why make a movie?

There’s a simple answer to why these movies are made; YOU! Yes, you there! You disgust me! Aaaaand a couple of times… me, but I disgust myself anyway.

People actually see these movies because of the fond experience they had with the game, they want to see their favourite characters brought to life in action-packed sequences, injected with millions of dollars. It’s all nostalgia, just like the remake fad in Hollywood where old franchises and movies have been given a high price treatment, but like a game into a movie it doesn’t make it better. I defy anyone to tell me of a decent remake.

The good thing is, game remakes can turn out well because of improvements in gameplay, but that’s what makes it a game. I’m sure I’m one of thousands out there who’d love to see a Final Fantasy VII remake, if only graphically, but this is because it was great to play and had a beauty to it which could be realised further thanks to next-gen graphics. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was a nice fan service movie, but it felt a little detached from the original experience, but it’s hard to remake a game that has almost 100 hours of gameplay.

Don’t Hollywood make enough shitty movies without messing up our games? Video game movies in the pipeline right now include Bioshock, Prince of Persia and inFamous. You can’t help but feel a bit cynical about these because not only are they great games, and they all have reasonable storylines, but if you want anything you once loved, admired and held dear defaced and turned into something unrecognisable, send it to Hollywood (this applies to relatives and loved ones too).