The Alien Critic Reviews...
The Alien CriticReviews...

TAC Reviews...Uncharted Franchise

 

In 1996 Tomb Raider was released for Playstation and other consoles, and featured a new kind of main character…Lara Croft. A big breasted adventurer that had an upper class British accent and travelled the world seeking various treasures from various tombs and taking them when she found them. You might call her a Tomb Raider as she primarily spent her time raiding tombs. This game was very popular with gamers and one of the main reasons being that there were various walls that you could stand Lara up against which would cause the camera to zoom in on her boobs…from what I heard getting to spend the night with Lara Croft was many an adolescent nerdy teens ultimate fantasy.

 

 

So since 1996 the character has evolved and as graphics have gotten better Lara Croft has become more and more lifelike but basically she has remained the same, big boobs, tight ass, and clothing that reveals every curve.

 

You may be wondering why I am talking about Tomb Raider when I am supposed to be looking at the Uncharted games, but that is my point, Uncharted is Tomb Raider except developers Naughty Dog have decided to go in a different direction to the creators of Lara Croft and so have replaced her…

 

 

With him…

 

 

How could people not take to the Uncharted franchise??

 

Similarly to Saints Row and Grand Theft Auto we have two franchises which have similar concepts, themes and of course feature globetrotting adventures to locate various hidden treasures. Now whilst the Tomb Raider series boasted the foxy lady below…

 

 

...the Uncharted games were not going to have the ever improving graphics enhancing the eye candy of Lara Croft to keep fans entertained.

 

In all honesty it has to be said that the Tomb Raider games could be really frustrating, I have only played Tomb Raider Legends all the way through because I got killed over and over by a tiger in Tomb Raider 3 for the Playstation which resulted in me getting bored of the game and giving up. But even in Legends the amount of times Lara would not grab a ledge a die were too many to count. She would sail through ledges and bars time and time again because she’d decided that she didn’t feel like grabbing hold of it on that occasion. Still, there were some interesting ideas in Legends that I quite liked which was why I looked past the irritations and continued to play it.

 

I guess the question that remains is this: as Uncharted cannot simply dangle a pretty lady in front of its fans to keep them from realising that the game might actually not be very good, does this mean the game is actually going to be good??

 

The Uncharted games do not have the advantage of Lara Croft so it remains to be seen whether a guy can make tomb raiding as entertaining as a woman that looks like this in a bikini…

 

TAC Reviews...Uncharted Drake's Fortune

 

Released in 2007 Uncharted is an action-adventure game in which you play as one-man muder machine Nathan Drake as he slaughters his way through various exotic locations to an ancient treasure

 

Uncharted Drake's Fortune PS3 Boxart

 

Generally I hate games that have a lot of hype surrounding them, and at the time all of my skin sack's friends were raving about this game. I would ask them both what the big deal was and all they would say was I needed to play it to experience it for myself.

 

So...where exactly do you start with a game like Uncharted?

 

Well, it’s like every Tomb Raider game except with a bloke instead of a woman. That is pretty much it from what I could see, but perhaps I missed the point and maybe this statement is not an accurate portrayal of the game, a game that was good enough to have now gone platinum. Does it, therefore, expand on the action-adventure genre with full and interesting puzzles to solve, with a beautiful backdrop and an equally entertaining storyline? And perhaps most importantly of all: What does Nathan Drake have that Lara Croft is lacking? Well, balls obviously but let's take a bit more of an indepth look (at the game not his balls obviously)

 

Basically the game looks very good; the graphics for the scenery, water effects, ocean and the characters themselves make the game feel more like a live-action movie rather than a computer game. There isn’t the traditional heath bar, as Drake takes damage the scenery around him becomes increasingly black and white; to restore his health, simply take cover for a moment and as the colour returns to the screen Drake heals. Although, this feature does away with stocking up on med-packs, it does mean that you will get gunned down as you attempt to seek shelter and recover. In addition how exactly does it make sense for Drake to simply shelter for a few minutes and he can shrug off bullet wounds like he is waiting for his foot to wake up after it has fallen asleep?

 

Despite Drake’s ability to regenerate once he’s hidden for a few seconds, the game still falls into the same trap that the Tomb Raider games did, it is ridiculously easy to die. It is so frustrating watching Drake plunge to his doom over and over again because you didn’t move the joystick in precisely the right way, this means that when you try and make an all important jump, your hero will either leap to oblivion or simply hop back to where you started from. The game demands that you take leaps of faith frequently, perhaps this was done to add to the tension or just to piss off a bunch of gamers. I tend to think the reload time after you die is a good indicator of how frequently the game expects you to die, if you are having to wait more than 10-15 seconds then you are not supposed to be getting killed often. Drake’s Fortune will reload from a death in about 5 seconds so it expects you to die, it expects you to die a lot, and you will, you will die a hell of a lot.

 

As equally irritating as the constant leaps of faith are the lack in the range of enemies, at least Lara Croft would encounter tigers, giant spiders or leopards during her tomb raiding, with boss battles included giant snakes and wrath like apparitions stalking through the passageways of burial grounds. All Drake gets to fight for the majority of the game are men, hundreds and hundreds of well-armed men, men that seem to appear out of nowhere to pump him full of bullets the moment you believe you have cleared an area and can therefore explore it freely. Even areas of the game when you have entered an underground burial ground which no one seems to have entered for centuries, you’ll still find rooms filled with guards. Where are the bad guys getting these legions of men? Why are they hunting down ancient treasures when they could march on Washington DC and take over the USA or something?? Getting riddled with bullets time and again gets really old, really fast, and having to constantly hideaway so your health can regenerate means you are going to spend hours crouching behind cover picking away at other enemies who are also hiding behind cover. Varied the combat is not. Get a gun and don’t stop murdering until you reach the treasure you seek, then kill everyone else that may have beaten you to it. There is also a sequence or two when you travel up river on a jetski but you cannot drive and fire at the same time so if there are enemies on the shore you have to stop, drift back downstream and fire at them, then you can start motering back upstream...why design the shooting and driving mechanic this way?? I can only assume to irritate the crap out of the player.

 

The game looks very impressive, and having to control Drake’s balance with your controller whilst moving along narrow logs or ledges is a nice touch, but you will find yourself cursing Drake as you watch him die yet again, still, if you enjoy hiding behind cover killing more people than cholera as you take on an army of enemies, with a bit of treasure hunting thrown in, then this is the game for you.

 

I was not impressed with Uncharted as for me it got dull very quickly, I did make it to the end but it was a bit of a cop out and watching Drake getting killed was the best part of the game so that probably says more about me than it does about the game. My Thumb rating is a definite Down, it is okay, but play Tomb Raider because at least that way you get to make Lara stand against the wall which makes the camera inexplicably zoom in onto her massive tits

 

 

3/10 - It is repetative and it is fun watching Drake get killed over and over, but one of those games that you will largely forget the moment you stop playing it

 

TAC Reviews...Uncharted 2 Among Thieves

 

Released in 2009 Uncharted 2 is an action adventure game and was available on the PS3, it continued the adventures of Nathan Drake. As we know Uncharted was basically Tomb Raider with a bloke instead of a woman, so instead of Lara Croft refusing to grab hold of ledges and plunging to her rag-doll death, we got Nathan Drake with his gravity defying hair plunging to his rag-doll death. Now obviously Uncharted was successful enough to spawn a sequel.

 

Uncharted 2 Among Thieves PS3 Boxart

 

Right, so there was a fair amount of hype surrounding Uncharted, especially when screen shots of the game was released showing a German U-Boat in the jungle with obviously no explanation of how it got there. You just have to play the game to find out. I played the game and whilst I thought it was just a poor Tomb Raider clone (and I’m no fan of Tomb Raider as when I do play it Lara Croft ends up dead…a lot…mainly because she won’t grab hold of ledges preferring instead to plunge to her death or in the case of Tomb Raider 3 a tiger kept killing her). Some of my skin sack’s friends were aware that I was not overly impressed with Uncharted but they liked it and encouraged me to go out and play Uncharted 2. More importantly they wouldn’t shut up about it no matter how many times I threatened them with disintegration. Hell, one of them even loaned it to me so that I could play an “amazing sequel” for myself and see that they were right about it all along

 

So…was it an amazing sequel…well join me to find out…

 

Nathan Drake is back and this time he is approached by an old friend of his named Harry Flynn who wants his help to track down the lost city of Shambhala. With Flynn is Chloe Frazer an ex-lover of Drake’s who is now involved with Flynn. The night before the trio break into a museum to find an oil lamp that will start them on their quest, Chloe reunites with Drake and sleeps with him. During the robbery Flynn, apparently jealous of Drake’s former relationship with Chloe betrays him, leaving him to be arrested by the authorities.

 

Three months later Chloe (who escaped with Flynn) helps Drake get out of jail. It turns out that Flynn was working for a soviet warlord named Zoran Lazarević who wants to find Shambhala because there is some stone or something there that will make him immortal.

 

Drake and Co, including Elana, Drake’s love interest from the first game. I didn’t mention her in my review of the first game because like Juno in Force Unleashed she was so irrelevant to me as a player that I was not interested in even talking about her. So like the first game Drake has to beat the bad guys to the destination so that the bad guy cannot gets his hands on something that has been lost for a reason.

 

Tell me something, does the plot sound familiar??

 

You might be thinking, “this sounds a lot like the first game” and you’d be right. You may be also thinking, “hang on, this game sounds a lot like the plot line of the National Treasure films except here they are looking for an artefact of power rather than a treasure”. If either or both of these thoughts rattled through your brain then you are right on both counts because whilst ripping off its own original game it also manages to rip off the Nicholas Cage National Treasure films.

 

What is different in this game from the last one??

 

As far as I could tell, pretty much nothing, you run around slaughtering the armies of men that the warlord naturally has at his command whilst travelling from one set piece and one country to another. I will admit that the opening level in which you wake up on a train hanging over a cliff is interesting and does make you want to know how Drake ended up there, and what happens next. Of course when you find out, you learn it was because Drake was seeking an artefact and murdering anyone who stood in his way.

 

Remember the Nazis in the Indiana Jones films?? No-one has any problem killing Nazis, all you have to do in any game is establish that the enemies are Nazis and you can slaughter them freely without a conscience getting in the way. This game establishes that everyone who is fighting Drake is a mercenary, killing for money or is a soldier of a fanatical tyrannical warlord, and so you are doing them the world a favour by shooting them in the face. I am so tired of fighting wave after wave of inexhaustible armies of men that seem to be conjured out of the ether or something and are naturally armed to the teeth with magical weapons that never run out of ammo, well, not until you pick one up that is. Why are henchmen like Nazis and undeniably evil?? I’m not saying the Nazis who experimented on Jewish prisoners in the concentration camps weren’t evil because they were as close to evil as anyone with a soul can be, all I am saying is that sometimes people are just people, and being a mercenary or even a Nazi doesn’t naturally make a person so undeniably evil that it is okay for a one-man murder machine like Nathan Drake to slaughter them on mass.

 

Is Nathan Drake as big a monster as those who are seeking these treasures??

 

How much blood is on Drake’s hands??

 

Game play wise, (and I may have mentioned this already) you fight men, lots and lots of men, they throw a couple of tanks at you as well before you confront the Guardians of Shambhala, which, just like the first game, were once human but have been changed by the artefact that you seek. In Uncharted it was that weird sarcophagus thing that made those near it into monsters, and here the former inhabitants of the City of Shambhala have been exposed to this resin which makes them immortal.

 

The controls are a straight copy-paste from the original game and like before there is no health bar the screen just goes grey as you are hurt and brightens as you heal. The scenery is very nice, so that is a plus, but so what?? I don’t play a computer game to admire the scenery, if I want to look at scenery I’ll look at some fucking scenery

 

 

This is a photograph taken in Trinidad, I was there scoping out where my mountain top mansion was going to go when my people finally arrive and reward me for finding this planet with its easily squashable inhabitants…sorry I have wandered off topic…the point is, I think you’ll agree, the scenery looks nice doesn’t it??

 

So whilst it helps the game to have a nice backdrop you cannot base a game on the background alone. Nathan Drake is the same as before, I have to admit that Chloe is sexy as hell and Claudia Black’s sultry voice fits her perfectly. I am not sure why Drake opts to get back together with Elana at the end of the game when they have obviously had a relationship not work out between the first game and this one when Drake has the chance to get back with big-breasted bad girl Chloe but maybe Drake is just an idiot.

 

Thinking about it…I said maybe Drake is just an idiot, but the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that Drake is in fact an idiot.

 

As the game progresses he travels to the same locations as the bad guys usually getting there before them or occasionally arriving just after. Yet when he gets to the locations and realises that there are complex puzzles that need to be solved before hidden passages will open up, he goes ahead and solves the puzzles, even when there is an army of bad guys nearby. It is established that Flynn is no Drake and cannot figure out how to find Shambhala and is basically just following Drake and taking credit for his discoveries. So…Drake if you don’t want the bad guys to progress and you know that Flynn is not smart enough to figure it out, then why are you solving these puzzles?? Just walk away, leave them chasing their tails, and head home. Or better yet call the authorities and inform them that a soviet warlord is currently running around with an army of soldiers tagging along in various countries murdering people. Shouldn’t the governments of those countries take action against him??

 

I think the best example that proves that Drake is indeed as thick as pig shit is when the resin at the heart of Shambhala has been found. At this point we know it makes people immortal. Drake is hiding as Zoran approaches the pool, he doesn’t shoot him, he simply waits until Zoran has drank the resin, his scars heal and he becomes immortal, and this is the moment that Drake chosen to engage him in a fight.

 

You know shooting him in the head before he got to the resin would have been a better tactic Drake.

 

If Drake had shot Zoran in the head and he had fallen forward into it, absorbing the resin and being revived, then fine, that I could have lived with. But why the crap does Drake allow him to become immortal and damn near invincible before trying to take him out?? It makes no sense and leads to a boss fight where you are charging round and round in circles whilst he chases you with a gun whilst throwing various grenades at you.

 

As you can probably tell I was not sold on Uncharted 2 because basically it is more of the same and I am just bored of killing wave after wave of human in computer games, now in real life, I never get tired of doing it which I guess is a little ironic…

 

Anyway, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is just as uninspired as Uncharted Drake’s Fortune, it follows the same structure and whilst I did finish it, gunning down hordes of mercenaries got pretty dull, and as a result my Thumb is firmly Down.

 

 

4/10 – I’ll give Among Thieves a slightly higher rating than Drake’s Fortune for one reason and one reason alone, Claudia Black as Chloe Frazer. She is sexy as hell and in my opinion this game should have been rated as an 18 so then we could have seen Chloe get her boobs out like the characters in games like The Witcher do.

 

But before I go, here’s another photograph of the truly beautiful Trinidadian scenery…

 

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© Chris Sharman