What We’re Playing - February 10
The weekend is upon us and it’s time to play some videogames. Here are a few games we’ve been playing away from the office this week. What’s on your agenda?
Few games contain so much depth and wish-fulfillment as Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption, the epic love-letter to the bygone era of spurs and six-shooters. It absolutely nails every little thing you’ve ever wanted to do as a cowboy, from steely-eyed duels, shooting on horseback, all the way to the music of classic spaghetti western movies. It’s also one of the few games I can think of where I can enjoy the scenery and details the developers put work into without actually doing anything. Assuming no one is shooting at me or a bear isn’t trying to eat me, of course.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
After my Dad bought a PS3 for Christmas, I went straight out and bought the original Uncharted. I loved it, excusing the often frustrating gun combat in favour for superior platforming and a sweetly told story. Soon after, I bought Among Thieves. Once again, I was blown away, even more so than before, taken aback by the slick cutscenes and expertly choreographed set pieces, not to mention the astounding visual and audio design. Now, I’m on to the third game, Drake’s Deception. It has a lot to live up to, but so far it’s doing a great job of keeping my attention. Six chapters in and I’m enjoying it just as much as the second game. Seeing the familiar faces of Chloe and Sully feels like a family reunion, and they work so well off of each other that I struggle to think of a game that does it better. Bouncing between various locations, the art design is predictably flawless - the lighting alone has me spinning the camera around Drake every five minutes in a frenzied act of appreciation. I roll into every puddle I see just to witness the effect it has on his sweater, the water shining in the mid-morning sun. I always look forward to a classic climbing section, with bricks and signposts that are so obviously climbable, yet fit into the gameworld so well you forget it’s all the result of a level designer’s imagination. I’ve been playing these games on easy mode so to get through the gunplay quickly and without frustration, and it’s been working well, providing me with a seamless experience that rarely falters and never lets up.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
I’m ten hours deep into Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and I still don’t know what to make of it. It feels like a single-player World of Warcraft, which I never got into. The inventory system is a little cumbersome, filled with lots of potions that I’ll never use and it could do better showing which weapons/armor are your best. It’s got a couple of crafting systems that aren’t very well explained and the story isn’t presented well enough to hold my interest. I can’t tell you a single character’s name, and the only reason I’ve done anything is because a spot on my on-screen compass told me to. Still, I dig the combat. The game controls nearly identically to Fable 2, which isn’t a bad thing at all, but without the cumbersome slowdown. There’s also always some new quest or object to explore - the game is bursting with quests of various quality, most of which involve silky combat against lesser creatures that leads to an oversized enemy to take down. I feel like I’m still waiting for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning to impress me, that there’s something I’m going to find over the next hill or in the next dungeon. Here’s hoping I find it soon.