I have to really commend EA for the change it has made over the past few years, its gone from the sequel churning machine I used to despise to the great third party publisher who is making sure new IP's see the light of day on the shelves. In the last few weeks, I've picked up 2 EA games, one being a sequel to a franchise that consists of 'Bro'in up' and the other a brand new IP. I'm a little worried lately that all the hard work EA put in a little while back is starting to disappear if these 2 titles are a sign of things to come. So, lets get to my honest opinion about the new IP today, Dante's Inferno.
I should first start by saying I didn't know very much about Dante's Inferno outside of what I had played in the demo (which I was happy with) and was hesitant to pick up a copy. With a bit of a gap in the release calendar that week, I decided to go through with my pre-order and my copy arrived a day later (Shopto.net shout out.. fucking great site) but as I played through the game over 3 nights of what I would call taking it slow I found a poor and unfortunately rushed game that was sorely lacking in the 'fun' department.
Dante's Inferno was a great premise for a video game and my earlier writings on Visceral Games, the creators of Dead Space, should get across how highly I hold the developer but I'm unsure of a lot of the choices they made along the way. Why are some of the circles of Hell so short? why exactly are there puzzles everywhere? why aren't there more people for me to kill? and why is there boobs EVERYWHERE? fuck, I've seen strip clubs with less tits.
As I sit on my sofa, pad in lap, watching the credits roll down my TV, all I can think to myself is 'Why?'. Why did VG decide to take a great idea and put a bunch of mediocre ones in it? because I think if they stuck to their combat mechanic and good plot they could of been on to a winner here. Instead, I'm given a 5 hour (it did actually take me 5 hours 24 minutes to finish the game) game of which 40% is greatly enjoyable combat and the other 60% is crap puzzles, unexplained 1 hit kill traps and jump sections with badly placed cameras.
I think lots of people will agree Portal was a great game, it took one mechanic and put a great 5 hour experience round it ending up in a stellar title. Dante's Inferno takes one mechanic and fucks it up til its barely visible and releases it at £40.
A missed opportunity, Lets hope Dead Space 2 isn't treated the same
We all have them. My girlfriend will sit there and read book after book, manga after manga, giving small oooh's and aahhh's when the main character saves the girl or kisses that boy she's liked. My sister will sit and watch episode after episode of Lost, Dexter, Spaced and Big Bang Theory and laugh hard when Simon Pegg shouts at the kid who likes JarJar Binks or when Johnny Gelekie finally gets a piece of the action. We, the current generation of gamers, sit there and laugh hard when Elena Fisher introduces herself to Chloe as 'Last years model' and this is why Uncharted 2 is our version of a page turner.
Page turner is such a weird expression, what I mean by it is that I was hooked all the way through the story Uncharted 2 wanted to tell me about. I sat there and soaked up every bit it was willing to offer until there was nothing left but the rather good epilogue made up of co-op gameplay and online mulitplayer.
Whether its missions to retrieve oil lamps or trekking through swamps to grab Marco Polo's journal pages, Uncharted 2 had me sitting on the edge of my sofa. From the very beginning of the game, which sees Drake trying to climb up a train teetering on the edge of a cliff in snowy mountains while being brutally injured, to the very end, that had me panicked when a character gets badly injured, the game does not relent with its fantastic camera angles, stupendous animations, quality voice talent and monstrous action.
But why aren't more games like this? After Uncharted 2 I got hold of a copy of Assassins Creed 2, a game that many critics said to be 2009's game of the year. I just couldn't understand it, how could this game with its sloppy put together story, awful facial animation and, for the most part, sub par lip syncing pull the wool over so many peoples eyes? Obviously this question will always go unanswered but I feel that some of its praise is given to it due to the overall feeling people were left with at the end of the first one. Comparing Assassins Creed to its sequel will make AC2 look like the second coming of Christ, but is that fair view point? By the same token can people say the same thing about the Uncharted series? with a 'more of the same' feeling to it? I hope that wasn't the case.
Uncharted 2 was my 2009 game of the year and is my favourite series on PS3, If you've never tried it out and own a PS3, pick up the original and then try the sequel.