The release of Pokemon Go caused mass hysteria. Hundreds of nerds left their proverbial basements to explore the outdoors with their friends. To the outside observer Pokemon explorers looked like a bunch of young people walking around haphazardly staring at phones. Why is this game revolutionary? Beyond the touted and heavily reported “augmented reality” phrase tossed around, Pokemon Go was successful at getting gamers up and moving and physically present with their friends.
If you’re reading this blog you probably have some experience with gaming. You probably espouse the virtues of gaming as a way to connect with friends and family who live all over the place. I often explain to people those very facts. My brother lives hours and hours away yet we are able to communicate often, and in common interest, through party chats. However good it is to be able to communicate over a headset it is better to be with someone in person. Pokemon Go does this.
When Pokemon Go came out I was working at a summer camp. It quickly grew in popularity and I was amazed at what it did to the social situation on camp. People who orignially were not spending time together bonded over the game. Rivalries and alliances formed. Each team had a group chat which were used to coordinate gym take-overs. It was an amazing experience. All of these are revolutionary to me. People physically gaming together and coordinating that game in real life.
Pokemon Go sucks too. Struck with a myriad of problems at its launch, Pokemon Go and Niantic had to adjust on the fly. Updates to the game brought greater stability but cost us in player experience. Niantic lessened the circle of discovery around your player on the map, making it harder to find Pokemon. They also removed a broken feature as opposed to fixing it with the removal of the distance icons beneath the Pokemon in the Pokemon radar.
These updates lead me to believe that Niantic isn’t in the game for the user experience, but instead is in it for the money. With the announcement that businesses were going to be able to buy pokestops, and the declining novelty of the game, I’ve decided to stop playing.
Maybe I’ll return, but it’s unlikely. What do you think about Pokemon Go?
In this episode of Underpaid Gamers Podcast Tony and Justin discuss Gamespot’s game of the year award for the last 20 years. Additional topics include No Man’s Sky delay, Captain America, Netflix, and Nintendo’s rumored new handheld. Listen in for a good time! Check out our youtube page!
No Man’s Sky delayed until July or August, originally scheduled for June
As the Uncharted series of games have been out for a while I’ll not review each individual game separately but instead look at the first three installments as a whole. I approached Uncharted for the first time with this collection. I have a favorable opinion of the developer, Naughty Dog, from my experience with The Last of Us. They did not disappoint.
I have never played a game that has made me feel more like an action hero. Scenes of intense action and spectacle happen almost every chapter of the game. I think of this scene
in Uncharted 2 when an attack helicopter is destroying a building as I try to escape. I remember the pressure of running through the floors of the building thinking, “oh man, oh man…” over and over again, just trying to survive! Other parts of the story force you to hang on to the edge of a cliff, the camera angle shifting to show you what you could fall on. Through all of the trials Drake (the main character) and company experience I became emotionally attached to the story. I was thrilled with the victories, and saddened by losses and defeat.
Another aspect of the game that I find impressive is its level design. The environment is so well made, often I did not realize the level was on rails. I don’t always like being forced to take a specific path. However, Naughty Dog does environment creation so well that it makes the player naturally choose the correct path.
Collectively this collection of games imparts a common sense of danger and daring. Between the three games Drake’s Fortune, Among Thieves, and Drakes Deception. I found that the first two felt very similar in story and in gameplay. It’s almost as if Naughty Dog blazed a path with the first game and with the second paved and painted that path. The second is an improved and polished version of the first.
The third installment felt much different from those before. Instead of setting out and
competing with another treasure hunter, Drake begins his quest by trying to stop this illuminati-like group from finding a hidden Sir Francis Drake had found. We also get to play as kid-drake and find out how Sully and Drake become like Father and Son. I particularly enjoyed this section of the game. The dynamic between drake and Sully adds another enjoyable layer to this game.
I will say there are moments where the controls can become rather unwieldy. The climbing mechanics seemed to have improved with each new game but at a few points throughout the game became a negative experience. These are few and far between but can become rather frustrating and can leave a chapter as a frustrating mess of missed jumps.
Another negative, and truly a Naughty Dog problem, is their terrible trophies. Many games make trophies both challenging and fun. Naughty dog chooses to make its trophies both rote and un-creative. While games like fallout have trophies such as sneaking live-grenades into NPC’s pockets, Uncharted has trophies like “Get 50 kills with ” for every weapon in the game. Trophies are a way for developers to add a little extra replay value to their game and I believe Naughty has consistently failed at this.
To sum up my thoughts, I believe that Naughty Dog has created a lovable and memorable franchise. I was impressed with the storytelling, the environments, and the way they made me feel like an action hero. I highly recommend this game franchise to anyone who has not experienced it.
I give the Uncharted Collection a 9/10.
What rating would you give the franchise? Comment below!