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Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PlayStation 3) artwork

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PlayStation 3) review


"Much ado has been made of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and for good reason. It's entirely possible that no other video game has ever come this close to replicating the motion picture feeling. Perhaps I should clarify: it's entirely possible that no other video game has ever come this close to replicating the summer action blockbuster feeling."



Much ado has been made of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and for good reason. It's entirely possible that no other video game has ever come this close to replicating the motion picture feeling. Perhaps I should clarify: it's entirely possible that no other video game has ever come this close to replicating the summer action blockbuster feeling. After all, we must not forget the lofty achievements of Night Trap.

Treasure hunter Nathan Drake's second PS3 adventure actually surpasses National Treasure and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which is particularly noteworthy since Crystal Skull inspired Drake's quest in some very obvious ways. I would even go so far as to say that the fictitious Uncharted 2: The Movie would be the world's second-greatest film of its kind, behind only the legendary Raiders of the Lost Ark.

I would not say that Uncharted 2 is the second-greatest game of its kind. It's a thoroughly competent product, and certainly a pretty one, but fails to demonstrate daring ambition or conceptual innovation. Thanks to some incredible animation and voice-acting, Nathan Drake is a likable and believable character, but still a typical hero. Gameplay predominantly relies on long stretches of wall-climbing and straightforward shooting, but Uncharted 2 excels at neither. Also, the pacing is a bit misguided; I love watching heroes explore ancient ruins at the end of an enchanting summer flick, but the concept of large, empty spaces with no enemies and frequent climbing across rocks, climbing across gears, and climbing over statues does not translate to an exciting video endgame (although the grand finale itself is satisfying).

If I've dashed your expectations a bit, rest assured the game is still quite excellent.

This third-person-perspective adventure follows treasure hunter Nathan Drake in his efforts to prevent arms dealer Zoran Lazarevic from finding Marco Polo's fabled cintamani stone and becoming a god. Zoran makes a habit of shooting his own mercs in the head, so it's pretty evident that we don't want this loathsome chap as a god. Both ruthless and clever, Zoran is a compelling villain, and he never becomes "cool" enough that I wanted him to live.

From the start, the clues leading to the cintamani stone make more sense than National Treasure 2's ridiculous leaps of faith. Nathan Drake is obviously just as intelligent as Nicholas Cage's character, but doesn't come across as borderline delusional. That's a good thing. If you get stuck on one of the in-game puzzles (some mysteries are unraveled during cinematics), there are optional hints to highlight the next step. Most in-game puzzles revolve around finding the appropriate way to climb further into the level, or locating a hidden switch . . . and then climbing to reach it. There's a lot of climbing, which wasn't nearly as enjoyable on the second playthrough as it was on the first.

The environments that Nathan climbs through are rich in detail. A friendly Tibetan town shines with vibrant primary colors and teems with peaceful life -- quite a change from the smoky, war-torn streets of Nepal. Be sure to loot the village treasures while you're there, you devious knave!

Even amidst chaos and gunfire, the scenery often surprised me with its beauty. Step out of a dilapidated house and you'll see a golden temple across the garden. While searching for the temple's lost treasure, Nathan is more concerned about whether his ex and her cameraman are a couple (I had to wonder, too; the cameraman didn't seem smart enough to deserve her).

SPOILER: While inside the temple, I noticed a glimmer in the corner. I climbed up there and found a secret treasure. BRONZE ALTAR SPOON get! There are 99 more to be found.

After you climb to the top of a broken-down hotel*, the gorgeous skyline awaits. When you're done taking in the breathtaking view, there's a swimming pool on the roof. Nathan leaps in to play the Marco Polo kids' game . . . and he actually gets his ladyfriend to begrudgingly play along. This is random but clever stuff.

* If you're tired of reading about climbing, imagine how I felt actually doing it!

Some graphical touches are nice (such as enemies dropping grenades when you shoot them after they've pulled the pin), while others betray a lack of attention (such as snow hovering in mid-air as my feet dangle, or piles of snow not moving at all when I walk right through them). Plenty of games look better on the surface -- I'll throw Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 out there as an example -- but Uncharted 2 more than makes up for this with the characters' behavior and motion.

I was impressed early on when I saw the way Chloe chuckled at rival treasure hunter Flynn's goofy joke. I know it sounds stupid to be impressed by "chuckling", but it was the most natural and convincing laughter I've ever heard -- and seen -- in a game. Which is odd, considering the characters still look like plastic-skinned dolls with creepy glass eyes. This believable behavior, this stellar voicework, emanates from every character without exception. Consider me impressed.

In short, Uncharted 2 isn't good because it's pretty; Uncharted 2 is good because it's convincing. Through elaborate scripted events, the quest manages to be linear without feeling linear. The high-speed convoy scene in particular was jaw-dropping . . . until my second playthrough, when I realized I was basically playing Dragon's Lair. Watching Nathan jump from speeding truck to speeding truck in the snowy mountains is gorgeous, but the proper path is so pre-determined and the jump controls so forgiving that the scene is closer to an old-time FMV adventure than to the ball-busting, truck-hopping scene from Sega's Nightshade.

But I'll be damned if I wasn't on the edge of my seat the first time through.

While jumping from truck to truck, I still had to fend off Zoran's henchmen. Combat is pretty straightforward: guns put holes in peoples' heads, a streamlined melee system shows off Nathan's martial arts, and a competent "cover" system has been yanked from Gears of War. I also enjoyed grabbing propane tanks and tossing them at enemies, then bursting the tank while it was in the air (next to the target's head).

Now imagine doing all that with a bunch of other people. I've never been a big fan of multiplayer, but in a game that loses so much on the second play, it was a wise inclusion. More importantly, it's true multiplayer -- with entire teams pitted against each other -- that uses the ever-present "climbing" to positive effect. The insanity almost felt like a high-budget Power Stone, although I know that feeling will fade once everyone becomes more familiar with the maps. Money earned during multiplayer can be spent on single-player tweaks such as unlimited ammo; I just wish I could play locally with a friend (Uncharted 2's multiplayer is online only).

Even though the characters look like dolls with creepy glass eyes, I was glad when the love interest proved her sincerity to the hero. Even though the jungle's lighting is unconvincing, I was still itching to see the massive explosion after setting a half-dozen detonation charges . . . and I was pissed that the game didn't let me see the result of my effort. The outstanding helicopter scene at the hotel, a scene that I shall not spoil, more than made up for the disappointing jungle. From Nathan Drake's raid on a guarded Istanbul keep (reminiscent of Conan's raid on the Tower of the Elephant) to Nathan Drake's uncovering of a lost civilization (how do these people stay alive?), the adventure felt like a big-screen epic.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves has the right storyline, the right characters, and the right talent. What it lacks are a personal connection to its inspiration (Marco Polo's real-life history barely plays a part), pioneering creativity, and the escalating rhythm associated with top-tier action titles . . . but as long as you don't go into the experience with overly-heightened expectations, that's okay. A derivative adventure can still be pretty thrilling when it's derived from stellar source material.

//Zig

Rating: 8/10

zigfried's avatar
Staff review by Zigfried (October 17, 2009)

Zigfried likes writing about whales and angry seamen, and often does so at the local pub.

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Feedback

If you enjoyed this Uncharted 2: Among Thieves review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

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honestgamer posted October 17, 2009:

Sweet review, as usual, and the timeliness pleases me greatly. ;-) You definitely make it sound like a game worth playing, and since none of the issues you raised sound like they would get in the way of my enjoyment in the slightest, I hope someday to add this my collection. I know that I was interested in seeing where the franchise went after the promising first game, and this sequel sounds like it at least maintains everything that made the first game worthwhile. Specific examples aside, much of what you wrote here falls in line with what I wrote about the first game... but maybe even prettier. Nice!
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zippdementia posted October 17, 2009:

You really should pick it up, Jace. It's definitely one of the best games I've ever played. Convincing, is the word Zig uses, and it's perfectly apropos.
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Suskie posted October 17, 2009:

I am very, very skeptical of this game, as I am of any game that receives astronomical praise but in which none of the reviews can explain what exactly makes the title so much better than everything else on the market. I've learned my lesson from BioShock.

I'll withhold judgments on the game until I can get around to playing it but as of now Zig is the only critic on the internet who doesn't sound like Naughty Dog stuffed a wad of cash down his pocket.
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Probester posted October 18, 2009:

I;m generally pretty cynical about "popular" games. Bioshock didn't seem that good to me, and I wasn't too surprised when it turned out to be mediocre. That said, while there might be a slight bit of sugar coating going on with Uncharted, I don't think people are exaggerating with high scores. But how much you like a game is still based on personal taste, the never ending problem with reading peer reviews.
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Lewis posted October 18, 2009:

One of the first sensible, measured and explanatory reviews I've read of this. See also Crispy Gamer for bringing everyone back down to Earth.

I've not played the game. But so far, from what I've read and been told, I have hundreds of people in one ear saying "OMG IT'S JUST SO GOOD!" and then two people in the other explaining, carefully, why it's quite good.
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mugatu101286 posted October 20, 2009:

congrats honestgamers! u are officially the only idiots to give uncharted 2 an 8/10 on gamerankings when this game clearly deserves a 9 and above. awesome job to the moron who reviewed this one.the emotion cant be as good with marco polo because he wasnt related to him like drake was u winner!
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Lewis posted October 20, 2009:

I'd be interested to hear your opinions of why it's clearly worth a nine or above. Is there something quantifiable that exists across every publication's scoring systems that means the game automatically sits on the same number for everyone?

This isn't me being arsey, either. I'm genuinely curious.
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honestgamer posted October 20, 2009:

dude its because uncharted 2 is so fucking awesome do you even know how to play video games? my name is raynier benitez so look me up on gay porn sites if you want an experts opinion and not some honest gamers winners dumb words.
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EmP posted October 20, 2009:

Can someone decode that post for me, please? I don't speak gibberish.
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Lewis posted October 20, 2009:

Congrats honestgamers! u are officially the only idiots to give uncharted 2 an 8/10 on gamerankings when this game clearly deserves a 9 and above. awesome job to the moron who reviewed this one.the emotion cant be as good with marco polo because he wasnt related to him like drake was u winner!

Congratulations, HonestGamers. You are officially the only publication aggregated by GameRankings to give Uncharted 2 an 8 out of 10 score, when I believe the game warrants a 9 or above on the arbitrary scoring scale I've just invented. Awesome job to the writer who reviewed this game. The emotion can't be as good with Marco Polo because he ????????????????????
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honestgamer posted October 20, 2009:

I think that's a reference to spoilers from the first game, Lewis. Drake is related to the famous Sir Francis Drake, but is not related to Marco Polo so theoretically the emotion in the first game (which I don't recall existing all that strongly) can't be replicated in this sequel. Therefore, it's not fair to bash the game for not having ambitious storytelling. I think that's the theory, anyway.

I also think that someone has been playing around with cookies and other things, so it's probably best not to pay attention to anthing else I happen to post in this thread.
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wolfqueen001 posted October 20, 2009:

XD This is hilarious. I bet he's just a stupid carry over from N4G or wherever his hypocritcal ass dwells.

What's going on with cookies, Jason? Nothing's seemed unusual here... accept for the influx of morons we'll probably be seeing in the next few days.
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MoreHonestGamer posted October 20, 2009:

I think a few posts in the thread linked below help to address how this review might be deemed slightly jaded and perhaps intentionally overly critical? Unfairly so perhaps. The poster uses the term "trollish" but think of it what you will. Some valid points are brought up which I think the editors would do well to take note of, since these kinds of things are what dent the reputations of sites such as these.

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=375555&page=274


Here are some quotes.


----

"Has anyone brought up Honestgamers.com's troll review of Uncharted yet? There's one every time, made to bring down the aggregate score and bring attention to a site. This one's pretty funny though.

http://www.honestgamers.com/systems/...+Among+Thieves

My personal favorite:

"Some graphical touches are nice (such as enemies dropping grenades when you shoot them after they've pulled the pin), while others betray a lack of attention (such as snow hovering in mid-air as my feet dangle, or piles of snow not moving at all when I walk right through them). Plenty of games look better on the surface — I'll throw Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 out there as an example — but Uncharted 2 more than makes up for this with the characters' behavior and motion."

I wrote a similar troll review of the PSP when it came out, you gotta admire good craftsmanship.

He successfully intertwines his mostly unfair/exaggerated complaints with enough faint praise along with a high enough score to have plausible deniability in denying what he actually set out to do, and to that I must tip my hat to the author."


---


"Well, I've never seen snow float in the game (if it did, it was probably a one off glitch and not worth bringing up in the review), and snow (70% of the time) does move when your feet trudge through it (usually it only doesn't when it isn't soft snow), and then there's comparing it to Sigma (lol). So yea...something isn't quite right about that paragraph....

Funnily enough, Game Daily(?) said the same thing about snow not moving/leaving footprints, but the moment I started a new game, and my feet hit the snow, low and behold it had realistic deformation and footprints...

In-fact....here's a few screens of it."


---


"The review follows a pattern: Anytime he uses a positive adjective it's immediately followed by a backhanded compliment. Take for instance where he compliments the acting and motion capture but right after matter of factly adds that it's weird because the characters look plastic.

If you actually look at the whole review it definitely doesn't read like an 8/10, now does it? He complains at length of boredom with the platforming sections and even says the gunplay is unexceptional."

---
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honestgamer posted October 20, 2009:

WQ, take a look at this post:

"dude its because uncharted 2 is so fucking awesome do you even know how to play video games? my name is raynier benitez so look me up on gay porn sites if you want an experts opinion and not some honest gamers winners dumb words."

I didn't post that, even as a joke (which is how most people probably took it, knowing me as you do). Someone found a way to post it and attach my name, which used to be possible by modifying files on a local system. I have just gone through and made some more changes to the site's source code that should prevent that from continuing in the future, and I've already fixed loopholes that allowed people to access content by modifying local cookies. There may be some leaks remaining, though, and sometimes people so passionately hate a review that they'll spend hours or days finding ways to break sites. If really odd stuff starts going down, you'll know that zigfried's review really touched a PS3 fan's nerve somewhere.

Of course the people who do that sort of hacking could better use their time writing quality reviews expressing their own viewpoints, or by leaving ratings on the games. The site is built around that very thing, but productivity isn't always what people have in mind when they get mad at a review.
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wolfqueen001 posted October 20, 2009:

Oh. Haha. Yeah; I took that post as a joke. I thought you were just mocking the fanboys. I'm glad you fixed it, though!

Haha. Well, looks like someone actually said something halfway intelligent. He's wrong, but still; at least it's not base fanboyism bordering on trolling.

The review in question was not meant to be a troll review. Nor the reviewer a troller. People are entitled to their own opinions of games, even if they fall "below the majority". What is especially confusing, albeit hilarious, about this situation is that these people are arguing over and EIGHT out of ten. EIGHT. Eight is still a really good score! Come on! Bahaha. Honestly...
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zigfried posted October 20, 2009:

Thank you for the comments, Morehonestgamer. I feel I should address a few of them.

Funnily enough, Game Daily(?) said the same thing about snow not moving/leaving footprints, but the moment I started a new game, and my feet hit the snow, low and behold it had realistic deformation and footprints...

I didn't mention footprints, and I think my statement about snow piles has been taken to the extreme. I too saw footprints and realistic deformation. However, I also saw little blobs of snow dangling in mid-air as I hung off the side of a cliff (because the "blobs of snow around your feet" animation had kicked in by mistake). There were also some piles of snow that were part of the unchanging "background", but you could physically walk through them, which is still pretty common in games.

Those things are minor details, which is why they only received a passing mention. In a game that relies on being pretty and convincing -- and will receive heavy graphical scrutiny for reasons that should be obvious -- I believe it's important to set peoples' expectations realistically. There are some awesome details, and there are some quirky details. It would be a mistake to neglect the whole picture, but it would also be a mistake to assume I docked a point because of such things.

"Plenty of games look better on the surface — I'll throw Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 out there as an example — but Uncharted 2 more than makes up for this with the characters' behavior and motion."

I wrote a similar troll review of the PSP when it came out, you gotta admire good craftsmanship.


I don't see how it's trolling to say that another game looks better until you take behavior and motion into account. NGSigma2 was pretty damn gorgeous, even though the characters don't move as expressively or convincingly as Uncharted 2's characters.

I also don't see how it's trolling to say that characters look plastic and have creepy eyes, but the game still managed to make me care. In my book, that's a pretty clear compliment to the acting and animation directors.

If you actually look at the whole review it definitely doesn't read like an 8/10, now does it? He complains at length of boredom with the platforming sections and even says the gunplay is unexceptional.

Whether or not it reads like an 8/10 is in the eye of the beholder. Uncharted 2 is more about being an "experience" than about being a platformer or gun game. People who focus on the platforming and gunplay will likely be disappointed. Look at the whole picture, and Uncharted 2 is a convincing and thrilling treasure-hunting experience that loses something in the second play. I think that first play is excellent enough to deserve an 8.

Readers are intelligent enough to know what they care about in a game. It's my job to make sure their decision is an informed one.

//Zig
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C__________________C posted October 20, 2009:

Wow!
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zippdementia posted October 20, 2009:

Fucking hell, this thread gives my eyes whiplash.
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MoreHonestGamer posted October 21, 2009:

Thanks for responding Zig,

I think the point about the snow was, bringing up the thing about floating snow at all seems a tad anal no? It was clearly a one off glitch (glitches occur in all games, sometimes by the plenty) yet it somehow made it in to the final review as if it may be something many people experience, when in actual fact you are the first person I have read to experience it.

When you look at the screens posted in the link above, or anywhere really, I think complaining about one of floating snow given how incredible the snow in general, and the snow effects are make the comment appear a bit drawing for short straws like.


Then there's another point touched upon, that every masked positive is immediately met with a negative or vice versa. As if the positive was only to appear fair/credible to counter balance the more alternative/unconventional negative opinions in the first place. Examples..Negative counter balance comment starts after the ***** or the other way around.



---

"I would not say that Uncharted 2 is the second-greatest game of its kind. It's a thoroughly competent product, and certainly a pretty one, ***** but fails to demonstrate daring ambition or conceptual innovation. "

---

"Thanks to some incredible animation and voice-acting, Nathan Drake is a likable and believable character, ***** but still a typical hero"

---

"Gameplay predominantly relies on long stretches of wall-climbing and straightforward shooting, ***** but Uncharted 2 excels at neither."

---

"Also, the pacing is a bit misguided; I love watching heroes explore ancient ruins at the end of an enchanting summer flick, but the concept of large, empty spaces with no enemies and frequent climbing across rocks, climbing across gears, and climbing over statues does not translate to an exciting video endgame (although the grand finale itself is satisfying).

If I've dashed your expectations a bit, ***** rest assured the game is still quite excellent."

---

"After you climb to the top of a broken-down hotel*, the gorgeous skyline awaits. When you're done taking in the breathtaking view, there's a swimming pool on the roof. Nathan leaps in to play the Marco Polo kids' game . . . and he actually gets his ladyfriend to begrudgingly play along. This is random but clever stuff.

***** If you're tired of reading about climbing, imagine how I felt actually doing it!"

---

"Some graphical touches are nice (such as enemies dropping grenades when you shoot them after they've pulled the pin), ***** while others betray a lack of attention (such as snow hovering in mid-air as my feet dangle, or piles of snow not moving at all when I walk right through them). Plenty of games look better on the surface — I'll throw Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 out there as an example — but Uncharted 2 more than makes up for this with the characters' behavior and motion."

---

"I was impressed early on when I saw the way Chloe chuckled at rival treasure hunter Flynn's goofy joke. I know it sounds stupid to be impressed by "chuckling", but it was the most natural and convincing laughter I've ever heard — and seen — in a game. ***** Which is odd, considering the characters still look like plastic-skinned dolls with creepy glass eyes."

---

"Through elaborate scripted events, the quest manages to be linear without feeling linear. The high-speed convoy scene in particular was jaw-dropping . . . until my second playthrough, ***** when I realized I was basically playing Dragon's Lair."

----

"Watching Nathan jump from speeding truck to speeding truck in the snowy mountains is gorgeous, ***** but the proper path is so pre-determined and the jump controls so forgiving that the scene is closer to an old-time FMV adventure than to the ball-busting, truck-hopping scene from Sega's Nightshade."

---

"Combat is pretty straightforward: guns put holes in peoples' heads, a streamlined melee system shows off Nathan's martial arts, and a competent "cover" system ***** has been yanked from Gears of War." (GoW was not the first to use it)

---

"The insanity almost felt like a high-budget Power Stone, although I know that feeling will fade once everyone becomes more familiar with the maps. Money earned during multiplayer can be spent on single-player tweaks such as unlimited ammo; ***** I just wish I could play locally with a friend (Uncharted 2's multiplayer is online only)."

---

"Even though the characters look like dolls with creepy glass eyes, ***** I was glad when the love interest proved her sincerity to the hero."

---

"Even though the jungle's lighting is unconvincing, ***** I was still itching to see the massive explosion after setting a half-dozen detonation charges. . . and I was pissed that the game didn't let me see the result of my effort."

---

The outstanding helicopter scene at the hotel, a scene that I shall not spoil, more than made up for the ***** disappointing jungle. "

---

"A derivative adventure can still be pretty thrilling when it's derived from ***** stellar source material."

---




To me, the review reads quite jaded, as if you had a pre-conceived opinion or slant and were trying your hardest to get it out amongst the sea of positive critical acclaim whilst trying to still seem credible. Hence why there's a lot of back and forth masked compliments thrown together with underhanded negatives (constantly). Even if at times, these negatives were petty one's (not being able to see the jungle blow up, floating one off snow glitch etc).

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Lewis posted October 21, 2009:

MoreHonestGamer:

Since you've come here and eloquently argued your case, you might be able to help me out here, because I'm really baffled by the constant assumption, with publications around the globe, that a below- or above-average review must have been written with an ulterior motive.

I assume there are some bands that are pretty much universally acclaimed, but that just don't appeal to you, right? Or you just can't get into them, for your own reasons, despite other people telling you they're great.

Why does this so often not apply to games? Why is there an assumption that everyone's opinions must align with the norm? Which, y'know, this one kind of does. We're talking about a one-tenth difference in scores. How come giving something an 8 out of 10 instead of a 9 out of 10 causes such uproarious fury?

And why is there so often an assumption that, just because one guy didn't like the game as much as other people, it must be either A) his fault, or B) his dark ulterior motive with which he entered the review?

Not being snarky or anything; am genuinely intrigued.
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zippdementia posted October 21, 2009:

Look, UC2 is great, but it's got its issues. When I write my review of it later this week, I'll be covering some more serious breaches of gameplay than just snow piling up around the feet.

So get ready to spam me.
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zigfried posted October 21, 2009:

Morehonestgamer, the purpose in pointing out such details as the snow was to say exactly that: Uncharted 2, like any other game, does have its quirks. I have no way to know which quirks are commonly experienced and which ones are not. All I know of are the quirks that I experienced.

Look at it another way: suppose I had said "While Uncharted 2 was very pretty and loaded with nice details, I also encountered a number of graphical flaws." People would naturally want to know what flaws I'm talking about (especially people who have heard that Uncharted 2 is flawless). By providing an example, I answer their natural question. "Anal" would have been for me to list every single quirk I encountered. I chose to only list a couple.

Then there's another point touched upon, that every masked positive is immediately met with a negative or vice versa. As if the positive was only to appear fair/credible to counter balance the more alternative/unconventional negative opinions in the first place.

Another way to look at it is that I was providing a complete picture of my experience. If you want reviewers to hide information from readers, then I'm not really sure how to respond to that.

I find it interesting that you use the phrase "counter balance". That phrase implies that the positive and equal traits bear equal weight, which is a determination in the eyes of the reader. Anyone who believes the positives and negatives in my review are counter balanced either:
1) would be EXTREMELY disappointed by the game, or
2) is fictionalizing an ulterior motive behind my words

I will hardly address every quote, but I will address four:

"Thanks to some incredible animation and voice-acting, Nathan Drake is a likable and believable character, ***** but still a typical hero"

Do you honestly feel as though being likable and believable is balanced by being a typical hero? Especially after I've already put the game's storyline on a pedestal above everything but Raiders of the Lost Ark? If so, then that is your own negativity towards the game, not mine. This thought process applies to many of the examples you listed.

Gameplay predominantly relies on long stretches of wall-climbing and straightforward shooting, ***** but Uncharted 2 excels at neither

This is not an example of counterbalance. This is me saying that Uncharted 2 is not notable for its gameplay. If you take the review as a holistic picture, it is clear that Uncharted 2 is notable for the overall experience it creates. This is not trolling; this is precision. Identifying the aspects of a game that excel, versus the aspects that do not excel, is sound reviewing philosophy.

"Combat is pretty straightforward: guns put holes in peoples' heads, a streamlined melee system shows off Nathan's martial arts, and a competent "cover" system ***** has been yanked from Gears of War."

I do not see the negative here. Is it a bad thing for games to take inspiration from others? Or is it only bad when the game in question was published on the Xbox 360? You also mention that Gears of War was not the first game with a cover system. I chose Gears of War as the example because it did come out before Uncharted, because it is an extremely famous game that popularized the "cover" concept, and because there are other similarities between the combat of Uncharted 2 and Gears of War. The comparison felt natural to me. There is no negativity in this statement.

"The insanity almost felt like a high-budget Power Stone, although I know that feeling will fade once everyone becomes more familiar with the maps. Money earned during multiplayer can be spent on single-player tweaks such as unlimited ammo; ***** I just wish I could play locally with a friend (Uncharted 2's multiplayer is online only)."

Would you prefer that I not mention the lack of local play? Wouldn't that be potentially misleading? Or should I have perhaps pretended to be HAPPY about the lack of local play?

Haven't you ever read a review, played the game, and then thought "Gee, I wish the reviews had mentioned XXX or YYY"? I am not telling people to avoid the game, nor am I imposing my beliefs on others. I am highly recommending the game, but with a realistic set of expectations. I find it odd that some consumers would support the suppression of information when $60 are at stake.

//Zig
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zippdementia posted October 21, 2009:

Zig, stop responding to trolls and instead get back to reading my FF review! It's short and sweet and is awaiting your soft touch in the production room.
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Probester posted October 21, 2009:

There are admittedly some glitches (mostly with textures and the cover system), although they didn't occur enough to make it significantly more apparent in this game than others. Usually I'm the the cynic questioning why mindless shooter titles deserve 9s, but if any certain game does, I'd say its this one. I'm a sucker for details and character development, except when it's Japanese, socially awkward, and anime-enhanced, which is why I skip over most Japanese RPGs. That's part of the reason why I like UC2 so much. Questioning why someone gave it an 8 instead of the 9 that everyone else is giving it is like asking someone why they prefer strawberry over vanilla ice cream.
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radicaldreamer posted October 22, 2009:

MoreHonestGamer, I think the fact that you pulled so many quotes from Zig's review as examples of "masked positives followed by petty negatives" is way more anal than anything in the review itself. I think the fact that you insist that the positives are "masked" indicates that you have an ulterior motive. I think the fact that you've pulled examples that don't even apply to your formula indicate that you're desperately stretching for "evidence" here.

Positive and negative statements are intertwined because that's how you describe something with both positive and negative aspects. It may be difficult to for you to see since you probably have some kind of agenda, but as someone who has never played Uncharted 2 and barely paid any attention to its pre-release press, every single quote you've pulled from Zig's review of a "masked" positive seems like the kind of writing you would expect from an 8/10 review, so your entire effort looks ridiculous. I guarantee you that if you read 8/10 reviews from GameSpot or IGN you will find plenty of statements intertwining positives and negatives as found in Zig's review. Some of the quotes you pulled are so legitimate that it really makes me wonder what's really going on in your head, like this one:

"The insanity almost felt like a high-budget Power Stone, although I know that feeling will fade once everyone becomes more familiar with the maps. Money earned during multiplayer can be spent on single-player tweaks such as unlimited ammo; ***** I just wish I could play locally with a friend (Uncharted 2's multiplayer is online only)."

It only seems to indicate that you think the negatives shouldn't be there at all because you think this game deserves better than an 8/10. In short, I think your post is just a pretentiously intellectualized version of all the idiots saying "how the fuck could you give this game a lower than a 9/10?" It's all very suggestive of how the majority of the gaming public is not only not in favor of honest criticism, but actively against it and more interested in making the world conform to popular consensus.

Also, I think the first game to use a cover system was WinBack -- but WinBack sucked ass and nobody played it. Manhunt also had one, but it was secondary to its stealth melee, and Manhunt wasn't incredibly popular. Gears of War popularized it, and it is the game that developers steal the cover system from.
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Lewis posted October 22, 2009:

Over on Resolution recently, we had someone questioning a score to two decimal places.

I can't help but feel we have Game Informer to thank for this.

Of course, if we strip away scoring systems entirely, I can't see how Zig's review isn't A) clear and B) obviously a reasoned, honest and professional evaluation of the game. The tone of the review is hugely positive, but with a sense of restraint that's been sorely lacking from much of Uncharted 2's coverage. It takes a hell of a lot of skill to be able to step outside of your own expectations and look at a game from a removed and critical (in the proper sense of the word) perspective, but Zig did so masterfully.

But the key is that he still came away saying, essentially, "it's a flawed, but still brilliant, game."

What if he'd written the same review but given an 9? What if we used Crispy Gamer's system? How would it translate to that? Over there, Tom Chick gave it a Try out of Buy. People complained there too. Yet I can't imagine any of them read the review, which was largely positive. It wasn't placed in the highest band, because their highest band signifies an essential purchase, which Chick didn't believe it to be. Is that trolling? Hit-chasing? Is it really?

I'm really curious to hear MoreHonestGamer's answers, so I do hope he returns. This is an area I'm really interested in: why do people assume an ulterior motive from their reviews, even from publications who are obviously fiercely independent?
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MoreHonestGamer posted October 22, 2009:

Lewis, my posts and comments have nothing to do with the score, but everything to do with the written article. Also, I'm one of those who are in the train of thought that even if someone doesn't enjoy something themselves, they should still be able to objectively recognise the quality/merits of that medium. For example, there are plenty of people out there who for example, dislike fantasy films, but can and should be able to appreciate the quality of say, the LotR franchise. Zigfrieds written review in general just seems rather aloof and inconsistent, not to mention very alternative and in an extreme minority of opinion.

I feel that in putting forth his own pre-convinced slant or opinion of the title, he lost objective merit. Whether one enjoys Uncharted 2 or not, just playing it, I think we can or at least should all agree that it IS in actual fact doing lots of innovative things at the very least on the technical end of the spectrum (hell, just ask other AAA game developers and they will and HAVE agreed). Namely with the dynamic environment and set piece gameplay sections (the train, collapsing building, chase scenes etc). I don't think any other video game has attempted to, let alone actually triumphed in doing many of the things U2 succeeds in doing. Which is precisely why it has been getting such unanimous praise. From journalists and developers alike.

"but fails to demonstrate daring ambition or conceptual innovation."

I just feel the above quote is not only incredibly inaccurate, but does a complete disservice to the title, and readers of this review. U2 is quite clearly ambitious, and conceptually innovative in many respects, I don't think this much is even debatable.
In-fact, you can near enough tell as much in the first 5-10 mins you spend with the game, with the opening train tutorial level. This alone, in terms of technical potency, dynamic level integration, animation blending, camera implementation and cinematic appeal (despite being pre-canned) is quite bespoke and ahead of the curve.
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radicaldreamer posted October 22, 2009:

The problem with your train of thought is that it's wrong. "Merits" and "qualities" are not strictly objective; they only have the pretense of objectivity when there is a diffused consensus on standards. Your LotR example is also inappropriate because it is about recognizing the "objective" qualities of a particular entry in a genre that a given individual dislikes. That's not the case here. Zig dislikes neither the genre nor the particular entry; he merely has a slightly less positive (but still very positive) opinion than the rest of the gaming public or press.

I reread the review specifically with an eye out for the inconsistency you alleged and found none. I'm not sure what "very alternative" is even supposed to mean. The statement that Zig's review is "in an extreme minority of opinion" is itself extreme. This is another ultimately positive review, along with all the other positive ones. It is an outlier only because it is slightly less positive. It's also irrelevant. Why is minority of opinion even worth mentioning at all? What are you implying by that? That as such it lacks some kind of sanctity or legitimacy? I hate using extreme and dramatic examples to prove points, but there have been times when the opinion of the majority was that black people should be forced to labor against their will and without compensation (or in the case of black women, accept rape with no legal recourse as well).

Now I would like to ask precisely what you seem to think Zig's "pre-conceived" slant precisely is. From reading the review, it seems as though if there is one, it's the one given to him by all the 9/10 and 10/10 reviews -- and that the game itself, while very good in his opinion, did not quite live up to the expectations set by other reviewers.

I would love to know exactly how you know that "other AAA developers" have agreed that Uncharted 2 is doing lots of innovative things. Such information is not publicly available. Developers don't have their own review outlets and they typically don't release statements about their opinions of the products of other developers, and they don't send their statements to publishers to put on the back of the box. The only way you could possibly know something like this for a fact is if you're somehow involved in the industry and your involvement entails a high level of communication with developers. I have no idea what type of job would even involve that. Publishing maybe? But even that would only involve interaction with a limited number of developers and would not be representative. In the end, I can only assume you're making this information up.

Finally, your posts seem to reflect the all-too-common misconception that game reviewing is game journalism. It's not. Game reviewing is game criticism. The former is strictly fact-based reporting; the latter is an opinion supported by analysis. This does not mean providing explicitly false information, but it does mean opinion, personal experience, argument, etc. Uncharted 2 is not "in actual fact" doing anything innovative. In actual fact it has a train, collapsing buildings, and chase scenes; it is subjectively doing many innovative things in the eyes of a majority of gamers, many of whom are represented in major gaming publications.

Unfortunately, this is a misconception that is intentionally perpetuated by major gaming publications as they try to turn game reviewing into something it's not, and they succeed to some extent. If you look at reviews for film, music or books, they look absolutely nothing like reviews for games. The former use more sophisticated language, write more coherent essays, and have deeper analyses. But perhaps most significantly, they lack the compressed scoring aggregates that characterize game reviewing. See a movie you love recently? It has an average score of 50 on metacritic and a range from 0 to 100. Corporations hold more sway over the gaming press than in other industries because their words have deeper economic consequences for everyone involved: developers, publishers, the press, and consumers.

The real problem isn't losing sight of objectivity; it's losing sight of subjectivity. Reading different reviews for movies, music or books provides insight from different points of view, some of which may matter more to certain readers than others. Game reviewing is commodified, intended for mass consumption, but this only devalues the practice of reviewing as a whole. That's why sites like this exist: to provide an outlet for real gaming criticism and to restore subjectivity to its practice.
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Lewis posted October 22, 2009:

Does being ahead of the curve mean something's innovative? I'm not sure. I haven't played Uncharted 2, so can't comment on that in the context of the game. But in terms of dynamic set-pieces... I can think of plenty of games that have achieved that. How does it stack up next to some of Half-Life 2's sequences, for example? I'd be interested to know.

In what way do you feel Zig came into the review with a pre-conceived opinion? I can't see any evidence for that in the review. In fact, it seems quite the opposite to me. It's uncoloured by the hype, and critically assessing the game itself, rather than the jubilations surrounding it.

To me, the review makes Uncharted 2 sound like a refined, polished action adventure with unprecedented levels of acting quality and character animation, one which compares favourably to motion pictures in the same genre. That's pretty big praise.

Indeed, the overriding message of the review seems to be that while Uncharted 2 has its share of problems, they barely matter in the context of what is a thoroughly engrossing, exciting videogame.

I don't see how this differs from the norm. Pretty much every decent review I've read of the game lists a set of problems. The difference is that many reviews have buried them in a single, obligatory flaws paragraph, before continuing onto a gushing conclusion. Same opinions conveyed, different method of doing so.

But even if it were to deviate from the norm, why is this a problem? Look at any music or film on Metacritic and you'll see an enormous range of opinions, because art and entertainment are subjective experiences. I don't see how it makes sense to mask that by reviewing everything based on what most people will think, because while that keeps a lot of people happy, it does an enormous disservice to the minority who won't be so sure.

Either way, I cannot see how Zig's review is anything other than a thorough and fair assessment of the game, one which allows the reader to form his or her own judgements based on their own knowledge of what appeals to them in such a title. If you don't mind about minor graphical glitches, it won't be a problem to you. If you don't mind about repetitive climbing, it won't matter to you.

Have a read of Tom Chick's review over at Crispy Gamer. I'd be interested to know what you think of this, as you'd have to form a pretty compelling argument to claim he had any sort of agenda, being as he is one of the most experienced, respected and fiercely honest critics in the videogaming world. Funnily enough, it touches upon many of the same points as Zig's review, and reaches a similar - though probably less favourable - conclusion.

Your argument would have to be more compelling than those on the comments thread there saying he did it for the hits due to no one reading Crispy Gamer, anyway, given that in its niche it's one of the most popular publications out there.

Aaaanyway. You still haven't addressed my most salient question which is: why do people care so much when a review deviates from the norm? Why is that an issue? Why should everyone share some sort of quantitative judgement of a personal experience, and why do people rally against the outsiders when this doesn't happen?
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sashanan posted October 22, 2009:

But even if it were to deviate from the norm, why is this a problem? Look at any music or film on Metacritic and you'll see an enormous range of opinions, because art and entertainment are subjective experiences. I don't see how it makes sense to mask that by reviewing everything based on what most people will think, because while that keeps a lot of people happy, it does an enormous disservice to the minority who won't be so sure.

Interesting that you should bring that up - I know I've struggled with this (very) early on on my first few reviews (excepting the Commodore 64 ones of which I knew that most readers hadn't played nor would play the game anyway). Was I supposed to review and score based on what *I* felt, or based on what I felt was objectively what the game was like? Was I supposed to gush over a dungeon crawler with repetitive encounters because I didn't care, or be critical of it because presumably many people would care?

The fallacy being that I still thought at the time that a review could objectively, mathematically, state good and bad aspects as fact, when it is by definition a subjective piece coloured by the author's perspective. There is no harm in this because this is what a review IS. And on a good one, it should be easy for the reader to tell anyway if their opinion is or isn't going to mirror. A reviewer might get hung up on something they disliked, but if they've written their piece well I'll be able to tell if this is something that is likely to bother me as well.
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Lewis posted October 22, 2009:

radicaldreamer just completely won the thread.
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MoreHonestGamer posted October 22, 2009:

Ok, firstly, Levis, please don't take this the wrong way, but you are in no position to even comment on whether his review is fair or not, or perhaps even the merits of the review or the game since you, yourself, have not played it. My guess is Radical hasn't either (but who knows). If you HAD played it, you might have had a different opinion of the review.

What Radical glossed over, was specific issues I had with quotes in review. For example, the one about lack of ambition and conceptual innovation. 99/100 of the reviewers would argue different. And rightfully so. And in that respect, yes, the fact that Zigfried's opinion is of the extreme minority DOES count. It means 99 other professionals have a different take on the game. And 99 professionals is better than one. In this respect, his comments are not only peculiar, but imo well off the mark (this is what I meant by inconsistent, perhaps I worded it wrongly). It's not by coincidence that the ONLY other journalist to share similar views as him is Tom Chick (who has a reputation for stirring pots). The fact that Zigfried's review is brought up in-line with Tom Chick's in itself dents it's credibility somewhat. Tom Chick is not a journalist you want your reviews to be associated with (and that goes well beyond his U2 review).

Also, I completely disagree with Radical's take on subjective innovation. Games can and do, do things objectively innovative, all the time. And Uncharted 2 is no different. It is not the fact that it has a train level that makes it innovative (duh!), it is the way it is implemented. And saying such things cannot be objectively innovative is doing a complete disservice to gaming as a medium, and to the developers that put all the effort in to these things. Imo what makes a good journalist or critic, is being able to look at these things objectively (same for any medium).

The point is, developers and journalists (apparently not Zigfreid mind) should be able to look at whatever game, and de construct what it is and isn't doing beyond the norm. This sometimes does mean looking at things on a deeper level, beyond personal taste, perhaps technically (which is largely where U2 innovates). Maybe Zigfreids take on the game differs because he has a lack of development knowledge or even basic know how? Who knows, I don't, but I do know that many of his comments were way off the mark.

You only have to play a few of U2's segments to realise that you are experiencing certain things you have NEVER experienced in any other game. That sounds like hype, but it's not, it's just the plain truth. As someone who is getting in to the development side of things now, it is interesting to unravel the different facets of U2 and trust me, a lot of it makes the mind boggle. I am sure there are many developers out there scratching their heads after playing the game, wondering how Naughty Dog did some of the things they did (again, mainly on a technical and cinematic level).

And in respect to other developers, yes, comments have been made. By some of Infinity Wards staff for example. Many of whom were even expressly told to go and play Uncharted 2, I'd imagine so they could learn a thing or two from it on the creative development side (though that is just an assumption). In the same way that ND staff clearly paid a lot of attention to Bungie's/IW's titles since they are mentioned in the credits.

Honestly, I would love to have Zigfried sat next to me whilst we both played the game together, so I could quiz him on opinions on different segments, just to see if perhaps he could concede that certain elements were indeed extremely ambitious and conceptually innovative if looked at with a less narrow viewpoint. All in good nature mind. But I have to say, many elements of his review just baffled me...

Even the comments about the visuals as well. I have not met or heard a SINGLE person who has not agreed U2 is the best looking (matter of opinion) and most technically impressive (not really debatable) console game to date. Yet somehow, Zigfreid even manages to go against convention with his comments here. With compliments that are apparently very withdrawn or conservative, and wrought with as much negativity as they are positive. When I read "plenty of games look better on the surface" and then read "Sigma 2" as an example, I couldn't help but laugh. That may sound condescending, but I'm sure others who have played the games might have had a similar reaction.

Plus...other comments...

"Even though the jungle's lighting is unconvincing"


Really?.... (screens shamelessly taken from the GAF)


example 1

example 2

example 3

example 4

example 5



"Which is odd, considering the characters still look like plastic-skinned dolls with creepy glass eyes."


Is it really that bad?...Or does Zig just have outrageously high standards...possibly limited to Uncharted 2?


example 1

example 2

exampe 3

example 4

example 5

example 6

example 7

P.S. I think Chloe is supposed to have steely looking eyes. I'd imagine to give her that piercing sexy gaze. Whether it works or not is an entirely different story.


On one other minor side note, contrary to what his review says, you DO actually get to see your explosives go off in the jungle, if only for a split second. The bombs do go off, in a cut scene following the gameplay segment in question. The explosion acts as a diversion, giving Drake time to explore a segment of the camp following it. Not sure how he quite missed that glaring mistake, seeing as how he did apparently play the game twice.
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Lewis posted October 22, 2009:

Okay!

A few things.

1) You're right. I have not played Uncharted 2. I cannot comment on whether or not I agree with Zig or Tom's reviews. What I can say is that both strike me as measured analyses, and unless they are simply fabricating negative points, which seems unlikely given they arrive at the same ones, I cannot see any reason to question them.

What you are doing, however, is disagreeing with their views. And I know that sounds patronising, but bear with me, as it's relevant. You're assuming that the majority is necessarily the most valid. And it's true that the majority has a tendency to be viewed as the most valid. But it does not equate to absolute proof.

In other words: "99 professionals is better than one" is necessarily not always true.

So my comments about the review being fair are based on the eloquence with which the writer communicates his argument, and the means he uses with which to get there. I do not feel I have to have played a game in order to feel a review is reasonable. It's never overblown, and it's always measured. Nothing has been verifiably invented as evidence for his argument. It's a case of an opinion being presented via a series of argument strategies. The conclusion at which he arrives is not what I'm arguing about; the means with which he arrives there is what I'm discussing.

I'm maybe coming at this from the opposite angle, as I am a games journalist. But hopefully that explains why I feel qualified to comment on the review without having played the game.

2) Tom Chick has a reputation for stirring pots amongst those who believe that every critical outlier is stirring pots, rather than actually expressing an opinion that differs from the norm, based on his own personal standpoint.

Among the circles that do not care whether his views fall in the majority, he is considered one of the most eloquent, respected and revered professionals within videogame criticism, and has been for many years.

3) There is a difference between critical analysis and objectivity. Objectibity does not serve an audience within games reviewing, because no one buys a game, sits down with it, plays it through, then simply considers a list of quantifiable, factual statements about the game. I'd say pure objectivity would actually be doing a disservice to the developers, because undoubtedly, the vast majority of developers want their players to either think or feel something; develop a connection on a personal level. If a review is not communicating on that personal level, it has failed, far moreso than a review which merely does not align with the majority view.

4) With regards to innovation, if I had time, I could pen an essay on why no game has been truly innovative in the past 60 years. Yes, 60. I don't, so I won't, but it's worth considering.

5) "Plastic dolls with creepy eyes" is a really fascinating thing to mention in the review. Are you familiar with the Uncanny Valley theory? It's the idea that technology can never absolutely replicate life-like figures, and that the mind is more tuned into flaws the closer it gets to that life-like image. Hence the valley. The amount of positive responses rises with improved "life-like-ness", but drops staggeringly when it gets to that stage that's so near, yet so far.

What Zig is describing here is that theory in action. And I can totally understand that. I have exactly the same reaction to the Heavy Rain footage. It's a very perceptive and smart comment to make.

***

More Generally:

You're in danger of being a little prescriptive here, and overgeneralising with regards to how game reviews should be written. Context is everything. You say reviewers "should" go beyond personal taste. But HonestGamers was founded, ten years ago, with a view to communicating that personal taste, as a platform for discussion, regardless of agreement or disagreement. Again, worth keeping in mind.

***

Above all this:

Thanks for sticking around and holding your own in a debate against a whole bunch of us. I'm glad you did, as with each step the conversation takes, it gets more interesting.

***

One more question:

If Zig had written what you considered to be a convincing argument as to why Uncharted 2 wasn't deserving of its praise, even though you wholeheartedly disagreed, would you have been more receptive to the piece?

If, honestly, you can't say you would have, then why is that?
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zigfried posted October 22, 2009:

Morehonestgamer ---

The point is, developers and journalists (apparently not Zigfreid mind) should be able to look at whatever game, and de construct what it is and isn't doing beyond the norm. This sometimes does mean looking at things on a deeper level, beyond personal taste, perhaps technically (which is largely where U2 innovates).

I would say that this is what I did. I have yet to see evidence that I failed to do this. If you are referring to moments such as the convoy scene, I did experience similar in other games. Uncharted 2's moments were much prettier and more gripping (the first time through), but they are not conceptually that much different than "OH ****" moments from other games.

I then used that deconstruction -- all of which are personal opinions based on my perceptions and experience (as they would be for anyone else) -- to build a review.

In regards to your final paragraph.... whether a game is technically impressive actually is up to debate, because everyone applies different weights to various technical aspects and perceives the quality of each aspect differently. One person may think character model texturing is important, another may think the number of animations used while walking is important, and someone else may place the most importance on appropriateness of lighting. "Technical quality" for any game is very open to debate.

//Zig
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radicaldreamer posted October 22, 2009:

I don't care if I've never played Uncharted 2. If anything, this gives me a position of neutrality, and you are not really in a position to even comment on whether his review is fair or not because you appear so severely and incurably biased. You are basically saying that Zig is just wrong and that if we had played Uncharted 2 we would know the "truth." The arrogance here is massive.

Your post isn't even saying anything other than that Zig's opinion is wrong and that the proof is the 99/100 other reviewers who disagree with him (a very clearly fabricated statistic). You don't even have a real argument here. You just say that majority opinion is automatically and inherently the legitimate one. Do I need to bring up more ridiculous examples, like of majority opinion of the earth being the center of the galaxy?

The only way games can be "objectively innovative" is if you define innovative in its most strict sense of doing something new that has never been done before. But this is precisely the opposite of the definition you gave, which is the liberal, subjective interpretation that is used in gaming media. The mere fact of having a train level is an example of the objective (if it had never been done before); the way it is implemented is the subjective.

Are you even serious about your comments about the visuals? You're just dropping the pretense of argument again and just saying that Zig is wrong because he disagrees with you and other people. It sounds condescending because you are condescending. I think I have been condescending too, but your condescension stems from the fact that you obviously think people are wrong who disagree with you about about whether or not a particular video game is the prettiest one. Your only support for this is that so many other people agree with you and disagree with Zig, as if he's the only one with his opinion, when in fact there are probably several other people who do feel similarly who simply haven't voiced it publicly. Yet again you only argue that going against popular opinion is inherently wrong.

I don't know how Zig feels, but I would never want to sit next to you, or associate with you in real life. I would never want to deal with someone trying to force their opinion on me in real life. What makes me laugh is how you want to see if Zig could look at it with a "less narrow viewpoint." I know you're actually trying very hard to be nice, but your arrogance, hypocrisy and bias are so flagrant, shameless, and deep-seated that it makes it difficult for someone with more socially adjusted sensibilities to not get angry.
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Suskie posted October 22, 2009:

MoreHonestGamer, I'm going to take a wild guess here and say you're pretty unfamiliar with this site, so I'd like to fill you in. We're a community of writers who take pride in the quality of our work. Every member of our staff and freelance team fits that description, and I'm not exaggerating when I say our user base is the most consistently talented of any gaming site on the web -- really! Just take a look at our Review of the Week feature, which regularly highlights the best in user-submitted reviews. We're constantly holding reviewing competitions. We treat reviewing as a hobby and are dedicated to it. You need only to take a glance around the site to see what I mean.

I say this because Zigfried is considered one of the absolute best writers on the site, if not the best. I invite you to click on his username and browse his review archive; he has nearly 200 to his name and they're all excellent. I've known the guy for a couple of years and can say that he's an intelligent and level-headed person with a passion for gaming and a genuine concern for the quality of his writing. So suggesting or implying that his sole intention in penning this review was to stir up the pot is nothing short of insulting.
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drella posted October 22, 2009:

I like this review for one reason.

Whenever a major release comes out, unlike other subsets of critics -- movies, music, what have you -- video game reviewers in no way attempt to temper their response or place a title in any sort of future historical context. Look at the ratings for Madden games dating back for the past two decades. Undoubtedly, there have been such radical improvements -- excusing graphical, because that would be too obvious -- that any high rating for, say, an N64 iteration looks laughable in the face of a modern release. Those were all six or seven out of ten titles at best. Simply, they were just the best available football game at the time and inflation naturally occurred.

Yet critics -- lacking any grasp of foresight, part due to ignorance and part due to the trade secrecy of the tech industry -- in no way try to establish context with ratings, merely giving their in the moment reaction. All those near perfect scores are catering to whims -- Uncharted 2 is new and fancy and hip. It's got luster and shine. Of course you want to buy this, you dolt, and we'll have another must buy next month. Video games are still gizmos -- nothing resembling art for sure -- in the eyes of the critics, and scores for popular new games reflect what is state of the art right now. In the late 1970s, 8-track players were 10/10.

What Zigfried's review does effectively is to remain level-headed and maintain some perspective on the grand scheme of the industry. Most other video game critics seem baffled by the notion. They live in a world built around right now and their fond memory of yesterday. Often, they only notice when something is not fun, not to the varying degrees it may be. Mostly, they act as consumer reports, what you should buy if you're in the market now, not what will last.

The one reason I like this review is this: Ten years from now, this 8/10 will probably make a lot more sense.
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zigfried posted October 22, 2009:

Since I am posting on 10-minute breaks, I wanted to add a couple notes to Lewis that I didn't have time to type out before....

I too respect Tom Chick, and don't quite understand the internet hate towards him. This isn't the first time I've seen him questioned (and I've certainly seen him attacked), but his reviews generally sounded fair and well-reasoned to me. As an aside, I had not read his review (or any review) of Uncharted 2 before writing mine. For new games, I intentionally try to avoid them. But when you posted your link, I must admit that I was happy to be compared to him.

Also, I had forgotten the term for the Uncanny Valley, but I was always fascinated by that. Up to a point, human replication becomes more and more admirable... but then suddenly, it starts to turn creepy. It's an interesting phenomenon, and I was definitely thinking that while playing Uncharted 2. But since I forgot the term, I had to actually find a different way to describe what I was feeling/seeing (which was probably better, since it resulted in a more concrete description).

Even though the character's appearance was on the wrong side of the valley, the behavior and motion was quite remarkable. Was the motion human, or was it far enough from human that I didn't notice its flaws? An interesting question to ponder.

To everyone else, thanks for a thoughtful discussion. I think I've reached my typing limit, but I've read every word posted here.

//Zig
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honestgamer posted October 22, 2009:

Drella raises some interesting points, so I'm going to acknowledge that and then jump off wildly in my own new direction...

When I review a game, I try to strip away some of the hype that comes from the game being a new and "exciting" release, but there's only so far I can go in that and I don't go insane trying to figure out what's genuine greatness and what's me feeling the rush from playing the newest and most exciting game. After all, that feeling is going to be shared by consumers and I owe more to consumers than I do the video game historians of the hypothetical future.

The more interesting question is why gamers get so angry when a critic expresses an opinion that a popular game isn't that great.

The answer as I see it is that the person who gets angry is angry because the critic is putting the game's victory at risk. To me, the mentality is a lot like it is with fans of a given sports team. Uncharted 2 is like a terrific quarterback. If enough injuries (bad reviews) happen, he's taken out of the game and that puts his team at a risk of losing the game (the console war). Every new console exclusive that comes is a chance for that team/console to lose.

So the PlayStation 3 fans fear that if Uncharted 2 doesn't score at least as high as Gears of War or Halo 3, Microsoft has just scored a point. Likewise, the typical Microsoft fan seems more repusled by the notion of a PS3 exclusive being worthwhile than he is the notion of his mother dying in a fiery blaze. It works both ways and it's ridiculous.

Why don't we see this kind of fandom from movie lovers? You don't see a Disney fan screaming every time a Disney film is panned, at least not to the same extent. You don't see as many shouts of "fanboy!" when critics don't enjoy a Dreamworks picture. The accusations leveled against critics in those cases are entirely different, with a more natural focus on just the one thing: was this a good movie or a bad one?

Game reviews carry a lot of baggage, baggage that critics wish weren't there. Baggage that is there precisely because the people reading the reviews are so often unwilling to stop living in a console war zone.
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SuckingDick posted October 22, 2009:

I just registered to pay homage to this site. I respect this site just as much i respected Electronic Gaming Monthly. I may disagree with some reviews (Mass Effect got 10 out of 10, yeah , right.) , but i've noticed this site has one of the most thorough retrogaming reviews, PC-wise and console-wise, which somewhat legitimizes your passion in gaming.

Although i'd rather Marc Golding or Gary Hartley review Uncharted 2 because they seem to be the shooter afficionados of this site.On the other hand Zigfried reviewed God Of War and Ninja Gaiden Black, so he must have some authority in action adventure genre.

BTW, i don't believe video games are art, so we may as well be on the same boat here. And i prefer Frasier over Seinfeld.

And Persona 4 shits all over Deus Ex, because Deus Ex is a constant stream of pig diarrhea.So Suskie, if you think you are playing JRPG just to reassure that PC RPG are miles ahead of console RPG and to look down upon it, PErsona 4 is going to change your mind. Ditch Lost Oddysey, or Last Remnant or whatever garbage this current gen has to offer , and play Persona 4.PErsona 4 has surpassed Deus Ex on every level conceivable.

Persona 4 is the best game of this decade.


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Lewis posted October 22, 2009:

A true fact: Deus Ex is the only game I would, without any hesitation, award a 10 out of 10.

To address some other points:

Jason, I think the sports team analogy works well, but for another reason. The console wars will continue to rage, but I think that's a supplementary issue. The main one is a sense of identity and belonging. For the record, I don't think our new friend MoreHonestGamer fits into that category, and unlike Radicaldreamer would happily sit with him and have a beer and a chat about games. He seems to know what he's talking about in terms of games themselves, and while I don't agree with many of his views on game criticism, it would make for an interesting discussion.

The problem is this. Many players adopt certain games as a part of their own identity, long before release. Uncharted 2 was one of these. Popular AAA sequels often fit into this category, as the original will have built up a passionate fanbase off the back of its quality. When Official Playstation Mag France then turns up with - quite frankly - the most hideous offence to games journalism and the biggest disservice to its readership by awarding a nonexistant, more-than-perfect mark, that's the confirmation that these fans have been waiting for. The game they've been eagerly anticipating for ages, the one they've been praying will be outstanding, is that good.

And they start telling everyone. It's great! OPSMF said so! We all need to buy it and gush about it and spew awesomes! And it becomes part of a personal identity, that you read that review, and you're telling people about it, and you've pre-ordered the special edition. And then all these other reviews emerge that agree with you! It's brilliant! Everyone's part of this little group that appreciates and understands the exemplary quality of the game.

And somewhere along the line, this sensibility gets offended by someone eloquently disagreeing with the expected view. By this point, the game has become so intrinsically tied with its player base that any harsh words are interpreted, whether consciously or otherwise, as personal attacks. You said my baby was ugly, y'know?

It doesn't happen in films because film is more widespread in term of its audience. That audience is older, for the most part. And the medium is more mature. Gaming is wonderful, but in terms of delivering intense personal connection, I'd say the gaming hype machine is more effective than actual games themselves. Compared to film, games flail widely in that respect. Whether they should try to compare (and my absolute favourites do) is another discussion entirely.
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radicaldreamer posted October 22, 2009:

When I first played the Deus Ex demo, I proudly declared it the best game of all time. I didn't care about the hilariously bad animation, the crappy gunplay, or the basically nonexistent AI.

I would probably still give it a 9 today, and I have very fond memories of the voice acting.
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SuckingDick posted October 22, 2009:

You don't really believe that because a game offers you multiple ways to solve a stage , it necessarily has to be the best game of all time, don't you ?

By that standard , all sports games would have to be given a ten, because you have the freedom to develop your own style and problem solving methode.

Persona 4's battle system is better than anything Deus Ex has to offer.
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Lewis posted October 22, 2009:

You don't really believe that because a game offers you multiple ways to solve a stage, it necessarily has to be the best game of all time, don't you?

No, I don't. Which is why I never, ever said this.
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SuckingDick posted October 22, 2009:

Well, if it's not because of freedom , what separates Deus Ex from being a complete feces ?
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MoreHonestGamer posted October 22, 2009:

I think it's ironic and rather disheartening that the two people most defending or championing Zig's review have not even played Uncharted 2 themselves. I realise this discussion has so far been relatively well mannered and actually quite fruitful, I however simply have to admit that I find these new revelations rather laughable.

How can you possibly defend a review for a game, or film (or whatever medium) if you haven't even played that game, or seen that film yourself? The implied notion that someone is perhaps more adequate to debate on a review of a game they themselves have not played because they would be more "neutral" is just idiocy. If anything, it's the exact opposite, arguing or defending a critique of something you yourself have never played shows a level of jaded bias in itself. What is it compelling that person to defend something they have never experienced themselves? A friendship (as far as forums go) with Zig? The forum? It's writers? The negative elements of the review? One can only guess, but the fact of the matter is, you simply cannot competently or credibly defend, or criticise a critique of something you yourself haven't played. The best you can do is analyse the language or style of the written work itself.

I would recommend that before any further debates about the review, or Uncharted 2 as a game, it's accomplishments, failings, technical merits, innovations etc are discussed, the people debating actually PLAY the game. Otherwise any debate is nearly pointless.

I cannot help but sit here and feel a sense of perplexity knowing that the two people I've spent the most time debating the review with, have not even played the game. Unreal.
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joseph_valencia posted October 22, 2009:

Okay, so I bought this game and it's really cool but,... I'm stuck at the part with the gorilla that throws turtle shells at you. I don't know how to counter his attacks. Can anyone here give me advice? The female sidekick is useless; all she does is stand there while dinosaurs spit bombs at her. Fucking-A!
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wolfqueen001 posted October 22, 2009:

MoreHonestGamer:

While I agree to some extent that not playing the game beforehand reduces a person's credibility to talk about the game itself, I disagree in that not playing the game itself doesn't mean you can't talk about a review.

Everyone on this site is an experienced writer who has written reviews for years, so it is perfectly reasonable that they should be able to read another's review and level any criticism or praise within a well-reasoned manner. To effectively analyze a review, one needs to examine the content and style of the review in order to determine whether it is a good review or not. Whether they have played the game or not doesn't matter at all.

Further, your argument makes absolutely no sense in at least one regard. You're basically suggesting that the average person who reads a review to find out whether the game in question will appeal to them cannot make any judgment on the review itself because they have never played the game in question! This is highly paradoxical because reviews are meant to appeal to the consumers looking to spend their money in the wisest fashion imaginable. I believe Zig's review does a fantastic job outlining everything a gamer needs to know about the game before making the purchase. Like him, I would like to know about any flaws in the game rather than discovering them on my own and then blaming the review for not being complete enough. That sort of censorship of negative information is a travesty.

Also, I think I can legitimately say that since this is the only argument you can level against the people discussing this topic, you are just grasping at straws now looking for any reason to find fault in the defenders' opinions when in fact they are so well-argued that you can no longer come up with a more legitimate critique.
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radicaldreamer posted October 22, 2009:

It's quite simple. I am defending Zig's review less than I am attacking you for not debating and instead being a fanboy splitting hairs over semantics and claiming that majority opinion is the objective truth. To the extent that I am defending Zig's review, it is based on the manner in which it is written, and in this respect I seem to have more competence and credibility than you.

You claim he had a pre-conceived notion about Uncharted 2 when that is not evident from the writing. You make the even more ridiculous claim that he uses "masked" positives intertwined with negatives to hide his "ulterior motive," something which you absolutely do not know for sure and is most likely colored by a bias for wanting there to be an ulterior motive. You were truly stretching to find examples of this because some of them didn't even apply to this formula. Putting positives and negatives in the same paragraph or sentence is a valid form of writing. You pull statistics and evidence out of the nether void, and your arguments are weak at best and nonexistent at worst. Taking issue with his stance on the game's visuals and supporting it only with "everyone thinks they're the best," saying that you laughed, and a bunch of screenshots, shows bias on a much higher level, since it makes it seem as if you really believe Uncharted 2's having the best visuals to be the objective truth.

I cannot help but sit here in perplexity as you argue at much length and at some level of sophistication, but ultimately have little more to say than "Zig's wrong and I'm right because everyone agrees with me." In this respect, I find you disheartening. In short, I am "debating" because of your anti-critical mindset and strict conformist ideology.
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overdrive posted October 22, 2009:

After finally reading all this thread, I could type for three hours about how I feel about all the stuff being said, but there'd likely be very little original content after all the responses and conversation that's happened. So, two AND ONLY TWO points:

1. Without having played this game myself, I'd still give Zig's review credit due to my personal opinion of his writing. He's one of the guys who's been around this place longer than I have, going back to the GF days where he was among the top names when I first started. My support of his review stems solely from the simple truth that he's proven to be a top-notch writer who has a reputation for writing among the best on this site. Not overly-harsh ones designed to stir the pot. He's one of the main people on this site when I look at writers who'd I'd consider a reliable person as far as coming up with excellent, legitimate reviews.

2. On the other hand, I have trouble with your credibility. First, as RD essentially said, you operate under the assumption that if "x" number of people love a game, anyone who doesn't love it to that degree is automatically wrong. Second, a number of your examples of him blunting praise with related negatives seems to be grasping for straws. Third, going by your logic that people who haven't played this game aren't capable of giving a valid opinion on a review of said game, wouldn't that mean that someone who isn't a professional (or semi-professional, since for us staff/freelancer people, we only get paid with the occasional comped game to review) reviewer NOT be allowed to criticize the intentions of someone who is? Unless you're at least a semi-pro reviewer, what credibility do you have in questioning his integrity as a reviewer? As far as this goes, you and Zig are peers in that you both have familiarity with this game. Many of us others commenting on this thread are peers with Zig because we've written with him on this site and/or GFaqs for many years. You know more about this game than we do, but we know more about Zig's credibility as a reviewer than you do.

On a different topic brought up here, the whole thing about how the more realistic characters look, the more they get criticized due to the minor imperfections really interested me because I've noticed that I see the imperfections more when it's a great-looking game (I'm thinking the cinema in RE 4-5, FF XII, Lost Odyssey for particular examples). Sometimes, their faces are so smooth they look like vasoline was spread all over a human face; and when they talk/emote, the motion of their mouth over the teeth just looks bizarre and unnatural so often.
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zigfried posted October 22, 2009:

The core complaint!
"Through clever backhanded compliments, Zigfried actually makes the game sound bad."

The readers' response!
"Zigfried's review makes this game sound really good."

People don't have to play Uncharted 2 to decide whether my review makes the game sound good or bad. In this sense, not having played the game really does provide an advantageous neutrality because they're reading the review with a clear head.

I recommend that everyone disadvantage themselves at their earliest opportunity.

//Zig

PS- I never watched Frasier, but I'll pick up the first season and give it a shot.
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MoreHonestGamer posted October 22, 2009:

Wolfqueen, you expressed an important point, when discussing gamers who use reviews as a means to base purchases upon. What they are essentially relying on is blind faith. Without playing the game themselves, they really have no way in accessing how accurate that reviewers opinion will be in relation to their own. Which is in many ways, is why level headed gamers generally don't tend to rely on a single gamers/reviewers opinion on a game (since it's quite plausible that person may have differing tastes) but instead, either don't rely on reviews at all, or use a general consensus opinion, or aggregates. Which funnily enough, when done, is where Zig's opinions/review seems more peculiar and off the mark. What you'll find if you head over to the GAF official thread for example, is that for every 100-200 overwhelming positive impressions of the game, there will be perhaps one or two lukewarm (I regard Zig's as rather lukewarm, based not on the score, which I don't care for, but more the written article).

The reality of it is, all reviews to some extents, are useless. They may give some insight in to a game, but generally there's no way of telling how the opinions formed in that review will correlate with one's own.


Funnily enough....Anton Ego from Ratatouille nailed it...

"In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so."



Also, I will disagree with your assessment that I am "grasping for straws" or "trying to find any reason to to find fault in the defenders' opinions". People defending a review for a game they have never played is not "any" reason. It's a prominent and valid reason, that can and SHOULD be brought up and challenged.

Fact of the matter is, many of the statements and comments made in Zig's review are in opposition of the general consensus and/or my own opinion, or are inaccurate/untrue. By general consensus I mean the opinions of about 99.9% of the gaming media. I have de constructed which points throughout this thread, inc comments about the visuals (on face value many other games look better), lighting (un-convincing lighting in the jungle lol), characters (who apparently all look plastic, glass eyed and doll like), degree of ambition or conceptual innovation (I've mentioned which segments I feel are innovative or ambitious), anal comments about one off glitches (I wonder if he did the same for other reviews?) and so forth. I even went as far as to post evidence in the way of a counter argument. Screens showing the lighting in the jungle (which imo only a very special or jaded kind of person would argue looked "un-convincing", especially considering the lighting is among some of the very best that can be found in gaming today and when Sigma 2 is put forward as a graphics counter argument. I also posted screens of the characters which not only don't really look like plastic creepy dolls with glass eyes, but are also among some of the very best found on consoles today.

If Zig disagree's, I'd love to see examples of jungles from console games he thinks DO have convincing lighting, or characters from games which he thinks look markedly better than U2 (I can think of only a few).

I even went as far as to point a factual error in writing. In respect to seeing the big explosion go off in the jungle, which in actual fact you do get to see if only for a short second or two, contrary to what Zig writes.


Many people who have actually played the game, on other forums, inc the GAF etc have agreed with my opinions of the said review and the game itself. Many in-fact, have written this review off as missing the ball (which is an opinion they are entitled to just as Zig is entitled to his own). And when compared to 99% of the other reviews, it would seem that opinion could hold some merit. Zig expresses some rather unconventional and bold opinions, that just don't correlate with the take of most professionals, gamers, forum posters etc in respect to the game. And that's fine in that it is only his opinion, I was merely drawing attention to where, how and why his opinions or comments in my own opinion were slightly off point.

Yet here I am, defending my opinions against people who have not even played the game! I think that really says a lot in itself. Most/many people who agree with me, and this train of thought, are people who HAVE played the game. Most who don't, and are defending aspects of the review, have not played the game. Which makes me think it's less about discussing the game or elements in the review in respect to it, but more about upholding the reputation of one of their fellow writers or forum friends.
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jiggs posted October 22, 2009:

i don't know Zigfried personally but man does he write some awesome game reviews!
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MoreHonestGamer posted October 22, 2009:

Can anyone link me to any other reviews by Zig of next-gen HD games? Namely the newest PS3 and 360 one's. I'm very interested in seeing his style of writing with these other games, and his take on the technical visual aspects within.
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jiggs posted October 22, 2009:

having played through the first one and the Uncharted 2 demo..i already know what to expect from this game without even playing it. i liked the first one but i wouldn't call it a great game. it was definitely one of the best the PS3 had to offer early in it's lifespan(mind you there really wasn't much to pick from). Zigfried's review of the game doesn't seem "off-base" from my expectations of the game. i trust his word and he isn't trying to create controversy or "stir the pot" if you will. he tells it like it is. sucks for the people who get so worked up over review scores. those people are the REAL trolls.

i'll play Uncharted 2 someday but right now Demon's Souls is the game that is garnering my most attention

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zigfried posted October 22, 2009:

I even went as far as to point a factual error in writing. In respect to seeing the big explosion go off in the jungle, which in actual fact you do get to see if only for a short second or two, contrary to what Zig writes.

Re-read that (brief) passage from the review. It's not a factual error. If you absolutely must know the verbose entirety of my experience..... I saw a small charge ignite, then I was forced to watch the side of Sully's head as loud booms occurred off camera. Even more irritating? SULLY WAS WATCHING THE EXPLOSION.

So not only did I not get to see the result of my efforts, but I was forced to watch some other guy enjoy the fireworks that I couldn't see!

If Zig disagree's, I'd love to see examples of jungles from console games he thinks DO have convincing lighting, or characters from games which he thinks look markedly better than U2 (I can think of only a few).

I prefer the daytime jungle from Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2. It is bright and looks very artificial. However, it is pretty and contrasts well with the enemies (and the highly unrealistic purple mist spraying from their bodies). The bright jungle fits very well with the game's anime-stylized aspirations. Therefore, it was convincing even though it is not realistic.

Uncharted 2 attempts to deliver the summer blockbuster experience. Although generally beautiful, the jungle is assembled and lit like a studio setpiece. That would not be acceptable in a big-budget popcorn flick, and it's not really acceptable here either.

In other words, one jungle stood out to me as pretty, and the other stood out to me as disappointing. Since I write reviews, I did my best to put these thoughts into words.

Fortunately, many other aspects of Uncharted 2 are beautiful, especially when motion is taken into consideration. You are trying to take details out of context instead of looking at the big picture.

Feel free to take visual/technical quotes from other reviews of mine out of context. Just don't expect a response, unless I feel like I can turn the reply into an interesting look at game criticism (as I hope I have done above).

EDIT: Better-looking characters



//Zig
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MoreHonestGamer posted October 22, 2009:

Zig, me and you REALLY don't see eye to eye. You prefer NG S2's jungle for being more unrealistic, ordinary and bright, brash etc. And criticise U2's for daring to be more realistic, more dynamic, and just technically light years more superior? Unconventional to say the least. I think NG2 (haven't played Sigma 2) looks unrealistic, lacks lighting dynamism and has a plastically look with a heck of a lot in it (ironically ESPECIALLY in the characters). In comparison, U2's jungle not only imo has FAR more believable lighting, it have infinitely better textures, higher poly count, far better scale, is more layered, rich, lush and full. Shadows are infinitely better too, dynamic, moving with the wind. Everything casts dynamic soft anti aliased shadows as well, even birds flying about. The water has full real world reflections, and on top of that, the ambient occlusion from U2 is non-existent in NG2, which is a feature that adds a whole new dimension to how everything from rocks, grooves and shadows form around objects, again, giving more depth to near about everything.

Quite the contrary, I'd say it was U2's jungle that was the one that convinced me, and NG2's that looked no different to anything I could have experienced in any of the competition before it. Whereas U2's is quite clearly ahead of the curve, both technically, and imo artistically.

Your counter argument will likely be (implied in your previous post) that Uncharted 2's is less convincing because it TRIES to be realistic (or as you put it, Hollywood Blockbuster esque). Whereas NG2's doesn't. I'd disagree. I'd say NG2's also tries to be realistic to some extent(not photo), but just lacks the technical wizardry and developer skill to pull it off nearly as well as U2. I cannot believe we have come to a stage where we are willing to criticise games for daring to push the technological boundaries but falling just shy, as if it should be photo realistic or no dice. You DO realise even U2's jungle's have a set art direction and is likely not trying to be exactly life like? Uncharted as a franchise has also always had a slightly exaggerated comic appeal about it's aesthetic direction. Which is why I find your comments unfair to the game.

Sigma 2's jungle's over Uncharted 2's....oh dear....

Opinions I guess...everyone has them lol. Some are just unusual to say the least. We'll just agree to disagree.
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wolfqueen001 posted October 22, 2009:

Opinions I guess...everyone just them lol. Some are just unusual to say the least.

Exactly! That's what everyone's been trying to tell you. Haha. What people say about a game is there opinion. There's no real such thing as objectivity in this medium. However, what someone can do is provide as much detail about their experience as possible so that someone unfamiliar with the game can learn as much as possible about it. Yes, people unfamiliar with a certain game should read many reviews reflecting many different opinions. That way they get a broad range of views and aspects about the game that they otherwise wouldn't from just one review. This way they can make a better judgment about what will appeal to them and what won't and whether they should buy the game or not.

What you've been doing this whole time is trying to argue that everyone else's opinion is invalid because 'it's against the majority", whose opinion you uphold. But the fact of the matter is, it's still your opinion. You should learn to accept it and stop forcing your opinions on those of everyone else. By doing this, you're making yourself out to be as bad as you perceive everyone here to be, and that's just hypocritical.

Also, another note, that you say Zig's opinion is "unusual to say the least" is your opinion! haha. Get it? Don't try to make yourself out to be some unbiased fountain of knowledge about the game because you aren't. No one is. Although, ironically, people who haven't played the game are less biased towards it than those who have just for the simple fact that they haven't played it and therefore have nothing in which to make them biased.
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zigfried posted October 22, 2009:

You prefer NG S2's jungle for being more unrealistic, ordinary and bright, brash etc. And criticise U2's for daring to be more realistic, more dynamic, and just technically light years more superior?

After past posts, I find it interesting that you choose to comment on Sigma 2 without having played it. In case you weren't aware, two of the main attractions to Sigma 2 were its revamped visuals and enhanced lighting.

Anyways, I don't recall saying that Sigma 2's jungle was ordinary and brash, or that Uncharted 2's jungle was more dynamic or technically light years superior. It sounds to me like you place importance on details such as anti-aliased shadows, whereas I look at the entire picture and couldn't give a damn if shadows are anti-aliased or not.

That's cool. It's like when a friend told me Shenmue on Dreamcast was light years ahead of everything else because it had real-time shadowing. Personally, I thought other stuff looked better. That's the nature of opinions. People can look at the same thing and come away with two different perspectives.

EDIT: At least, that's what I was going to say. But then I happened to see your most recent post and realized that you're never going to give up on this "majority rules" stuff. Shame on me. I guess it was my mistake for thinking that the game was excellent in its own way. Clearly it is excellent in ALL WAYS, because the (presumed) majority says so!

//Zig
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MoreHonestGamer posted October 22, 2009:

I meant his opinion was unusual in relation to 99% of reviewers out there. And 99.99% of actual Uncharted 2 impressions (from forum posters, devs, gamers etc that I have personally read or heard from). I have, unfortunately just by being a forum addict, read probably thousands of impressions on not only the game, but it's visuals. And they all follow a similar tune. Zig's opinion is quite alternative, as in, against the norm. Hence why I called it "unusual". Not because it was different from mine personally, but because it was quite different to the general consensus.

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honestgamer posted October 22, 2009:

Frasier is excellent. I think I've said everything I likely will about Unchartd 2 prior to that glorious day somewhere down the road where I get to play it for myself. But until then... Frasier is excellent. I have the first 10 seasons on DVD and I really enjoy them. I thought it dull when I was younger, but now I'm a bit older and the jokes amuse me more than some of the stuff I liked when I used to think the show was dull. Funny how that works...
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wolfqueen001 posted October 22, 2009:

The "majority consensus" is still a body of opinion, a body of opinion that you follow just on the fact that you've defended it so strongly (and rated the game a 10 here). Furthermore, I'm inclined to believe that a lot of "the majority consensus", as far as reviews go, have only adjusted to the "consensus" by force because of the violent and outrageous actions of people who just can't stand that someone have a different viewpoint from them, even if it only be a *slightly* different one.

What's hilarious about this whole thing is that the debate is over a score of 8/10. 8! That's still a great score and won't hurt anything at all, especially not to anyone with good sense looking for a game to buy. All this back and forth is just ridiculous, not least because you seem to comprehend very little of it. Because, no offense, if you had, you wouldn't be raising the same points over and over again which have been repeatedly refuted.

Anyway, if you really want to make your mark on the reviewing community, I suggest you write your own review for the game. Should anyone be nice enough to critique it for you here, I can assure you they won't criticize you for holding a different opinion from their own but only on how effectively your writing is and how well you get your points across.
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MoreHonestGamer posted October 22, 2009:

Can I just ask, why is it exactly most of you guys haven't played Uncharted 2? As it is at the moment, perhaps one of the most critically acclaimed games....well...ever. I would have thought as gaming fans the interest levels would have at least been slightly peaked!

Though I can completely understand if it's monetary or time constraints that are causing the delay!


In-fact, as far as I can gather, the only other person besides me and Zig who seemed to have played the game in this thread; zippdementia, had this to say about it.

"You really should pick it up, Jace. It's definitely one of the best games I've ever played."


As you all may have gathered, I am indeed in the camp which is praising the game to what may seem silly ends. But imo it is all with good reason. I don't generally let myself buy in to hype, and my expectations for U2 were not actually very high. Like U1, I expected it to be a good, perhaps great game, but lacking enough to never make it truly compelling, or to earn it's keep among the classics of the gaming world. And I must say, I was pleasantly surprised at what it had to offer (many times wowed in-fact). I am currently playing through some of the segments over and over, mainly to get a better grasp of the technical mastery that ND has managed to pull off so that I may better understand and perhaps in future, implement (better) myself. There is a cinematic splendour about this game that unfortunately, is not only lacking from the vast majority of action/adventure games out there, but has never quite been pulled off as successfully as it has in Uncharted 2. I'd at the very least, urge all game developers to play the title.

Someone in this thread earlier mentioned how he thought all this hype for the game would fade and in years to come people would think it was over-rated (or something to that extent). I disagree. Sure it has it's flaws, as all games do. But just as Raiders of the Lost Art was and is considered a timeless masterpiece in it's respective genre and medium, I feel Uncharted 2 is and will be the same for the action adventure genre in gaming. I am willing to put money on the title still being positively discussed, and revered in many years to come.


Games do often fall subject to being over-hyped. But on the opposing spectrum, it is much harder for hardcore gamers to be duped in to that hype. For example, whilst the critical acclaim for GTA IV may have been overwhelmingly positive, the forum poster impressions backlash was actually rather negative. I remember reading (and still do read) countless posts commenting on how the game was a regression for the series, and was actually quite disappointing for many. Many many people shared this opinion, even early on (me being one of them). It just lacked the magic imo of previous instalments such as Vice City, and to a lesser degree, San Andreas.

Now compare it to the post release feedback for Uncharted 2? It not only completely correlates with the media hype and acclaim, but perhaps takes it to even further extremes. The response from the gaming community who have purchased and played the game (much like the posters comment I quoted above), has been overwhelmingly positive. In-fact, it's been quite some time since I've seen anything like it.


My only fear now is, with expectations running too high. Though that doesn't seem to have dented responses to the game a single bit yet. And I'm not sure it will for most.
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jiggs posted October 22, 2009:

Metal Gear Solid 3's jungles over Sigma 2's jungle's over Uncharted 2's....oh dear......oh yeah..i don't care if it is graphically inferior or not, i like the muddy look of MGS3's jungle.

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zippdementia posted October 22, 2009:

Honestgamer (as in Jason)... you are amazing. That may be my favourite message posted in this thread.

Morehonestgamer... first of all... hello! Welcome to Honest Gamers! Thanks for posting so much!

Secondly, I understand where you are coming from in disagreeing with Zig's review. I also disagree with parts of it. However, reviews are only the presentation of one man's opinion so it seems strange to attack a review based on that opinion. Nothing in Zig's review is UNFACTUAL and everything he says is well said and one can understand where he's coming from. That's why we've been able to have this discussion. Because he's presented us with something to discuss. One cannot argue that there is no substance to Zig's review.

Thirdly, I do think UC2 has its problems. If I ever get around to writing a review of it, I would list those problems as follows:
- linear gunplay in a game which could totally (as multiplayer proves) benefit from a bit more openness
- unclearness about objectives and where to go next (no, I don't enjoy waiting around for five minutes scratching my head until the game sneeringly offers me a "hint")
- strange checkpoints (do you know how many times I've died but crossed some invisible checkpoint so I appear half a mile up the road with different guns and some new companions?)
- lack of local co-op play (not a huge issue, but it would be nice to be able to play UC2 with the friends I actually, ya know, see in person... real friends... remember those?)
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wolfqueen001 posted October 22, 2009:

I'd buy this game, and on Zig's review, too, but I don't have a PS3. I'm also too poor for any next-gen system and think $60 is $10 too many for a game.
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MoreHonestGamer posted October 22, 2009:

Zig, no game is excellent in all ways lol. Every game has it's flaws. Every game, and I do think even the most positive reviews for the game have mentioned them.


EDIT: Zipp, I agree with all the points you made in your post, including the criticisms, which near enough mimic my own criticisms for the game. Though I do feel some of the gunplay stages do give some room for more diverse play or tactics (in respect to how you approach them), most are still funnelled down respective paths. What it could have done with, is more vertical gunplay.

In respect to the complaint about lack of local co-op. I think that has more to do with a technical limitation due to the complexity of texture streaming such intense masses of data over separate characters and viewpoints (split screen would essentially require two sets of a texture streams which given the already incredibly high amounts of data drawn is not really plausible).
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jiggs posted October 23, 2009:

My only fear now is, with expectations running too high. Though that doesn't seem to have dented responses to the game a single bit yet. And I'm not sure it will for most.

see that is your problem. You care too much about what other people think. just relax and enjoy your game dood. i'll get around to U2 eventually but i'm enjoying Demon's Souls alot more like i said earlier. if i owned both i'd probably still be playing Demon's Souls over Uncharted 2.

also, i don't think you know where Zig is coming from if you haven't been paying attention to his last few posts..
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Lewis posted October 23, 2009:

This will be my final post here. I'll try to make it a short one.

Throughout this discussion, MoreHonestGamer has engaged fully and eloquently with debate surrounding Zig's review, but completely neglected, on three occasions, from answering a straight-forward question: why does he feel it matters that Zig's review disagrees with the majority vote?

I have to take this as an admission of defeat when it comes to providing a logical reason for such a bizarre, yet largely pleasant and certainly interesting, uproar.

I'll assume, then, that it is a case of your new favourite game, with which you have become aligned, being criticised. I cannot think of any other reason why you would register to a site and stick around for a few days just to debate this. I commend you for doing so. But unless you can find something objectively inaccurate (actual, proper use of the word 'objectively') in Zig's review, my assumption as to why you're here will remain the same.

No matter how much you dress it up, no matter how eloquent you may be with your arguments, you are debating against a person's right to free expression.

And that is all I have been arguing against. Your accusations are conceptually flawed. I do not need to have played the game to see that.

In fact, I have no real desire to play the game, as despite the vast number of high-scoring reviews, a number of critics with whom I know my opinions tend to align have told me they are not particularly impressed by it.

Who are you to question people's decision about whether or not to play a game, and why they would choose that?

But I can't be bothered with this any more. As a semi-professional games critic, I get this sort of thing a lot. It's something I have to put up with on a daily basis, but usually when writing for large publications when the readership is higher. I don't usually expect it here.

I like to believe that those to whom I write, the audience I strive to serve to the best of my ability on a daily basis, appreciate good, honest, analytical and thoughtful criticism.

But this thread only goes to suggest otherwise. You want a concensus of opinion that disregards subjective views and plays into the hands of fanboyism and marketing hype.

I do not wish to write for you. I reject you as my audience.

***

The guy with the rude name who keeps attacking Deus Ex:

I love Deus Ex because of the intricacy of its design, because of how far it advanced videogame storytelling techniques despite an admittedly clichéd plot, and because it created perhaps the first virtual world in which your actions had meaningful consequences. I also find its breadth of gameplay approaches to be fascinating, and woven beautifully into the fabric of the game. This is nothing to do with its claims to non linearity, which really, it wasn't.

Bye!
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SuckingDick posted October 23, 2009:

Woa, sorry to break it down to you,buddy, but the first game that introduced different paths (or choices with consequences) players could take was Shin Megami Tensei on Super Famicom , released in 1992 in Japan only, 8 years before Deus Ex, so stop deluding yourself.

This is the review by RPGFan:

http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/smt/index.html

Some quotes:

[ Unlike most RPGs where your path is defined, in Shin Megami Tensei it's not. While you're encouraged to maintain balance, you don't have to. Morally ambiguous, the game offers multiple sides of a dilemma and you get to choose where your loyalties lie. Depending on the various decisions presented to you throughout the game, your character can fall into one of three alignments: Law, Neutral, or Chaos. Law is not automatically good and Chaos is not automatically bad. It's up to you, the player, to decide which is right or wrong for you. Even the simplest decisions like the aforementioned "will you save the girl? Yes/No" in the beginning have a bearing on your alignment. And it goes without saying that big decisions such as whether to side with one political leader or another sway your alignment big time.

Perhaps Law is closer to your heart where society should follow unbending laws and rules to the letter in order to avoid conflict and benefit the collective whole. Or perhaps Chaos is more up your alley where rules are stifling and that people should follow a more Darwinian path. And, of course, there is Neutrality where you feel the balance of law and chaos, the middle road, is the path to follow. And while Neutrality is a nice ideal, it is the most difficult path to carve and follow in the game and you will find yourself very alone and with very bloody hands. Being for neither Law nor Chaos, you will often find yourself in opposition with both factions, and that is a very lonely place to be.

Speaking of gameplay, not only does your alignment affect the storyline (including the final boss faced and the ending) but it affects the gameplay too. As is the hallmark of the series, you can talk to demons during battles and perhaps convince them to join you as minions. If your alignment is Chaos, for example, Law-aligned demons will not join you and may not even talk to you, due to your opposing alignment. Also, certain places may not allow you to enter based on your alignment- for example, if you're Chaos aligned, the Law aligned Mesia churches will not allow you to use their services. ]

But do 'consequences and freedom' make the game better than Persona 3 or 4? The answer is simply NO. P3 and P4 underwent major refinement in battle (no random encounter, strategic, buffs, debuffs , status ailments actually work, ability to defend and attack at the same time with 'Persona').

Deus Ex combat is garbage , the whole 'point-and-click adventure' element of hacking with multitools is gimmicky. I finally found out from where Fallout 3 took that inspiration of health points that are separated for different body parts (legs, arms , torso, head). I get the point of 'you have to know what you're doing' , but they are tedious. Imagine if each opponent in Mario can only be defeated by a specific power-up (cameras and turret have to be hacked with multitools, locks with dietrichs) , and each time an enemy appears , you have to switch to the power-up that corresponds the enemy weakness .

Trust me, if Atlus chooses not to construct their SMT games nonlinearly, it's not because they can't, it's because they don't want to. Choices with consequences don't add depth to gameplay.
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Lewis posted October 23, 2009:

I never said Deus Ex was the first to offer multiple paths. You're making up quotes, then arguing with them.

You're also comparing Deus Ex with games of completely different genres. Of course it wouldn't work in Mario. The Persona series? Slow, story-based JRPGs, versus Deus Ex's stealth-based FPS-adventuring. What point are you actually trying to make? How did Deus Ex even come into this? Where did all the Persona love come from? Persona 4 scored 10/10 here, and no one's disagreeing with you. What's your angle?

It sounds like you just don't like Deus Ex because it's not for you. And that's absolutely fine. But that doesn't make it a bad game.
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SuckingDick posted October 23, 2009:

Well one notable game that somewhat borrows the element of Deus Ex is Fallout 3.

Fallout 3 emphasizes this 'choices with consequences' and freedom, karma-system of KoTOR. You can freely deploy stealth or just gun-blazing-FPS-approach , but the battle system is laughable and clunky. VATS is completely laughable, the 'Vagrant Story' body parts damaging system is neither strategic nor original . BUT due to 'choices with consequences' or different approaches available to complete quests, and atmospheric world , gamers (or game reviewers) think they add depths and innovative, despite of the shitty combat. I can imagine how many pretentious gamers went 'OMG, thought-provoking.This is artform' when they entered Tranquility Lane.

This is a trend gamers should be against. Instead of refining the element that makes video games video games , namely the combat (or plattforming, puzzle), the designers rather choose to create a living , breathing, immersive world and neglect the 'video game' quintessential element. Same thing happened with Uncharted 2 just like Zigfried wrote in his review . It is meant to be an experience, and not a game.

This is EGM review of Fallout 3, notice how the reviewers agreed that the FPS and RPG amalgam is mediocre.

http://gamevideos.1up.com/video/id/22388

This is a boss battle in PErsona 3.

http://www.blinkx.com/video/persona-3-tartarus-boss-14-hell-knights/kOk4H7UaEAZzeZo7_RNPFg

Notice how the player is able to manipulate the environement to his advantage by casting a status ailment that caused the opponents to turn against themselves.
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Lewis posted October 23, 2009:

I'm not going to argue with you. Your desperate, ugly, prescriptivist comments go against everything I adore about videogames: their diversity; their ability to immerse, captivate and enthrall; their ability to be more than just items of play.

You're also seemingly attributing the things you didn't like about Fallout 3 to Deus Ex, when in actual fact, the things you mention have been present in some form since the original Fallout in the late 90s.
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SuckingDick posted October 23, 2009:

Notice that i wrote 'AND neglect the 'video game' quintessential element' ,which barely exists in Deus Ex and Fallout 3.
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zigfried posted October 23, 2009:

I couldn't stand Fallout 3. I stopped playing pretty early in. I had always meant to try it again (with a different balance of character traits perhaps) but I keep hearing negative things that make me think "no, perhaps I'll try Magna Carta 2 next". I found the world to be dull, with small pockets of interest. Too small to keep me interested. I've never even played Deus Ex or seen Deus Ex being played, so I can't comment.

I threw all of that out there so people know my history before I pretend to have something useful to say.

Instead of refining the element that makes video games video games , namely the combat (or plattforming, puzzle), the designers rather choose to create a living , breathing, immersive world and neglect the 'video game' quintessential element

This is an interesting statement. I have enjoyed many, many, many games for the experience. But there is usually (always?) a strong gameplay hook. Panzer Dragoon Orta: the game creates a living world, but I could also say that its gameplay is deeper than any of the series' other shooters. Ninja Gaiden Black: I feel the Ninja! When a game presents a credible experience, I'm impressed, but without strong gameplay, something feels wrong.

Now the trick here is to define: "what the hell does gameplay mean?" Or to use SD's words, what is the "video game quintessential element?"

I would simply say it is this: the elements that involve player interaction. They can be weak, they can be strong... but if an element requires player interaction, then it's more about involving the player in the game than about setting a mood (although it could do both). If that element successfully involves the player, then that's great. SMT combat systems in particular are deep and involving. If the element fails to involve the player, then that's poor. A friend once called many RPGs, "soundtracks where you press X to hear more".

There are a number of things that contribute towards player involvement/detachment, and thus separate great gameplay from poor gameplay. Responsiveness. Intricacy. Effectiveness. Consequences.

If pressing X at the wrong time barely hurts, but pressing X at the right time causes immense pain to the enemies... then yeah, someone is going to just keep tapping X until they win. The poor balance of consequences hurts the gameplay. If tapping X will result in death, and you are instead forced to conform your party to summon demons of the appropriate elemental alignment... then the consequences have helped involve you and shape the gameplay.

So for that reason, I would consider the concept of "choices with consequences" to be a completely acceptable element in a game. I enjoyed that aspect in Wasteland and Starflight. But, like any gameplay element, it can be poor or great, and the details that define its effectiveness can vary from game to game.

//Zig
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zigfried posted October 23, 2009:

Also, SuckingDick, any chance you could sign up with a new username that isn't vulgar? Message board posts are one thing, account names are another. The grace period has just about worn out. I just wanted to give a fair heads up before your account is shut off later today.

//Zig
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MoreHonestGamer posted October 23, 2009:

Zig, you disliked Fallout 3? Interesting. I really enjoyed the game. It did tend to get slightly laborious and at other times, slightly aimless. That said, I love the world that was created, the characters within it, and the sense of scope to it all. I also felt the amalgamation of action/fps elements intertwined well with the RPG aspects.

In respect to Lewis' post. Quote..

"Zig's review, but completely neglected, on three occasions, from answering a straight-forward question: why does he feel it matters that Zig's review disagrees with the majority vote?"

Either you have not been reading my posts properly, or you haven't read a single other Uncharted 2 review besides Zig's and maybe Tom's (there are another 81+ out there for you to read). Because you yourself are quite clearly missing large chunks of information. I have said, on numerous occasions in this thread, which elements of Zig's review go against the majority consensus.

The majority of reviews, claim U2 is one of the, if not the best looking game to date, they also imply or directly state it IS ambitious, and conceptually innovative (though not in all regards), most imply that the game does excel at shooting, most don't think all the characters looked like plastic skinned dolls and so on.

Naturally, Zig is completely entitled to having these opinions, I was merely stating that they were quite "unconventional". To you Lewis, my recommendation would be to actually play the game, and read some other reviews. Unless of course you think everyone else but Zig and Tom are rambling over hyping idiots, which I hope for your sake you don't. Because that would be countless (100+) professionals and thousands upon thousands of Uncharted 2 playing, forum posting gamers you'd be damning.

It would be interesting to hear Zigg's take on this.

Uncharted 2 group discussion

And/or this.

Uncharted 2 IGN group discussion
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zigfried posted October 23, 2009:

MoreHonestGamer ---- I did not watch the G4TV video, but here are my impressions on the IGN article.

Person one:
Although I've only just scratched the surface of the Among Thieves experience, I can already tell that this could be one of the finest third-person action/adventure games ever made.

Yeah, it's an excellent experience. After he's spent more time with the game, I expect him to still be impressed. I was.

Person two:
Most impressively, though, is how the epic scale that is established in the narrative translates to the gameplay. This game is a blast to play. The environments are expansive, and although the game is still extremely linear, the paths you follow to get from point A to B are so well designed that you feel like you are exploring significantly more than you are.

I mentioned this too. The game does a good job at masking its linearity (the first time through).

Of course Uncharted 2 has its faults, especially towards the end. Even the beautiful scenery of the final locations couldn't distract me from the tedium of dispatching wave after wave of enemies before walking ten feet and repeating the process.

I thought the finale was pretty satisfying, actually. It was the platforming-only levels nearish the end that wore on me.

Person three:
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves might indeed be one of the prettiest games ever released on a console.....But the brilliance of Uncharted 2 goes beyond just the aesthetics, and beyond its seemingly-ancillary features. It's an engrossing experience, hands down.

That's what I said, although I think the word "brilliance" is too strong. It's engrossing, but the methods employed didn't require brilliance (although they certainly required talent).

While not a game without its flaws (most glaringly its sometimes-shoddy platforming and inconsistent cover controls), the good still far outweighs the bad.

That's what I said.

Person four:
The Uncharted experience received subtle tweaks in the visuals and in the gameplay, but the story and the acting are definitely the highpoints of Uncharted 2. I was absolutely engrossed in what was happening from start to finish, and the cutscenes were fantastic breaks to the intense action.

I'd agree with all of that, except for the cutscenes bit and the implication that the action was so intense as to become unbearable. The cutscenes were fantastic, but I didn't really need the action broken.

Person five:
The strength of the first Uncharted was unquestionably its presentation and I'm happy to say that's still true with the second game. The only difference is that this time around the presentational strengths are able to bring everything else to an entirely new level.

Yep, I mentioned this as well, using Chloe's early laughter as an example.

I'm about halfway through Uncharted 2 and I just hit my first holy **** sequence that really has me wanting to leave work early and continue playing.

My first "holy ****" sequence was about 25% into the game, so it sounds like I enjoy the game more. He admits that he has just been impressed for the first time. Once he comes down off his exuberant gaming high, I expect him to still be impressed. I was.

Person six:
Naughty Dog really brought their A-game for this title. Part of this is due to the mix of cinematic sequences that you play (and frequently fight your way through), many of which are so striking that you can't help but feel the same kind of adrenaline rush that Nathan gets during some of these sequences.

I agree. Example: the convoy scene that had be on the edge of my seat was a fantastic cinematic sequence, basically a modern Dragon's Lair. I would caution that part of the illusion is broken once you realize how cinematic it really is.

Apart from the action, the story seems just as solid as the first, which is definitely anchored by the characters, who are just as strong, if not stronger, than before.

The characters are definitely strong. I, too, pointed this out.

Person seven:
Due to the ever growing stack of games I've been trying to get through I've only had a chance to play about an hour of Uncharted 2 ..... But at the end of the day when I game for fun I'm almost always looking for something that will wow me with visuals. Give me hyper-realism and stunning landscapes. Uncharted 2 does this well enough that it makes me feel like I'm travelling to exotic locations with a beautiful side-kick in toe.

When I game for fun, my primary criteria is not to be "wowed with visuals". And hyper-realism is not always the best way to make a game look good. However, I would agree that Uncharted 2's visuals work well enough that it felt like I was traveling to exotic locations. The visuals are convincing despite the flaws. After he's played for more than an hour, I expect him to still be impressed. I was.

Summary:
It was kind of a boring read, actually. That's not a knock against any of the writers -- they did the best they could in the 100 to 200 words they each had available -- but with such limited space, it's like I was reading a whole bunch of summaries.

I've already played the game, so I don't need summaries. Especially ones that mostly agree with me. Was I supposed to get something else out of it?

//Zig
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Suskie posted October 23, 2009:

Let me ask a fair question, then: If he's entitled to that opinion, then what's the fucking problem?
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zippdementia posted October 23, 2009:

Let me ask a fair question, then: If he's entitled to that opinion, then what's the fucking problem?

I'm not sure there is actually a problem. I think there's been a perceived problem due to some of the assertions made in the thread, but I actually think MoreHonestGamer just really liked UC2.

I think where things are getting held up, MHG, is that you keep mentioning how much Zig goes against the masses of critics, which makes it sound like you're trying to belittle his review or discredit him, which is something most of us here would rightfully get offended at, if not for Zig's sake than simply for the sake of our right to our own opinion.

Your thesis seems to be: "Zig has gone against the masses, therefore his review is bad/incorrect."

Our response has been: "Why does someone have to agree with the masses? In fact, wouldn't it be better in the reviewing world to have a multiplicity of opinion on a game? The relative truth, that is the opinion of the person writing the review, is more important than the group truth, that is the opinion of the masses."
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MoreHonestGamer posted October 23, 2009:

Zig, thansk for responding, any chance I could get your response to the linked video? In your review, you mentioned you thought the game lacked ambition and conceptual innovation, however in the video they claim the game is doing things other games either haven't done, and/or haven't been able to do nearly as well. One comment made is "I think other developers will need to go back to the drawing board after having played U2". And similar comments, from all four of the talkers involved. If you would be kind enough to give your take on the comments made, I'd really appreciate it. Not so I can criticise you or anything like that, just so I can access whether you agree with them or not, and what parts you do or do not agree with.

Also, in response to Suskie...

Forums > Submission Feedback > zigfried's Uncharted 2: Among Thieves review

Isn't that the whole point of having a review feedback thread or forum? Unless the assumption is that all feedback will be positive filled with people doing cartwheels in grassy fields.

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zigfried posted October 23, 2009:

No. I was willing to read (and respond) to an article to humor your request, but I'm not big on watching video reviews or spending that much time humoring people. I enjoy spending some of my time actually playing games, y'know?

//Zig
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MoreHonestGamer posted October 23, 2009:

As do we all, but as a journalist I thought it might be of interest to you (especially when such lofty statements are being made). Your review does start with "Much ado has been made of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves". Guess not. I'll let you get back to your RPG's :). Thanks for the responses.
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zippdementia posted October 23, 2009:

Guess not. I'll let you get back to your RPG's

Yeah, and his shooters, and brawlers, and hentai, and simulations, and side scrollers...

... Zig's covered pretty much every genre there is to cover. To make such a quippy remark doesn't help your case.
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Suskie posted October 23, 2009:

MHG, you've made some fairly wild implications and accusations about this review and have spent a great deal of time (and space) backing them up with evidence you've often claimed is indisputable. I don't want to sound disappointed that this little fanboy tirade of yours is coming to an end, but to go through all of this just to say that Zig "has a right to his opinion" (which, I'll remind you, goes against some of what you've been saying here) seems more than a bit suspect.
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Masters posted October 23, 2009:

Fack.
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joseph_valencia posted October 23, 2009:

Okay, I finally beat the gorilla but now I'm stuck at the part where Drake has to fight Abraham Lincoln's ghost. How the hell are you supposed to damage him? And how can you keep that stupid chick from being shafted by Lincoln's ferret minions? I swear, they need to improve the AI in the sequel...
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MoreHonestGamer posted October 23, 2009:

Space...I have NO idea what the hell you are talking about.
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Lewis posted October 23, 2009:

MoreHonestGamer I've read a fair few Uncharted 2 reviews, actually. I really liked Tom Bramwell's at Eurogamer, and Dan Lipscombe's at the site I run, Resolution Magazine. Both were eloquent, convincing and thorough, and both awarded the game 10/10. Have a read of those. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts. Both mention the same sorts of flaws, but arrive at a hugely positive conclusion.

I've acknowledged your comments about Zig's review making comments that lie outside the norm. My question stems from that: what's the problem? You've already said he's entitled to his opinions. So how come we've been arguing for so long?

Man. I said I wasn't get further into this.
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Halon posted October 23, 2009:

ELPRESADOR says U2 is one of the greatest games ever, so topic over. Zig loses.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XT6Ggyz69hI
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zippdementia posted October 23, 2009:

Man. I said I wasn't get further into this.

It's okay, Lewis, no one really thought you would stay away.
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SuckingCock posted October 25, 2009:

Thunderbolt reviewed Uncharted 2

http://thunderboltgames.com/reviews/article/uncharted-2-among-thieves-review-for-ps3.html

Not that perfect as people try to indoctrinate.
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randxian posted October 26, 2009:

You know MoreHonestGamers, there is a really simple solution to your problem. If you disagree with Zig so much, then how about you write your own review of the game?

I don't see how you can carry on so about other people's opinions to games if you're not publishing your own work with your own opinions.

You think this game deserves a perfect score? Then do something about it instead of complaining about what other people have done.
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zippdementia posted October 26, 2009:

I think MHG departed for waters which disagree with him less.
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randxian posted October 26, 2009:

In a sense, it's a shame. If he would actually channel all that energy he used in this thread into something constructive, he might actually amount to something.

Oh well. At least now I know I can safely publish my 8/10 Madden review I've always wanted to do.
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sashanan posted October 27, 2009:

Well, that was interesting. So what's this Uncharted thing you guys are all talking about? Bet it doesn't run on my PS2.
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randxian posted October 28, 2009:

Finally read the review after all this hootinany.

but the concept of large, empty spaces with no enemies and frequent climbing across rocks, climbing across gears, and climbing over statues does not translate to an exciting video endgame

To be honest, I'm surprised more points were docked for a weakness this big.

I almost get the impression this is a good "movie", but perhaps an average or slightly above average video game. With that, I think the score of 8 is more that generous.

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