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Monday, March 23, 2009

Done and Done: Uncharted and Mirror's Edge Completed

I had a pretty productive weekend on the gaming front. I managed to finish off both Mirror's Edge and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. Both of these games were pretty short, even by my standards. But that's not a bad thing given how I value time more highly than money as a busy husband and father. And there's always something to be said for quality over quantity.

So what did I think of the games? More after the jump.

I'm going to start with Uncharted. In one word, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is an amazing game. It blends all the action and thrills of a cover-based third-person shooter with the treasure-hunting and puzzle-solving of Tomb Raider. Now take all that action and wrap it up in a great looking package with quality acting and a competent story. In fact, I'd say that Uncharted reminded me of "playing" an Indian Jones movie. Awesome stuff!

I was going to play Uncharted a second time on a higher difficulty setting but changed my mind. I can even pinpoint exactly where in the game I changed my mind. If I recall correctly, I started singing a different tune shortly after entering a bunker-type location roughly 75% through the game. Up to that point, Uncharted was a rewarding yet fairly difficult game. The gun battles were exciting, enjoyable, and surprisingly difficult. The enemy A.I. seemed to be on the ball and was always willing to pin me down with cover fire while carefully and quietly flanking me. I can't count the number of times that I died after being shot in the side or back by a devious A.I. pirate who'd managed to keep out sight and sneak up on me.

But the fast and fun gun battles soon changed to frightening and heart-pounding gun battles. Scary games are not something that I tend to replay (or even play) all that often. Don't get me wrong: Uncharted is not a horror game. In fact, most players familiar with the game might be laughing at me right now for being even slightly scared by the game's later chapters. But I am and that's that.

When I did finally battle my way through the end boss, I felt a great sense of triumph and satisfaction. I found that I cared about Uncharted's protagonists. I think that the quality voice acting, dialogue, and visuals went a long way to making me "care" about what I was playing. As the credits rolled, I couldn't recall many games that I'd enjoyed quite as much as Uncharted. I believe that Uncharted: Drake's Fortune should be played by all PlayStation 3 owners. It's an incredible game that will deliver a truly incredible gaming experience.

As for Mirror's Edge, I was also greatly impressed! Graphics and gameplay were the true stars of the show here. The bright whites and coloured accents to the cityscape provided a wonderful backdrop to the story. I can still picture running along rooftops, vaulting over pipes, and making huge leaps of faith off of buildings in an attempt to reach my objective or escape capture.

Mirror's Edge's story is pretty good but fairly standard. There was not much story or character development in the game save for a few short sections of dialogue between Faith, a runner, and Merc, Faith's boss, mentor, and friend. There are a few short animated cutscenes in between levels but there's really not much done in the way of the plot or character development when compared to games such as Uncharted.

But it's Mirror's Edge's gameplay that shines. Although the story mode is short, 8-15 hours depending on your skill level and ability to solve 3D puzzles, the game has almost infinite replayability. If you enjoy time trials or finding the fastest and most efficient routes through a urban parcour playground, you'll love Mirror's Edge. After finishing the story mode for the first time, a speed run option is unlocked for each of the game's nine chapters. You'll be amazed at how little time is actually required to finish each chapter. As an example, the last chapter of Mirror's Edge took me about an hour and a half to complete due to my love of dying over and over during a particularly tricky stretch of the level. The target time for the Chapter Nine speed run? Six minutes!

Mirror's Edge also comes with a bunch (twenty-three, I think) time trial maps (free download over XBL or PSN) that will really test your parcour chops. I managed to beat the Bronze time on the first time trial map after a mere two hours of practice. Granted - I'm not the best Mirror's Edge player out there. But I'm sure you can see just how hard it could be to beat the three star (i.e. fastest) times for each of the levels.

And if that's not enough for you, there is also a 800 MS Point/$9.99 DLC package for Mirror's Edge that will provide gamers with many more hours of insane courses and ludicrously difficult target times.

The past couple weeks have been some of the best I've had in gaming since my Christmas Fallout 3/Bad Company sessions. Mirror's Edge and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune are incredible games. They are fun, they are gripping, they are challenging, and they represent exactly what I've come to expect from video games.

If you're looking for a great gaming experience, look no further than Mirror's Edge and Uncharted. Add these games to your gaming library and you won't be sorry.


free games said...

Mirror's Edge was ok, rates high on originality and low on overall quality; Uncharted was just a great, fun adventure.

Klopzi said...

I found Mirror's Edge to have pretty good quality. However, the game was pretty short with a little too much reliance on repetition to extend the life of the game.

It wasn't quite as good as Uncharted but both games rate quite high in my book.