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Brad Gallaway's blog

Done with Drake, onto Valkyria

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune Screenshot

I finished Uncharted: Drake's Fortune last night, and although I took copious notes and intended to dress it down in a formal review, after a good night's sleep, I realized I just don't care enough to make the effort.

Overall, it was a shallow, trite game that brings absolutely nothing new to the table. Even worse, it swipes wholesale from other sources. The thin exploration and puzzle elements are reminiscent of Tomb Raider, although nowhere near the same level of intricacy or design. The gunplay feels a bit like a Gears of War lite, and there's far, far, far too much of it. The story and setting crib from Indiana Jones (or perhaps The Librarian instead), yet the generic white-guy main character doesn't have a tenth of Indy's charisma, not to mention the half-baked plot never comes together.

Still don't like Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

Playing Naughty Dog's Uncharted: Drake's Fortune on PlayStation 3 right now.

I played it for a bit when it first came out, but it rubbed me the wrong way and I tossed it aside. I was quite surprised to have that reaction, really. I was a big Crash Bandicoot fan when ND was still producing it, and had a very good time with the Jak & Daxter series. I expected great things from Uncharted, and at the time I felt like it really didn't deliver. Didn't even bother finishing it.

While skimming through Metacritic the other day I came across the Uncharted breakdown and was a bit surprised to see it that rocked an 88. Now, although I will be the first to admit that my taste doesn't always run parallel to the majority, that number seemed a little high to me, and being the Naughty Dog fan that I am, I felt like I should give it another shot. Maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind, or perhaps Saturn was out of alignment, or something. Who knows?

Quick looks at Astro Tripper and Crimson Sea 2

Astro Tripper Screenshot Spent a fun couple of hours playing PomPom's Astro Tripper on the PlayStation 3. A download available for $5, it's a colorful, slightly abstract shooter similar to one of my favorites on 360 Arcade, Mutant Storm Reloaded.

Interview with Terry Cavanagh, creator of Don't Look Back

Interview with Terry Cavanagh, creator of Don't Look Back

A few weeks ago, a Twitter acquaintance hipped me to a small indie game called Don't Look Back. Although I am a big fan of small titles, I’m also console to the core… this has historically been a bit of conflict, although less so now that we've got so many download services available. However, Don't Look Back came highly recommended, so I put up with using the arrow keys and space bar for a little while, and walked away quite impressed. Thankfully, the game's creator was willing to speak with me for a bit about himself and his work.

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Preview

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Preview Screenshot Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Preview Screenshot

I try not to whore myself out too much, but I'm a sucker for a good Atlus game in general, and doubly so for Shin Megami Tensei games in particular. In lieu of my regularly-scheduled blog content, instead nibble on this preview for the upcoming Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor coming to the Nintendo DS.

A batch of game talk...

Resident Evil 5 ScreenshotThe wife and I polished off Resident Evil 5 today. I've got to say that having co-op in more games these days is a fantastic option, and doubly so since players aren't required to go the splitscreen route if they've got the correct hardware.

Each player having their own screen in a game as visually rich as this one is a real treat. That's not to say the game itself is flawless, but I will leave further comment to the review. Turned it in this afternoon, so look for it soon.

Interview with Jay Watts, developer of Solar

If you've been reading this blog or following me on Twitter, you've probably picked up on the fact that Solar has been my latest Xbox Live Community addiction. An original, refreshing title that shows a great deal of creativity and craftsmanship, I wanted to know more. After doing a little clicking, I was able to convince Solar’s developer, Australian Jay Watts, to take a few minutes and speak with me.

Resident Evil 5, 'Splosion Man, Saints Row 2 DLC and Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor

Resident Evil 5 Art

The wife and I are doing co-op in Resident Evil 5 right now. Haven't finished it yet, but I'd say that we are at least halfway through, if not a little further.

Gotta say, it's fun enough and a good rental, but I think anyone who complains about the control system is justified and there are a number of other issues that just don't make any sense. For example, you can buy all sorts of guns and life-up items between missions, but not ammo? Instead, it's somehow better to have players breaking barrels (a truly fresh idea, indeed) to find boxes of ammunition scattered throughout tribal huts and swampland?

Burn, Zombie, Burn! fizzles

Downloaded Burn, Zombie, Burn! from the PlayStation Network a few days ago, and I'm quite done with it now. Honestly, I really don't understand how he can be so hard to make a game about killing zombies. It seems like an absolutely simple thing to do, yet I can't think of a game that has nailed it. Burn, Zombie, Burn! is no different.

Burn, Zombie, Burn! Screenshot

Basically, the game is like Robotron 2084 or Smash TV at heart. One hero, hordes of zombies, and a bunch of weapons on one screen. The difference between Burn, Zombie, Burn! and those two is that that those two are classics—I sincerely doubt that anyone will remember Burn, Zombie, Burn! existed in six months, let alone a few decades.

Although I will admit being disappointed that there was only an Arcade and Challenge mode (No story mode here. Bah.) the game would have been just fine regardless except for the fact that the developers made some really unusual choices that have a significant, depressive effect on gameplay.

Getting back to the grindstone

Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure Box Art

Been spending some time playing Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure on DS lately.

It's been getting quite a bit of positive praise from people whose opinions I usually put some stock in, and I'm glad to report that it's as good as they suggest. I won't talk about it too much since I'm contemplating a review, but I will say that it's certainly worth a purchase for anyone who can appreciate tightly tuned platforming and some straightforward puzzle action. The game is certainly more than the sum of these parts and combines very well together, and honestly, I'm little bit mystified as to how EA ended up publishing something of such quality.

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