About Us | Game Reviews | Feature Articles | Podcast | Best Work | Forums | Shop | Review Game

Uncharted

Cinematic Action games: a brief critical assessment

Prince of Persia Screenshot

To categorize cinematic action games as intrinsically shallow or lacking in value would be the worst sort of genre-as-pejorative thinking. Their approach to game storytelling has produced many strengths, but one central characteristic of the genre is also a critical weakness. The great artistic limitations of cinematic action games come from their disinterest in the player as a creative force.

Values and characteristics of the Cinematic Action genre

Shadow of the Colossus Screenshot

Uncharted represents not a new kind of game unto itself but an exemplary actualization of certain values in game design. Here I intend to put a name to those values and show how they relate to the characteristics of games in this group, which I think of as "Cinematic Action" games.

The fallacy of universal authorship in games (and why Uncharted 2 isn't GOTY)

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Screenshot 

It's been suggested by critic emeritus Gene Park, staff critic Matthew Kaplan and others outside of the GC community, that adding more interactive choices/decisions to the popular PlayStation 3 title, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, would change the very thrill-ride nature and universal appeal of its gameplay. The argument is that the inclusion of such choice would result in something that was "not the point of the game".

Gene insists that: "...I've followed the game's development through media and it's been said time and time again (even in the game's in-game documentary) that the purpose of the game was never going to be about player choice, but providing the same experience for all players."

I disagree with this logic of thought for multiple reasons.

Why Demon's Souls isn't GOTY material and other strange tales

Demon's Souls Screenshot

Forgive this bit of Scroogery on Christmas (hey, it's not my holiday).  I'm mostly reacting to Gamespot picking Demon's Souls over Uncharted 2: Among Thieves as Game of the Year for 2009. It's a positive reaction to the action-RPG title that I've seen elsewhere, so I'm not entirely surprised. But I also feel it's the latest in a series of hyperbolic reactions calling the game "new" and "inventive," when what I really think people are reacting to—both positively and negatively—is the game's difficulty.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Third Opinion

Can a Video Game be a B-Movie, and Does this Present any Problems?

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Screenshot

HIGH Watching Uncharted the movie, I mean game, unfold.

LOW Actually playing the game.

WTF There is absolutely no need to figure out what to do on your own, eventually the game will tell you.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Second Opinion

Plenty of Sugar, Little Nutrition

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Screenshot

High The train section in the middle of the game is exhilarating.

Low The firefights drag on, never as exciting as they should be.

WTF The weird "warp" animation when the devs force Drake to make an extra-long jump.

Uncharted 2 gets charted

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Screenshot

Still on my quest to play all the "big" games of 2009, I've almost got Uncharted 2 wrapped up… only two or three more sections to go. Having already put together a rough list of the year's top ten, I was wondering which title I might have to bump to make room for it. That concern is now moot, since it's not going to make the list.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Review

The Style Is In The Details

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Screenshot

HIGH Finally glimpsing the lost city of Shambhala.

LOW Quickly dying ten times during a chase sequence before getting a hint as to what I should be doing.

WTF "Don't you love how the water makes your jeans all squidgy?"

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves?

Yay!
66% (352 votes)
Meh.
9% (48 votes)
Nay!
5% (25 votes)
Don't care.
20% (109 votes)
Total votes: 534

Code of Conduct

Comments are subject to approval/deletion based on the following criteria:
1) Treat all users with respect.
2) Post with an open-mind.
3) Do not insult and/or harass users.
4) Do not incite flame wars.
5) Do not troll and/or feed the trolls.
6) No excessive whining and/or complaining.

Please report any offensive posts here.

For more video game discussion with the our online community, become a member of our forum.

Our Game Review Philosophy and Ratings Explanations.

About Us | Privacy Policy | Review Game | Contact Us | Twitter | Facebook |  RSS
Copyright 1999–2010 GameCritics.com. All rights reserved.