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GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 63: Scott Jones, Uncharted 3, Making Time for Games

Tim Spaeth's picture

We're joined by Reviews on the Run host (and GameCritics alum) Scott Jones, who speaks publicly for the first time about his controversial Uncharted 3 review. Afterward, Chi and Mike take a Crater Lake-deep dive into the successes and failures of the game. Plus: Is gameplay an endangered species, and how on Earth do we find the time to play all these video games? With Chi Kong Lui, Mike Bracken, Richard Naik, and Tim "Deepak" Spaeth.

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Category Tags
Platform(s): PS3  
Developer(s): Naughty Dog  
Key Creator(s): Amy Henning  
Series: Uncharted  
Genre(s): Adventure/Explore   Shooting  
Articles: Reports   Podcasts  

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Uncharted 3 Review

There has been a huge outburst over this review, but we've seen this kinda stuff happen before (ie - Zelda getting an 8.8); on one side, it's full of fanboy crying and screaming, and on the other part, it helps open our eyes to see deeper within a game and not rely so much on a franchise or any of its predecessors.

Does this review feel like a success, or possibly like it's biting Scott in the ass? I orgasm everytime a fanboy cries.

Chi/Bracken Brawl!

enjoyed Scott Jones comments alot. Reading his review, what clicked with me was his assertion that the gameplay mechanics from the last one haven't been revamped. That's a big one for me, and if my opinion that there's something wrong with the cinematic gameplay of the Uncharted games seems a little touchy-feely, then let me see if I can clarify. There's nothing wrong with a game feeling like it's on rails, but when a game tries to make it's thing non-stop action, there's a problem. The problem is that I don't give a sh*t after a while. It gets numbing. It's just one hectic explosive whatever after another, and it becomes a blur. Now, in that action, are the controls finely tuned? No, they're mushy. Mushy controls, blurry mess of action. It doesn't work for me. And as for cinema equivalency, look at Raiders of the Lost Ark; much of that movie is conversation and character development, by today's hyperkinetic standards. All that character development pays off in heightened bonding with the audience, but film is a passive medium, so that bonding is critical. Gameplay is what defines games. Uncharted has talky cutscenes, fine. But they don't endear the gameplay to you. No amount of character development helps a crappy control scheme- it just makes the contrast all that more sharp that the gameplay doesn't fit with the storytelling. I think Mike Bracken makes a good point that in the future, there's room for improvement in the execution of the genre, and I think Scott Jones feels that the time is now.

By the way, Tim- your comments about being married and not having shared interests? Spot on. And I think what bears mentioning is that without the baggage of shared interests, the personal interest you show your partner is absolute. Loving people isn't about compatibility tickboxes, it's about choosing love as a path with someone.

Good stuff. Carry on!

Good stuff, as usual

Haven't listening to all the podcast yet, but just wanted to say a couple of things:

- Regarding review scores/etc..., the reason I personally get annoyed is -- and Mike alluded to this -- the lack of consistency; I don't see how it's fair to criticise a game for a specific flaw, then completely ignore it for another (typically when it's a game the reviewer likes, ironically enough). Eurogamer are notorious for this, and are the most inconsistent reviewers on the internet as far as I can tell. It annoys me so much I outright refuse to use the website, even when it comes out with a big news story or in-depth preview; it's that bad.

- Uncharted 3: I actually adore the first two games and am going through the third at the moment, and can agree that the actual gameplay and cycle of platforming, puzzles, and combat is growing somewhat stale now. That said, I'd happily agree with Mike and slap a 7.5/8 on it, and think it still has enough good design and narrative (regarding the characters, in any case) to give it some credit. I don't take issue with someone slating it, or the series, as long as it's a consistent argument (it typically isn't, I find).

Are they generally overrated? For the wrong reasons, yes. Like Scott said - too many professional reviewers are inexperienced, and so don't really know what they're doing. Even so, I think the first two games warrant the praise they obtained, but that's just me.

- Finally, just want to say that Tim is the best podcast host ever! I've realised this for a long time, but felt the need to finally put it into words. =P

great podcast

Boy there's so much to say in terms of content of this podcast, revolving specifically around 'cinemation' of games, however what I most want to say is that this might be one of your finest - thoroughly engaging, with different viewpoints, and content ranging from reviews in general to the idea of what games are. I just wanted to say thankyou. It's a little sappy, but it's deeply felt. that's all.

Best video game podcast

Best video game podcast ever.

About not having enough time

About not having enough time to play,I find that I'm often so tired after work that I don't even feel like playing.

Just wanted to thank you all

Just wanted to thank you all for the comments, and listening.

It's always good to hear feedback (positive and negative) about the show -- because we do it to entertain the five of you who do listen, and this way we know what works and what all of you want to hear.

Support

And I just wanna say thx for you guys for giving a shout-out of support to OWS. I know its unrelated, but it was cool, nonetheless.

inconsistency due to priorities

Crofto wrote:

I don't see how it's fair to criticise a game for a specific flaw, then completely ignore it for another (typically when it's a game the reviewer likes).

Actually i agree but i think it's hard to cram everything into each and every review so you keep it to the pros and cons that felt important?
When you like something it's pretty hard to rant on some flaws you might have noticed but did easily ignore because of the good things, the points you rather want to talk about, so you have to leave things out.
I guess that is what Chi meant; that the negative of the 4/10 guy was is important in Uncharted and thus it's right to be picky at Uncharted while it doesn't matter with other games. I don't see why Uncharted should be treated in any way different than Gears or MW or whatever, but when someone sees it that way, "inconsistency" makes some sense.
Reason why i think a review can never be too long. Any detail someone thinks is worth to be written down is important for a comprehensive review. But that doesn't go with "we must be first" and the text lengths many sites have limited themselves to (eurogamer actually not) and so no reviewer has to wonder when his review is vulnerable to critics-critics.

I doubt that knowing an Atari2600 (or Dreamcast) is really an essential contribution to be a good reviewer. Many of the older gamers act like they have seen already everything as though eg. Elite is the best game ever and the good old times were incredibly better, in everything.
Like what was said later, praise when deserved and being always critical, is more or less anything needed. The "premature fans" possible won't be much different in 20 years from now when PS360 will be considered oldskool.

Games are special because they offer interactivity in a vast variety of experiences. Gameplay is only a part of that, not always necessary.

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