This past weekend I cleared another couple of games off my backlog – Metal Gear Solid 3 and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.

First off, here’s what I thought of MGS3 as a whole.

The removal of the passive radar system from all previous games makes the game somewhat harder since you’ll have to lurk unseen to figure out what the guards’ patrol routes are. On the other hand, though, I thought the food and camouflage systems were pretty useless – the former is basically there to annoy the hell out of you by forcing you to hunt for food every few minutes and the latter is redundant since the camouflage types come equipped with a handy percentage value to tell you exactly what you should be wearing when. The cure system seems similarly ultimately pointless since the game pretty much tells you exactly what you need to use to cure your wound – and I never ran out of supplies (at least on Normal difficulty).

That said, it did have some great moments – the boss battles are way better than MGS2’s for sure (with the exception of one), and I found the lack of backtracking through the same areas (for the most part) to be an improvement over the first two games’ almost excessive use of it. The action sequences are generally less awkward than those in the first two games, although the first part of the game (when silencers are in short supply) is somewhat harder than the rest of the game.

So yeah, I thought it was a decent game, with some odd trappings that didn’t really make sense.

As for Uncharted, I thought it was generally a well-polished third-person shooter. It’s not quite like Resident Evil 4 where you have an inventory and can stock up on items, guns and other such stuff, nor can you really buy items. Healing and weapons are handled similarly to the Halo series, in that you can only have 2 weapons at any given time (one single-handed weapon and one double-handed weapon), and that you recover health gradually after avoiding damage for a certain period of time. In addition, unlike RE4 you can move while in ‘aiming mode’, and can also ‘fire from the hip’ while running. The game also features a Gears of War-like cover mechanic, which is pretty much the main way you avoid taking damage during combat.

Overall, as Yahtzee mentioned in his review, it’s a game that borrows extensively from games that came before it, and ends up being somewhat greater than the sum of its parts. I actually think it isn’t quite as challenging as RE4, partly because the enemy AI is somewhat retarded and partly because of all the additional abilities Nathan Drake has over Leon Kennedy. Still, I’d say it’s definitely worth checking out if you have a PS3.

So I’ve beaten the only PS3 game that I have…I suppose I could get Metal Gear Solid 4 if I wanted to.

3 thoughts on “Whittling down the backlog”
  1. MGS3 is my favorite of the series, and I’m a big fan of said series, so I mean that as a strong compliment.

    I thought the setting was fantastic. In addition to the Cold War background, the jungle was very well done. CQC, while tricky to pick up, was immensely satisfying once I could successfully extract information from captured soldiers, instead of accidentally slitting their throats.

    It’s funny that the three elements you criticize as pointless (camouflage, food, and the healing system) were some of my favorite parts of it. I mean, the camouflage system was simple, but it felt less brain dead than MGS4’s auto-camo. For me, the healing system added to the atmosphere of the game. There was just something immensely satisfying about digging out bullets with a knife. The food system was also fun for me, since I enjoyed hearing Snake’s reviews on all the various creatures. I immediately set out to eat one of everything in the game (except the poisonous stuff). Also, capturing some of the more dangerous animals alive and then throwing them at guards was goddamn hilarious.

    1. Well I called them pointless because, in terms of adding complexity to a well-worn action game formula, they really are pointless. They don’t make the game more challenging or difficult – they’re pretty much just diversions from the main game.

      Camouflage doesn’t add much depth to sneaking around since, like I said, the game outright tells you what you should be wearing when. On top of that, it actually makes hiding a lot easier since you can hide in enemies’ plain sight a lot of the time (which wouldn’t fly in older games as you’d be spotted immediately).

      The healing system doesn’t add complexity since all you’re doing is pressing one button 3-4 times instead of once – no additional effort involved.

      The food system I’m less sure about, but ultimately it felt like more of an annoyance than a challenge. Animals and plants are plentiful, and even if you eat something that’s rotten you can heal up using digestive medicine right away. As for throwing animals at enemies to distract them, that pretty much serves the exact same purpose as the dirty magazines in MGS2 did, don’t they?

      CQC was pretty fun, although I viewed it more as a natural evolution of the chokehold move that has been around since the first game.

      1. Oh, I wasn’t disagreeing with you. In fact, I mostly agree. They are pointless. I was just voicing the strange truth that, even though they didn’t add much, I wouldn’t have liked the game as much if they weren’t there.

        In some ways, the entire MGS series is characterized by pointless excesses. The plot is needlessly complex, the cutscenes don’t need to be so long, Snake always has a lot of tricks and moves that are hardly ever used, and the codec conversations are overly frequent. Although I can certainly understand why someone else wouldn’t, I really love everything about the series.

        (And throwing animals didn’t work exactly like the dirty magazines. Depending on how close to the guard you threw the animal, their response is more panicky than distracted. They sometimes started shooting the poor snake. This in turn could distract other guards, allowing you to sneak past unnoticed. Or, if the guard was alone, you could use his preoccupation to your advantage and attack him. It was sort of a combination of the dirty magazines and knocking-on-walls, but safer since you never had to place yourself in danger.)

        (Also! I just remembered that there was one mushroom that recharged your batteries when you ate it. So, there’s one other use for the food system.)

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