Ben's Week In Review: April 17
Anybody playing the Doom beta this weekend? I want to try the Mirror's Edge Catalyst beta this coming week, too.
So, Uncharted 4 is definitely more open than we thought
I knew Naughty Dog had to avoid the "it's linear so it blows" idiocy that infects this industry like a viral plague, so I expected them to open up the levels in the new Uncharted adventure.
But according to the team's latest livestream, the game certainly sounds a lot more open than I initially believed. It seems we're going to be spending a lot of time in a vehicle - a jeep - and we use it for the majority of the game to travel. It actually reminds me of Mad Max the way they've described it, though I doubt we'll be in the vehicle quite that often. But travel via jeep is definitely a big part of the game, which implies the areas are bigger and more open than we - or maybe just I - anticipated. Sam and Scully will shoot while you drive as well and it's interesting to note that enemies will behave differently when you're in the vehicle, as opposed to when you're on foot. Then, there are multiple ways of approaching a new section; for example, you could try to find a good sniping position, or you could infiltrate stealthily.
Some of these details are even reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, if you really think about it. Another game that was said not to be especially open but in fact, freedom was a driving force behind the experience. Now, I'm fine with Naughty Dog's ideas here, provided they don't make the story take a back seat, which is basically what happened in MGSV. I like the idea of having some freedom to maneuver and plan, but it had still better be more linear than open. That's all I'm saying.
So excited for Blood and Wine
If the second expansion for The Witcher 3 really does come out on June 7, I'll be okay with that. It's a little tight but I should still be able to finish Uncharted 4 and Doom before then, though I doubt I'll be done with the new Mirror's Edge (all three of these are coming out next month, by the way). The good news is there really isn't anything I want to play until the end of August when Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is supposed to arrive, so I'll have all summer to handle Catalyst and Blood and Wine. I really think more developers need to take a cue from CD Projekt Red when it comes to crafting single-player downloadable content. I didn't fawn all over the Polish studio for giving us those 16 free pieces of DLC for The Witcher 3 (a few unimpressive new quests and some costumes...yippee), but the expansion plan is just awesome. Hearts of Stone is probably the best piece of add-on content I've ever played.
Yeah, I know, I don't have a ton of experience with DLC. But I do know that very few are as meaty as Hearts of Stone and if Blood and Wine actually is twice as long, that'll be very, very appreciated. Bear in mind that both expansions only cost $25 so essentially, you're paying less than $1/hour (Hearts of Stone was about 10 hours) and for single-player content, that's basically unheard of. Can't wait.
Personal gaming update
I'm not going to be playing anything else until I've had my fill of Ratchet & Clank. Going into it, I was almost a little worried because I wasn't sure how I'd react. I'd never completed an R&C adventure before (though I'd played most of them) and I just wasn't sure if I'd be interested in finally finishing one. Plus, we're talking about the original title, here, remake or not, so...
But all my fears have long since disappeared; I know I love it and I know I'll finish it. It's really one of the most impressive remakes I've ever seen and above all else, I can't remember the last time I enjoyed myself this much. Sure, I adored The Witcher 3 but in a totally different way. It'd be impossible to compare the two games and equally impossible to compare my personal experiences with both. The bottom line is that you really need to play Insomniac's remake because it's just that good.
And yes, only about four more weeks until Uncharted 4. :)
4/16/2016 Ben Dutka