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Get a Handle on Your Expectations

Another odd numbered year, another game from Naughty Dog studios, renowned for the Crash Bandicoot games and more recently Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, which deserves an award for how many awards it won. Thing is, Uncharted 3 won't be that good. Not because it isn't, but because it can't.

It's not Naughty Dogs fault mind you. Uncharted 3 will be game of the year caliber. In a year that's given graphics whores the lay of a lifetime, Killzone 3, Crysis 2, RAGE, and the forthcoming Battlefield 3, Uncharted 3 will probably outshine them all in terms of polish. And Hennig & Co., who write the series' stories, and the returning cast of voice actors will probably outclass every other fall release. (Valve's Portal 2 is similarly strong here though.)

No the real reason is that the title just doesn't have enough momentum behind it. In '09 Uncharted 2 was destined to be game of the year. Tidbits of information were hard to come by and the game handily won nearly every major website's E3 awards. It's only critical competition was Modern Warfare 2, which many argued was creatively bankrupt compared to it's predecessor.

That hasn't happened this year. This year has been Batman: Arkham City's time to shine and millions are perched on the edge of their seats waiting for Skyrim to destroy their social lives for the foreseeable future. And really, when you compare anything to Skyrim, which is has been in development for the better part of five years, how can anything compare with a game as massive as that? Uncharted just doesn't have as much room to stand out.

But of course, the biggest reason why Uncharted 3 won't be a repeat of Uncharted 2 is because of threequal syndrome. Uncharted is actually in the same place the Batman movie franchise is in now. The first sequel was so successful that there simply isn't anything ND can do to raise the bar high enough to meet expectations. Which itself is a recipe for disappointment. Maybe if there was another year it wouldn't be so much of a problem, but for most of us the unprecedented success of Uncharted 2 is still fresh in our minds.

So my advice to those (myself included) feverishly anticipating Uncharted 3 is to calm down. High expectations are the killer of good games (SEE Heavenly Swords RAGE, and Fable). And chances are it'll get a lower metascore than UC2, so PS3 fanboys be prepared not to use it in your fruitless war with the Xbox fanboys.

If you really want to enjoy Uncharted 3, don't read the reviews. Don't read how people are going to say it didn't measure up to its predecessor or other titles this year. Don't risk the spoilers in reviews to confirm what you already know, that this series is one of the best of all time. Don't pay attention to how it won't sell 1/4th the copies of this year's mindless shooters.

Just remember that when the Uncharted series started it was overlooked and under-appreciated and this year won't be a fall from grace so much as a return to the norm.

And if I'm wrong, and Uncharted 3 is the second coming of Christ, then so much the better.

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Killman3415d ago

I fear the inevitably lower score average that Uncharted 3 will receive. Reviewers have been sticking it hard to sequels this year, so it will be almost impossible for it to surpass UC2 in scores. Me? I think the game will be amazing, just like UC2. F*ck reviewers

kennyboy3415d ago

the people rating it lower are the same people that want to keep trying to push that ps3 is "maxed" out and we need new consoles, and i assure you we will be hearing that "the graphics are only a little better than uncharted 2s" or not better at all, which is why im sure its pc fans at heart that do these reviews, pc fans at "heart" is the key word

Ducky3414d ago ShowReplies(1)
Hicken3415d ago

I think I have to disagree on a sort of fundamental level. If UC3 fails to meet our expectations, that is by no means a sign that it's not superior to its predecessor. By all accounts, the game is just that; if, for some reason, people are unhappy with Uncharted 3, despite it surpassing Uncharted 2, we are the ones to blame.

I don't believe that has anything to do with it being the third game, or with the last one being so spectacularly good. Rather, I think it's something solely fabricated within our own minds.

When I play a game- any game- I have only the most basic of expectations for it. I expect the game to be whatever it is- which should be a gimme, honestly- and I expect it to do so effectively. Thus, when I play a new shooter, racer, or RPG, though I may have other titles to draw reference from, I won't compare the game I'm playing to Call of Duty, Gran Turismo, or Valkyria Chronicles. As best I can, I let the game stand apart from all other games, and then judge it on how well it executes the things it set out to do.

Final Fantasy XIII, as an example, is a game I enjoyed more than most. Unlike most, however, I didn't go into the game expecting traditional FF themes, or Uematsu's music. I played it for itself, and found that it did a damn good job of being just that. The battle system took some getting used to, but it wasn't bad. The linearity of the game- not being open-world at all until near the end of the game- made sense within the context of the story, so it didn't bother me. The story itself, which some people have thought convoluted, made enough sense to me. A solid game. All things considered, it was a poor FF, like XII, but also like its predecessor, still solid in all other respects.

I find I'm rarely disappointed by my purchases this way. I'm very selective, as it is, about what I buy. What I DO spend my money on, however, I don't regret.

If people were more objective and could look at each individual game that way, it'd go a long way toward fixing all the ridiculous expectations and even more ridiculous reviews. The first four .hack games should have all gotten the same reviews: as standalone titles, they are each about virtually the same thing, and bring little new to the table but a few characters, bosses, and story progression. Yet the difference from top to bottom is six points on metacritic; the last two games sit at a 70, where as the first two are at 75 and 76, respectively. Having played them all myself, I can only imagine that reviewers began expecting more out of each entry than was there and judged accordingly, instead of judging the games for what they were.

If people can ever get past their own preconceptions of what a game is supposed to be and judge it first by its own merits, we won't have to worry about potentially great titles like UC3 getting poor reviews or disappointing us.

TopDudeMan3414d ago

Well, see I haven't even played the beta because I know that uncharted is uncharted. I don't need to read up information on it, either. Nor do I have to read reviews. The game will be good and I will enjoy it. That is all. Nothing else matters.

ZombieAssassin3414d ago (Edited 3414d ago )

I kinda agree, I think Uc3 will be just as good as 2 but Uc2 raised the bar pretty high so it kinda puts a lot of hype/expectations behind 3.

Only crap thing is I can already see the reviews that say things like "It's just Uc2 with a new story" and then take points off of it even though it'll most likely be just as good as 2....not that it matters I've been waiting for this game since I beat Uc2 so every review could give it a negative score and I'd still buy it.

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