Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Rise of the Tomb Raider

Playing through all the Uncharted games last year may have ruined Tomb Raider for me.

Adventuring through my backlog of games, one game at a time. 

Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Played On: PlayStation 4

A funny thing happened on my way to playing the second game of the rebooted Tomb Raider trilogy: I played all five Uncharted games. Particularly Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy have set my personal standard for cinematic third-person action games. I couldn’t help but constantly compare them to everything that annoyed me about Rise of the Tomb Raider, resulting in an experience that is middling at best.

The Uncharted comparisons are not entirely fair. Rise of the Tomb Raider precedes Uncharted 4 by a year, but such is the curse of backlog gaming!

Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Rise of the Tomb Raider”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Darkest Dungeon

An excellent, unique 2D tactical dungeon crawler severely hampered by late-game pacing.

Adventuring through my backlog of games, one game at a time. 

Developer: Red Hook Studios
Publisher: Merge Games
Release Date: August 19, 2016
Played On: PC

I live streamed my entire play through of Darkest Dungeon!

There’s a lot to like about Darkest Dungeon. The XCOM-like heroes who are both crucial and disposable. The large variety of character classes and build styles. The synergy between classes and skills, and the rewarding knowledge of enemies and lairs. And the way the art, music, narration, and difficulty all tie into the richly immersive eldritch horror theme.

I should have fallen in love and never looked back, but the tactical dungeon crawler began giving off a foul stench as it tried to last long past its expiration date, all but ruining the entire experience.

Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Darkest Dungeon”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

Can you make an Uncharted game without Nathan Drake? Hell yes.

Adventuring through my backlog of games, one game at a time. 

Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: August 22, 2017
Played On: PlayStation 4

final thoughtsMost Uncharted games have represented a big step forward in both gameplay and story-telling from Naughty Dog. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is only a step sideways. But when you’re still on the same level as Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, that’s not at all a complaint.

The Lost Legacy stars Chloe Frazer, Drake’s once partner-in-thief who was conspicuously absent from the otherwise all-encompassing finale that was Uncharted 4. Her absence is never really explained, as The Lost Legacy takes place after Uncharted 4 along with her new partner, Nadine Ross. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Uncharted: The Lost Legacy”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Nathan Drake’s first official outing on PlayStation 4 was easily his best.

Adventuring through my backlog of games, one game at a time. 

Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: May 10, 2016
Played On: PlayStation 4

gaming backlogPlaying every Uncharted game (+ The Last of Us) within the last few months has been a fascinating exercise. It’s a deep dive into a single developer’s strengths, weaknesses, and passion throughout two generations of consoles. And no where is the leap more pronounced than with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.

It would have been easy (well, easier) to drudge out Nathan Drake for yet another globe-trotting adventure of light-hearted hi-jinks, death-defying action, and mustache-twirling villains. In some ways Uncharted 4 doesn’t rock the franchise boat too much. Yet it’s also an emotionally satisfying end to a larger-than-life character, providing a rich story with a hefty amount of character growth, while also improving every aspect of a series that defies fossilization. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

The final entry in the original PlayStation 3 trilogy is my favorite Uncharted game yet.

Adventuring through my backlog of games, one game at a time. 

Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: October 2015 (Originally Nov. 2011 on PS3)
Played On: PlayStation 4

backlogWe come to the last game in the original PlayStation 3 trilogy. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception builds upon all the successful story beats and action moments from the sequel and crafts an even more enjoyable cinematic action-blockbuster, easily creating my favorite Uncharted game (so far).

The third game takes full advantage of its larger, established cast of Sully, Elena, and Chloe, and even throws in a new character, the Guy Ritchie-esque British gangster Cutter. While the story may have lacked the opening flash-forward of the train escape in the second game, I loved the alley brawls and underground tunnel excursions in London, leading us to our new villains in Marlowe and Talbot.

This time around Drake and company are back to investigating Nathan’s namesake, Sir Francis Drake, and the lost City of Iram of the Pillars. If you’re thinking this is very much like finding the lost city of Shambhala last game, you’re correct. A running theme here is that it apes much from the last game, but frankly does everything a bit better. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Does Uncharted 2 remain one of the greatest games of all time?

Adventuring through my backlog of games, one game at a time. 

Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: October 2015 (Originally Oct 2009 on PS3)
Played On: PlayStation 4

backlog gamingThere was a time when Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was considered one of the best video games ever made, and certainly one of the best to emerge from the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 era (it comfortably sits at a remarkable 96/100 on MetaCritic).

To me it’s mostly the sequel to Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. Uncharted 2 is an improvement over the original in many ways, yet still hampered by some of the same flaws, including a horrendously awful final boss fight that’s even worse than the original.

*Note* – since I’m playing the remastered edition from the Nathan Drake Collection on PlayStation 4, I haven’t played, nor cannot comment on the multiplayer components of Uncharted 2. These Final Thoughts are based entirely on the single player campaign. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Uncharted 2: Among Thieves”