The Showdown: Can Uncharted for the PS3 make a dent this November?
The Showdown continues. Each week we pick a topic, flip a coin to see which OT writer gets which side to debate, then present it to you. Today? Whether or not Uncharted: Drake's Fortune will help the PS3 this holiday season.
Frank: Ben and I spent some time last week sorting out just what we were going to do with November. There are so many good games coming out, and we can only do so many as full front-page reviews. While the slack will certainly be picked up here in Opposable Thumbs with what I can only predict will be a veritable cornucopia of mini-reviews through November and into December, Ben and I were very divided on which four of the big holiday titles would be getting timely front page reviews. The most controversial decision revolved around Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. I lobbied for the title for the front page as I feel that it will be one of the big holiday titles and a huge get for Sony, but Ben disagreed. So, we're here to battle it out. With the great guys at Naughty Dog working tirelessly to reinvent the aged Tomb Raider formula with contemporary design and top-notch production values, I firmly believe that Uncharted: Drake's Fortune will be one of the big titles of this holiday season, and will certainly surprise a lot of people.
Ben: Uncharted might be a great game, but a killer app? Or even a burp in November's release list? Please. Next month has a ridiculous set of games that will be released for every platform, with Call of Duty 4, Rock Band, Mass Effect, BlackSite: Area 51, Assassin's Creed, Haze, Unreal 3 (well, for the PC now that the PS3 version has been pushed back), Super Mario Galaxy, Kane and Lynch... and Uncharted.
I'm even leaving a few out, because the rest of the post would be a list of games I'm looking forward to more than Uncharted. No matter which way I attack it, as a gamer personally or someone who has to made hard calls about what games to cover, I have to say that Uncharted is a medium-sized fish in a huge-ass pond. Everyone is bringing out their big guns next month, and I have a feeling Uncharted is going to be one of the games ground under the uncaring wheels of a packed month.
Frank: I think you're heavily underestimating Naughty Dog. This is the company that brought us two great franchises on the PlayStation and PlayStation 2: Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter. Working closely with Insomniac Games--one of the few developers really working the PlayStation 3 over to any significant extent thus far--Naughty Dog will attempt to prove Uncharted has more potential than some would think. Note that just about every game you mentioned is cross-platform, which has traditionally resulted in less-than-favorable ports of 360 games to the PS3. Uncharted, on the other hand, has been built from the ground up for the PS3 by a team that knows what its doing.
Recent gameplay videos show some really strong graphics with few to no rough edges anywhere, and some compelling adventure and shooter gameplay elements look to make for a great experience. There's no question that there are tons of other big titles this fall, but for PlayStation 3 owners looking for a great exclusive title to snuggle up by the fire with over the holidays, Uncharted may be the big winner.
Ben: My problem is that so far they haven't shown me anything that has led me to get really excited. The game looks good, I'm going to try it, but if you had me list the top five games I'm excited about this month, it wouldn't make the list, and five games a month is way above average for the normal gamer. I don't see people talking about it much on forums, and overall I just don't think it has that early buzz that would allow it to carve out space for itself.
The other games of November all have people counting down the days. Have you heard anyone saying "Oh man, Uncharted is going to be the shit!"? No, they're busy talking about everything else. It could be a great game, but with so many sure-fire hits that people are budgeting for, there isn't space for a game without a slavish following or that will pick up steam based on reviews or word of mouth. Even a good quality game can hit with a thud with the insane number of AAA games being released in November.
Let's hear your thoughts. Will Uncharted: Drake's Fortune make a wave in the pond or simply drown in the competition?