When You Just Can’t “Click” With A Developer

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End™_20160512013408

There are certain games I have, historically, tried to like and failed. And when I say I’ve tried, I sincerely mean I’ve tried. I am the person who is trying to look for the best in a game. I want to like it. I mean, who doesn’t want to like a game?

That being said, there is a developer who I’ve repeatedly tried to like (and who is known for making some of the most well-received games in history), yet repeatedly failed to connect with: Naughty Dog.

This isn’t a tirade. This isn’t a judgement on anyone who loves Naughty Dog. These are simply my experiences with their games.

I love art. I love games. I love a good story. So it’s odd that I’ve not been able to connect with any of Naughty Dog’s offerings.

When I played The Last of Us, I was underwhelmed. I found the game visually beautiful, but the story (and the characters) just didn’t resonate with me. I found various aspects of the game to be fine, I just didn’t love it. Towards the last third of the game, I was more than ready for it to be over.

I know The Last of Us is loved by many, and I tried, I really did, I just didn’t care for it.

When Uncharted 4 released this Tuesday, I went into it with an open mind. I had read that the story (and narrative) were solid, and I was ready for a fantastic adventure game.

(Please note: this will be spoiler-free.)

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End™_20160512201535

I completed Uncharted 4 last night, and I ended up exceedingly frustrated with the game, overall. I found the gameplay clunky, the story contrived, and the puzzle mechanics repetitive (e.g.: move this box here, jump here but watch out for the crumbling whatever!). I was more than ready to be finished with the game well before the end.

As disappointed as I was in the experience, I have to absolutely give credit where credit is due, and that is the art direction. The game is beautiful. So often, as I was wandering around doing whatever it was that I needed to do, I marveled at the environments.

I am a sucker for atmosphere, and Uncharted 4 has it in spades.

I just wish I had enjoyed playing the game as much as I enjoyed looking at it.

I suppose I grew weary after several firefights that seemed all over the place, or having jumped to yet another ledge that fell apart when I grabbed it. There were certain portions of dialogue that I found engaging, but often, I found myself rolling my eyes a bit. When it comes down to brass tacks, I’m not sure how much I like Nathan Drake. He lies and he kills people. And he still hasn’t mastered tucking in his shirt all the way.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End™_20160512205313

Those things being said, they are simply true for me. I am grateful for all the varied gaming experiences I’ve had, as they help me curate what I enjoy and what I enjoy less. I may not love Naughty Dog’s games, but I regularly find them beautiful to look at. And even though I may not “click” with their games, I’m always excited to see them push forward the medium with their attention to detail of even the smallest moments.

Has there ever been a developer you wanted to like, but just didn’t? If so, which?

Categories: games

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7 replies »

    • Hey, different strokes for different folks. I do understand I’m in the minority, but I also feel I’ve given supplication for why I feel the way I do. I know Naughty Dog gets a lot of praise, and I’m genuinely glad for them, I just have never clicked with one of their games.

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      • Me & you both, Rebekah, I have tried to get into ND’ games; I feel as though there is NOT that connection. To quote your phrasing, “unable to click” with a developer. I too, share your sentiments. Taking nothing away from ND; not everyone will enjoy certain developers. point blank, period!

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      • Isn’t that strange? It’s even stranger when you think, well these are all things I like, so why am I not liking them?

        And agreed. I may love Irrational (RIP), but not everyone does. Different strokes for different folks. I’m glad there are different audiences for all these developers. There is something for everyone.

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