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.)
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.
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?