For the second time in two years, my Xbox 360 has once again rejoined the choir invisible. It started playing up just after Christmas, struggling to run Far Cry 2 in much the same way as an asthmatic one lunged one legged pensioner has difficulty climbing the post office stairs. The occasional failure to read the disk or, my all time favourite, simply freezing mid game made me think that something was afoot - and indeed, a few weeks later it finally gave up the ghost. The dreaded three Red Rings of Death! One email to Microsoft, a UPS packing label, phone call and jiffy bag filled box later saw it winging its way back to Frankfurt for repair. Ironically, this means my 360 will probably end up having a better and more exotic holiday than me this year.
My PS3 must have been surprised to find itself being switched on for gaming purposes. It's more used to playing Blu-ray disks and torrented movies burnt to DVD at the moment, so I'm not surprised it simply refused to run my dusty copy of Motorstorm. Deciding at the weekend that I would really be hard pressed to find the critically well received Uncharted: Drakes Fortune (one of the launch titles for the PS3) any cheaper than £12, I decided to treat myself.
And what a treat! It's like a prettier Tomb Raider with an infinitely more likeable lead character - I can't stand Lara Croft. She may as well have a sticker hanging off her too-perfect arse reading "Custom designed by lecherous male committee for your demographic".
It shamelessly nicks the best bits from other games; The duck and fire mechanism is stolen straight from Gears of War, the treacherous jumping from platform to platform from the aforementioned Tomb Raider (clearly its biggest influence). The locations are exotic, varied and attractive - the plot entertaining and convincing enough. It also has a decent caliber of voice acting; the hero Nathan Drake and his sidekick Elena Fisher are good foils for each other, and the dialogue is well-written and authentic.
I'm racing through it and enjoying every minute - Investigating hidden tombs, engaging in high-speed vehicle chases, having gunfights in abandoned castles, fleeing through canals on a jet-ski. Niggles? The puzzles are of the "Solve Puzzle Yes/No" variety - "Ooh, a picture of four symbols with numbers by them. I wonder if I have to press the buttons with the same symbols in that order. Well, whaddyaknow!" - and I have the horrible feeling it might just abruptly stop.
But, all in all, thoroughly recommended - especially for the cheap price tag. I might have to do the same with Enchanted Sword now and some of the other early PS3 titles that shops can't even give away now. If I was inclined to provide a score, and its my blog so I'll do what I want, I'd give it 8.13 FoldsFives out of 11.07. If I wasn't inclined to provide a score, I wouldn't. Think on that.
Uncharted: Drakes Fortune is in sharp contrast, entertainment wise, to the disappointment that was the final issue of the DC epic Final Crisis. Issues #1 to #6 were brilliantly written and paced installments of what culminates here in an absolute mess of a comic. I'm a big fan of Grant Morrison but I've really missed the point with what he's tried to achieve here - major events are shoehorned into a single panel ("Aquamans back!", "Hawkman, Hawkgirl and Mr. Terrific are dead!")and it's difficult to tell whether elements of the tale are in real time or flashback. It's incredibly confusing and a poor end to a brilliant saga.
And did the DC universe really need to see Captain Carrot and the fucking Zoo Crew again? For fucks sake. If Final Crisis #7 were a pie, it would be a delicious looking yet vile tasting pie with too many ingredients in. Which was overcooked. And hidden within five other pies. And it would only be a picture of a pie, and not actually be a real pie.