Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bounties and Missed Opportunities

So after soundly finishing up the treasure hunting that I detailed yesterday, I began the arduous task of farming the Bounty Items and almost near-instantly regretted the venture.  I forewarn that it is certainly not something for the faint of heart, nor for the easily bored or distracted, because it is tedium at its worst, and a personal challenge at best.  Basically, as I feared, the objects in the Bounty sets must merely be farmed, rather than acquired in some fashion that allows for planning beyond "Restart from Last Checkpoint -> Kill Stuff -> See Step 1" over and over again.  In the right circumstances, however, this does allow for flexibility on your part which is where you can make the most of it, as I will explain, but otherwise it simply reminds me of all the time wasted in JRPGs seeking similar goals for items that actually did something, rather than provide meta-plot under the assumption that the object is eventually sold on the Black Market to ensure Nathan Drake and Victor "Goddamn" Sullivan scrape by.

The Tarot Card set was easy enough to do, since the best spot for getting those (as recommended by the internet, at least) was a nice big area that you can actually run around in and such.  Play the game tactically as it is intended; I say this because it will be important later, obviously.  To guard against how mind-numbing the task could be, since again, it is simply running the same battle over and over again via the "Restart from Last Checkpoint" function, I decided to have a little fun with it.  Since my treasure hunting had been done on Easy since I didn't want to bother with getting hit a lot and such, I was a little concerned that maybe my skills were in decline from the lack of reason to really tap into them.  In order to prepare for my Crushing playthrough, I set the difficulty back up to Hard to tackle this section, turning it into "Nathan Drake's Combat Finesse Training", making sure that I utilize both Headshots and the Steel Fist technique while not dying.  It was a success.

Granted, the area is fairly early on, so the challenge isn't terribly there, more like a pothole in the middle of a fairly clear road; you know it's there, but if you don't pay attention it will trip you and you will get hurt.  The real test will come with the latter sets, I realize, but for a re-introduction to combat, it worked spectacularly and kept me on my toes for sure.  The classic rush I get from taking out three foes in succession with the Steel Fist technique while my screen is quite gray, meaning that I just barely survived was one I felt the familiar tingle of at several occasions and once again, it reminded me that this was an Uncharted game, pure and simple.  Every reminder of that seems like it's the first, as I still can't quite wrap my head around the fact, no matter how prevalent and/or clear it is.  Hopefully if/when they do another iteration, they'll have figured it out enough that we'll get more than one environment, however.  I don't discriminate between Jungle and Burning Jungle, of course for said purposes.  And before you say "oh no spoilerzz" it's an action game.  Flammable things in action games -burn-.  That's just what they do.  You know this.

After I finished the task of collecting the Tarot Cards, my next task was the Pieces of Silver which are, in fact, Silver Coins.  I don't know why they simply aren't referred to as Silver Coins but that's neither here nor there.  The best spot to farm said coins (again, according to the internet) is during a section where you're given a Sniper Rifle and a healthy supply of ammo to shoot ~20 guys while trying to prevent someone else from being shot.  While true that there is a copious amount of folks here to kill, thus rationally increasing your chances of getting these rare drops, this is boring.  I don't get to run around and almost die, I don't get to punch things, I just sit and shoot at things, killing them in a single hit because the Sniper Rifle is powerful like that.  On its own, of course, it's fine, but when you play it for the extended periods of time that you have to to farm these coins, it becomes near unbearable.  The fact of the matter is, I spent about an hour or two grinding on this single spot and only went from 14 coins to 23.  So when I get back to it, I have more of the same awaiting me.

That is, of course, if I just go back to the most, ahem, 'efficient' spot.  I imagine there is a spot that is far more tuned to what I desire without the tedium of the sniper rifle, or at least I do hope so, because in peeking ahead at the suggestions, another one suggests an area for one of the later sets that is much like the Sniper section, but with a gatling gun instead.  It would be slightly different, of course, but not quite enough I suspect, so I'll be scouting for a different area for that as well, because I simply cannot bear this for much longer.  The only good it's doing is sharpening my aim which is plenty sharp as is, after all.  With any luck, it simply won't take as long as I suspect it might, because the quicker I get into my Crushing play, the better, and that will only happen once I get all the little extraneous things out of the way, possibly even the Kill trophies as well.

I suspect that my main issue with the Bounty sets, aside from the tedium involved, is that they simply don't offer anything but a few voiced lines for the sets and a few of the individual pieces (mostly the rare things) and trophies.  True, they do have an aspect about them as objects that are not always tangibly yours, since you can 'trade' them over the 'Black Market' (or Near), but since I have yet to get Near to work on my Vita (damn Skyhook), that aspect is completely shut off to me.  But if they're going to present these items as tradeable, why not make it worthwhile, by making the items desirable?  Make a mini-game around them; I suggested to a friend earlier that a Trading Card Mini-game where you collect the cards in the main game would be excellent, but as we know, I always think of Trading Card games.  Just -something- to use these things in is all I ask.  That they're tossed in in the way that they have been doesn't denote a lot of thought, and really means to me that they dropped the ball.  Something certainly could've come of this and that it didn't is a real miss.

Regardless, with any luck I should be done with this part of the game relatively quickly.  It's long, mindless work, but I'm fairly use to that with grinding on JRPGs and grinding on Warriors games alike, so there's nothing new to be had there.  That I'll be doing it using the mechanics of Uncharted sweetens the pot some since, as I said, I'm using it as 'Finesse Training' for my Crushing mode run, which will hopefully mean that that goes rather smoothly.  And when I'm done with that, well....then I have to figure out just what the hell I do next.  Since friggin' Gravity Rush doesn't come out til May and LittleBigPlanet doesn't come out til June.  It isn't like I don't have a wealth of options in the meantime, since I have commented on quite a few games for the Vita that are already out that I'm interested in, but my money situation might not like that option.  I really shouldn't worry about it too much not, however, since I won't know what the wait looks like until I am really done with Golden Abyss, which as I mentioned, might still have quite a life left in it.

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