Welcome to Afrika: Review.

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Hulohot
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AKA: dan_e1990
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PostWelcome to Afrika: Review.
by Hulohot » Sun Sep 28, 2008 4:56 pm

When I first saw Afrika (Hakuna Matata in Asia) in action I was pretty stunned. The slow paced photography genre appeals to me (Because of the creativity involved in taking artistic photographs) and this looked to be something special.

Afrika dissapeared, and reappeared suddenly a few weeks back on the 'coming this week' list.
Unfortunatley it was not being released in Europe so any Europeans who wanted to play this would have to struggle with the Japanese language. I thought to myself, 'fair enough, it should not be too hard.'

I was wrong.

Afrika is a pain in the backside. You are Afrika's b**ch, and it leads you on a very short leash.

The aim of the game is to explore the rather large world of Afrika, going on 'missions' to capture on film animals in action then deliver the photo to your employer through the in game laptop for money that can be spent on new equipment and cameras. It sounds good, right.

The developers for some reason (Most likely budget) decided that it would be best for the player to WATCH rather than take control. The world map is pretty huge and split up into three areas. But you will not be exploring it yourself, no, your guide does the driving for you. Tap R2 and the driver will drive on a set path, and press L2 and he will stop allowing you to get out and explore on foot (The bad thing about this is that you can only stray about 100 feet away from the car before being dragged back so there will be no deep exploring on foot.)

So you cannot drive yourself and you just pan the camera and look at the pretty foilage go by.
This would be okay (I suppose) if the animals you needed to photograph were not on the other side of the map, AND IF YOU COULD ACTUALLY MAKE HIM DRIVE THERE.
He drives on a set path on the right hand side of the map , and I have no idea how to make him drive to the left side of the map where the Zebra's are. I'm stuck, in a loop unable to control where the guide actually drives to. He drives in a half circle then asks if you want to return to camp, the only option here is yes (because if you say no he will just sit there and you will be stuck forever until you say yes.)

So I cannot fathom how to make the guide drive to the Zebra's, and I can't get there on foot.
It is sad that they had to apply this strict leash, because if there was not a limit on how far from the vehicle you could stray, then Afrika would be amazing.

The graphics are beautiful and I have taken several simply stunning photographs that I want to use as my PC desktop background. The opportunity for photographic creativity is superb but I have really worn down the only area the guide seems to want to drive to.
The Six-axis is used very well to, perhaps the best in all Ps3 games I have played. By tilting the controller you can switch between portrait and landscape views, and if you do not hold the controller steady then the photograph will become blurry.

But the pretty graphics do not really make up for the annoying design choices. Such as having to press Square to ready your camera, and square again to come out of viewfinder mode.
It would have been easier to ready the camera with L1/2 and use the shutter with R1/2.
You cannot even move when in viewfinder mode which means you constantly need to exit and enter viewfinder to line up the shot you want. It's really quite fiddly and when the animal you want to shoot is seconds from sprinting away, messing around with the square button is a royal pain in the ass. In order to make your character crouch you need to push down on the D-pad. It would have been much more natural to click down on the analogue stick. Besides, crouching does not really help as animals still sprint away if you enter their area. It does not matter how stealthy you are, they will always sense you even if they are not looking directly at you.

Another annoying niggle is that you can only pan the 3rd person camera view left and right. It is impossible for the character to look up at the sky or down on the ground (unless you are in viewfinder mode.)

But perhaps my biggest gripe is how the developers decided to deal with the dangerous animals.
When you go near these dangerous creatures (My first encounter was with a Hippo) the screen flashes red. You then have so many seconds to get the hell out of there (Or take your pictures)
If you do not make it in time, a cutscene kicks in where you see the animal charge at you. :?
I was expecting to actually have the animal charge at me in real time during gameplay, but no, you have to watch it. This really dissapointed me.

I know I did not get very far at all, but these annoying choices have made me want to stop playing. But I will not. I plan on reading up on the forums on how to play the game, and hopefully learn how to make the Guide drive to the other half of the map.

It is a shame that the game turned out like this. I thought I would love it (Coming from a lover of Vampire Rain) but you are best saving your pennies for Far Cry 2 for your Africa fix instead.

+ Beautiful graphics, textures, animal animations. Simply stunning.
+ Photography and the Six-axis is used very well.
+ Being outside at dusk is one of the prettiest things I have ever seen in a game ever.

- But after a few moments the game forces you to go to bed.
- Unable to drive yourself, the driver has a set path a bit like a racing track.
- Unable to explore yourself.
- The animals only run away. If you stay too close to dangerous ones they will attack in a cutscene. :(
- The Japanese langauge means you will miss out on the deep encyclopedia system.
- Sometimes it's hard to figure out exactly what you are supposed to be doing.
- The equipment purchase system is all in Japanese. It's hugely difficult to know what you are buying actually does without extreme camera/photography knowledge.


[6/10]


Image

The photo I took looked exactly like that.

Image

I was unable to get close enough to see how pretty these really were.

This video will show you exactly what I mean.


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AerisHime
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Joined in 2008

PostRe: Welcome to Afrika: Review.
by AerisHime » Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:34 am

He found the Zebras! :) (in the video)

Possibly you need to finish another mission first, if the driver always decides where to go this would be my first idea. Or apparently sometimes triggering some cutscene helps. At least that's what i've gathered after zooming through the GameFAQs boards.

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