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Uncharted 4 vs Quantum Break: Which is the Better Single Player Game?

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Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is arguably the PlayStation 4’s biggest single player exclusive to date. Likewise, Remedy’s Quantum Break for Microsoft’s Xbox One has been a highly anticipated game since its announcement just prior to the 2013 E3 Expo. While there have been other solo adventures exclusive to both systems, the two games have had the full weight of the console builders behind their development and have been touted as flagships. Of course, the Uncharted series has previously performed that role, while Quantum Break is a completely new intellectual property.

Truthfully, I’ve eagerly looked forward to both of these games. I’ve long been a fan of the Uncharted series, and I consider Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us easily one of my Top 5 games ever. I am also a fan of Remedy Entertainment’s action adventure games. The first Max Payne game was revolutionary in its storytelling at the time, and the Alan Wake games are adventure game staples. Unfortunately, Microsoft did a pretty poor job announcing what kind of game Quantum Break would be in their E3 press conference, and that fact undoubtedly mitigated some its appeal. Despite that, it was probably the Xbox One exclusive I was looking forward to the most.

Strangely, the two games dropped only a month apart, and if Uncharted 4 was able to make its previous date, they would have been released even closer to each other. Luckily, I’ve been able to make the time to play both to completion, though I just barely finished Uncharted 4 prior to starting this piece. Overall, I enjoyed both games and, truthfully, I’m a little sad that there isn’t anything similar on the release calendar for awhile. I do have high hopes for the upcoming Mirror’s Edge reboot, and Deus Ex will hopefully be out at the end of August.

I did say that I liked both games, so let me start off with that. I’m also not going to get into technical details like native resolution and frame rates. As flagship entries, they are well optimized for their respective systems. Both Uncharted 4 and Quantum Break are also highly cinematic games, and are narratively dense. As fan of heavy narratives, I obviously view that as a positive. Of course, the flipside to that is that the two games are pretty much on the rails. Their areas are fairly large though, and do allow for some exploration, more so in Uncharted 4, and overall, Uncharted is the bigger game, both in gameplay area and in playthrough length.

Uncharted 4Circling back to the narrative, both games have remarkable voicework with an expert cast, though in Quantum Break you do get see the actual actors in the live action video sequences. Uncharted on the other hand uses a more standard, video game formula, relying exclusively on 3D models and motion capture. Except for the couple of occasions with dialogue choices, it also borrows heavily from The Last of Us’ conversation notifications. Quantum Break’s live action sequences mean that you’ll be sitting there watching for extended periods of time, and with Uncharted, at least a portion of the dialogue is optional.

If that was all there was to the narrative, Uncharted 4 would probably be my preference, but it’s not. In Quantum Break, there are actual choices to make. Those choices alter both the video sequences and the gameplay for the upcoming sections of the game. In contrast, while playing as Nathan Drake, there are only a couple of conversations where you can choose a reply, but they don’t change anything in the game except for how that particular conversation plays out. Unfortunately, Quantum Break’s supplemental narrative items don’t support the overall story quite as well as Uncharted’s.

It’s important to note, Quantum Break is only about half as long as Uncharted 4, and while both games include quite a bit of shooting along with some platforming, A Thief’s End offers a significantly larger variety of gameplay. That gameplay is also much more polished in Naughty Dog’s game too. Quantum Break’s cover system leaves a lot to be desired. On the other hand, there were quite a few times I felt that Uncharted’s wall climbing sequences were overly frequent and too long. I would have also preferred more puzzles and a little more complexity too them, but to be fair, Quantum Break has no puzzles.

All in all, I have to say that Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a better game than Quantum Break. That being said, I really enjoyed the latter’s story more. With its theoretical physics, branching storylines, and alternating point of views, Quantum Break’s narrative is unforgettable. It’s not that Nathan Drake’s final chapter isn’t interesting. It really is. My problem with it is really somewhat ironic. As much as I love The Last of Us, Neil Druckman’s stamp on the series causes a sort of schizophrenia in the storytelling, adding weight disproportionately throughout the tale. For me, this made aspects of the game somewhat boring even though, on the whole, I still enjoyed the experience.

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Again, these are both great games, and if you own the systems, I can’t help but recommend the pair of them.

Have you played these games? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure to follow us on Twitter (@Official_OnlySP) and Facebook where you can also sound off your opinions.

The opinions in this editorial are the author’s and do not represent OnlySP as an organization.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting us on Patreon!

Writer, musician, and indie game developer in the Land of Enchantment.

Editorial

Three Single-Player Games to Watch Out for in July 2019

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Three Single Player Games (July 2019) - Sea of Solitude, Fire Emblem Three Houses, Wolfenstein Youngblood

July, the middle of winter down here in Australia. Even in the bizarre New South Wales climate, the biting cold makes for a great excuse to stay inside and play games. 

Weirdly for single players, quite a few prestige games this month include additional co-op modes. With acclaimed designers behind them, such games will hopefully avoid the pitfalls of accommodating multiple players, as too many games have done in the past.

Sea of Solitude

Release Date: July 5, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

At first blush, Sea of Solitude looks like yet another story of a young adult struggling with questions of identity and mental health while exploring a beautiful but harsh fantasy world.

Actually, that’s what it is. ‘Quirky, life affirming indie adventure’ is a whole cottage industry these days, but the fact that such games are now more prevalent should never dismay.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was a masterpiece of refined design and storytelling, and Sea of Solitude appears be something similar—this time dealing with a fantastical vision of depression that turns ordinary people into literal monsters.

Players take charge of Kay, who has sought out the eponymous Sea—or rather, a flooded city based on Berlin—in the hope that there is a cure for monstrosity. However, despite its name, she is not the only person in the Sea. Avoiding the other monsters of the Sea seems to be a major part of the gameplay. These tense encounters are likely to provide rhythm and variety to the adventure and keep it from being a just walking simulator. (Not that being a walking simulator is inherently a problem.)

Although published by EA Originals, one would do well to remember that EA the company does not actually profit off the Originals that they publish. With a focused story and themes that still are not often explored in bigger games, Sea of Solitude should be of great interest to single player fans in a month otherwise dominated by multiplayer titles.

 

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platform: Nintendo Switch

Almost certainly the biggest single player release of the month, and tied with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 as another massive Switch exclusive, Fire Emblem: Three Houses might be exactly what single players need right now.

Lately the Fire Emblem franchise has exploded in both its popular profile and sales success, buoyed by a hunger for both deep anime RPGs and polished tactics games. Three Houses seems to have doubled down on exciting trends and features in both genres: particularly a Persona/Harry Potter inspired magic school setting and an even deeper tactical battle system that ditches the rock-paper-scissors for more nuanced character progression options. As with many Japanese RPGs, the story is also a major focus and hinges upon a time-jump.

The early part casts the player as a teacher at the Officer’s Academy, situated in the center of the game world and attended by students from the three most powerful nations. Five years later, the second and likely larger part concerns the drama between the player’s teacher and their former students, whose nations are now locked in a massive three-way conflict.

As is to be expected for a series finally coming back to consoles after a long time on the 3DS, Three Houses is a massive technical leap over its predecessors. The game boasts better realised battlefields, more detailed armies, and a slick animated style that appears much more consistent compared with the three or four different art styles on the 3DS.

With such improvements, as well as the overall pedigree of the Fire Emblem brand, Three Houses should have no trouble satisfying single player fans looking for a meaty middle-of-the-year RPG.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One

The recent Wolfenstein revival series is such a remarkable achievement in traditional shooter design and great, if goofy, sci-fi worldbuilding that the co-op focus of this latest instalment is somewhat disappointing.

Yes, as with F.E.A.R. 3 and Dead Space 3, following a well-received second chapter the Wolfenstein series now pivots to a co-operative focused chapter. Though the game is not a mandatory multiplayer experience, combat encounters and puzzles have been redesigned to accommodate the two player mode, giving single players an AI-controlled partner and bullet sponge enemies.

However, all hope is not lost for Wolfenstein: why else would it be the third game on the list? The narrative has been pushed forward in time, as B.J.’s twin daughters are now in their adolescence, now giving players a glimpse at the 1980s of Wolfenstein‘s skewed universe. Additionally, the level design itself is more freeform thanks to development assistance from Arkane, the developers of the Dishonored series.

Will Wolfenstein: Youngblood successfully deliver more of the series’s goofy charm and crazy alternate reality? Almost certainly. On the other hand, will the game be as fun to play alone as in multiplayer? That remains to be seen. Last month’s E3 demo that raised such concerns was naturally only a snapshot of a game in development, so MachineGames and Arkane have had plenty of time to resolve these potential downsides to a co-op focused game.

Those are our three big single player games to look out for this month. Other interesting titles coming soon include Stranger Things 3 on July 4 and Attack on Titan 2 on July 5, both games hitting Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

On July 12 we will see the sequel to an almost-fantastic Minecraft-like RPG spinoff, Dragon Quest Builders 2 on Switch and PlayStation 4, as well as the Switch port of “anime Monster Hunter”, God Eater 3

The week after, July 19 brings us Switch-exclusive Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, and at an undetermined time during the month Klei Entertainment’s anticipated survival-sim Oxygen Not Included will finally leave early access on PC.

Have we missed anything that you’re looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below and be sure bookmark OnlySP and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You can also join the discussion in our community Discord server.

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