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- Natsume Afrika (Playstation 3)
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Become a photo journalist in the wild yonder of Africa in a videogame featuring amazing, realistic animal models and vast landscapes to visit. Africa's animals and plants are all rendered in stunning photorealistic detail. As a photographer, you'll use licensed, real-world photography equipment to complete assignments and capture everything from bathing hippos to a cheetah on the hunt. Explore the land, find new animals, and earn a name for yourself as a professional photographer!
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Though now in the realm of obscurity, its release date was tossed around more than the 49ers toss a football, the game was silently released, without fans ever knowing about it.
This is a photography simulator, with a National Geographic Encyclopedia about the animals of Africa. You can drive a jeep (after a few game days), walk around different areas, and learn to take professional photographs.
The games are mission based. NG tells you what kind of photos they're looking for, for instance, a giraffe necking with another, you get points based on how clear the photo is, how you capture the moment, and artistic spins you put on it. It works very well.
Not only is it a fun game, it is very educational, using extensive research from the NG archives, it also features unlockable video of the real African animals portrayed in the game.
People complained about the graphics being poor. Many people returned the game. Then they realised the in-game camera lens you begin with is poor. As you progress you are able to buy better equipment and lens, that is when you see the true glorious graphics of this game.
This is not a game per say. It is an experience.
I also got this game on sale for $30, so I cut it a lot of slack I probably wouldn't cut it if I had paid full price.
Afrika throws you into a pretty diverse & expansive natural preserve and asks you to complete various photo assignments, while rewarding you with credits you can use to purchase additional camera gear within the Sony Alpha line. It's actually pretty enjoyable if you know what you're getting into.
The game starts very slowly. The gameplay is tedious and the mechanics are pretty clunky. There is no way to fast-travel, so much of your time is spent speeding around in a jeep with poor physics. Run into a tree or an animal? You'll go from 50kmh to 0 in an instant. The scenery, however, is beautiful. So traveling isn't always bad, just repetitive. The game also has trouble deciding whether or not to hold your hand. Some assignments basically just involve waiting through a jeep ride and pointing your camera towards the animal they just drove you to. Other times, you can get stuck because you didn't notice a tiny animal in an area you haven't been to in 3 hours. The photography is a little unrealistic at times. Depth-of-Field is seemingly constant, regardless of the distance to the subject (So you can usually get the same DOF of an elephant 150 ft. away as you can with a lizard 10 ft. away, which definitely wouldn't be the case in reality). It's important to understand that the gameplay itself is pretty sloppy.
If all of that doesn't scare you away, here's what the game does right. It's actually pretty immersive and relaxing. The animals and scenery are beautifully rendered. After the tedious first hour or two, the game really does open up. New animals show up as missions are completed, causing the world to seem empty at first, but slowly team with life. There's a terrific sense of accomplishment when you take a great photo in this game. A novice photographer will also better understand photographic principles by playing this game. These might not sound like big positives, but the sense of accomplishment and discovery outweigh the gameplay mechanics for me.
Overall, getting a great shot of a baboon and its baby is satisfying enough to keep playing a game with this many flaws. If you liked Planet Earth then you'll almost surely enjoy the assignments in this game. The in-game Field Guide offers a lot of information about each animal and would teach younger gamers plenty about the African wilderness.
Get this game if you're really into the natural world, or really into photography, but don't mind wasting time with clunky mechanics in between taking pictures.
...Got the same response with this game. I don't care, what people say... I enjoy it!!!
It's easy to get caught up in the scenery, and suddenly remember, "Oh, right I'm supposed to be taking pictures". If you love the feeling of exploration (what's around the next corner), taking pictures and enjoying a game at a more relaxed pace? Then, look no further!
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