Now Playing – Afrika

OK, let’s get this over with and out of the way. WTF is wrong with me? I am sure that is the first question long-time readers are asking. A real head-scratcher, no?

I had some Amazon gift certificate credits, and I have always been interested in this “game” as a diversion. My boys love wild animals, photography, and of course gaming, so while Afrika seems like an odd mix to blend these three components, Afrika just could be the sweet spot of an alternative gaming experience.

The funny thing to me about a game like Afrika is that it is really not a game, which means it is almost impossible to review from a gaming perspective. Thankfully I am not here to write a review. The metacritic scores are not really favorable; so call it buyer beware.

My eleven year-old is really into photography, so at some point I am sure he will decide to give Afrika a try. Right now he is kind of eyeing Afrika somewhat suspiciously; to him the game looks somewhat boring. My eight-year old is also into photography, but is not as jaded as his older brother, so for him Afrika is actually interesting. My three-year-old loves Afrika and wants to help me play as much as I will let him help.

My initial complaints with the game are around the presentation and loading times. The presentation is lackluster at best – everything from the interface, navigation around the world and mission laptop, and menu structure is sub-par and in my opinion fairly amateurish. The load times are bad; really downright horrendously awful. As dreadful as the load times are, the save times absolutely unacceptable. From a quality control standpoint I think it was unacceptable of Sony to let a game with these broken mechanics into the US.

The missions revolve around taking pictures of animals. Pretty simple stuff, but time consuming waiting for the right pose. Some gamers may describe the missions as tedious, and from a certain vantage point I think I would agree with them. While I am enjoy the photography aspects of the game right now, I could see things getting monotonous as the missions progress.

If you want an alternate experience where you do not “die” and you enjoy wildlife of the African variety, Afrika could be an interesting alternative experience. I’ll post more about this one later to see if the “gameplay” holds up, or if as I hinted at earlier, will the game turn into a repetitive experience.

My initial reaction is that while I am enjoying Afrika, I wish I would have waited for a price drop. That is sort of a damning condemnation considering if you consider that I only had to put $14 out of pocket towards Afrika. I really don’t mean to come across that way, and while I am sure that I will get my money’s worth from the game, I just wish I held out a little longer for the inevitable price reduction.

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