CGRundertow NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHALLENGE! for PlayStation 3 Video Game Review

Uploaded by CGRundertow on 20.05.2012

generation was blessed. We had Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego back when you needed
a PC and an almanac to bring that double-dealing diva to justice. She was like Arsene Lupin
III with a red trenchcoat and a cadre of idiosyncratically-named henchthugs. She set the bar high. So when
National Geographic rolled up with their new Geography Edutainment Video Game-like substance,
I had to give it a critical eye. No crimefighting? No silly sense of humor? No one singing the
blues from the Red Sea to Greenland?
I’m sorry. WHAT? Just one of those names uses a scrabble game and a half’s worth
of Qs! I was kinda scared that the questions in a game like this would be mindnumbingly
basic, but some of the categories were enough to beat the hell out of me. And I’m a nerd!
You can choose from 40, 60, or 80-question quizzes, each focused on a particular continent.
It’s pretty much your standard multiple choice quiz, save for some rather weird bits
where you might have to identify a picture that keeps flipping all memory-card-game-style,
or gets blown out with a weird lighting effect. Your representation in this quiz format is...
oh, what the hell is this. This diving-suit-guy is MIMING. This seems as good a time as any
to mention that this game has PlayStation Move support, y’know, in case pressing one
of four buttons to choose between one of four answers was in any way less efficient than
flailing around like a... miming deep-sea diver.
But this is all stuff that Derek covered in the Wii version. The primary innovation offered
by the PS3 is... jigsaw puzzles. With pieces that automatically turn themselves to the
correct orientation. And there’s only 20 pieces. And once you put enough pieces together,
the entire thing starts to animate, in case you needed an extra layer of creepy-icing.
And there’s also a “Squares” mode, which is exactly the same except for the jigsaw-ish
bits. So you might have a number of pieces with almost-identical white sky above the
Hollywood sign, and nothing but trial and error by which to figure out which is which.
And just to lay another layer of absurdity onto it all, there’s even a slider-box puzzles
in the first place, which will remind you exactly why you never liked slider-box puzzles
in the first place. Only now it’s got a picture of some Asian statuary on it. Look,
you had me sold with the difficulty of the quiz mode. It’s a fair challenge, even if
I don’t happen to know off the top of my head how many train stations there are in
Greenland. But to tack on some puzzles just for the sake of it... C’mon. You could at
least let us chase Esmerelda Losangeles as she makes her getaway with the Mason-Dixon
line. Can you imagine what would happen to the Steelers-Ravens rivalry if we can’t
tell where Pennsylvania ends and Maryland begins? That’s compelling writing, people!
Get on it!