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Afrika review

Wildlife fanatic? Fancy doing an Attenborough? You'll love this

Pros

  • Truly stunning vistas
  • The most lifelike in-game animals yet
  • Educational

Cons

  • Some graphical glitches
  • No real danger
  • Waiting around for animals to move

You%26rsquo;ll know, if you%26rsquo;ve ever visited Africa, just how captivating a place it can be. It%26rsquo;s exotic - the kind of place not everyone is able or inclined to visit, but it%26rsquo;s a part of Earth that has the power to remind you that you%26rsquo;re alive.

There isn%26rsquo;t that much game here, at least not in the traditional rapid-button-pressing sense (and certainly not in the even more traditional shooting-animals-with-rifles sense), but there is a lot of virtual nature to be seen and appreciated in an %26ldquo;ooh-look-aah%26rdquo; kind of way. Fortunately, there%26rsquo;s some reason to Afrika%26rsquo;s aestheticism: you take the role of a freelance photographer/researcher, either a French chap called Eric or a girl called Anna, and are commissioned to take (camera) shots at the wildlife, doing your best to meet clients%26rsquo; demands for specific compositions and content.

The game uses some programming tricks to determine, with surprising accuracy, how well your snaps (and, later, video footage) have turned out. %26ldquo;Marvelous angle, but shame about the distance: Grade B.%26rdquo; That sort of thing.

Missions are assigned by email. Afrika is in the 21st century, don%26rsquo;t-you-know, and Eric and Anna are kitted out with a laptop and satellite Internet in their tent, as well as an MDF bookshelf. Missions are completed by replying with file attachments that satisfy clients%26rsquo; requests. Other than the curious gratification of having your safari-recording efforts marked with a letter of the alphabet, good work is also rewarded with good money. And cash can be used to buy new equipment to assist your work.

Before you know it, you%26rsquo;re caught in a self-perpetuating cycle that dictates you spend every day of your trip looking for animals. The good news is that it%26rsquo;s rarely a mundane task. The only downtime comes when you%26rsquo;re waiting for a particular species of animal to arrive in a particular location and do something particularly silly. We had to wait half an hour just to take a prize-winning photo of a hippopotamus yawning as it wallowed in a muddy pool. This is living, yeah?

More Info

GenreSimulation
Description<p>What was once an E3 centerpiece of PS3 power now slinks to the US via publisher Natsume. Certainly it has a beautifully realized African setting, but it holds the player back and is too sterile.</p>
PlatformPS3
US censor ratingEveryone 10+
UK censor rating
Alternative namesHakuna Matata
Release date:13 October 2009 (US), (UK)
Available platforms:PS3
Genre:Simulation
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