Afrika • Page 2

Big game.

Some briefs are quite simple - you may be asked take a photo of a zebra eating his lunch, or an ostrich wandering about. Others are more specific and tougher to fulfil; you might have to capture an elephant spraying water with its trunk, or a meerkat doing pilates while eating a kebab and wearing a turquoise poncho. (Maybe not the last one, but that's how it feels sometimes.)

Once you've worked out what you're supposed to photograph (perhaps with the help of a handy internet guide), it's time to head out on the plain. For the first handful of missions, your driver will automatically take you to the best spots. You can relax for the duration of the journey, using the right analog stick and your virtual binoculars to enjoy the view. It's not quite breathtaking, and you couldn't describe the visuals as photo-real. But the sheer scale of the landscape is striking, and there is an impressively high level of realism to the lighting, textures and environmental details.

The orchestral soundtrack adds significantly to the overall experience. Sometimes it's so sweeping and elegant it's reminiscent of Sydney Pollack's 1985 big screen adaptation of Out of Africa, or an episode of The Flying Doctors. Most of the time, it's so blatantly nicked off John Williams you keep expecting a diplodocus to come lumbering across the screen.


It's the circle, triangle, square and x of life.

There are no dinosaurs, of course (sorry, contempt456), but there are more than 50 different species of animal to photograph. Gazelles, giraffes, lions, rhinos, elephants, zebras, hippos, leopards, cheetahs... The gang's all here, though only by completing missions and unlocking new areas will you get to see the lot.

The basic mechanic for taking photos is simple. You press the square button to point your camera, zoom in and out with the right stick and hit circle to take your snap. The challenge is getting the shot without scaring off your target. Or, in the case of some animals, without getting so close they go mental and attempt to murder you.

(Sorry again, contempt456 - there's no blood and gore. The screen simply fades to black and you wake up back at base camp, with the French man / American woman leaning over you, saying something in Japanese. Perhaps, "You're lucky you've still got a torso, mate. By the way, Dave says he's bored of driving the jeep and can he borrow your camera.")

If you want the best photos, you'll have to do a lot of standing about, creeping around, crouching down, hiding in bushes and keeping still. This isn't as dull as it sounds. No, really. It can actually be exciting to nudge the analog stick ever so gently, watching to see if the hippo will notice you edge two inches closer, or see your patience rewarded as the giraffe fails to spot you in your hiding place and walks directly into your line of sight. But most of all, there's the huge sense of satisfaction when finally you get that perfect shot.

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