Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Review
Naughty Dog brings us the third installment of the Uncharted series and although the second game was groundbreaking compared to the first game, the third game closely matches what was presented in the second game in many ways. The second game was so great in so many ways, having the third game so much like it is more of a compliment than anything else. The puzzles, the action, the set pieces and the characters in this franchise always keeps you wanting more and Uncharted 3 delivers on that.
What the Uncharted series does as a whole is what makes the series so great and Uncharted 3 follows that to the letter. The story feels familiar most of the time; Nathan Drake is going from place to place across the globe exploring locations of supernatural significance and trying to find treasure while uncovering something bigger than expected. Also Uncharted 3 has its fill of bad guys trying to kill him at almost every turn as he continues to discover more. Although there are many similarities with at least the previous game, Uncharted 3 does hold its own and has its differences. The set pieces are different from the other games and memorable in their own unique ways. Also there is no warlord or relentless mercenaries. However there is an older woman and has a grand scheme none the less. What makes her somewhat more interesting is that she has loose ties to the past of both Nathan Drake and Sully, which you find out more of through the game.
A great part of Uncharted 3 is the characters. The dialogue and voice acting is far beyond anything else like it in video games. It is arguable that the characters in the Uncharted series is some of the best of all time. By the third game one would think that the characters might start becoming one dimensional and boring, but not so here. The banter, the one liners, all of it is just as snappy and witty as ever. Nothing feels forced or comes off cheesy at all; everything feels so natural and most times generally humorous when it should. On top of that, the game makes you feel the struggle and emotion that is put on Nathan and those close to him at times, making these characters even more relatable.
The basics of playing Uncharted 3 are about the same as the previous games, like the shooter and climbing have not changed since at least the second game. There have been some changes to the hand to hand combat in the game, making it a little more in depth if you will. There is more of a brawler aspect to fighting with button prompts, much like that of Batman: Arkham City. However it does come off a slight bit better being you simply get an icon at the bottom of the screen when you need to dodge an incoming punch. Where as Batman if a baddie off the screen was about to strike, you would not know until it was too late most times, because the icon to dodge such an attack was above the bad guy’s head. Also you can react with the environment when fighting hand to hand, which makes it much more fun to see what different things you can do, like throwing guys through windows and slapping them in the head with dead fish. The stealth play in the game works much like it did in the second game; however there is room for improvements here. It is hard to tell if you are being sneaky seeing there is no button to hold down to crouch and sneak and there is no icons of any kind to let you know if you are hidden or who if anyone in the area can see you. At times you think no one is around and as soon as you pounce on a bad guy and take him down, instantly everyone knows you are there and where exactly you are. From there on it will be an all out war. The enemies still feel like they take a few too many bullets sometimes, especially the guys in padding with heavy weapons. The Uncharted series has been plagued by this since the start and it seems that has not changed in the least.
The environment is amazing, not only is it always beautiful, but the way each piece is set up for use in the game. No matter how organic looking the environment is, it is always broken down in a series of handholds for climbing and jumping across for Nathan to get around where he needs to go. It is all done so well, there is no second guessing it. Even for those that stands out like a sore thumb. Every brick, pipe and ledge is placed just right. The best part of the environments also includes arguably the best part of Uncharted, which are the puzzles. Like before, Uncharted 3 offers some amazing puzzles for Nathan to figure out to keep pushing forward. The puzzles always intertwine nicely with the environment surrounding them. It also is just enough to force you to look carefully at the surroundings as well as Nathan’s journal. However it does feel that the game rushes you to figure out puzzles more in this game compared to the others. It feeling like every few seconds the “HINT” icon appears and/or other characters say something or point something out. After awhile it starts to feel like the game it self is too impatient to let you work through the puzzles at your own pace.
The set-pieces are always amazing as of course one should expect from an Uncharted game. Most of which are that much more amazing than the previous games. Fighting your way through a castle that is on fire and crumbling all around you and brawling on the open ramp of a cargo plane, that is only two of the many great things you will lead Nathan Drake through. All of this will keep you on the edge of your seat, but this is also the main point were a lot of the games mechanics seem to fall short. Most of the time that you are running from something or chancing after something the camera is set to a fixed location and this at times does not bold well for the player. Usually in situations where you have to control Nathan as he is heading toward the camera, not allowing you to see what is coming up next. That alone is very frustrating and to make matters worse is when you don’t do exactly what the designer wanted you to do exactly when they wanted you to do it. One little slip up can cause you to make fatal errors that could easily be resolved if only you could see where you need to go next or at least see where you are going altogether.
There are a few minor problems with the game, but most can be over looked with some trial and error, also some practice and patients help too. Above all, Uncharted 3 is a masterpiece and anyone that is a fan of the series needs to play this one as well. Naughty Dog keeps setting new standard for the action adventure genre in video games. Heights so great that it seems only they themselves can reach.
The multiplayer is some what fun. I found the game play to be somewhat sluggish for the most part and the shooting too loose. Naughty Dog does try hard to compete with the other hardcore shooters of today and they do an alright job at it for the most part. I have played very little multiplayer for Uncharted 2 and now 3. Not enough to compare them at all. However it feels like they put a lot of time and effort into this. The Co-op has been quite enjoyable, having played a good bit of that. The best part of both the multiplayer and co-op is all you’re leveling and money earned is all lumped together. So if you don’t want to start out fresh fighting other players that have had the game longer, you can simply level up and unlock things by playing with other players instead on co-op.
Final Score: 5/5