Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception Review
|Third Person Action
|November 2nd, 2011 (UK)
|Andy Hemphill (Bandit)
Wise-cracking, dungeon-diving explorer Nathan Drake is back on the scene for Uncharted 3, Naughty Dog's latest third-person action adventure. And simply put, it kicks ass - but it doesn't really break the mould.
Imagine Uncharted, or Uncharted 2, substitute jungle for desert and the 'Atlantis of the Sands' for the Fountain of Youth and that's pretty much what you get with Uncharted 3. The general dynamics of the game are largely unchanged - Drake and his friends travel all over the world, solving fiendish puzzles and chasing - or being chased by - the bad guys.
This time around the plot revolves around yet another lost city - and yet another cult of crazed, fortune-seeking scumbags, which Drake and his merry band have to see off, dodging bullets and engaging in many, many cinematic chase scenes along the way.
Along the journey, Drake finds himself falling out of a plane without a parachute, riding a horse while leaping from racing truck to racing truck, stealing priceless artefacts and blowing up buildings - all while cracking jokes and generally horsing around.
This time the game takes pains to cover a bit of Drake's life story, including how he and long-time partner Victor 'Sully' Sullivan first met - and exactly how Drake got Sir Francis Drake's ring around his neck in the first place.
It's nice to see a bit of back-story about these two, as the previous games just took it as a given that they were close, without explaining why. Recurring characters Chloe and Elena also make a return (and Drake and Elena once again do the 'will they, won't they' thing), and offer a nice side story to the main action.
Clocking in at about seven hours, depending on difficulty, the single player campaign is a cinematic experience that feels like a cross between Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones, throwing Drake into increasingly more frantic encounters as the chase continues.
Thankfully, the game's controls, both for climbing, jumping and gunplay, are responsive and easy to master, and both newbies and old hands alike will have no problems hurling Drake from cover to cover.
The guns on offer are pretty varied, although the low amount of ammo on offer forces you to keep moving forwards, taking enemies down and arming up as you go.
The close-combat has had a tweak this time around, and from bar room brawls to all out scraps on sinking cruise liners, taking on your enemies has never been easier. A simple counter system allows you to take on two or three enemies at once, and from time to time Drake catches guns thrown into the air by enemies he's just decked, which is pretty badass.
The gunplay generally is fast and furious, keeping the action as cinematic as possible. It's backed up by a robust cover system, which allows you to move above and around the legions of bad guys facing you with ease - and being as most of them are better armed than you, that is a very good thing.
If you get bored of the singleplayer campaign, Uncharted 3's multiplayer is a fun addition, offering online play on a lag-free, well designed bunch of game modes. Players can customise their bad or good-guy with any number of skins and adornments, and earn gun upgrades with XP gathered.
The gameplay is just as fun and frantic as the singleplayer experience, with the added unpredictability that human enemies bring to every battle. The maps on offer also feature a pleasing level of verticality, turning scanning your corners into something altogether more difficult. The improved melee system really comes into its own this time around, and the game also allows you to record battles and upload them to a number of social media outlets, if you think you've pulled off a particularly cool kill.
Graphically, Uncharted 3 looks great, the game taking full advantage of the Playstation 3's powerful chipset. The level design allows for some amazing spectacles to observe, even as you're dodging bullets, and the animation is top notch.
Similarly the score is another highpoint for the series, utilising a full orchestra to bring the game to life, and giving each environment - be it windswept desert, busy port city or abandoned mansion - its own feel.
The voice acting is also, once again, excellent. Each of the actors pulls off their part with great aplomb, especially Nolan North, who brings Drake such character that it's hard not to think he's a real person.
However, overall while Uncharted 3 is a fantastic game, it doesn't really bring anything particularly new to the series as a whole. While the gameplay tweaks are a welcome addition the series has been ticking over for years now, and is in need of something new. However, whether you're a longtime Uncharted fan or new to the series, Uncharted 3 is bound to be a great thrill ride, and you should definitely give it a look.
- Cinematic, addictive gameplay
- Great multiplayer
- Fantastic production values
Not so good stuff
- Ticks all the same boxes as Uncharted 2
- Some enemies are really tricky, unfairly so
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