Developer Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series has become Sony’s flagship franchise for its PlayStation brand of gaming entertainment systems. "Uncharted 2: Among Thieves" received a monumental amount of success following its release in 2009, becoming Metacritic’s most critically acclaimed game of the year. Anticipation quickly grew for the inevitable sequel. These expectations were not in vain — Uncharted 3 is just as good, if not better, than its predecessor.
What Is It About?
"Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception" once again puts players in the shoes of Nathan Drake, an everyday kind of guy with a distinct knowledge of history and a thirst for adventure.
The game begins with Drake and his trusted friend, Victor Sullivan, going into the back of a bar to complete a transaction involving the ring Drake wears around his neck. After the deal falls through and all hell breaks loose (in the form of an epic bar fight), Drake and “Sully” find that a woman from their past is behind the heist.
After the dust settles, the game delves a little bit into Drake’s teenage years, when he acquired the ring. In previous games, Drake proclaimed that the ring was a family heirloom, but players will find that isn’t the case. It is during this time that Drake meets a young Victor Sullivan, the man who helped and followed Drake every step of the way in each of his adventures.
In addition, gamers catch their second glimpse of Katherine Marlowe, the woman behind the fallout in the first chapter’s heist, hand-in-hand with Sully.
This sequence of events gives players a stronger appreciation for Sully. In the previous two games he seemed like he was only with Drake for the spoils, but Uncharted 3 shows that their relationship is real, and this is where the game’s storytellers should receive their due.
Why Should I Care?
The developers spent a lot of time over the course of the previous games conveying what kind of person Drake is. To film fans, Nathan Drake is the game industry’s take on Indiana Jones. Both show qualities of a skilled and knowledgeable archeologist, yet their adventurous attitudes always end up getting them in life-or-death situations.
These situations are what make the game especially shine. Throughout the game’s campaign, Drake will escape a burning building, a sinking ship and even a crashing plane.
These may seem like clichéd stunts that are performed in just about every action movie, but unlike Hollywood, Uncharted 3 throws all of those scenes into one package. Most movies would probably only feature one of those memorable instances per film because of budget constraints, so the fact that Uncharted’s creators were able to stuff so much memorable content in the game just makes it that much more appealing.
For example, the plane crash scene happened because one of the guards noticed Drake sneaking onto the plane via the air vents. After pulling him out and beating him down, the guard opens up the plane’s cargo hatch, forcing everything to fly out.
However, because there's so much cargo attached in the plane, Drake is able to hold on and basically turn everyday objects into obstacles to dodge and maneuver through.
The plane crashes because the guards in the plane are stupid enough to start a gunfight throughout all that havoc, yet Drake is smart enough to hold onto cargo attached to a parachute to ensure his survival … except he ends up in the middle of a random desert.
While Drake makes himself out to be a regular guy with his appearance and sarcastic attitude, he’s actually quite acrobatic. Among the most fun sequences in the game are his daredevil stunts.
Getting out of the predicaments he gets into requires excessive amounts of jumping, climbing, swinging and flat-out running. Uncharted paints Nathan Drake to be an acrobatic master of parkour, even though he doesn’t look the part at all.
It’s the suspense of these moments that keeps players on their feet in this captivating game. Uncharted 3 gives players all sorts of freedom with the environment, but even so, the game is perfectly linear — there’s only one correct route to go through to make progress.
The most difficult, yet most prevalent, parts of the game players will go through are in combat.
The amount of gunplay Drake finds himself in is just as plentiful as in the last two games. From AK-47s to RPGs, there are all sorts of guns to use, and one of the new weapons in Drake’s arsenal is the ability to steal guns while engaging in hand-to-hand combat. This is particularly useful because there will be plenty of instances where Drake won’t have a weapon, and this new move makes things much more manageable.
At that, there is a stronger emphasis on hand-to-hand combat, and players will notice this right at the get-go since the first scene is actually a bar fight. There are even bigger enemies that Drake will have to face, but in a way they’re easier to defeat because they only require you to press the button indicated on the screen.
Aside from the gunplay and inordinate amount of stunts, there are also a handful of clever puzzles that Drake will have to figure out as the story goes on. The majority of them can be solved using the notebook Drake carries around, which includes illustrations that hint upon what to do.
The process of solving a lot of the puzzles can be rather difficult. One of the puzzles for example requires Drake to align a globe with the lights shining on it resembling continents. Players have to use both analog sticks on the controller to solve it quickly, and the fall here is that it is really easy to think that only one of the sticks can be used.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
In terms of production value, the game is on par with Uncharted 2, which pushed the PS3 to its technological limit.
Its visuals, along with its soundtrack, are just two of the reasons why the game is so captivating, and the dialogue between the characters really gives the story a lot of flair.
It’s tough to expect more than that, but as far as production goes, Uncharted 3 is up there with the best in Hollywood.
The main game can be completed in less than 10 hours (and more than that will be spent if you’re a perfectionist who wants every treasure and every achievement trophy), so while the game isn’t long, it also isn’t short by any means.
For players who can’t get enough of Uncharted’s combat, cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes round out the package with fun “deathmatch” and “capture the flag” modes.
"Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception" was probably the most anticipated PS3 exclusive of the year, and while some may be disappointed that it doesn’t necessarily push the envelope further than its predecessor did, it’s still as good a game as Uncharted 2, which was simply superb. Uncharted 3 is no different, and it definitely is a great addition to any PS3 library.