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A Ride Worth The Frustration

 

 

You take off running, in a strenuous effort to escape the enemy, jumping from rooftop to rooftop.

A cruise-liner is taken by storm and capsizes, leaving you to figure which way is up, which way is down - and which way is out.

Landing gear immediately popping into place, you tag a long on a plane as a stowaway, in a last ditch attempt at saving everything.

 

 

True, these moments are difficult to describe just how astounding they are in motion, but sure are fun to talk about, nonetheless. Uncharted 3 is filled to the brim with these moments, each only becoming more spectacular than the last, and leaving you itching to continue.

 

The third game in an action-adventure series developed by top-tier developer Naughty Dog, Uncharted 3 finishes with a lasting impact, but leaves the notion that there were flaws created by new adjustments.

 

When I hear "Uncharted" from a fellow gamer, mixed reactions bubble their way up into the bellows of my cerebrum. What does it mean to me? Uncharted means adventure, it means spectacle, it means Indian Jones but in video game form. On the other hand, Uncharted means frustration, unfair odds, and awkward shooting mechanics.

 

Let's start out with the good first, and find a way to make this not sound like a rant. Uncharted 3 is downright one of the most beautiful games that your eyes will ever set sight on, period. Imagine a professional photographer, and how every photo they take seems to be enriched with life, color, and clarity. That's exactly what this culmination of hundreds of men's (and women's) hard work is. Viewing Uncharted 3 is no small matter. After each periodic set of chapters, Naughty Dog goes out of their way to offer an entirely new locale, be it from the deep and lush greens of a French forest, to the bright and burning sands of the desert, to the dark and moody waves of the ocean.

 

 

Coming along with the studio's astounding attention to detail, comes a particular taste for the immaculate - in every meaning of the word. The facial expressions, the voice actor's interactions, the script, dialogue, and scripted sequences, are all something to take delicious note of. Essentially what I'm getting at though, is that Uncharted makes one heck of an interactive movie. During the game, I found myself increasingly interested as I discovered Nathan Drake's origin, the reasons for his behavior, and the witty interaction between characters. Experiencing the complete package of the game is already something that warrants a purchase. On the other hand, I can't help but knock on the point of some annoying gameplay situations.

 

Uncharted 3 is best experienced whenever you're working your way to survive the myriad of set-pieces, thinking to solve the various puzzles, or running to your next destination while talking to the rest of the crew. In other words, this game is best experience without a gun. The bad thing about it is, half of the gameplay's structure relies on the gunplay.

 

While aiming for the most part feels fine, other than some otherwise slippery controls, the main complaint I have with this aspect is more on the absurd situations that Drake is placed in. Towards the second half of the game, and the same goes for Uncharted 2 as well, Naughty Dog gets the feeling that it's suddenly okay to throw every single enemy type -be it powerful or just plain annoying- in to every single encounter.

 

An example. At one point you are in a broken down ship harbor, with what is about 20 enemies spread across a large landmass. Now, the option to take them out stealthily is there, but you can plausibly only get to around 5 before someone notices. The result ends with you being cornered on one of the many boats, with several men coming over to get the jump from behind, a couple shotgun guys, two Kevlar-padded dudes, two snipers, and a grenade launcher tool. After clearing that area, you have a bit of a breather with an enjoyable platforming section, but are then led to another gunplay-focused area, where the stakes are even higher - meaning the odds even more ridiculous.

 

Fifteen men aren't unfair, you say? Perhaps it isn't, and rather I just suck at Uncharted. I'd beg to differ, and blame it on the peculiar decision to make human enemies such amazing bullet sponges. While the standard rifle-fodder only offers a meager challenge, they still absorb about 5 bullets before dying properly. The Kevlar guys? Think either two grenades and a pistol shot, or four shotgun blasts to the face. Pair this up with the increasingly sparse "usable" cover towards the end-game, and you have a cruisin' for a bruisin', even on Normal.

 

 

Besides the occasional frustration with fire-fight balancing, I couldn't have been more pleased with the flow, presentation, and design of the game. Just about everything seems to work. During my time, I had come across one glitch where I had clipped into a cabinet and could not exit, thus inducing a necessary checkpoint load. The conclusion felt a little rushed, leaving off several characters that received severe under-development in comparison to the face time that Nate and Sully received. Other than that, the game was a great experience, and I preferred it over Uncharted 2.

 

Oh, and for music lovers, your time won't be left astray. The classic Uncharted song, "Nate's Theme" is on its third, most epic version yet; expect some bellowing brass and heroic harmonies. Also, the theme "Museum Bust" offers a unique blend of Latin cordial structure, with some great filler that lends itself to high-intensity chase scenes.

 

Despite the complaints, the overall package offered is a great one. Vistas you won't see anywhere else, a soundtrack on par with the summer blockbusters, and character interaction unlike any other seen in a video game, it's something that you'd hate to miss out on. Just don't expect to fly through the shooting sequences.

 

 

 

~ GoldvsSilver

 

 

 

 

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