Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3 Review) - User Reviews - www.GameInformer.com
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Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3 Review)

An unrelenting blockbuster true to the series   

Epically choreographed action, death-defying platforming, a globetrotting plot and cinematic production that rivals that of even Hollywood: these are the traits that the Uncharted series has become known for, and Naughty Dog's third installment delivers them in spades.

While the action is completely over the top and Drake's knack of escaping near-miss scenarios is now beyond ridiculous, Naughty Dog's unashamed love for creating thrilling set-pieces gives rise to some of the most exciting moments I have ever experienced in gaming.

That's not to say that some gamers won't be turned off by Uncharted's bold and relentless nature. Having played all three titles, I've accepted there's a certain compromise one must undertake when playing an Uncharted game. While the story would have us believe that Drake is just an everyman with an overwhelming love for treasure-hunting, his tendency to gun through waves of mercenaries while spouting silly one-liners creates an odd, if not conflicting experience. It's almost as if the real protagonist is the action itself, while the plot and characters take on secondary roles. 

Perhaps Naughty Dog is wise to this contradiction, as the story has notably improved. Previous entries involved players battling a supernatural curse or ultimately saving the world, and whereas Drake's Deception is equally ambitious in narrative and scale, the game often pauses to examine the relationship between Drake and Sully during earlier campaign chapters. This is perhaps the first time that Uncharted characters have been afforded a significant level of depth, and the game is all the better for it. Drake's orphan origins and his gravitation towards Sully as a father figure were particularly moving and I appreciated the characters much more as a result.  Seeing Drake offer a tired and defeated "I'm sorry" in one scene as he lay in Elena's lap also showed there is much more beneath his blasé attitude.

These are great steps towards crafting a better story, although Unchartered still tends to wrap up certain plot points far too conveniently when it wants to return to its breakneck pace. Perhaps tough moral dilemmas would be an ill fit for an Uncharted game, but the story could be more engaging if the characters acted more realistically to the carnage that so frequently surrounds them.

Look past these complaints however, and Uncharted excels in practically every other area. The combination of action-adventure, platforming, shooting and some light stealth and puzzle-solving blends together beautifully, while set-pieces  transition naturally within the gameplay so that the player feels like they are part of the experience and not just watching a series of scripted moments. Shooting and climbing feels solid and reliable as always, and new melee moves and counters are a welcome addition too.

If there is one blemish on the general gameplay, it is the subtle mechanic that seems to correct misdirected jumps. This mechanic was presumably added to keep the action flowing and immersion-level high, but I would have much preferred to perfect things on my own, rather than have the game hold my hand. Thankfully, these moments are largely one-off affairs and don't affect the larger part of the game.

Uncharted's solo campaign spans over a series of chapters that will see you through roughly 9 hours of game time, with hidden treasures and higher difficulties providing incentive for additional playthroughs. Multiplayer also returns, and while it's game modes and progression system is heavily borrowed from other series, its implementation is as technically solid as the games that inspired it. With maps and customization comes a welcome degree of variety, plus a few unique touches ensures multiplayer still feels like it belongs in the Uncharted universe. For instance, one scenario saw me release a swarm of flesh-eating scarab beetles as a kill-streak perk, while the game's capture-the-flag variant replaced the traditional flag with a gold idol that could be swung as a melee weapon to deliver brutal one-hit kills.

There are also a number of co-op missions that players can enjoy with up to four friends. Despite some tacked-on story elements that were loosely related to the campaign plot, these missions were surprisingly fun. In addition to showcasing Uncharted's genre-blending gameplay in a collaborative environment, players are tasked with unique objectives, such as taking out characters from previous games, and these proved to be quite addictive on harder modes.

Ultimately, Uncharted combines a multitude of genres without strictly innovating, but these elements are combined so effectively that the series feels fresh and greater than the sum of its parts. Despite it's strictly linear affair, Naughty Dog's continued approach towards unbridled action will undoubtedly keep fans of the series happy.  The greater attention to story is also a welcome touch that should go a long way towards complimenting the exceptional gameplay. Drake's Deception marks not only another successful entry into the Uncharted series, but offers a definitive experience in triple-A gaming.

9.00

PS3

Concept: Play as an adventurer/treasure-hunter as you platform and shoot your way across the globe.

Graphics: Gorgeous and beautifully-rendered settings, particularly in later desert stages; one of the best-looking titles on PS3.

Sound: A grand and epic soundtrack that lends itself well to the epic adventure mould.

Entertainment: A glorified mix of genres that proves to be a successful and exhilarating formula.

Playability: Solid and well-implemented controls, although the auto-corrective jump mechanic is overkill.

Replay Value: Moderately high.

Comments
  • I love the game. It's a blast.

  • Hey great review, Can you read mine to?