Game Title: Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
Platform: PlayStation 3
ESRB Rating: Teen (T)
Developer: Naughty Dog, Inc.
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Release Date: November 1st, 2011
Overall Score: 9.5/10
Review Author: DAXRULZ
Nathan Drake returns for what could be his greatest adventure yet. The famous fortune hunter finds himself in new locations unexplored in previous entries in the “Uncharted” franchise and deals with new weaponry and a new threat from a secret society all while in a race to discover the hidden city known as the Atlantis of the Sands. Will Drake’s latest adventure please fans of the series?
I would have liked to have given this category a perfect 10, but sadly, there are more flaws with some of the gameplay than was present in “Uncharted 2”. For instance, Naughty Dog has eliminated the ability to shift angles while aiming by pressing the L3 button, which is a critical loss as I have found it helpful in previous games to sneak around corners to catch an enemy by surprise. Secondly, I feel as though the circle button (hiding behind a wall) is slightly more unreliable than it was in the previous game; it almost feels as though it lags a little bit and Drake doesn’t take cover as quickly as I’d like him to.
Now, on with the good things about the game’s gameplay. For a while, I had been praying that the “Uncharted” series would someday have an option to throw back grenades that land near you. I’m happy to say that this option is included in “Uncharted 3”. But there’s a twist. You have to time your throwback back by pressing triangle when a dial in a little meter hits a bold white line. I don’t quite understand why it has to be timed, as the grenade is destined to go off too early in midair before ever having the chance to kill anyone with it.
Like “Uncharted 2”, there are another 100 treasures to find, if you choose to do so. This time, they will not appear as glowing white circles as they had been in both “Drake’s Fortune” and “Uncharted 2”—this time, they take the actual physical form of the treasure with an added glint, which for reasons that I can’t quite understand, makes them easier to find.
The standout addition to the gameplay in “Uncharted 3” is the new and improved hand-to-hand combat system. In addition to the familiar triangle button to dodge punches, tapping the circle button can be used to escape a chokehold. As opposed to in previous games when the combat is confined to Drake and an enemy in a framed camera setting, you’re given the option to move around the area to strategize how you’re going to get that baddie over to that counter to knock the daylights out of him with that candlestick sitting there. These elements make the melee sequences feel like it’s something from an action flick, and that’s a huge plus.
If you thought the graphics in “Uncharted 2” were gorgeous, “Uncharted 3” puts those graphics to shame. Anyone who has seen the trailer knows what I’m talking about. Thanks to the graphical upgrade, I find Chloe Frazer to be a more physically attractive character (though part of this may have also been attributed to her lack of eye shadow). Desert sands appear as though you could reach out and touch it…and get burned by it.
The voice acting in “Uncharted 3” is top-notch with stellar Oscar-worthy performances by Nolan North and Richard McGonagle especially. The acting alone immerses the player within the world of the game, possibly even more so than in previous games.
Greg Edmonson, who composed the original scores for “Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune” and “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves”, has returned to create the musical tone for “Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception” as well, and his music has never sounded so epic. Each track is layered with a carefully constructed atmosphere that perfectly illustrates the mood for every occasion. “Nate’s Theme 3.0” is a refreshingly new take on the title theme, as opposed to “Nate’s Theme 2.0”, which didn’t sound that much different than the original “Nate’s Theme”. To sum it up quite nicely, purchasing the soundtrack is an absolute must for all fans.
If you have a surround sound system, definitely use it for this game. The sound effects work well in such a way that if a shot is being fired from behind Nathan, surround sound further adds to the realism that a gun is going off behind you or off to the side.
Nathan Drake is back, and this time, he’s decided to revisit the footsteps of Sir Francis Drake in his search for the fabled Atlantis of the Sands. In the process, he’ll have to compete with the intellect of Katherine Marlowe if he expects to find it before she does. Drake’s limits are tested by the ultimate trials of friendship, the vastness of the Rub’ al Khali desert…and fear itself.
The story presented in “Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception” is certainly the deepest and most complicated in the series. It also follows a story structure that is new to the series, whereas it’s less obvious to tell at what point you’re at in the story in relation to how far off the ending is. It’s not necessarily a bad thing; it just deviates from the traditional story progression model. One of the first things you experience in the game is a twenty-year flashback into Drake's past that added a delicious backstory for both Nate and Sulley's charcters. I felt that the ending was a little anticlimactic: the gunfights leading to the conclusion weren’t as epic as I am used to in this series, and the final boss felt more like one of the occasional mini-bosses throughout the game’s story (with a very minor twist). But at the same time, the story comes to a reasonably satisfying resolution. I also view Katherine Marlowe as a weak villain, at least in comparison to the intimidating personality of Zoran Lazarevic in “Uncharted 2”.
The story’s strongest points are in the emotional appeal. Nathan is better portrayed as the selfless hero in his self-sacrifices for the people he cares most about, adding that “aww” flavor in Drake’s character. At the same time, Drake is also exposed as a vulnerability for reasons I won’t spoil the story for. Of course, what would be a fortune-hunting story be without traveling? “Uncharted 3” features more frequent jumps across the globe to more locations than in previous games. These locations vary from London, to France, to Saudi Arabia, and other countries. These "jumps across the globe" aren't too abrupt, so the scenery is kept fresh at a comfortable rate.
Overall, “Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception” is another worthy sequel to Naughty Dog’s smash hit franchise and an excellent reason to own a PlayStation 3. I will dare to say that it’s not perfect, but it’s reasonably close to it. So stop reading this review and go out and buy a copy of the game if you haven’t already. The game is easily one of my favorite PS3 titles, and it excites me to wonder what Naughty Dog will come up with next.