Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception – Review

Published By: SCEA, Developed By: Naughty Dog, Genre: Action, Release Date: Nov 1, 2011, Rating: Teen, Systems: Palystation 3.

Presentation – There will be spoilers throughout the Presentation and Story portions of my Uncharted 3 review. So its best to stay away from these particular sections to avoid ruining the story or unique gameplay sequences. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is an action game that took a few notes from prestigious action adventure movie franchises and woven them seamlessly into real-time gameplay.  Uncharted 3′s presentation is borderline perfection in its delivery. However, Uncharted 3 isn’t perfect. The game doesn’t quite innovate from its predecessor. Sometimes the animations get in the way of itself and the NPCs AI get in the way of themselves as well. The question is does Uncharted 3 need to be innovative at this point? Or does it need to perfect its craft?

Regardless of the latter, I can say without hesitation that Uncharted 3 has blended action movies into real-time gameplay unlike any game i have played in the past twenty-five years. Your jaw will drop and you will say many times “how did they do that?” or “OMG”. Its ok, i did it many times throughout my playthrough of Uncharted 3′s story campaign. Many gamers and media fear the Hollywood treatment that the current gen of games have incorporated. I embraced the direction (when done right). And as you guessed it, Uncharted series not only started it, they perfected it with Drake’s Deception.

From a pure technical standpoint Uncharted 3 is almost perfect. Sure there are weird character clippings from the occasional fight sequences.  However when i analyzed the game for glitches and bugs i couldn’t find any that stood out. Naughty Dog have not only made a game that runs flawlessly but performs flawless also.  I often say Naughty Dog are magicians since every Uncharted upon release can be considered the best looking/performing videogame on any platform. The atmosphere along with the sound design is magical. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception’s story is not only the best of the series but also had the best ending of any Uncharted game. Its what Naughty Dog in my opinion left out that made the story more intriguing and believable.

There are numerous memorable moments that which are too many to list. *Spoilers* Whether its early in the game frolicking the streets of Columbia as a young Drake hooking up with Sully. The burning Chateau sequence while Drake and Sully run for there lives on a roof trying to avoid a tower from crushing them. The on-foot chase sequence of Drake chasing down Talbot in the streets in Yemen would have made Daniel Craig envious from what he did in Quantum of Solace’s opening scene.

The famous airplane scene where Drake gets sucked out of the airplane while its going down. The titanic-like ship sequence which almost turned Drake into a fish in a glass aquarium was amazing. There is a scene where Nate is dilirious, dehydrated and lost in the desert that looked realistic. The horseback riding scene with Salim’s tribe in the desert where you’re chasing down Marlowe’s convoy in hopes of stopping them from reaching the lost city of Ubar. It all culminated into an unbelievable crumbling city that Nate and Sully barely escapes. Writing about it, seeing it and playing it are totally different experiences.

Story – Uncharted 3′s story early on is about Nathon Drake and Victor Sullivan who along with Charlie Cutter and Chloe Fraser are trying to locate the “Atlantis of the Sands”. Hot on the team’s trail is a secret society leader and all around bad woman Katherine Marlowe and her helper Talbot. The sub-story revolves around Nathan Drake and Sully. The story is even explored early in the game (Cartegena Columbia) when Drake was a young teen trying to steal Sir Francis Drake’s ring. He meets Sully and Marlowe (who was also trying to steal the same ring). Young Nate beat her to it. Marlowe needs the ring to find the city and a supposedly cursed brassed vessel that King Solomon had dropped into the bottom of Ubar’s water supply.

Marlowe wants the power of the vessel because she believes it will give her the upperhand in world domination. As Nate progresses through the story campaign learning along the way he figures its more important to stop Marlowe than steal treasure from Ubar. Along the campaign Sully gets kidnapped briefly. Elena returns to help Drake. Chloe and Charlie Cutter bowed out of the adventure once he breaks his leg from a failed jump. Charlie Cutter had to jump or he would’ve been burned alive. Near the end, as Drake and Sully are close to stopping Marlowe and Talbot.  I learned what the hidden “secret power” of Ubar really was. As Drake and Sully enter the lost city, Drake drinks from a beautiful fountain. Unknowingly at the time the water is a powerful hallucinogenic and the brass vase Marlowe is after leaked into the entire city’s water supply making all inhabits crazy in which they all eventually died off.

Drake sees Sully get shot soon after drinking from the fountain at the entrance of Ubar. As Drake stumbles around in a purple haze he fights Marlowe’s men who appear to be twin’s of Ghostrider. They had flaming skulls for heads and can vanish and teleport. Basically, Drake is just hellucinating everything while he is fighting those guys. He soon wakes up after Sully thumps him on the head. Next, you see Marlowe and Talbot at the bottom of the the city trying to raise the massive brass vase that holds the secret hallucinogenic agent. Drake shoots the crane trying to lift up the vase which sets off a explosion that weakens Ubar’s structural stability. The city starts to crumble. Its time for Drake and Sully to leave. The set pieces, sound design and visuals during the ending sequence were flat out amazing.

As you make your way up to the surface Marlowe gets caught in quicksand. Drake actually tries to save her but no luck. Or should i say goodluck. Drake thinks he lost his beloved ring with Marlowe. Next are scenes unlike any i ever seen. Platforming,  jumping to crashing structures one after the other. Drake gets caught up and have to fight Talbot. After hitting some square and triangle buttons Sully saves the day and shoots him in the back lol. You make it up to the top where Salin is waiting with horses. Before credits Sully confesses that Drake is like a son to him and hands him his ring he thought he lost. The end. The reason i love this Uncharted story is because Naughty Dog went into Sully and Nate’s relationship and left out the zombies and monsters. The story had enough ups and downs that kept me on the seat of my pants. And most of all the story made sense.

Visuals – Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is the best looking console game i have ever played up to this point. The lighting is the best in all of videogames in my opinion. You will find it very hard to find a game with better textures, colors, artwork and light. There are plenty of graphical tricks to keep your eyes glued. Like i said, some parts of Uncharted 3 that i played looked realistic, especially the early desert scenes.

Sound Design – Nolan North, Rosalind Ayres, Richerd McGonagle, Claudia Black and Emily Rose devilered a movie like voice acting cast to Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. Splended voice acting and all around sound design and music.

Gameplay – Uncharted 3′s gameplay is composed of shooting with cover based mechanics and platforming saections. The immediate improvement of guns feeling more powerful and visceral has been improved. Vertical platforming and shooting are also included and was quite fun. Collecting treasures is part of Uncharted’s tradition and it was more fun than ever in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. Puzzles were spread out decently among early and middle portions of the campaign. The most memorable puzzles for me were the giant statues with the globe. The lightstick mural on wall where i had to align the bodyparts with a stick. There was some scripted destructibility later on in the game involving pillars and breakable cover. If you played one Uncharted you sorta played them all but the tweaks in Uncharted 3 were neccessary regarding the guns and shooting and that, imo made the gameplay better than all of the other Uncharteds.

Replayability – Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception’s story campaign took me nine hours and fifteen minutes to complete. Keep in mind i didn’t do much treasure hunting (only 37 collected). The story campaign was an amazing thrill-ride and easily worth $60.00 in itself. Uncharted 3 also boosts the best competitive and co-op multiplayer gameodes in any Uncharted game. You can practically customize and unlock anything that will contribute to a more invigorating multiplayer experience. Creating custom loadouts with two booster slots and a kickback slot adds flexibility to competive and co-op modes.There are so many unlocks including weapon modes and clothes for your custom Hero or Villian.

The treasure system is unique in itself. You can collect over a hundred unique spawn treasures during competitive online multiplayer matches. They aren’t predictable which makes treasure collecting fun. Uncharted TV and Cinema can keep you busy while you wait for matches or eating (in my case). The Cinema mode lets users upload cool multiplayer videos from Uncharted 3 matches. The videos load fast. Everything loads fast regarding the online multiplayer. I experienced minimal lag and matchmaking usually takes a minute. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception has a great multiplayer. Whether you are playing Co-Op Adventure or Plunder, it doesn’t matter. The gameplay is fun with plenty of unlocks, treasures and upgrades that will keep you playing for a very long time.

Final Verdict – Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception has mastered the art of blending action movies into real-time gameplay better than any other videogame before it. Is the game perfect? No. But what this game is mostly about, which is action, it delivered a masterful performance.


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