The Uncharted series has set the bar high for adventure games. Now developer, Naughty Dog, has released Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. Does it live up to their own standards? Pack plenty of water, we going to the Rub' al Khali desert to find out.
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception opens with Nathan "Nate" Drake and Victor "Sully" Sullivan entering a pub in England to sell Sir Francis Drake's ring to a man named Talbot. After looking closer at the money and finding it fake they back out of the deal. Talbot, not taking no for an answer, has seemingly stocked the pub with his men. Nate and Sully fight their way out of the pub only to be confronted in the alley by Talbot and more thugs, this time armed with guns. Here, the woman behind Talbot, Katherine Marlowe, confronts Nate and takes the ring. As he is about to grab the ring back one of the thugs, Charlie Cutter, shoots Nathan and then Sully to everyone's surprise. Marlowe gives Cutter dirty looks as she and Talbot leave. As Nate and Sully lay dying the screen fades to black.....
.....To a flashback twenty years earlier. Here a very young Nathan Drake is searching a museum in Cartagena, Colombia for Sir Francis' ring. Just as he finds the ring he notices a man approaching. It is none other than Victor Sullivan who is also looking for the ring. This back story shows how Nate and Sully met and how they both managed to make an enemy of Katherine Marlowe.
Flash back to present day where Cutter gives the all clear to Nate and Sully who get up from their "deaths." Cutter had been working with them the whole time. It had be a ruse so that they could smoke out Marlowe and trail her back to a code machine that worked only with Sir Francis' ring
And thus starts a long adventure around the world that I do not wish to spoil.
Controls and Gameplay
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception again takes on the third person action adventure style of gameplay. Those that have played the past Uncharted games will be familiar with controls. Naughty Dog has added some nice touches though to make the game flow better. Nathan now has broader hand-to hand combat abilities, this allows players to do more with Nate than just run and gun.
Along with combat there are plenty of puzzle solving and climbing/platforming-esque areas to counter-balance everything.
Online and offline split screen multiplayer is available also in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. The online portion is much the same as Uncharted 2. They have added a new buddy system where to players can perform cooperative taunts and gather treasurer for each other. The offline multiplayer now allows for two PlayStation Network accounts to play together in split screen.
Naughty Dog has made the gameplay feel more cinematic. There have been a few moments where a cut scene will end and I don't realize it until I absentmindedly move one of the thumbsticks and Drake moves. Another point where this movie-like feel comes across in is moving Nathan around in the environment. Move him to close to a wall or table and he will occasionally reach out and put a hand on it, like someone would do in real life. Not all of his climbing or falling moves are the same either, as they and other movements were motion captured then added to Nathan's animations.
Graphics and Sound
The graphics continue to be realistic in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. The previously mentioned motion capture adds to that realism.
The sound has also gotten the same amount of care that the graphics and animation have received. The superb voice cast from the previous games are all back and performing up to their Hollywood quality. I would advise that if they make a real movie of Uncharted, they may have to look into casting these same people for the roles.
Naughty Dog has once again raised the bar on what is a great adventure game. With Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception they have blurred the line between game and move even more. I have not finished the game yet, but I deep enough in that I want to finish. It will fight for my time with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, it's that good.
It will easily be on many lists for Game of the Year. I have not come across any problems with the game at all. Great story, fun and balanced gameplay, and the feeling you are watching an action movie play out make for a awesome game. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception get a solid 5 out of 5 from me.
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is rated T of r Teen for Blood, Language, Violence by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB).
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is available now exclusively for the Sony PlayStation 3. For more information see the Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception web site.