Review: Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception (PS3)
One of the most anticipated games of the year has finally hit, and that game is Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception.
Not only is Uncharted 3 one of the most anticipated games of the year, it is also the sequel to 2009′s award winning Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. So needless to say, this game has alot to live up to, but does it?
Some sequels try and reinvent a series, others try to add more features than the previous, Uncharted 3 does the former. It takes everything from the previous two games and mashes it all into a pulse pounding conclusion to Drakes story (more on that later). It once again features a cinematic singleplayer that will have you hooked from start to finish. However multiplayer and co-op make a return from Uncharted 2 albeit more robust this time around.
Uncharted has always been a singleplayer first, multiplayer second series and this game does not disappoint. Our hero, Nathan Drake is once again joined with Victor Sullivan and Elena Fisher but also teams up with Chloe Frazer from Uncharted 2 and, new to the Uncharted cast of protaganists, Charlie Cutter, a Jason Statham look-alike with a similar tough guy persona.
While this game is a direct sequel to Uncharted 2, it also delves into prequel territory by exploring how Drake met Sully and how their adventures began. Drakes overall goal is to uncover a secret long since hidden by Sir Francis Drake. However he isn’t the only one. A shadowy Organization led by Catherine Marlowe and her henchman Talbot are also after the secret and harry Drake every step of the way.
If you’ve played any of the previous Uncharted games you’ll know what to expect from this game. The singleplayer is largely made up of cinematic levels, with lots of climbing and puzzle solving between gun fights. There are only 22 chapters in in Uncharted 3 (As opposed to 26 in Uncharted 2) but is roughly about the same length. I clocked in at around 10 hours or so playing through on hard.
Gameplay wise Uncharted 3 is pretty similar to Uncharted 2, with a few exceptions. The melee is improved, with combos being easier to pull off. However the aiming has been tweaked, making it a bit harder to aim. The harder aiming is supposedly due to the inclusion of more recoil, but overall it just feels choppier than Uncharted 2. The climbing has also been improved, with jumps and grabbing hold of ledges being much easier.
Visually, the game is stunning. The attention to detail is noticeable in almost every level and the character models are Heavy Rain caliber. While running through a market level I couldn’t help but stop and examine some food carts and store fronts. This game also supports 3D, although I did not have the good fortune of having access to a 3DTV, it’s definitely something to check out if you do.
The soundtrack for the Uncharted series has also been great, and in addition to the standard Uncharted theme and other various background tracks, Uncharted 3 adds in some of the local flavor by adding some middle eastern tunes to the mix. Playing this game really makes a person appreciate surround sound that much more, and if you are fortunate enough to have a surround system you’ll be glad you do. Every chirp or rustle of leaves is music to your ears when exploring a ruined castle in the heart of a French forest.
Now before I dive into the multiplayer aspects of Uncharted 3, there were a few quirks I had with the game. While every member of the cast is fantastic (Chloe especially, she puts the a** in fantastic), it seems like there are too many protagonists. While Drake gets the limelight throughout the entire game, the rest of our heroes get but a few chapters to make their appearance. Charlie Cutter may be the new hero introduced in Uncharted 3, but is notable absent from the second half of the game, along with Chloe. Elena on the other hand doesn’t even show her face until much later in the game. Even then, she only gets a few levels before being sent off to leave Drake to his heroics. This really took away from the importance of some of the characters, although not enough to detract from my opinion of the game.
This is the part where we starting stepping in some less than pleasant things. Naughty Dog really put much more effort into the multiplayer this time around, and it shows. There are a variety of different match types featuring everything from straight up deathmatch to capture the treasure. Getting into games was notorious in Uncharted 2 in the months following launch and this time around Naughty Dog released both a beta during the summer and one this past October as part of a Subway tie-in. All your stats are carried over from the subway beta, but not your sweet Subway gear. The betas did their job though, as finding games to join is easy and fast. The multiplayer itself is really a matter of preference, some may like it and some may not. There is a bit of imbalance in in the multiplayer, and many player are disgruntled with the fact that aiming and shooting is much less effective than bull-rushing an opponent while hip-firing and then finishing them off with a punch to the face. Take that as you will, but Naughty Dog did a commendable job making the multiplayer fun, which is of course, what matters most.
Finally, Uncharted 3 boasts a cooperative mode where you and up to 2 other friends can join forces in either a “survival” mode (think Gears of War horde mode), or “adventure” mode in which you are given objectives as you move through the level. Adventure mode does not differ much from survival mode so if you were expecting a co-op version of Uncharted’s singleplayerr prepare to be disappointed. A nifty feature Naughty Dog included is this little thing called splitscreen, allowing you to play with a friend in both co-op AND online multiplayer, something not many games let you do. However the splitscreen suffers from what I like to called “wasted space syndrome” in that a third of both screens are not used at all. Still, the fact that you can, in this day and age, still play couch co-op is great! However, I do need to add that whilst in splitscreen, the visual quality does take quite a hit and at times can look more like Uncharted 1 than Uncharted 3.
Finally, the bonus features included in Uncharted 3 include a few features and concept art galleries that you unlock while playing through the singleplayer however both the option to watch any of the games beautifully animated cutscenes is no where to be found, along with the cheats and game options you could buy/unlock in Uncharted 3. This sadly means no playing as Doughnut Drake in singleplayer, though he does make an appearance in multiplayer.
Looking back, I realize this is quite the lengthy review, but I feel that a game that had such high expectations merits a full review. However, if all you read is this last paragraph, take away the fact that this may not be quite what Uncharted 2 was, but nevertheless is a game every PS3 owner should have in their library.
For a fantastic singleplayer, and more or less enjoyable multiplayer, Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception gets a respectable 4 out of 5 Aeropausonauts.
Tags: multiplayer, nathan drake, Naughty Dog, playstation 3, PS3, review, uncharted