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Posted November 6, 2011 by Arec Phanthapanya in Video Game Reviews
 
 

Uncharted 3 Review

uncharted-3-Drakes-Deception
uncharted-3-Drakes-Deception

Does the third installment to Nathan Drake’s adventure deliver to his already stellar line of games?  Lets find out.

Developer: Naughty Dog

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Platforms: PS3

Genre: Action-Adventure, Platform, Third-Person Shooter

Modes: Single Player, Co-Op, Multiplayer

Rating: T

BeastNotes:

Naughty Dog has done a great job with the Uncharted series and it is amazing to look at the strides that were taken to come from the first Uncharted to the second installment.  After the Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Uncharted was pretty much a finely tuned car.  If it isn’t broke, then don’t fix it.  This is basically Naughty Dog has done with Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.  Instead of adding a bunch of new features to add some innovation to the game, Naughty Dog opted to slightly tune and tweak their car.

Now, I am not saying that this is a bad thing.  Uncharted 3 is still a great game, but for those looking for a new, fresh experience, then Uncharted 3 does not exactly bring that to the table.  The changes that were made; however, are very welcomed.  Melee combat has been improved and you can finally throw back grenades!

Aside from the minimal changes, Uncharted 3 retains everything you would expect from the Uncharted series.  If you are new to the Uncharted series, then, lucky for you, why don’t you go pick up the Uncharted Dual Pack that just came out a couple of weeks ago to get up to speed?  I highly suggest that you do so if you are new to the series as you will be somewhat lost in the story as far as relationships go.

Story: 

As always, we begin the story in the shoes of our Naughty Dog stud, Nathan Drake.  He is accompanied by his longtime friend and mentor, Victor Sullivan.  The location?  Some kind of pub where all the shady, bald people seem to congregate.  The first thing that pops into your head is “something is about to go down.”

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception starts off with a bang.  It is an introduction that will make you feel all types of emotions.  I went from excited, mad, happy, and to sad all in a matter of minutes.

Without spoiling too much of the game, the story’s premise is always the same in the Uncharted series.  Nathan Drake discovers some sort of secret that is covering a plethora of treasure.  Unfortunately, he is not the only one looking for that treasure.  This time around, Uncharted 3 attempts to give us more character background and character development within the story rather than just cutting to the chase and hunting for that treasure before the villains get to it.

The story of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is one that you would expect out of action movies.  It is extremely well written.  In all honesty, I am more interested in the story than the actual gameplay itself.  In pursuit of not spoiling too much of the story, since it is (in my opinion) the best part of the game, I will have to end this section here.  Just know that the story does not disappoint and it is very entertaining to say the least.

Presentation:

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is one of the best looking games today and it has two years since its release.  There are not that many games that are able to debunk Uncharted 2 off the throne when it comes to graphics.  With Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Naughty Dog was not able to improve the graphical prowess as much as they did from Uncharted to Uncharted 2, but the game still looks gorgeous without much improvement anyway.  Seriously, how much better can graphics get after Uncharted 2 anyway?  Uncharted 2 pushed the limits of the Playstation 3 and I am sure that there is not much wiggle room after what Uncharted 2 has done.

As stated before, Uncharted 3 was not necessarily able to build upon Uncharted 2 but it is still a great looking game nonetheless.  Scenery in the game is just amazing and you will have to take a moment to take in all the wonderful sights of the surroundings.  The environments are so detailed and realistic that you will feel like you are watching a movie rather than playing a game.  You can see the crinkles in Nathan Drake’s shirt as he walks, the water ripple as Drake swims, and the sand in Drake’s hair as he treks the desert.  Everything is just so well done graphically that it is hard to imagine how they will be able to improve it in this generation of consoles.  Well, to be more specific, the Playstation 3.

The graphics are not the only thing that is impressive in Uncharted 3, the voice acting is phenomenal as well.  It is what you will come to expect when you play an Uncharted game.  The Uncharted series has been able to keep the same voice actors for the original cast and you can see the chemistry that they have together.  Nolan North is Nathan Drake at this point and anyone else would just simply ruin the Uncharted series.  And just like everything else in the Uncharted series, expect the witty lines and banter that you have come to love in the series.

In a nutshell, Uncharted 3 has the presentation that has some movies green with envy.  It is that good.

Gameplay:

Not much has changed as far as gameplay goes.  However, the melee combat system has been improved slightly.  Drake can now combat enemies while he is being grabbed by another enemy and he can now throw back grenades.  Other than that, it is the same type of gameplay that you would expect from the Uncharted series.  While playing, I noticed that the aiming reticle was a little sluggish even at the highest sensitivity setting.  This may not be a bother to some people, but to others who are used to a much higher setting may dislike it.  There also seemed to be “dead spots” when it comes to shooting at enemies.  I could have the reticle right on top of an enemy and the bullets would not necessarily register as a hit.  It was like they passed right through the thugs.  Naughty Dog has acknowledge this issue and they are patching it as soon as they can.

I do have some gripes with the gameplay.  Particularly, I found some issues in the game that I found annoying.  For one, I did not completely enjoy the fact that I was basically a puppet in certain segments of the game.  What I mean by that is, I would have control over Drake but I could not fully explore an area or section because that would mean death.  It usually applies to chase scenes where Drake would be running away from something and if I fail to go a certain path (which Naughty Dog does not necessarily make it obvious some times) then Drake would just fall to his death.  Now this may not be an issue to some people, but I found it very annoying at times.

It also seemed like some of the same problems (or at least, what I feel like were problems) have carried over from Uncharted 2.  My one major annoyance was the ledge detection.  Sometimes, I would jump to a ledge and end up falling to my death because Drake refused to grab it.  If it were not a ledge I was suppose to grab on to, then I would not have a problem dying.  However, if the game is telling me that I am suppose to climb the ledge but Drake is refusing to grab onto it every once in a while which then results in his death, then it becomes a problem.  This problem coincides with what I mentioned before.  It is very annoying in chase sequences because it results in death.  Drake would either not grab onto the ledge or just run up the wall and fall back down which then results in a “game over” by either being captured or just falling to his death.  This is all thanks to the “cinematic” gamestyle that Naughty Dog is aiming for.  Basically, you are an actor and if you do not play according to the script, then you die.  Plain and simple.  The “cinematic” gamestyle is a gift and a curse to some people as it may hinder their enjoyment of the game.

Stealth mechanics are also very iffy at best in Uncharted 3.  I honestly have no idea why they have it in the game if it is not completely necessary to take the stealth route.  For one, Naughty Dog left out the option for Drake to crouch.  I do not know much about stealth but I am going to have to say that standing and stealth do not go well together.  Uncharted 3 introduces stealth mechanics in the game and even encourages players to use it, but I often found myself failing to execute stealth takedowns at times because the animation would not kick in.  For example, I would be against a corner, waiting for a thug to pass by.  As the thug rounds the corner, I am suppose to press square in order to do a stealth takedown.  Instead, I found that Drake would rather just punch the guy in the face which would then alert all the other guards nearby.  It was very annoying when this happen because I was looking forward to avoiding a firefight.  Did I mention that firefights can be a pain at times thanks to the enemy spawn points?  I found myself dying more than once because an enemy would spawn behind me with a shotgun.  This is also in the normal setting so I can only imagine what Crushing is like.

Other than these problems that I have found personally annoying, they did hinder my experience with the game.  It may just come down to my gaming ability, but I know I am not the only one that have come across these issues.  The game is still extremely fun.

One aspect that Naughty Dog did improve was the multiplayer.  With the release of two betas before the release, Naughty Dog showed that they were really interested in creating the best multiplayer experience for the Uncharted fans.  Now, Uncharted 3′s multiplayer is not going to be the monster that is Call of Duty, but it is still very enjoyable and fun.  In fact, it is unique in its own right because you can basically do everything that you could do in the single player.  Naughty Dog gave players the opportunity to customize their own unique player so if you do not feel like playing as any of the skins Naughty Dog has provided, then you can just create one yourself.  Medal kickback and boosters are also back in the game.  For those that do not know what they are, kickback and boosters are essentially power ups.

The game modes provided are Free-for-all, High Stakes, Team Deathmatch, Three Team Deathmatch, Team Objective, Plunder, Hardcore, and Competitive Co-Op.  Now, I will not explain the most obvious game modes, but I will explain the others.

High Stakes is where you put up your money and experience points on the line in order to gain more later.  Basically, it is a mode where you gamble away your earnings.

Hardcore is the mode where you will not be allowed to use power ups.  That means no kickbacks or boosters.  It is all about your skill in this mode.

Team Objective is a gameplay mode that will involve two teams of five players and each team will have to compete against each other in order to complete the task that was given to them.  The first team to three points win.  The objectives that are given will be chosen out of this list:

  • Multi Marked Men – Kill the enemy marked man while defending your own.
  • Turf War – Capture multiple hills to rank up points.
  • King of the Hill – Capture and hold the hill to earn points.
  • Chain Reaction – Capture the hills in order.
  • Treasure Hold – Hold the treasure to earn points.
  • Deathmatch – Each kill is worth ten points, first to one hundred points wins.
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Plunder is Uncharted’s version of capture the flag.  Instead of two flags, there is only one flag.  Well, by flag I mean treasure.  Why else would it be called Plunder if treasure was not involved?  The objective of the game is to get the treasure back to your team’s treasure chest before the other team does the same.  The treasure is extremely heavy so you will find yourself at a disadvantage when carrying it.  You will walk slower and be limited to only your handgun.  However, that is what teammates are for.  You can throw the treasure to them.  This would be the preferred method of treasure transportation as it is the fastest way to get the treasure from point A to point B.  The first team to five points wins or the team with the highest points after the time is over wins.
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Competitive Co-Op is where a group of two or three players can play together in various modes of gameplay.  These modes are Co-Op Arena, Co-Op Hunter Arena, and Co-Op Adventure.  Co-Op Arena is a gamemode where two or three players will have to face off against a wave of soldiers.  The objective of the mode is to survive .  Co-op Hunter Arena is a gamemode where a group of two people will go against another group of two.  One group will be assigned as heroes and the other will be assigned as villains.  Heroes will have to search for treasure while the villains are to stop the heroes from picking up as many treasures as they can.  After a while, the roles will switch.  The group with the most treasures wins.  Co-Op Adventure is somewhat similar to Co-Op Arena.  The only difference is that there are five chapters and each chapter is in a different setting.
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As stated before, Uncharted 3′s multiplayer is probably not able to compete with other multiplayer juggernauts, but it is still a very fun experience nonetheless.  I can honestly see Uncharted’s multiplayer being as big one day since it is a very unique experience with all of its climbing and free roaming.  At least Uncharted 3′s multiplayer is not as bare bones multiplayer that some games seem to tack on  because gamers feel like every game needs a multiplayer.  It feels like Naughty Dog took their time with the multiplayer and tried to make it the best that it could be.

What You’ll Like:

  • Graphics
  • Story
  • The Characters
  • Nolan North
  • Multiplayer
What You’ll Hate:
  • Online pass
  • Being Naughty Dog’s “actor”
  • Sluggish aiming mechanics
  • Difficulty Spike

Final Score:

A-

Final Thoughts:

The Uncharted series have been a great series so far and Uncharted 3 has not smudged the name one bit.  Although some aspects of the game could have been better, Uncharted 3 is still the game that you have come to expect from the Uncharted series.

Did it deliver?  Yes.

The presentation is the one of the best in the business and on par with some of the top movie productions in the industry.  Nolan North brought Nathan Drake to life and the other cast members were able to follow his lead.  The characters are believable and easy to connect with.  The gameplay, although frustrating at times, is very fun and engaging.

Uncharted 3 may not be what Uncharted fans were hoping for in terms of advancement.  In all honesty, the jump that was made from Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune to Uncharted 2: Among Thieves will probably not happen again in the Playstation 3′s remaining lifespan, but Uncharted 3 is still a great addition to the series.

Buy It: Buy this game if you are a true Playstation fan.  Even though that was a joke, this game is seriously a must have if you are a Playstation owner.  Great graphics, great story, and lovable characters.  What more could you ask for?

Rent It: Rent this game if you are looking to just enjoy the graphics and complete the story mode just one time.

Pass It: If you do not own a Playstation 3.  There is honestly no reason to not own this game besides that.


Arec Phanthapanya

 
I did not choose the thug life. The thug life chose me. Contributer to the GPR show!