Action-Adventure: Uncharted 3 - Drake’s Deception review

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uncharted-3-drake-s-deception-coverPlatforms: PS3 and Xbox 360
Publisher:
Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc.
Developer:
Naughty Dog
Rating:
T-Rated
Release Date:
Out Now
Review Author:
Jamie Kimpton




Storyline and playability

The long awaited return of Nathan drake is here and it is amazing! The uncharted series has always been driven by its clever narratives and witty-protagonists, mixing in cinematic flair for level design and scenery, and adding in some good old fashioned third person shooting and action platforming for good measure. Uncharted 3 combines all of these elements into the best entry of the series and possibly one of the best games in this genre of all time.

Uncharted 3’s story is a departure from the previous two outings in terms of narrative, forsaking the usual set-up and twist that is so common in Hollywood and giving us a much more linear story driven at heart by its characters. It’s an evolution in style and protracted story telling. Flashing back to a young Drake and showing us how he and the ever-loving Victor “Sully” Sullivan became such tight friends, and introducing the game’s villainess in tremendous fashion. It’s not just the Sully-Drake relationship that is showcased here though, long term fans of the romance sub-plots will have plenty of heart warming moments and reveals to get their blood boiling. In traditional fashion the promise of treasure and fortune propels Nathan and Sully into their latest outing which takes the player across some fantastic locales and grand adventures., but it’s the story and characters which are the real heart of Uncharted 3.

Uncharted 3 screenshot 1

 

The action platforming and climbing is the same as before and still just as fun, the exhilaration of a well timed jump or the running leap of faith starts the pulse pounding and gives an enormous sense of self satisfaction when you finally figure out ‘how the hell do I get out of here now?'. Conversely the shooting and melee aspects have been refined and improved. The addition of the ability to throw back grenades and the improved movement of Drake around the scenery have refined the fire fights to pure arcade perfection and its purest moments are seldom rivalled.

The Multiplayer is bigger and better then ever as well. Utilising a Call of Duty like levelling system and optional unlockables from weapons to skins and combining popular online modes such as team deathmatch, the value of Uncharted 3 and its shelf life are greatly increased over previous iterations. The action feels balanced and the maps are interesting and varied, allowing players to use all of the skills and feats available in the main campaign and used to wage war on the online masses. If you’re a fan of arcade-like action and online competition you could be playing the multiplayer for a long time to come.

Presentation

Where to begin when discussing the presentation of Uncharted 3? A good place I suppose would be to tell you of the sheer wonder provided in its environments, or perhaps the enormous level of detail on display from cathartic crumbling ruins to sun drenched sands of the desert. It’s not just the environments either the character detail is hugely impressive, Naughty Dog used motion capture and body actors for all of the uncharted scenes and movements and it really shines. The characters are believable in detail demeanour and appearance and this greatly aides the cinematic showcase that Uncharted 3 is: simply put it could rival any generic Hollywood action affair and in a lot of cases even betters them as far as acting is concerned.

Uncharted 3 screenshot 2

 

To accompany such beautiful locations is an impressive soundtrack. The orchestral score perfectly accents the visuals and on screen action. It is far and away one of the best game scores in years and is very worthy of recognition. The audio is phenomenal, especially if you have Dolby surround sound. Bullets will careen past you with audible aggression with the realistic audio feedback from interacting with the environment to the background noises of a hollow cave. Each noise befits its surrounding and creates a vastly immersive experience.

The fantastic voice cast are all back in full force, turning in pitch perfect performance at every turn. The actors capture the feelings and nuances necessary for a game like to work so well. As always the highlight of them is Nathan Fillion voicing the eponymous Drake with such sarcastic aplomb that really showcases the man's talents and helps give Nathan Drake a fully formed personality.

Best Points

Uncharted has always been a game of spectacle and big set pieces, the newest tile is no exception, providing some of the series biggest moments to date. The sheer breathtaking, heart-pumping thrill of escaping a sinking cruise ship or boarding a runaway cargo plane are some of the highlights but Uncharted is more than just the bigger moments, finding a lot of time to carefully craft the central protagonists into believable and likable people. The characters are fully formed and treated with the respect they deserve, which will delight long time fans and endear themselves to newcomers as well.

At its heart, Uncharted’s biggest pull is the graphical engine. The surrounding and details are lush and living. From the beautiful forest in the French Riviera to the sunken browns and blues of the ship graveyard. Each location certainly has a wow factor that encourages players to explore and awe in equal measure.

The new melee system definitely warrants a mention, probably one of the least enjoyable aspects of the previous titles. Uncharted 3 does its best to re-invigorate the fighting system with quick time button pushes and a greater sense of special awareness. The system has evolved past the punch dodge take down into something all the more strategic. The game does an amazing job of highlighting these changes with the cinematic opening chapter featuring a good old fashioned bar brawl on the west end side of a gorgeous London town.

Uncharted 3 screenshot 3

Worse Points

There is little to fault about Uncharted 3, it does everything it sets out to so well that the smaller moments where the pace slackens and the narrative begins to drag out are easily forgivable, and even at times welcome, when compared to the break-neck speed in the majority of the game.

The addition of a co-op mode seems a little like an after-thought, catering to the modern need to offer co-operative play in new releases. Offering cut down portions of the games main story in a slightly different package. The camera doesn’t work as well in this mode (especially in local co-op) and although it is a nice extra, the package would be undamaged by it exclusion and there is little beyond a quick initial play through to keep you interested.

Overall Score

5/5 - A contender for Game of the year 2011 without a doubt, Naughty Dog have serviced their fans with an excellent story accompanied with brilliant characters. The Game looks and runs absolutely fantastically and really showcases the powerhouse that is the PS3. One of the finest action titles since Uncharted 2 you would be a fool to miss out.