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Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Review (PS3)

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011 by

Sony’s flagship franchise returns with all the flash and awe we’ve come to expect from the series, but does nothing to fix the problems that have always plagued it. Despite that, Uncharted 3 is an amazing story-driven experience that hits every note, and easily one of the most beautiful games ever made.

Uncharted 3 continues the story of Nathan Drake; a roguish fortune hunter with a knack for unraveling ancient secrets. Combining gunfights, puzzles, and platforming along with an engaging narrative that never lets go, it’s hard not to get caught up in this globe-sweeping epic.

LOVED

Riveting story: Like the two games before it, Uncharted 3 spares no expense in crafting a blockbuster tale that will keep you hooked until the end. Some revealing insight is shed into Drake’s past this time around; a past that is tightly woven into this newest adventure.

Expressive and likable characters: You’ll see some familiar faces in Uncharted 3 and they’re all in rare form. The cast of Uncharted 3 is sure to blow you away; the cutscene interactions between them are some of the most convincing and entertaining ever. The actors did a fantastic job of breathing life into their respective characters.

White-knuckle action sequences: Whether you’re being mobbed by waves of mercenaries or trying to make a daring escape, Uncharted 3 is relentless in its delivery of heart-pounding excitement. The shootouts are intense and the game’s cutscenes are expertly woven into the action, keeping things exciting and blurring the line between games and action movies like few games ever do.

Gorgeous set pieces: Uncharted 3 is always urging you forward from one area to the next, but that won’t keep you from stopping to admire the breathtaking locales throughout the game. Cities are alive with believability and some of the vistas you travel will simply blow your mind. The Naughty Dog development team never ceases to amaze with this kind of stuff, and here they’ve outdone themselves.

Involved online play: While the single-player campaign is relatively short at about ten hours, Uncharted 3’s online component has all the stuff needed to keep you playing for months ahead, including a rank-up system with benefits and a ton of unlockables. The variety of play modes is big enough to stave off boredom for a long time, too. Rest assured, if online play is your thing then you’ll be well taken care of.

COMPLAINTS

Wacky controls: Previous games in the series are guilty of having some finicky control issues, and Uncharted 3 continues this fine tradition with a touchy cover system and some awkward platforming. It can be frustrating to bounce around in tight spaces during gunfights, especially when trying to seek out cover thanks largely in part to Uncharted 3’s weird placement recognition.

Ultra-linear: The path forward is an exciting one but it never deviates or gives you much room to flex; exploration is an illusion in Uncharted 3. From the game’s very outset, you are locked onto rails and pushed ever forward. Players who prefer open-world style games may find Uncharted 3 a bitter pill to swallow.

Not always obvious what to do next: For a game that has only one strict path forward, it may come as a surprise that it’s easy to get stuck trying to figure out what to do next. Whether it’s a ledge you overlooked or a room with seemingly no exits, there’s no shortage of frustrating moments where finding the solution becomes an exercise in embarrassment. The game will start to throw hints at you when it thinks you’re stuck, but that does little to soften the blow.

Combat feels half-baked: Don’t get me wrong; the fighting is exciting and makes up the greater core of Uncharted 3, but something feels off with the aiming. It may get the job done, but it seems to lack the finesse of a fully-fleshed out shooter. Melee combat feels totally manic, comprised mainly of mashing out on the square button and waiting to press the counterattack button when prompted. Punch fights look great, but there’s a nagging and noticeable disconnect between what’s happening onscreen and what you’re inputting into the controller.

BOTTOM LINE

Uncharted 3 does everything it’s expected to and it does it with style. There is little change to the Uncharted formula going on here, but it’s hard to complain when that formula is near perfect to begin with. If you’re on the lookout for a gripping adventure with all the flair of a Hollywood blockbuster, then look no further than Uncharted 3.

Platform: PlayStation 3

About the Author

Mark A. Brooks uses the A. initial in his name so as to seperate himself from the teeming legions of other Mark Brookses (there are at least 65,000 in the state of Michigan alone). Keep up with him on twitter, because why not. @unoriginalG

Mark A. Brooks has written 626 posts on Delta Attack
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