Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception PS3 Review – Hollywood Gets a Run for Its Money

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Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Developer: Naughty Dog
Genre: Action-Adventure
Players: Single, Co-op and Multiplayer Online
Release Date: Nov. 1, 2011
Rated: T – Teen

Nathan Drake’s latest heroic escapade leads him all around the world from the ominous clubs of London to the radiant desert wastelands of Yemen. In Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, you even get the opportunity to explore Drake’s thieving past on the harsh streets of Colombia. The game was released a little more than two years after Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, falling in line with the series’ two-year release schedule. Drake’s Deception was highly marketed by the game’s publisher,  Sony, who along with developer Naughty Dog released numerous trailers, held a public multiplayer BETA, and launched a partnership with Subway Restaurants. The Subway “Taste for Adventure” deal allowed fans a chance to play the full competitive multiplayer experience a month before the game’s official retail release. With all of the hype the game received prior to its release, does Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception live up to everyone’s expectations? Does it deliver in prominent Naughty Dog fashion? We’ll discuss these questions and more as we go in depth with Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.

The game begins with an adrenaline-pumping, cinematic cutscene of Nathan Drake and his friend/partner-in-crime Victor “Sully” Sullivan walking down a dank London street to a bar full of balding goons. After getting the green light to go up to the upper level of the bar, Drake and Sully engage in a trade with a man simply known as “Talbot”. The merchandise? Drake’s famed ring belonging to his ancestor, Sir Francis Drake, which is always held close to his chest on a necklace hung round his neck. After a series of allegations back and forth, a generic bar fight ensues with Drake and Sully beating the daylights out of the bald Englishmen. They escape the bar and make it to an alleyway where the game’s villainess, Katherine Marlowe, appears for the first time. After viewing the intense, cinematic cutscene, everything goes dark and you get a blast back to the past. Nathan Drake’s and Sully’s past, that is.

Drake/Sully at Bar

Nathan Drake and Victor “Sully” Sullivan look sharp and ready for action.

After a couple of easy chapters that help you get more or less acquainted with the game, if you weren’t already, the game begins to pick up pace and can even become kind of a challenge at times. However, the campaign never feels too difficult and you never really reach a part in the game that you feel is impossible to pass. The game is expertly paced and honestly, the whole story is a true testament to Naughty Dog’s incredible accomplishments in the Uncharted series as a whole. While the controls can be a bit finicky from time to time, I, as an avid player of the previous two Uncharted games, never really had any issues. I believe that, instead of retrogressing as many people seem to think, the gameplay of Uncharted 3 definitely improved by leaps and bounds. Stealth kills are now more elaborate and are an integral part in making the game experience your own. If you decide to go Rambo-style on an enemy (which you probably shouldn’t), you’ll likely be faced with either crossfire of enemy bullets aimed in your direction or more waves of enemies than would have appeared if you had simply took the stealthy approach.

One of the greatest things about the Uncharted series has always been its insane, Hollywood-inspired cinematic moments and Uncharted 3 certainly doesn’t disappoint. Drake’s Deception boasts some of the grandest and most awe-inspiring moments put forth in gaming history to date. From the horseback caravan chase in a beautiful, Red Dead Redemption-like desert to the extensive, truly amazing chapter on the cargo plane, Uncharted 3 is cool to simply experience.

Cargo Plane Jump Attempt

Drake and Elena make a daring attempt to board a cargo plane — the hard way.

The story Uncharted 3 tells is one that you will feel compelled to replay again and again. Perfect pacing, incredible cinematic moments, and lovable characters will leave you feeling fulfilled and content that you got your money’s worth. You will encounter a great variety of foes and obstacles along the path of Drake’s latest venture. Enemies in Uncharted 3 vary from balding Englishmen to bloodthirsty Pirates to hardened Yemenis well acquainted to the harsh conditions of the arid desert. Obstacles in the game range from challenging puzzles to events such as Drake receiving a dose of a hallucinogen that sends him on a mad, sickening rush through a packed desert village. The latter is actually one of the most captivating and fun to play sequences in the entire game and it will leave you even more entranced in the story than before.

Uncharted 3 once again boasts the stellar voice acting and realistic motion-capture that has become a staple in Naughty Dog’s premier series. Nolan North, who has voiced Nathan Drake in all three Uncharted games, is joined once again by Richard McGonagle (Victor Sullivan) and Emily Rose (Elena Fisher) to provide top-tier entertainment that helps players create strong emotional connections with each of the individual characters. Each of the characters’ pasts (with the exception of Elena), as well as their connections to the other characters, are fleshed out in-depth in Uncharted 3 and you certainly feel as though you know the characters even better by the end of the game than you did at the beginning which is always a plus.

Desert Ghost Town

Just one of many gorgeous environments in Uncharted 3.

There aren’t really any true boss battles in Uncharted 3 prior to the final chapter, though you undoubtedly face your fair share of tedious, strapping mini-bosses wielding the infamous shotgun. Yes, the shotgun soldiers are unfortunately back, and they still suck to go up against. When you hear the cracking sound of the shotgun shell leaving the smoothbore gun, you know you’re in for it. Even more unfortunately, the shotgun soldiers in all their unrelenting glory aren’t even the worst mini-bosses in Uncharted 3. Rather, there are two soldiers in the game employing the colossal power of the PAK-80 machine gun. The soldiers are basically walking tanks and can take up to one hundred bullets to the face to kill. Granted, they may have a metal plate in front of their face, but it’s still an absolute drag to come upon one. I personally wish Naughty Dog hadn’t included either of these classes of soldiers, but I suppose they do add somewhat of a challenge to an otherwise moderately easy game.

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