Spectacular, take-your-breath-away action sequences still rule the day in Drake’s Deception. I was one of the many people who thought the train level from Among Thieves could never be topped for sheer, graphically intensive mayhem, but Uncharted 3 gladly does its best to prove me wrong. Picture all the best moments from Michael Bay’s oeuvre, roll them all into one like a gooey C-4 filled cinnamon bun and you still won’t come close to the least of Uncharted 3’s many set pieces.
Whether its hanging on for dear life on a cargo plane’s netting or tumbling over and over again inside the flooded hold of a freighter being tossed to and fro by rogue waves, Uncharted 3 seems determined to top each of its action sequences with an even more amazing sequence. It’s this well-choreographed drama that has earned the Uncharted franchise a reputation as the summer blockbuster of the gaming world: low on brains, high on likeable characters and straight to the moon on thrills.
As ever, also like a summer movie, the game is over way too soon. A good 10-12 hours should be more than enough for even the most amateur gamer to finish the main campaign. Most of those hours will be spent navigating the game environment and participating in intense shootouts. It’s business as usual for this series. That there is nothing new to report for these segments of the gameplay is a shame. Nathan is as athletic as ever and a good 80% of your time playing the game will be spent jumping from precarious perch to an even more precarious perch. The game still automates most of the jumps so leaping is still mostly an exercise in logic than in skill. Shooting it out with foes is equally automated thanks to the game’s generous aiming system.
Apparently, Nathan went to the “Wanted” school of bullet curving if he expects to hit those guys.
As I mentioned previously, the gang at Naughty Dog has taken this particular brand of daring-do as far as it can go. I fully expect some sort of overhaul of the franchise’s mechanics before Uncharted 4 hits shelves. That being said, I still enjoyed every single second of the time I spent in Nathan Drake’s company this third time around. Drake’s Deception of course features a robust multiplayer suite, with both competitive and cooperative modes. Character leveling, weapon modifications, unlockables, and boosters, Uncharted’s version of Call Of Duty’s perks, all return. While Uncharted’s multiplayer will never compete with industry heavyweights like Gears Of War of Modern Warfare, what’s there is as competently made as the single player campaign.
Since its inception, Uncharted has been setting the bar very high in terms of visuals. The brand’s style of globe-hopping adventure lends itself nicely to a wide variety of locales and weather patterns. While a large portion of Uncharted 3 occurs in sandy desert settings, thus giving much of the game a rather yellowed-out feel, you’ll still get to visit seedy bars, seedier hotels, and such countries as Colombia, Yemen, and Syria, each with its own unique feel and backgrounds. The sheer amount of detail found in any given scene is enough to make players stop and stare at the screen in disbelief. Drake’s entire package is gorgeous to look at.
Painstaking care has been given to making Nathan’s tomb-raiding antics as lifelike as possible. Drake shimmies, clambers, dodges, tucks, and rolls convincingly, and melee attacks are suitably brutal and realistic. Special mention must be made of series composer Greg Edmonson’s continuing contributions to the franchise. The erstwhile “Firefly” composer ensures that Uncharted is a feast for the ears as well the eyes. Nathan’s catchy main theme never fails to get one fired up.
Nolan North, Richard McGonagle, and Emily Rose (voicing Nathan, Sully, and Elena, respectively) all perform their usual roles with aplomb, injecting their characters with such wit and humanity that it’s practically impossible not to care when something bad happens to them. Claudia Black, as I once mentioned, is never anything less than enthusiastic in her voice acting, no matter what project she’s in. Joining the gang is Graham McTavish, soon to be seen in Peter Jackson’s upcoming Lord Of The Rings prequels, voicing the villain’s main heavy.
The Verdict: [rating:5]
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is just about the perfect game. It doesn’t overstay its welcome. You’ll never be anything less than insanely entertained throughout. The cast is loveable and spending time in their company is like meeting old friends after a long separation. There’s thrills, chills, spills, and enough multiplayer action to keep the disc in your PlayStation for weeks after you finish the main plot. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Your faithful reviewer,