Uncharted 3 review

One of the biggest games of this year to be release has been Uncharted 3. It’s been scoring high on reviews everywhere as well but does it really live up to the reviews?

Team member Jamie drives in for a look.

The Uncharted Series of games is pretty much one of the best new IP’s this generation. Each of the now three games released have been special in their own way, forever building on top of the previous instalment to offer a fresh new experience each time you lay down money for a copy. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is no exception.

The game takes place as Nathan Drake decides to go after his ancestor Francis Drake’s secret mission to find Ubar, the Atlantis of the Sand. What makes this plot different to the previous game’s “Finding Lost Cities” story-lines, is how this ties in to Nathan’s own story. We see Nathan as a little boy, first discovering the road to Ubar, and we find out about how he’s been on the hunt his entire life to find the people also looking for it. His pride get’s mixed up in it all, and suddenly his best friends start to doubt his reasoning behind this hunt: Is it for the treasure, or for his own personal pride? Mix this in with some of the best villains portrayed in the series thus far, and some downright shocking twists, makes this story an enjoyable ride. While it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Uncharted 2, it’s definitely a contender.

However, while the story is always a nice addition to Uncharted games, its what the gameplay makes of it that is always exciting. The second Nathan-Drake-A-Thon had some fantastic sequences climbing through icy caverns, and the third has some fantastic sequences that are pretty much the entire game. No, seriously. Each game has managed to get closer and closer to the tantalising “True Cinematic Gameplay Experience” goal that they strive for, and with Uncharted 3 they’ve finally done it. A few of the sequences are good enough to be put on film and shipped to cinemas. The stand-out moments are a bar brawl that happens near the beginning, where I literally didn’t know if it was a cutscene or not because the presentation was so cinematic, and the much touted Desert sequence, which see’s Nathan stumble through the desert for days on end. The game does a great job of drawing you in, making you feel like you’re playing a big budget Hollywood Blockbuster movie. And judging from the previous titles, this was their intention for the series. They succeeded massively.

Gameplay wise, the game is very similar to Uncharted 2, albeit a few changes. The system still holds up, due to it’s surprisingly still original blend of platforming and shooting segments, and the tweaks to the melee combat and stealth sections help smooth over the few bad points of the gameplay in the previous games. The true art to Uncharted’s gameplay is in the use in conjunction with the story though, as the game manages to make a lot of the sequences feel a lot more emotional and difficult than they are, thanks to some great writing and acting.

Uncharted 3 boasts a full multiplayer experience alongside it’s standard length Singleplayer campaign. The game’s jumpy-shooty gameplay lends itself well to the multiplayer, which features the now MP-staples of levelling up systems and buyable gear, creating a rather unique experience in a mostly similar market. However, the rather small amount of modes that include pretty much only the standard (Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag) will prevent this from becoming a massive online hit like Call of Duty and Killzone 3. However, the multiplayer holds up and is definitely worth checking out.

Despite me wanting to pour nothing but adoring praise on this game I do have a few complaints. The biggest is the difficulty. The game seems to shift somewhat schizophrenically from impossibly hard to insultingly easy. Some parts of the games had me gritting my teeth at how many enemies they were throwing at me, and then a few moments later I’d have a boss fight where I barely needed to press a button. The puzzles in particular in the game are easy as pie, with the exception of one or two. Another criticism is the odd locations of checkpoints. Several moments during the game my “Stealthy run” was ruined because the game checkpointed after discovery. Here’s an example of something that happened to show you how rage inducing this can be:

I had to sneak from one end of a ruined castle to the other, with an AI companion following. I swiftly went through, silently killing all the enemies that I came across. I got to my destination when nothing happened. Looking out over the castle, I noticed the AI companion stuck behind a block, due an enemy (with his back turned no less) about 20 feet away from him. The last enemy in the area as well. So I snuck back down, and attempted to stealth-kill him, but was caught moments before the sneak was successful. Suddenly, hundreds of heavily armoured enemies poured out of all locations. I decided to get myself killed so I could attempt the sneaky section again. However, after dying and coming back, I realised that I was now in a different section of the area than the original checkpoint, and I had started with all these heavily armoured enemies firing at me. It seems that the game check-pointed when I got discovered after a certain point, meaning after that a Stealthy Run was impossible.

But grievances aside, Uncharted 3 is a real gem of a game. The series has quickly established itself as the biggest exclusive Sony has, pushing God of War and Killzone out of my heart, and the hearts of almost every other PS3-owner. The third game lives up to all the unreasonable expectations people can possibly put on it, and it’s a real blast. Is it better than the first? Yeah. Is it better than the second? They’re about on par. And that’s the very greatest praise I can give to a game in a series as fantastic as this.

Great game!

Words: Jamie Dickerson

Check back for more game reviews coming soon.


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