Uncharted 3 is awesome. I simply cannot go any further without saying that. As a story, as a third-person shooter, as an adventure game, as eye candy, and as a work of art, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is damn near perfect in almost every way. Nathan Drake and Sully, his dirty old companion, are back, and this time around developer Naughty Dog has placed more focus on the origins of the dynamic duo, deepened their interactions, and increased the amount of massive explosions by approximately 55%.
- Press Start
Uncharted 3 has the same kind of menu as the first two games, very standard but with the new music and images of a vast desert. You can watch cinematics, play individual levels, and access competitive and cooperative multiplayer. No major changes, but no need to change what isn’t broken.
- Story: 5/5
Uncharted 3’s story is fantastic, this time focusing a lot more on Nate and Sully’s, relationship. The writing, which has always been top notch, is now even better, with witty responses thrown left and right and some truly heart-tugging moments. Elena and Chloe, Nate’s two previous love interests, return and new characters arrive, and Uncharted 3 manages to make you care about all of them (at least the good guys). The new bad guys of the story are great as well, and the new main villain is an old woman who looks like she’d bake you a warm batch of cookies and watch with a smile as you realized they’re poisoned. The interactions between Nate and the bad guys, be it during a cinematic or during combat, are as amusing as ever, and will have you laughing while feeling like a badass. The story goes far deeper than ever before, delving into Nate and Sully’s past at times. A lot of things have happened in the years since the second game, and not all of them were very happy.
Great as the characters and interactions are in Uncharted 3, my favorite aspect of the story is that this time around, Naughty Dog dropped the whole M. Night Shamalan “what a twist” endings. Don’t get me wrong, Uncharted 3 has mysteries aplenty and some truly crazy moments, but nothing as cheesy as the end of Uncharted 2. Fear not, for Uncharted 3’s story is neither predictable nor does it end badly. It’s great all the way through, and will never leave you hanging.
- Gameplay: 5/5
The gameplay of the Uncharted games has always been one of its strong points, and that is no different in Drake’s Deception. With a much heavier focus on melee combat and brawling, the world of Drake’s Deception feels grittier and dirtier than past games, and that’s saying something. Environments now play a bigger role in Nate’s fisticuffs, giving him abilities such as slamming an angry thug’s face into a refrigerator door. Grabs, heavy enemies, counters, and the occasional roshambo also all make it into the new fighting system. Trying to be stealthy is still slightly hit-or-miss, but no longer will enemies see you randomly though a wall. If you are good enough, you can usually pick off half the guys in an area before they see you.
The climbing mechanics are still awesome, receiving little to no tweaks in practice, but the animations have been smoothed out. Once again, no need to fix what isn’t broken. Nate still reacts in hilarious ways to the , and control is highly intuitive and fluid. Also Nate falls. A lot. And it’s really funny.
The gunplay is also better than ever, with everything from aiming to moving in and out of cover having been smoothed out and polished. The standard array of guns returns with a few new additions, and now water combat is even included. Nate can now shoot while running, climbing, falling, swimming, riding a horse, and hanging, and as always Crushing difficulty will still occasionally make you cry. Overall the combat is at the top of its game, and that’s impressive considering some of the complex segments in Uncharted 3.
- Graphics: 5/5
Games like Uncharted 3 make me sad that I can’t make the score go past 5. Uncharted 3 is a gorgeous game, and everything from animations and character models to deserts and fire look insanely realistic. Short of the Crysis series, Uncharted 3 is the best looking game seen to date on any console, especially the PS3. Animations are almost all motion-captured, and the attention to detail is startling. Every inch of Uncharted 3 seems to have been given special attention, and a few things like the fire effects or sand sticking in Nate’s hair are just scary.
What takes the cake in Drake’s Deception, however, is the cinematic setpieces. Massive rusty shipyards and vast deserts all make an appearance in the game, and not one of them disappoints. The action is awesome, extremely well choreographed, and frankly is some of the coolest stuff I’ve seen in a video game, and that is saying a lot.
- Music: 5/5
Once again, I have sadness at the lack of being able to give this a 6/5. Greg Edmonson returns as the writer and composer of Uncharted 3’s spectacular orchestral soundtrack, basing it on Arabian music. He has outdone himself exponentially, wielding the baton with masterful talent. The music of Uncharted 3 is amazingly epic, and works perfectly with the setpieces. Be it bullets, sand, water or sneaking, Drake’s Deception’s music is wonderfully composed and perfect for the situation. The voice acting is also phenomenal, and Nolan North returns as Nathan Drake to once again be a lovable, cocky smart-ass.
- Replayability: 5/5
Like previous installments of the series, you can unlock Crushing difficulty after beating Uncharted 3 once, and there are tons of hidden treasures to find for trophies. On the whole the trophies are very fun, and add a great layer of strategy to the hectic gunfights. The game is roughly 12 hours in length, and once you are done, you can head over to the multiplayer.
Like Uncharted 2, the multiplayer is surprisingly awesome. Matches are hectic, and the cover and climbing mechanics work really well. Competitive multiplayer is fun as hell, and has a deep upgrade and medal system. Cooperative multiplayer pits two or more players against areas from the story mode with different objectives, and is also extremely fun. Uncharted 3’s multiplayer will last you a very long time if you wish.
- Final Grade: 5/5
Uncharted 3 is the best game on the PS3, and one of the best games I have ever played. So rarely do so many great elements come together to make an experience that you can play over and over again and still appreciate the pure awesomeness that leaks from your system as it plays. If you own a PS3, you need to play this game. If you don’t own a PS3, you may want to seriously consider purchasing one just to play this game. I give Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception 5/5 oddly unnoticed historical treasures. Games like this are why we game.