Genre: Action Developer: Naughty Dog Publisher: Namco Bandai Classification: MA15+ Release Date: 3rd Nov 2011 Platforms:
Average of 9 Ratings
Login to submit your review score
If Indiana Jones and Nathan Fillion had a three-way with Lara Croft, Nathan Drake would be the end result.(Biology isn't Kozeeii's strong point - Ed) The Tomb Raider influence is undeniable as far as basic gameplay goes and the tone is Dr Jones all the way though, baby. In fact, Uncharted 3: Drakeís Deception takes it one step further by following key plot points from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and expanding on the early relationship between Sully and Nathan Drake for the first time.
The Fillion factor comes in with the lovable roguishness Drake oozes from every pore as he massacres a cadre of mercenaries on his way to find - wait for it - a mythical lost city. Iím going to keep spoilers to an absolute minimum - part of what makes Uncharted 3 such an unforgettable experience are the epic cinematic set pieces that are sure to leave you gobsmacked, rubbing your eyes in disbelief - but Iíll hit the storyís broad strokes a little later on.
Within the first minutes of Uncharted 3, youíll immediately notice the difference. Naughty Dog somehow manages to pull more graphical gloriousness out of the PlayStation 3, with this easily one of the best-looking titles around (on console). The detail is amazing, as are the subtle lighting effects in the dimly lit London bar you and Sully find yourselves in. Before you have a chance to drink it all in however, a simple artefact for cash exchange goes pear shaped - providing the perfect opportunity for a little fisticuffs with some of the less than hospitable patrons.
The fairly simplistic melee has had a serious overhaul, now more closely resembling something out of Batman: Arkham Asylum - with a little Bond Casino Royale brutality thrown in for good measure - and while Drake doesnít have quite the same free-flowing options as the Caped Crusader, it is extremely satisfying none-the-less.
You can grab and shove enemies into one another or finish with a Liverpool Kiss if thatís more your style. Thereís a basic countering system (a necessary evil for fighting some well and truly 'ard bastards) and even manages to work in contextually sensitive finishers like smashing a beer bottle across the back of some lackieís head, face palming some fool into a wall, using a fish like a baseball bat in a marketplace or grabbing a strategically placed wrench for pacification with extreme prejudice. Yep, Drake is harder than Chuck Norrisí beard and isnít afraid to get his hands dirty, and itís a necessary step the franchise needed to take.
Itís all about refinement. You thought it was pretty before? Get a look at it now. Light dances off walls from torches, shadows flit about as you move with the light source and water looks so realistic (as well as its effects on your clothing) youíll want to dive right into your screen. It really is a remarkably pretty game. The tweaks donít stop there either.
Drake can now return incoming grenades to senders for an explosive delivery, shoot while in the water, and launch himself for stealth attacks as he moves from magic moment to magic moment. You see, at its core thatís what Uncharted 3: Drakeís Deception is. Itís an action packed extravaganza with a solid story holding it together. No, I didnít stutter. I said solid story. Sure, itís clichťd and ripped right from the pages of the Spielberg/Lucas handbook, but it works and youíll be involuntarily giggling with glee wondering just where the adventure will take you next.
The gameplay is almost perfectly balanced between exposition, platforming, gunplay, dynamic chase sequences and puzzles, and so is the pacing. The story is drip fed so that youíre always hungering for the next dollop of information, that is, when you have a moment to catch your breath. Theyíve really ramped up the shooting sections with degrading cover, riot shield packing pricks that just soak up bullets and even your environment becoming hazardous to your health making for some really tense fire-fights.
Awareness of your surroundings is key. The lurching deck of a liner provides containers for cover, but they arenít nailed to the spot. Theyíll shift and slide along as easily as water buckets on board and can crush you if you arenít paying attention. It really takes the jam out of your donut and will give you a one-way ticket straight to the afterlife and youíre last checkpoint.
At times, melee is the wrong option if too many bad guys are lurking about. Thereís nothing worse than getting locked in a scuffle with one goon, all the while his mates are fitting you for a bodybag as you wail on his sorry arse. Itís perhaps the one fault I had with the game, as I often was locked in a test of manliness with some sap not realising that Hidey McCamperson was laying in wait taking potshots. A quick button cancel would make the world of difference and open up a much more fluid style of gameplay.
As far as following the trail of cryptic clues and ancient puzzles, I found none too taxing and it always felt just hard enough. To be fair, some were a walk in the park, though a couple had me scratching the old noodle to work out what happens next. Where the game really shines are in the unexpected and massive chase sequences and some really inventive platforming design. Navigating a shipwrecked graveyard as you battle pirates gripping desperately to a flimsy bit of cover was a standout, as was racing through the bowels of the sinking ship before it pludged to a watery grave. There were other such jaunts worthy of mention, but far be it from me to spoil the experience. Youíll just have to see for yourself.
Itís nigh impossible to not make comparisons to the aforementioned Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, with a teenage Drake meeting Sully in the opening and their consequent father/son relationship, cinematic set pieces, a magnificent motion picture styled score and a hidden city in the desert housing a treasure of unspeakable power. Thereís even a horseback rescue by a Middle-Eastern brother in arms. Just try not to visualise John Rhys-Davies as Sallah apologetically lifting his fez with a ďSorry IndyĒ as he gallops to your aid.
As all sequels (or three-quels) should, this third outing significantly raises the stakes and is by far the most personal. Itís all about Nathan and Sully, how they met (which is playable), what their agendas are and the nature of their relationship. At various times, your comrades will question Drakeís motives and ask him if itís all worth it in the end. The game isnít asking you to make any definitive decision on the matter, but it does leave you pondering if killing several thousand henchmen over the years and unearthing lost treasures and cities was actually worth it in the end? Fair call, and I heavily weighed up the ramifications as I fired a rocket launcher into some poor schmuckís face. Good timesÖ
There's a reason the Indiana Jones trilogy (it's a trilogy only) is adored by so many people across so many different ages. It's a classic tale of a roguish adventurer who may not always do the right thing, but always does what's right. Naughty Dog knew this from the beginning - that's why Nathan Drake is the way he is - and it's great to see the team come full circle with the idea. The only question is - should Uncharted 3 perhaps stay a trilogy?