Video Game Review: UNCHARTED 3: DRAKE’S DECEPTION (PS3)

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Nathan Drake and his merry band of cohorts are back hunting for treasure in exotic locations with Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. Does the game measure up to the previous two, or has Naughty Dog finally taken a misstep with the franchise? Read on to find out!

Released in 2007, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune blew everyone was away when it was released that Holiday season. It had everything: action, adventure, and an engrossing story filled with very likable and fun characters. Two years later Naughty Dog delivered Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, possibly one of the greatest video game sequels of all-time. The sequel increased the scope of the world, delivered a much more involved story, and was fun as hell to boot. When it comes to making a case for getting someone to buy a PS3, the first two Uncharted games do the work for you.

And now the story continues with Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. This time, Drake finds himself chasing the Iram of the Pillars, the lost city once pursued by legendary explorer Sir Francis Drake. All of Drake’s cohorts return, including his right hand man/surrogate father Victor Sullivan, his on-again/off-again flame Elena Fisher, and Drake’s former lover turned partner Chloe Frazer. The protagonists this time around are connected to Drake and Sully’s early years, a shrewd thief named Katherine Marlowe who’s also searching for the Iram of the Pillars for purely evil reasons (OF COURSE!). From there the usual twists and turns ensue: Nathan one-ups the villains, the villains end up taking it from him anyway, supernatural shit ensues, Nathan trades one-liners with everyone around him, Elena shows up to bicker with him, Sully smokes a cigar, rinse and repeat.

Graphically, Uncharted 3 is on par with the ones that came before it, and maybe even more so. The environments are incredibly detailed, vivid, and rich with tons of little crevices in which to accidentally fall into while solving puzzles. There are some brief moments where a character’s hand will slip through a wall but nothing too jarring or distracting.

The basic gameplay of Uncharted 3 remains the same so if you’re familiar with the controls by now you’ll have no problem jumping right in. Naughty Dog has, however, thrown in some new tricks for Drake to use with the coolest being the ability to throw back the live grenades tossed at you during firefights. If you’re someone who tends to pick a spot to crouch behind as you waste endless bad guys (like, say, the writer of this review), it’s a definite benefit. The hand to hand combat also gets a few new moves as well but nothing that will shock and awe you if you’ve played the other two. I had some issues with the control, but nothing I haven’t had before; the camera occasionally goes haywire and sometimes it’s hard to point Drake in the direction I need him to go in when swinging from a rope or transitioning from a wall to a ladder, resulting in unnecessary deaths.

As usual, the story is top notch and rivals many blockbuster Hollywood movies. The voice cast we’ve all grown accustomed to returns, and the characters are just as endearing as ever. The script itself is filled with funny one-liners, many that you may not catch on your first go around, and all the twists it takes make playing the game even more exciting. The inclusion of a villain with a link to the past of both Drake and Sully give interesting insight to the treasure hunting duo, including a brief playable flashback sequence towards the beginning of the game. And once again, the soundtrack is absolutely fantastic as well as the rest of the sounds, from the acting itself to the random chatter of the soon to be dead villains or the environment itself.

Uncharted 3’s villain, Katherine Marlowe

As you can tell from this review, Uncharted 3 is essentially the same as the other two but with a twist on the story and some new tricks for Drake to use while fighting. When a series is this good that’s definitely not a bad thing, but at the same time I kind of wish they would switch it up at least a little bit. In the future I think they’ll have to do this; there’s only so many times the same sort of game can be released before people begin to tire of it.

That complaint, however, is moot because Uncharted 3 definitely lives up to the hype. It’s just as fun as the other two in the series, and once again Naughty Dog has crafted a story that completely sucks you in as the hours go by unnoticed. This isn’t a game that breaks the mold, but when the mold is in the shape of Nathan Drake, there’s no need to bring out the hammer.

Grade: A

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