Oct 7, 2012

Uncharted 3 Single Player Review

Uncharted 3 is available for the PS3, and can be bought at Amazon.com
The following article is spoiler free

Drake's Deception marks the third, but seemingly not final, installment in this modern day classic game series, featuring treasure hunters, thieves, henchmen, and, occasionally, psychopathic warlords.  Following the legacy of the first two games, the newest sequel centers around the titular character, Nathan Drake as he, our protagonist, yet again finds himself embroiled in an adventure that even Indiana Jones would find astonishing.

From the get-go this third person shooter boasts the most elegant and detailed, though perhaps not the most enticing, opening cut scenes and action sequences of the uncharted series; this isn’t necessarily because Uncharted 3’s introduction falls short in itself, but because the shadow of Uncharted 2’s nigh perfect opening still looms large in recent memory. Nonetheless, it still succeeds in quickly whetting one’s appetite for adventure with its detailed cinematic and as well a uniquely inspiring opening quote by T.E. Lawrence:

“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible. This I did.”

A quote which seems particularly relevant as one sits inside thumbing a worn controller. Fortunately, soon that is all forgotten as we once again find our favorite treasure seeking acrobat getting in over his head, and it’s only a short time into the game before we discover some of the interesting new additions to game play that Naughty Dog has added to Uncharted 3. One of the biggest changes is that this game takes full advantage of an impressive and highly visceral melee system by giving us the chance to choose whether or not to engage many of our enemies in hand to hand combat, where as the previous games were largely firearms dependent if you wished to survive. The hand to hand combat isn’t quite as intricate as some other major games to feature it in terms of the possibility for player chosen combinations, but it’s still very smooth and fun, somewhat reminiscent of the Arkham series.  There is also a lot of variety to the attacks and fighting styles your player will employ during fights, making the fights much more entertaining to watch and participate in than in the previous games.

Another really nice addition to the game is the increased chance to use stealth to silently dispatch many of your enemies instead of engaging in dangerous firefights. This can be especially useful on tougher modes. Even for someone like me, who generally doesn’t like heavy stealth use in games, the optional use in Uncharted 3 is just right. To be clear, there were hand to hand combat opportunities and the use of stealth earlier in the series, but Uncharted 3 really takes the taco in terms of giving players a viable chance to make the choice of which approach to take. The final main addition to the game would be implementation of a lot of fast paced, timed sequences where you chase, get chased, and evade a myriad of danger. These were especially intense at times, and when coupled with the dizzying heights and ledges that have made Uncharted famous, the thrills in this game are hard to top.

In terms of story and lost treasures, the game delivers the fascinating legends and lost wonders that we’ve come to expect of the series in the past. We even get to delve into largely unexplored territory as the roots of Sully and Drake’s back story are not only unearthed but played through. Through all this, the game stays true to everything that made Uncharted one of the top series in gaming. For those of you new to the series, that includes things like breathtaking scenery, exotic treasures, regenerative health, a challenging but not impossible “hard” mode (as well as an unlockable crushing mode), insane acrobatics and semi-supernatural lost cities. 

Last but not least, basically all game series increase in graphical quality as they progress, and Uncharted is no different. Only in this case, the transformation is a stark one. The once “nice” but mild graphics of the first game have really come to life in the latest title. You can expect beautifully detailed buildings, landscapes, objects, characters, and other backgrounds at all stages of the game. Sometimes the scope and depth of design is as astounding as it is beautiful. Clearly, Naughty Dog got its money’s worth from its graphic design team. 

Final say:  Uncharted 3 clearly took everything that was great about the first two games, came up with an awesome story and found a way to make it all look like million bucks. I found the overall experience extremely gratifying and not at all tedious even though there tends to be a bit of dullness to the third game in a series that follows the first two to such a large degree. There was no dullness here. Oddly enough, because this review was so positive, I feel I should add in at least one critique for the sake of balance. The critique would be that there were a number of situations in which Drake seems to escape danger due to the classic Bond syndrome, i.e., the bad guys delay in killing him just long enough for him slip away. Besides that, if you’re a fan of the Uncharted games, or if you’re new to the series, odds are high that you’ll thoroughly enjoy the Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception campaign.

Uncharted 3 can be purchased at Amazon.com