The Uncharted series has been the premier series for the PlayStation 3. Nathan Drake has been able to capture the hearts of millions of gamers worldwide, despite being a mass murdering thief. Naughty Dog has been able to take the explosive set-pieces we see in summer blockbusters and apply them to gaming. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is Naughty Dog’s latest game in the series. Let’s see how it holds up to the rest of the series.
Uncharted 3 is a globe trotting affair. The story sees Drake in England, France, Yemen, and other locations. The basic run down is this: T.E. Lawrence discovered the Iram of Pillars while exploring the Arabian Peninsula, and so did Sir Francis Drake. Nate fits into this story because he has the key to discover the location of the Iram of Pillars. In typical adventurer spirits, Nate and Sully run into some people that want to know where the Pillars are as well.
The cast, while great, seems a little cluttered with all of the characters. Sully gets a much welcomed expanded role this time around, and the banter between him and Nate is just great. You constantly find yourself chuckling whenever they talk, especially when Sully decides to throw in some innuendos. Chloe Frazer returns from Among Thieves, but the role is so reduced it just feels like a cameo. Also, don’t act too surprised when Elena shows her face either. Even though she has a small role, she does play an important part in the story. We are introduced to a new friend of Drake’s, and his name is Charlie Cutter. Cutter, in my opinion, steals the show. It’s just a shame that he is in only half of the game.
The main villain this time around is Katherine Marlowe, and boy is she a hell of a villain. Unlike Zoran Lazarevic from Among Thieves, she actually has character. Marlowe is sly, manipulative, and best of all, she knows how to play Drake and get into his head. Talbot (Marlowe’s right hand man) is also a great character. The relationship between Marlowe and Talbot reminds me a lot of Drake and Sully. It’s as if Naughty Dog thought, “you know what would be great? Let’s make an anti-Drake and anti-Sully.” It works wonderfully. Marlowe and Talbot are the two best villains in the Uncharted series.
Much of Uncharted 3‘s story revolves around Nate’s and Sully’s relationship. You will see how they first met, and it is not as happy as you would think. It is interesting seeing how the relationship between these two came about and formed over time throughout the entire series. Another aspect of the story shows just how far Nate will go to prove himself. Throughout Drake’s Deception, everyone around Drake wants him to turn around… to give up.
Uncharted has always been known for explosive set pieces, and Drake’s Deception is no exception. In fact, I can safely say that Naughty Dog turned the dial up to eleven with the set pieces. The game does have a relatively slow start, but enjoy it while it lasts, this is high octane action at its finest. You will be falling from a plane, jumping from horse to horse, and escaping from a burning chateau, among other things.
Outside of these amazing set pieces, things become hit or miss. The cover system works great, never once did I feel I was fighting it. The hand-to-hand combat is really fluid and works wonderfully. You really feel the impact when Nate throws a punch, or hits an enemy over the head with a frying pan. For me, it is the only aspect of combat that has improved over the whole series. The gun play—for the most part—is really good. The fire fights are intense, but there are some difficulty spikes towards the end of the game that can make the fights frustrating. I will note that with the default aiming system, things feel a little off. The issue isn’t big because you can switch it to alternate, and aiming feels the way it did in Among Thieves. The platforming is the same; streamlined, simple, but still satisfying. Finally, the puzzles range from simple to frustrating, but it’s nothing to get mad about. The reason, you see, is because if you are taking too long to solve a puzzle, helpful hints will popup to lead you to the solution.
I will note that the graphics are fantastic. Naughty Dog knows how to work the PS3, and it shows in Drake’s Deception. The characters look great, which is a testament to Naughty Dog’s mo-cap studio. The level design is great and varied. Not once did I notice any graphical issues of the sort. The game looks like a dream.
Following in the footsteps of Among Thieves, Drake’s Deception has included a full-fledged multiplayer mode. Unlike most singleplayer games, Naughty Dog didn’t just throw together an online mode. Full ranking systems, customization, and the full suite of modes, you will actually spend a lot of time killing fellow adventurers online once you complete the 8-10 hour long story. It’s great fun and you will have no trouble finding any matches. Also, I did not run into any lag during my time online. There is a co-op campaign you can play, either split-screen or online. While not as fleshed out as the competitive modes, it is a nice diversion.
There are some tiny problems I have with the game. First, the story can be a little too melodramatic at times. Also, the A.I. can be a little stupid, at times they just bum rush you just begging for you to end their lives. These problems are just nit-picks, however.
Overall, I had a great time with Drake’s Deception. So far, Naughty Dog has not disappointed me at all. I do have one question for them, since you are done with the Uncharted Trilogy, is there any chance you are working on UnKarted?
What could possibly go wrong?