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12/07/2011

REVIEW: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3)



Uncharted 3 is the newest game in the PS3-exclusive franchise developed by Naughty Dog that mixes 3D action, shooting and platforming in an excellent way. Just like in the previous games, the main character is Nathan Drake, an adventurer who always gets himself in serious trouble while looking for historic relics and lost cities.

This time around, the game tells the story of how Nate is looking for the “Atlantis of the Sands” on the Arabic deserts using the ring that belonged to Francis Drake and a book written by Lawrence of Arabia. It also focuses a lot on the relationship between him and his mentor, Victor Sullivan instead of the romances with Elena and Chloe who will also make important comebacks.

The graphics and visual presentation of the game is simply awesome, it looks better than Uncharted 2, as incredible as that sounds. The shadows, lightning and textures are most likely the best in the entire PlayStation 3 catalog. The animations are smooth and very realistic, even when Drake and the other characters are doing inhuman things like climbing impossible walls or shooting many enemies at once. But the most impressive things are the faces and the facial expressions each character has, even the lips are perfectly synchronized with the lines they say. Uncharted 3 is probably the best looking game on the entire PS3 catalog.

The environments are excellent as well, during the game’s campaign and multiplayer modes, you will visit deserts, crowded cities, canyons, sewers and the like and like it’s already common in the franchise’ games, they’re all stunning. Don’t get surprised if you stop playing for a few seconds to actually take a few good looks at the locations where the game takes place.

Nate and the other characters are animated almost to perfection as well, when Uncharted 2 was the last game in the series, people used to think that Naughty Dog would not be able to top the excellent movement animations on the characters but they did. Now you’ll see Nate touching the walls and objects when he walks or runs near them, he will be able to pick almost anything up and use it as a weapon in a melee fight and the shooting and reloading animations feel more varied than before, just like his gestures when he’s taking cover or moving around in a firefight.

Gameplay-wise, Uncharted 3 is very much alike the two previous games, but the improvements are enough to be easily noticed. You move your character around, jump, climb, throw grenades, aim your weapon and fire them just like in Uncharted 2. The climbing is still excellent and the places where it can be done are jaw-dropping, like a ship graveyard in the campaign or the Arabic airport in the multiplayer modes. It feels really natural and it’s not difficult to do, for the most part. You just aim where to climb with the left stick and press X or Circle depending if you want to jump or let go.

The shooting, while it plays exactly the same, feels a little different. There seems to be more auto-aim, especially on the multiplayer and to people used to Uncharted 2’s mechanics, it will be a little annoying. Hopefully, Naughty Dog is supposed to fix that so the game feels more like the previous one. There are also more weapons available, you will find the common pistol, AK-47 or RPG around but new ones will usually be scattered around. Each weapon has its own rate of fire, accuracy, power and reload time so be sure to try them all and pick up the ones you feel will be more useful in a firefight.

There are several game modes, the two most important ones being the Campaign, which is amazing and the Competitive Multiplayer. The first one has Drake travel around the world to find the lost city in the Arabic deserts while fighting his enemies, finding more out about himself and interacting with the other important characters in the series, both old and new. Like its normal in the Uncharted series, many of the moments in the campaign will be simply unforgettable, like when Drake gets lost alone in a desert and starts to hallucinate, or when you play a flashback of a teenager version of him walking around the streets of Cartagena, Colombia.

The multiplayer will feature a lot of modes like Team Deathmatch, Team Objective, Free for All and many others that will have the online players compete in one of the different maps for leveling up and winning the matches. But while the maps and variety is pretty good, lots of people are complaining that the multiplayer was better in the second game because of a few variations that allow players to for example, respawn with more powerful weapons and get easier kills.

But one of the new cool modes is the Co-op where the players will work together in Arena, Hunter Arena and Adventure to fulfill the given objectives like, kill a set number or AI enemies or reach a set destination. This mode, while it did appear in Uncharted 2, is better made this time around. The Adventure mode even has a small storyline of its own and if you don’t feel like playing the competitive modes, the co-op ones will provide countless hours of fun by their own.

In the sound department the game truly shines, the sound effects are also some of the best in the entire PS3. The shooting, explosions, vehicles, objects, footsteps and water feel extremely realistic and were brought to life in excellent ways. Many of the effects in campaign parts like the Yemen market or when Nate is riding a horse on the desert chasing a truck convoy will really make you want to replay them just to listen (and look) to everything again.

The voice-acting is probably the best part of the sound department. Uncharted 3 has some of the best dialogs in the industry. It really does feel like watching a movie. It has perfect synchronization with the lips and movement animations of the characters and they will usually keep talking a lot even when they’re shooting at each other. The dialogs in this game really make an excellent job at telling the story.

Musically, Uncharted 3 has one of the best soundtracks around, it manages to perfectly adapt Arabic music to the menus and campaign, which is logical given the game’s locations but give them a truly adventurous feeling. There’s a new version of “Nate’s theme” in the main menu that will most likely make you stop to listen to it completely from time to time. Many of the tracks have a great change from a slower to a faster pace as the characters get to an important part of the story. Overall, the soundtrack is extremely dynamic.

For replay value, the game will provide tons and tons of hours of gameplay to pretty much any gamer out there, from the most casual to the most dedicated to the multiplayer. The campaign, co-op and competitive modes make an excellent combination of ways to enjoy this amazing title that allows for trophy-hunting, leveling up or just become better and better in the online. Uncharted 3, while it didn’t cause the same impression as the second one, is an excellent title that everyone out there with a PlayStation 3 should buy and play.

Pros:

-          Excellent graphics and visual presentation.
-          Probably the best voice-acting in the entire PS3 roster.
-          The shooting is amazing in both the campaign and multiplayer.
-          Lots of different maps in the competitive and co-op modes.
-          Amazing cast of characters.

Cons:

-          The game doesn’t feel much different from the previous two.
-          Several plot-holes will be left in the campaign.
-          Uncharted 2 had better maps for the multiplayer.


-          Graphics and Visuals……….....10
-          Music and Sound Effects….......9
-          Gameplay…………………..…9
-          Replay Value………………....10

-          Overall Score……………….. 9.5 / 10

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