Review by avenger339
While the game is solid, It loses quite a bit of what drew me to Uncharted 2.
Before I start this review, I have to admit something - I hated Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. I hated the aiming, I thought the vehicle sections were some of the worst I've ever dealt with in gaming, and the villains were so generic and unused I didn't even know who they were at the end of the game, among many other games. I decided to give Uncharted 2 a try, since I'd heard it was much better than the first, and whoever said that was right on the money - Amazing graphics, a really awesome story, great characters, overhauled controls, crazy situations, the list goes on and on. Uncharted 2 is easily one of the (if not the) best games I've played on the PS3. So now Uncharted 3 is out, and I picked it up at midnight release, eager to get back to Nathan Drake and his never ending quests for treasure, eager to see the conclusion to the trilogy that won me over. I've finished the game and can say that while the game never really hits the highs that Uncharted 2 hit, and is incredibly frustrating at times, it's still a very solid game.
First of all, the game looks and sounds absolutely amazing. These are by far the nicest graphics I've seen on a console with a consistent frame rate. Whether you're running through the streets of London or walking aimlessly through a desert, it just feels incredible. This goes doubly for some of the insane situations you get yourself into (and subsequently, have to get yourself of). For example, fairly early on in the game, you have to escape from a castle burning down to the ground. The game runs at such a hectic pace during this (and other similar) sequences that mixed in together with the great visuals and audio, you actually feel like you're Drake, running out of a burning castle and avoiding insane things trying to get out while the entire thing collapses around you. It's insane and terrifying all at the same time, and it makes for one hell of a ride. Occasionally I found myself getting lost and dying because I was slightly confused on where to go, but it's usually pretty obvious.
The story this time around is that Nathan Drake and Victor "Sully" Sullenburger are looking for the "Atlantis of the Sands", an ancient city lost in Arabia. However, the evil Katherine Marlowe is also looking for the city, and will stop at nothing to achieve her goal. The search takes Nate and Sully all around the world, with Marlowe chasing them every step of the way. It's the standard Indiana Jones style story, and it works fine - for the most part. While most things are laid out pretty well, there are more than a few plot points that just seem to come out of nowhere, and are never fully explained. Marlowe herself is not very well fleshed out. While the game does give you a reason why she would be searching for the city, it seems forced. The same goes with Talbot, Marlowe's right hand man - This character's is never really shown to be anything more than a generic, mustache-twirling villain. There are many mysteries involving him that are never explained. Heck, the game even implies there is more to Drake than what we know - however, this is never expanded on and quickly forgotten. However, the biggest problem with the story (and in my opinion) is that it is nowhere near as coherent and engrossing as the previous game.
Let's just compare how the two games start out - In Uncharted 2, the game starts with Drake waking up on a train hanging off of a cliff. He has a pretty bad wound, and has to climb up the remains of the train to get out of the situation he's in. When you get to the top, he finds a mysterious looking dagger, and then the game flashes back and starts to explain the events leading up to that scene. This is incredibly enthralling and got me really interested in how exactly this game was going to play out. In Uncharted 3, the game opens with a bar room brawl, that ultimately ends with one of Marlowe's henchmen shooting Drake and Sully. While the mystery there is figuring out how they survived it, I think we can all agree that this is far less exciting than the opening of the second game. The entire game falls into this pattern - while things happen that are certainly interesting, they never top anything from the second game. And while there were some incredible coincidences in the second game, nothing ever really felt forced or out of place. There are a few things that happen in this game that are so unbelievable that even Drake comments on how convenient these events are. With all this said, it's still a very good story, and will keep you interested in the characters through Drake and Sully's journey, thanks to the superb dialogue and voice-acting.
The combat itself has been changed quite a bit. Guns work very different than they did in Uncharted 2, which is a major downside. Guns have much more recoil, and the aiming seems to be over-sensitive. It's nowhere near as bad as the first game, but it is an unnecessary step down from Uncharted 2. It also seems to me that the AI is smarter and will react to you aiming at them. While this is a nice improvement, combined with the over-sensitive aiming it just makes enemies very hard to hit. I find that blind fire is the most effective way of taking enemies out in the game, which can lead to some incredibly frustrating gun battles. Thankfully the game is somewhat forgiving, as the game will usually checkpoint after killing a few guys.
There is a multi-player mode which I haven't really invested much time into. It seems solid, if not somewhat generic. There is also a co-op mode, but I don't have any friends with the game yet, so I cannot judge this yet.
There are over 50 trophies for Uncharted 3, and they run similar to the previous games, from killing x amount of enemies with y gun, to finding treasures. A curious omission, however, is the unlockable cheats - there are no in-game rewards for accomplishing these achievements as the previous games. This means no weapon spawning, invulnerability, or one hit kills. This isn't a huge deal, but it seems strange these wouldn't be here.
Overall, the game has some flaws (especially when compared to it's predecessor) but is still a strong entry into the series. The truth of the matter is, Nathan Drake is a fun character to play as, and I'm hoping we get to see a lot more of this character.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (US, 11/01/11)
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