Review by Galactus21

"A familiar tale and adventure…"

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves received praise and acclamation from fans and the press. The positive reactions led to Uncharted being one of the premier new series this generation. The first two Uncharted titles featured imaginative environments, likeable characters, fierce gun battles, and fun platforming sequences. As such, it is only reasonable that the third installment of the highly touted series be met with hype and anticipation. Given the gaming experience from Uncharted 2, the third installment is a bit of a disappointed. While still a fun experience overall, several issues crop up, as well as previous unfixed issues that reared its ugly head in this installment.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception brings back the familiar cast, with the likes of Drake and Sully. The story behind Uncharted 3 is similar to previous titles. Drake and Sully are in search of a lost artifact that takes the cast over an assortment of beautiful crafted fictitious environments. Unlike previous titles, the game's overall story felt incoherent. From the onset of the game to its ending, different plot points didn't tie together as smoothly as previous titles. Moreover, the blend between story elements and game play mechanics didn't flow as nicely as before. Despite this, Drake's Deception is still a joy to follow. Much of this has to do with the wonderful characters created by Naughty Dog. The interactions between characters during the course of the game help reinforce my appreciation for their charisma.

The improvements over the course of the first two Uncharted games were apparent. Unfortunately, the improvements this time around weren't as noticeable. While I fully understand keeping the “tried and true” formula intact, much of the changes felt like a regression rather than an improvement. For instance, the game's hand to hand combat felt force. During these situations, a series of back and forth fisticuffs occur. Consequently, hand to hand combat in Drake's Deception became repetitive relatively fast.

The parts of the “tried and true” formula that returns as solid as ever are the numerous ledges Drake has to climb and scale, as well as the action pack gunfights that occur. Naughty Dog once again did a great job of mixing climbing and jumping, with the sheer thrill of mowing down hordes of enemies. The pacing of these segments is once again the highlight of the game. The platforming aspects are also sprinkled with scripted segments, where pieces of the ledge or staircase will breakdown, adding to the overall suspense. When battles occur with enemies, you can expect intense moments. Numerous enemies will attack, forcing you to be quick with your feet and trigger. Moreover, well placed structures exist to provide cover. Sully and friends also help Drake, as they act as support.

Other nice touches within Uncharted 3 exist. For instance, Drake can leap off higher ground areas onto unsuspecting enemies and taking them out. Weapons are also plentiful, giving you options to take out enemies. Stealth elements also exist, such as holding onto a ledge and hopping up to take out an enemy. In addition to these nice touches, Uncharted 3 had several epic levels. The cruise ship is probably the most memorable, where both combat and platforming shine. While much of these bright spots exist, control issues crop up from time to time. Control issues exist in the previous titles and it hasn't been fixed this time around. During intense fire fights, it can be problematic to get Drake to get in and out of cover fluidly.

The sound and graphics department within Drake's Deception is nothing short of stellar. The graphics look fabulous, all while running at a smooth frame rate. Character models look detailed and life like. Cut scenes look gorgeous and help move the game along. Environments also look fantastic. The musical soundtrack for the most part helped improve the existing environments that Drake was in. In addition, the characters' voice acting was superb. The voiceovers help reinforce and enhance the likable characters within the game. Moreover, while the game's campaign is a bit short, the fun multiplayer adds value to the game's replay-ability. Not to worry however, the inclusion of multiplayer does not impact the game's single player experience, as it is still a fun adventure.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is a bit of a step back from Uncharted 2. Despite this, Drake's Deception is still a fun experience. From the game's gun battles to platforming, much of the core elements from previous titles are back and as solid as ever. The tact on hand to hand melee battles do detract from the experience, something that wasn't as apparent in previous titles. Certainly, other aspects are also not quite as fun as Uncharted 2, but the overall experience is still worthwhile. If you were a fan of previous titles, then Uncharted 3 is definitely worth checking out.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 01/04/12

Game Release: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (US, 11/01/11)

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