Video Game Review: Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception [PS3, 2011]

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception [PS3, 2011]

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
System: Playstation 3
Genre: Action/Adventure/Platform
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Naughty Dog
Release Date: November 1, 2011

Past adventures of Nathan Drake, star of the Playstation 3’s best-selling Uncharted series, have taken him all over the world. The Amazon Rainforest, Tibet, Istanbul, Borneo, Nepal. The dude has been everywhere. With Uncharted 3, Drake can now scratch even more locations off his list, including an extended run in the Middle East.

Uncharted 3 begins with a massive bar-room brawl. Drake and his long-time pal (and mentor) Victor Sullivan (“Sully”) get caught up in a deal that quickly turns sour, forcing them to fight their way through dozens of enemies, complete with broken whiskey bottles and snapped pool sticks. This works as a tutorial of sorts, as it demonstrates the slightly modified combat system while throwing our heroes directly into action.

This is the core of Uncharted 3 — moments of intense action interspersed with cutscenes to help flesh out the story. The opening bar-room brawl is only the tip of the iceberg. This time around, the big adventure set-pieces include a dashing escape out of a rapidly burning building, frantic manuevering out of a sinking cruise ship, and an elongated trip through the stifling Rub’ al Khali Desert with no water to speak of anywhere. These exaggerated sequences are the biggest reason why most gamers have fallen in love with the series, and they do not disappoint in the trilogy’s conclusion.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception [PS3, 2011]

For those looking for a bit of back-story about Drake and Sully, you are in luck. The mysterious relationship of our favorite treasure hunters is elaborated on in a series of flashbacks, even allowing gamers to play as a teenage Drake. The overall story arc is still relatively simple, but fans of the series will be pleased with this further insight.

The Uncharted series has always featured a seamless transition between its platforming and third person shooter gameplay. Naughty Dog are known for their excellent platform skills, and Drake’s jumping from ledges to chandeliers to poles or whatever else he can grab onto is flawless in execution. The gunplay, however, remains a bit of a burden on the series.

Simply put, little has changed with the game’s combat system, so the same annoyances remain in place. The shooting system feels dated and rough around the edges, and there are a few too many set-pieces that rely heavily on long gunfights. The new addition of being able to throw back tossed grenades is a welcome one, but it does not excise the occasionally awkward shooting controls. Thankfully, the campaign is spaced out with good variety for the most part, making these moments a minor annoyance more than a burst of frustration.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception [PS3, 2011]

Unfortunately, while Uncharted 3 boasts a beefy multiplayer mode, it requires an online pass ($9.99) to use it (unless you buy the game new). Outside of the co-op missions, I never really fell in love with the online features in this series, so I cannot justify spending an extra $9.99 on something I will not get maximum value for. If you are into the multiplayer aspects, you might be better off just buying this new.

Even though Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception still suffers from minor gameplay issues, the single player campaign is still a blast to play. This is as close as you’re going to get to a *good* Indiana Jones game, complete with outrageous action scenes that will make your heart race. This also may be the best-looking game I have seen yet in this current console generation, as the attention to graphical details is impeccable. If you have been following the series, you ought to do yourself a favor and finish the trilogy. I would consider it a toss-up between Drake’s Deception and Uncharted 2 as to which is the best, and both are absolutely worth playing.


17 thoughts on “Video Game Review: Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception [PS3, 2011]

  1. GregHorrorShow says:

    I didn’t have too much of an issue with the shooting personally, though I know people who agree with the points you raised.

    I definitely agree if anyone has the smallest amount of interest in the online they should pick this up new – I absolutely love it and have been getting my moneys worth so far.

    Great review.

    • Eric says:

      Thanks Greg! I would have liked to have tried out the online multiplayer, but it was disappointing to see that Sony threw in the required pass. Glad to hear you have been really enjoying it, though.

  2. rtm says:

    I don’t play video games but I was impressed by the quality of this one when I saw the previews. Now, as they’re developing the film version, who would you like to play him? I’ve posted my picks a while ago, curious if you agree.

    • Eric says:

      Hmm.. to be honest, I don’t think I want to see an Uncharted movie. The games already have that Indiana Jones type feel to them, and the production levels are sky high. I just have the feeling that a movie would turn out disastrous just like so many other video game adaptations.

      I think I remember seeing your post about who should play Nathan Drake, but do you have a link you can share? I know Nathan Fillion has been getting a lot of support to play Drake, but I’m not familiar with his work to say one way or the other.

  3. Gary Smith says:

    Great review man.

    It’s probably a toss up on whether this one is better than the second one or not. The second one was really just something special that blew the first one (a great game itself) completely out of the water, especially with the crazy sequences and the more varied scenery. This one didn’t rock the boat too much, but I think it’s just a tad better in every department except story.

    Love the online play for this game, a lot more than I did the second one. I was hooked on this from the beta, and then from the Subway beta. I haven’t played the competitive in a while, but love the two main co-op modes (don’t care for the co-op vs. co-op+AI mode). The adventure mode is very nice.

  4. The Blog of Big Ideas says:

    Hey there,

    Stumbled upon your blog while dropping in on some fellow film fans. I just recently bought Uncharted 3 and, being new to the series, I have been amazed by its very engrossing gameplay and impressive environments.
    I do agree that the combat suffers a bit when it turns into long gunfights that are not only increasingly longer and harder, but that get annoying due to the weakness of the gun handling system.

    Great art value in this game though. A lot of effort and craft was put into it. One of the most promising franchises in the years to come. Can’t wait for the next one hoping they improve the combat handling.

    Feel free to drop by my blog, I mostly focus on film but I do have a couple of entries on videogames as well.


    • Eric says:

      Hi Niels, thanks for stopping by! Glad to hear that you enjoyed Uncharted 3. The other two games are definitely worth checking out as well, especially UC2, which is very similar to the third installment. The next game is going to be released this month for the Vita, and I heard that it looks just as good as the PS3 games but it also uses some touch screen gimmicks. Should be interesting to see what that’s like.

      Heading over to your blog now. Hope to see you around!

  5. pinkbambi13 says:

    I absolutely agree with your review. While it was a great game, in terms of story and visuals, there were still some annoyances with game play that stuck. Still, I love the additions for T.E. Lawrence and the various cut-scenes. Overall, I think Uncharted 2 was probably better. Great review though.

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