Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

10 / 10 Banzai!s

The Game:
After the commercial and critical success of the 2009 sequel in the Uncharted series, comes the next highly anticipated installment.  Developed by the good people of Naughty Dog and released in November of 2011, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception yet again earned an explosion of praise from every gaming magazine and broke all kinds of selling records worldwide.  Even Harrison Ford, in a Japanese commercial, stated the game was “sugee!

Taking place about four years after the first Uncharted game, Nathan Drake, along with his companions Victor “Sully” Sullivan, Elana Fisher, Chloe Frazer – and a new member, Charlie Cutter – are picking up the trail after Francis Drake and T.E. Lawrence, in search of the Iram of the Pillars – the legendary “Atlantis of the Sands.”  Their adventure takes them to England, France, Syria, and even Columbia during flashbacks which reveal some of Drake’s past, including how he and Sully first hooked up.  Their enemy?  Well, there’s pirates, of course.  But also Katherine Marlow, a powerful woman with a private army of dudes in suits, bent on uncovering the wealth of Iram of the Pillars for her secret organization.

Like its predecessor, the game also includes various modes of online play, both competitive and co-op, where players can customize their skins and ability boosters as they climb the ranks.

What I Liked:
Given that I’ve awarded this game a perfect 10 out of 10, this portion of the review could go on for several pages.  But overall, I’d just like to say that Uncharted 3 outdid its previous titles in every way.  The story is more mysterious, the scenes are more exciting, and even the characters take on a form of development – not often seen in a video game.  What’s also nice about the Uncharted series in general, is that you don’t need to play the previous games to understand what’s happening – unlike, say, the Resident Evil series.  If you desire to skip the previous two and dive straight into Uncharted 3, go right ahead.  Other than missing a few character introductions, the story won’t be inhibited in any way.

What I liked most about Uncharted 3 is that it’s never boring.  Each chapter takes on a dynamic of its own, with environments constantly changing and providing a constant freshness every twenty minutes (or however long it takes you to reach the next chapter).  In one scene you’re investigating a secret chamber, next you’re escaping from a burning building, then you’re shooting your way through a jungle, then solving a puzzle inside an ancient temple, then swimming through a storm while firing at pirates.  But the game never feels fragmented – instead,  all these scenes blend together under the arch of the story seamlessly.

My favourite was during a later chapter, after Drake managed to smuggle himself on board a cruise ship stolen by pirates.  In the first scene, you’re on deck fighting your way to the entrance, while the storm sends waves crashing over everything, tossing crates about and forcing you to reposition your cover from enemy fire – while the ship itself is rocking through the waves.  Then, when you’re inside and the ship flips on its side, slowly sinking, you’re desparately running through hallways – where the walls have become the floor – climbing up bookshelves and beds while avoiding falling debris, all under the time limit of water rising to pull you into an ocean grave.  Exciting stuff!

In my opinion, when it comes to graphics, it’s not just about looking pretty in HD – but the details put into the scenes.  During the flashback chapter in which Drake is tailing Sullivan in the streets of Cartagena, everything looks so alive and real.  The streets are crowded with merchants, customers, people having conversations – each of them wearing distinct outfits.  No two people look the same, and that’s the first time I’ve witnessed such detail in a video game.  I dare to say it: the graphics in Uncharted 3 are even more impressive than Final Fantasy XIII!  (there, I said it.)

What I Didn’t Like:
I thought hard on this – even played the game three times, now – but still can’t find a single fault in Uncharted 3.  Never came across any bugs, no game freezes, nothing I would have changed if I’d been one of the developers.  If any title ever came close to being a perfect game, this would be it.

Overall:
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
is a fun, exciting game which never leaves a dull moment.  Fans of the previous Uncharted games will be blown away by this installment.  And if you simply want to jump into this game without the background of its predecessors, no problem.  Like the Indiana Jones or James Bond films, Uncharted games can be individually appreciated.

It may not be a game for everyone, such as those partial to only sports games or first-person shooters, but even those individuals couldn’t possible play through Uncharted 3 and just think it was “okay.”  If there’s one title to add to your Playstation 3 collection, I’d highly recommend it be Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.

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