Not only has there been a movement in recent years to make video games more akin to art, but also cinema. While Heavy Rain has made huge strides in this department, it was arguably more of movie than game; instead, the key players in the movement have been the Metal Gear Solid and Uncharted series. With the last game in the series, Uncharted has definitely closed the gap, and it does so even more with Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception while staying true to its roots as an engaging action game – possibly even the strongest contender for action game of the year.
Continuing off of Uncharted 2’s ending, Uncharted 3 has Nathan Drake seeking Francis Drake’s treasure. Along the way, he’ll encounter and fight alongside old friends like Sully, Charlie, Chloe, and Elena against longtime foes Marlowe and Talbot. The adventure takes Nathan far beyond a simple treasure hunt and eventually has him seeking Francis Drake’s biggest secret.Not only that, but players also discover Nathan’s past and finally see a befitting conclusion to the Uncharted trilogy. Never forgetting its roots, the game still provides a good amount of comic relief, whether it be a snide remark about Sully’s age or Charlie’s preference in cell phone service providers.
The game’s beauty is unparalleled. It takes players to a myriad of locales, ranging from the streets of London to the flea markets of Yemen.No matter where Uncharted 3 takes players though, the settings are recreated eerily well. It’s only made more impressive by the variations involved. Whereas most games transport players to one magnificent world, Uncharted 3 takes players to multiple worlds. In particular, the desert is created so beautifully that, despite Nathan’s own troubles, players may never want to leave. Don’t be confused, players; this is no tech demo.
Vastly improved from previous iterations, action and contextual commands now allow players to take out enemies stealthily, fight multiple enemies at once, or even counter incoming attacks from surrounding enemies. Overall, it feels extremely fluid but, despite the countless solutions players have for the threats around them, never easy. Like Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, players are constantly in danger of being shot or attacked from behind, meaning that running in during a gunfight will result in a swift death.
Aside from combat, players will be spending most of their time climbing ledges and solving various puzzles, as in previous iterations. Relatively unchanged, the mechanic still provides players with the ever conveniently constructed ledges, making the climbing mechanic a straightforward and ultimately dull feature. The cinematic atmosphere it adds to the game is one that Heavy Rain can only hope to achieve. At times, ladders may break; rocks could be less stable than they look; cables may snap; though players are unlikely to actually fall to their demise from these occurrences, they feel the constant danger Nathan is in and continue working towards safer ground. The puzzles themselves are brilliantly constructed without being overwhelming. If players take too long, characters will even provide small hints or remarks that will usher players in the right direction. It’s the perfect way to ensure no puzzle becomes hour long endeavors.
Despite the game’s technical prowess and exciting gameplay,it has its fair share of shortcomings. Often times, it falters when sensing inputs. Rather than rolling away as I had intended Nathan to, he would grab an opponent or simply cling to a wall as an enemy wailed away with a shotgun. More annoyingly, the game seems to pick arbitrary points where Nathan’s physical capacity for falls would strengthen or weaken; some areas sees him falling two stories and living or from a slightly lower point yet dying. Compared to previous entries, the final segment is a disappointment and unable to satisfy the crescendo leading up to it.
However, these are minor faults that, although stand out,never ruin the experience. Players who have followed the Uncharted series from the first game will leave satisfied. If games are truly approaching cinema in terms of presentation and gameplay itself, Uncharted 3 is the action movie sequel of the year that has it all – corny jokes, gunfights, fistfights, protagonists in tight spots, and over the top explosions.
Available on: PS3; Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment; Developer: Naughty Dog; Players: 1 – 10; Released: November 1, 2011; ESRB: Teen; Official Site