Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

Uncharted 3 Drake's Deception
9.3 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 10/10

Spectacular visual design | Immersive story | Remarkable character development and voice acting | Melee combat extremely enjoyable | Great online gameplay

Time spent in Ubar short-lived | Less platforming compared to previous installments | Repetitive melee sequences with brutes

Game Info

DEVELOPER(S): Naughty Dog

PUBLISHER(S): Sony Computer Entertainment


GENRE(S): Action

RELEASE DATE(S): November 1, 2011


“Real greatness is what you do with the hand you’re dealt.” – Victor Sullivan

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is the third installment in the Uncharted series, continuing the treasure hunting adventures of Nathan Drake. The Uncharted series is a clear example of how action adventure games should be developed. Both Uncharted 1 and 2 possessed an engaging story with memorable characters, lots of action, comical banter, and stunning visuals which lead to an immersive experience. Does Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception offer a memorable game experience as the first two did, or will its primary focus solely concern online gameplay? We will look at exactly what Uncharted 3 offers and see if it is a worthy addition to the Uncharted series.

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception begins with Drake and Sullys altercation with Talbot and Marlowe, the antagonists, at a pub in London, England. While leading to make you believe that Drake and Sully were shot and killed in an alley, you play a flashback sequence of Drake’s that pertains to the origin of his friendship with Sully, which is also their first encounter with Marlowe. As you return to present events, you learn that the man who shot both Drake and Sully is a friend by the name of Cutter, and that the whole sequence was a setup to follow both Talbot and Marlowe. Upon following them to a secret hideout, you discover a notebook that belonged to T.E. Lawrence and it shows a map of Sir Francis Drake’s voyage to Arabia, where he was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth I to search for the lost city of Ubar, or as Drake constantly refers to it, the Atlantis of the Sands, a city of uncalculated wealth. Drake and his team then depart to follow the clues hoping that they will lead them to Ubar. Cutter, however, gets injured along the way so both Chloe and himself depart from continuing the adventure. Drake and Sully then meet up with Elena Fisher in Yemen, who helps them reveal the location of Ubar. Drake and Sully are then both captured, but Marlowe hands Drake off to some pirates. It is then up to Drake to both save Sully and stop Marlowe and Talbot from reaching Ubar and locating the item that they have been after.

Naughty Dog has once again raised the bar of their graphical outlook on gameplay. The environments are an entity by itself, captivating the gamer as he travels through the streets of London, the historic sites of France and Syria, the market in Yemen, and traversing the treacherous sands of the Rub’ al Khali Desert. Even though Drake travels to several different countries that offer distinct environments, Naughty Dog continues to create both immersive and authentic environments with the amount of detail, texture, and sound that is present. At times you will want to explore environments and gander at all the items that are present. The beauty and scale of Ubar is, simply put, spectacular. However, the game concludes shortly after arriving in Ubar, leaving you a little disappointed with the short amount of time spent within the lost city.

The lighting also greatly adds to the overall atmosphere of the game. This is best illustrated when you have to escape from a burning chateau, and from spiders in the catacombs, as well as when you are aboard the cruise ship. You also encounter a sandstorm at one point, making it difficult to spot enemies. Throughout the game you will see Drake’s attire and body illustrate the perils of his adventures by the details of being covered by dirt, sand, and of course, cuts and bruises. His clothes and hair will also get wet upon interacting with water. The sounds and music that are heard during gameplay also greatly define the moments that occur, whether it is suspenseful or action-packed.

The animations of the characters also add to the overall immersive experience. Facial expressions are essential in delivering a character’s current state of mind. The characters within the Uncharted franchise have developed strong relationships with one another over the first two titles, and this is easily identified by their emotional responses to one another throughout the story. Naughty Dog also delivered on the realism of Drake’s movements throughout the environments. Drake will touch walls and people as he travels through both enclosed and populated areas. There is also an instance where Drake is chasing Talbot and is unable to make tight turns because of his speed, and so he pushes off walls and other objects as he navigates the turns to make the experience realistic. Aboard the cruise ship, its constant swaying due to the rough seas impacts not only your movement, but the environments as well. Drake’s movements also depict the urgency and desperation as he moves through the sinking ship looking for a way out. The best example of a cinematic experience begins with Drake boarding the aircraft and ends when he reaches the abandoned settlement within the Rub’ al Khali Desert. The scene where Drake begins his journey across the sand dunes of the desert truly represents his exhaustion and struggle for survival. You are responsible for his well-being as Drake will collapse to the ground if you do not keep moving him forward. The transition from cutscenes to gameplay, and vice versa, are seamless, never interrupting the immersive experience that the game offers.

The Uncharted franchise has continually offered a compelling story that is defined by its gameplay: third-person shooting, melee combat, puzzles, and platforming. Weapon combat has not changed for Uncharted 3 as there has never been any issues with it. The arsenal of weapons at your disposal are the same as in previous titles, however I did notice that the availability of RPG’s, grenade launchers, and sniper rifles were much more limited. While enemy artificial intelligence has improved, it won’t offer much difficulty unless you are on the hard or crushing difficulty. Enemies will climb and utilize cover while engaging Drake in combat. Taking cover is still an essential tactic when engaging several enemies, especially when playing on the harder difficulties. You also now have the ability to throw back enemy grenades that land close to your position. At times Drake may also be flanked by enemies at close quarters, resulting in melee exchanges.

Melee combat in Uncharted 3 continues to serve as an extremely enjoyable method of knocking out enemies. Shooting enemies is always fun, but it is the close encounters that are definitely more rewarding. The finishing move sequences such as upercutting, drop-kicking, choking an enemy from behind, and releasing the pin of an enemy’s grenade are still included. My personal favourite sequence is when Drake throws his weapon at the enemy, who gets knocked out upon catching it. You are also able to interact with objects that surround you in the environments. During the brawl in the pub you can smash bottles of beer on enemies heads as well as slam fridge doors in your enemies faces. Another memorable melee sequence takes place in a market in Yemen when Drake is both surrounded and weaponless. Here, you can also attack enemies by striking them with sturgeon that have been so conveniently placed on the nearby tables. Also included in Uncharted 3 are rather large enemies called brutes who can’t be killed by shooting at them, but instead by countering their melee attacks. You are first introduced to this enemy in the opening scene at the pub, which is an unforgettable melee brawl altogether. You will then stumble upon a few more during the game and while it was an enjoyable melee addition at first, it does get repetitive and dull. Aside from the repetition of the brute, melee combat within Uncharted 3 is both exciting and engaging.

The puzzles within the previous Uncharted titles were engaging, and the same can be said about those in Uncharted 3. The puzzles are obstacles that Drake has to overcome in order to proceed further along the path of discovering Ubar. The puzzles can be completed rather quickly if you take a second to observe the clues that are present within both the environments and Drake’s journal. While platforming is still an essential part within the Uncharted franchise, I feel that compared to the first two Uncharted titles, there was not as much platforming in Uncharted 3, which can either be good or bad. The puzzles and platforming offer an engaging and interactive experience while not taking away from the fluidity of the gameplay or story.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the Uncharted franchise has been the comical banter between Drake and other characters, and Uncharted 3 definitely delivers with numerous comical exchanges. Some examples are when Cutter complains about swimming and Drake says, “What’s a matter Charlie, kitty don’t like getting wet?”, and when Drake denies information to his captive the pirate says, “You insult me!” where Drake responds shocked, “You’re a pirate!” Comical scenes also occur between Drake and Sully. One such example deals with Drake grabbing Sully’s hand upon arriving in Yemen after Elena rejects a hug from Sully because it is frowned upon, meanwhile stating the acceptance of male companionship.

Uncharted will always be a single-player game first, multiplayer second. That being said, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception offers an online experience that is both enjoyable and will provide countless hours of gameplay after completing the single-player story. Online gameplay is broken into two groups: competitive and co-op. Competitive offers team deathmatch, plunder, team objective, free for all, and hardcore modes. Co-op offers arena, hunter arena, and adventure modes. The arena modes have waves of enemies advancing upon you, while the adventure modes are story based co-op missions that enhance the Uncharted experience. There are also customizable features within online gameplay. You can customize loadouts, appearances, taunts, and most importantly, create characters. There are many options available for you to create your character with, however, each option is locked and requires certain amounts of in-game cash to unlock. Cinema mode is also quite impressive, giving you the ability to record and edit your gameplay for either your friends to see or you can upload it to Youtube or the Uncharted community. Naughty Dog managed to create an immersive single-player story as well as an in depth online experience.

Naughty Dog always push themselves to develop a game that challenges their teams skills as much as possible. They bring what is first thought impossible to the forefront of their cinematic gameplay experience. Uncharted 2 saw Drake travelling on a train in chapters 21 and 22. The experience that these chapters offered blew most people away, and so Naughty Dog wanted to recreate this feeling throughout Uncharted 3. This was accomplished, most notably, from the chapters dealing with Drake’s departure from the burning chateau in France, his capture in the ship graveyard, his voyage in the cruise ship, and his travels through the Rub’ al Khali Desert. All of these sequences offered climactic events where the gameplay defined the cinematic experience that Naughty Dog was initially looking for. The detail, textures, lighting, and the fire added to the overall excitement of the chapter where the chateau is set ablaze by Talbot and his men, hoping to rid Drake and Sully from interfering any further. The swaying of the cruise ship and its rotation as it begins to sink offers that once thought impossible gameplay experience to Uncharted 3. The details depicted during Drake’s time in the Rub’ al Khali Desert illustrates Naughty Dog’s determination in capturing a realistic experience. Not only does Drake accumulate sand on his clothes and in his hair, you can also see the sand shift and move throughout the numerous mounds displayed. In order to capture such realistic movements through the sand, Naughty Dog sent out their cinematic team to the desert in California. It is this dedication to projects that continues to lead to best-selling games such as the Uncharted franchise. 

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception continues the adventures of Nathan Drake as he follows in the footsteps of Sir Francis Drake, uncovering the many secrets that he left behind. The story, visual design, sound, and gameplay offer a cinematic experience that has and continues to define the Uncharted franchise. The single-player story mode takes around ten hours to complete, whereas the online modes offer countless additional hours of gameplay. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is a definite must have for any gamer.

 ”…And I will show you something different from either

Your shadow at morning striding behind you

Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;

I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”

T.S. Eliot

Amazon.ca        Amazon.com


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Author: Dave View all posts by