Naughty Dog have really set the bar with the Uncharted franchise, starting with Drake’s Fortune and the critically acclaimed sequel in the form of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The storylines are like Hollywood blockbusters and the gameplay is second to none. So people were yet again expecting something special with Drake’s Deception. But have Naughty Dog been able to deliver yet another classic?
Well it’s safe to say, yes! Naughty Dog still have the magic touch and haven’t failed to please this nerd. The story yet again follows Nathan Drake on another adventure with his father figure and mentor Victor Sullivan. You get to delve deeper into the relationship between the two this time around and even get to see how they came to meet each other which leads you to playing as a younger version of Drake. Of course, Elena Fisher and Chloe Frazer have their cameo appearances but neither get heavily involved this time around, but Drake needs his love interest.
The Uncharted 3 story sees Drake and Sully travelling the world in search of the Atlantis of the Sands known as the Iram of the Pillars which is hidden in the Rub’ al Khali desert. It loosely follows the tales of T.E Lawrence from his archaeology days which is mentioned throughout the game and you’ll get to learn more about the story as the game progresses.
The game starts in a pub in London which will help you get to grips with the hand to hand combat controls before heading out into the dark cold London streets and learning more skills. I found the London section to be kind of like a tutorial in the sense that, if you’ve not played Uncharted before, you get to learn the main controls of the game as you progress through this section of the game. This doesn’t mean to it’s a chore to get through, or that if feels like your hand is being held through our nations Capital. There’s plenty of action and excitement throughout with some fantastic story telling. Naughty Dog really do have a knack of drawing you into the Uncharted world. Also take note a certain climb up a building which looks onto a superb vista of London which will make you stop and admire it for a few minutes before moving on.
The controls are very much the same as Uncharted 2 with the biggest changes being made to the hand to hand combat, which felt more fluid than previous titles. The gun mechanics are pretty much the same which are easy to come to grips with whether you’ve played the games before or not, and the cover system is vital to getting through some tricky areas. Plenty of times you will find yourself majorly outnumbered and nothing but a well placed cover point can save you. From here you can use blind fire to shot sporadic bullets at the oncoming enemy before running to your next cover point by vaulting a wall and sliding into position. Or should you feel a bit gung ho then just run and gun and see how many folk you can kill before finding yourself in a bit of a predicament.
Some sections of the game are absolutely breathtaking. I think one of my favourite moments was trying to find my way out of a sinking ship after already navigating through a graveyard of ships. Trudging through the desert looks visually astounding, but it was much more fun running and gunning around some hugh rusting oil tankers and blowing stuff up.
Online Multiplayer makes a return after a successful outing in Uncharted 2 and adds extra depth to Naughty Dog’s blockbuster. I think I’m quite a dab hand when it comes to the single player but I was in for a bit of a shock when playing online, as I’ve found myself on the wrong side of a beating more than once.
I’ve put some hours into it and have improved since my first outing, but I’ve still a way to go before I can think of myself as a decent online Uncharted player. People are a lot less forgiving than your AI enemies and trying to better yourself is great fun in Uncharted 3. It can be quite frustrating at times, but fun nevertheless.
The online games can support up to 10 players and you can choose from game types such as Team Deathmatch, Three Team Deathmatch, Free for All, Team Objective, Plunder and Hardcore. Not only that but you can experience the online Co-op games such as Co-op Arena, Co-op Hunter and Co-op Adventure. One of the Team Deathmatch games will see your team either defending or attacking a plane as it’s taking off and riding on the back of trucks. It doesn’t matter if you fail or succeed this section as you’ll find yourself in the next part of the map where it’s more like the usual deathmatch style of gameplay.
As well as the different game types, you can customise your character for both the good guys and the bad guys. From items such as new clothes, to creating your own flag adds something more unique to each player. You earn XP from each game that you play which will unlock boosters, extra items and characters for you to use when playing online. The boosters will help to give that something extra to your weapon set and work in a similar way to perks in Call of Duty. Extras like this really help to stop the online part of Uncharted being too monotonous even if some of the items can be quite pricey. But if you don’t mind putting the hours in and improving your skills, you won’t have a problem unlocking the extras.
Visuals & Sound
Uncharted games are renowned for pushing the boat out when it comes to graphics. Naughty Dog themselves have said that they can’t get anymore out of the Playstation 3, and they’ve used everything they can in the recent console cycle.
One of the best looking parts of the game for me was when you have to help Drake walk through the unforgiving desert. The technical detail that’s gone into making the sand come alive with every step Drake makes is stunning and can only imaging the amount of work that went into creating something on this level. Not to mention the burning chateau that you find yourself in whilst having a nice leisurely stroll in France. It’s no wonder this was the part of the game that they wanted to show off when the game was first announced last year.
The only negative that I could find with Uncharted 3 is that it didn’t last long enough for me. But that’s just because, like a spoilt kid, I want more but know I’ll have to wait another 2 years plus to play the next Uncharted (not counting PS Vita’s Golden Abyss).
It goes without saying that I loved this game. I didn’t see it as being better than Uncharted 2, but as good as. I gave Uncharted 2 top scores so saying Uncharted 3 is as good as, is a high praise for the game and I can’t give it a higher score than its predecessor. Whether you’ve played the first two titles or not, you should definitely buy Uncharted 3 and see what all the fuss is about.
5 out of 5
Danny ‘Ender’ Martin has been part of the Zath team from pretty much the very beginning since he met Zath himself at Leeds Met University whilst studying Business IT. He’s an avid gamer and a big film buff. Danny graduated from the University of Bradford with a degree in Computer Animation and SFX and now currently works at one of the biggest UK games developers, which will hopefully see some of his ideas hit the gaming world.