Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception: Review

I must admit, back in 2007, when Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was released, the trailer didn’t really strike my fancy. I gave it a try though, and since then, Naughty Dog’s franchise has been in my top five, and has been unmovable by any other games that I have played, (and trust me, I play a lot). Now here we are with Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, and believe me when I say, Drake is back and better than ever.

Let’s start with getting the negatives out of the way. Well...that’s just the thing. There aren’t any. From graphics to gameplay, to story and voice acting, this game is a masterpiece all around. Any faults with the game went unnoticed, as they are simply outnumbered so dramatically by what the game does well.

Firstly, the game looks beautiful. Everything that you see in the game has an incredible attention to detail. Character models look great, and varied environments you find yourself in look incredible. Each grain of sand in a vast desert has been individually created so that it moves under Nate’s feet. Rarely do you see such a large amount of attention and effort in making a game look good. Another thing that caught my eye was the way that the back of Nate’s shirt moved and creased when he did. Everything about the game is stunning.

The graphics do well to compliment the game’s intricate plotline. The Uncharted series is known for its large focus on narrative and character development. We see old faces in this game such as Chloe and Elena, and new ones too, with the appearance of Charlie Cutter, who’s past with Nate is never fully explained. Another bonus is that Sully is back, and plays a far more active role throughout the entire game, rather than leaving early on, as with Uncharted 2. As always, Nolan North does a great job at bringing Drake’s character to life, and the supporting cast are also fantastic.

The story of this game focuses mainly on Drake’s past. Without giving too much away, a mysterious woman from his younger days has re-appeared and is mighty interested in the ring Nate inherited from his ancestor Sir Francis Drake. One thing leads to another, and before long, Nate is on a quest to stop her from releasing a terrible power on the world. The story is paced perfectly. Various action sequences, slow paced moments to allow the player to catch their breath, and plenty of exploration. As always, there are treasures to be found, puzzles to complete and enough gunplay to keep the game exciting. However, the removal of the unlockable perks and skins for single player has made finding treasures a little less satisfying.

As well as the single player campaign, multiplayer is also back. This time around there are more maps, skins and game modes to choose from, including a split-screen mode. There are now two things you get from a match, you earn the cash, as you did in the second game, and can use this to buy new skins, weapons and perks, but rather than levelling up with the cash, you now also earn XP from a match, meaning that the cash is solely for buying improvements for your character. You can also customize a character now, rather than choosing from someone in the game. You can unlock and purchase new items to put on, and it makes your character feel more personal, and altogether offers a richer online experience.

The gameplay (as usual) is solid. The third person cover mechanics work just as well as ever, except this time around, you get more freedom to play as you choose. The area designs are less linear, giving you a choice of where to start taking on enemies. The stealth system has been greatly improved, as has the hand-to-hand combat. The melee fighting is more realistic, and you need to pay attention to what your enemy is doing in order to block, dodge and counter. Nate can also fight two enemies at once, and you are also able to use the environment to your advantage as never before. The final addition worth commenting on is the ability to drop attack enemies. If you are standing or hanging from a ledge with an enemy below you, you can drop down on top of them for an instant and silent kill.

Naughty Dog has once again delivered another smash hit. With its explosive set pieces, engaging narrative and stunning visuals, there is no doubt that this is an instant classic. The characters that we know and love are back, and new gameplay elements offer something new to the franchise, whilst keeping everything we loved from the other games. If you have a PS3, you probably already have the other two Uncharted hits, and so don’t need telling twice that this is awesome too. But if you’re one of the few that don’t have any, then trust me when I say, you’re missing out.


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