The Score: "Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception"

Tuesday, Nov 1, 2011 1:45PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

THE SCORE 9.7/10
Buy Now
  • Uncharted 3
  • Playstation 3
  • November 1, 2011
Game Informer 9.5/10
USA Today 4/4
IGN 10/10
GamePro 5/5
GameSpot 9/10

Tired of being stuck with the same boring daily routine and lack of travel this fall, Playstation 3 gamers? If so, then look no further than your local video game outlet and explore the world as on-screen adventurer Nathan Drake in the Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, released today.

Following its tradition of dropping every two years, the latest edition continues where Uncharted 2: Among Thieves left off.

Uncharted 3's tale sounds familiar. We have the same cast of characters in our handsome hero Nathan Drake and his seasoned mentor Victor "Sully" Sullivan and the same general idea of a lost city that needs finding before the bad guys get there. But this isn't the games that came before. Uncharted 3's greatest strength is its unpredictability. From the barroom brawl that opens the game and introduces its new melee system to a mid-game conversation between villainess Katherine Marlowe and Drake that literally redefines a pillar of this franchise, I didn't know what to expect in Uncharted 3. Naughty Dog sets aside the betrayal/twist formula used in the first two games and focuses on Nate and Sully's relationship. It takes you to the precipice of the Uncharted hallmarks you might expect, let's you stare at them, and then veers off in another direction. (IGN)

While action has always embodied the Uncharted franchise, Drake's Deception narrows in on family bonds, especially with the game's protagonist.

However, the real story at hand is a more human one. Uncharted 3 is really a game about relationships between people. While the on-again off-again romance between Drake and Elena Fisher still resonates, the focus of the game is on Nathan's longest and most complex relationship: his long, fraught partnership with his father figure Victor "Sully" Sullivan. The two have been through a lot, and longtime fans will be rapt at seeing the origins of their friendship. By the end of the game, you'll feel even closer to Drake and Sully. (Game Informer)

Keeping with, fans of Uncharted will once again be treated to memorable environments throughout the world.

While technically sound and a breeze to play, Uncharted is perhaps best known for taking you to some truly epic places and then letting you climb, shimmy across, and investigate them. The set pieces continue to push the envelope, with memorable encounters in old castles, escapes from burning buildings, and an epic action-sequence involving a cargo plane. With only an interminable mission in a pirate shipyard as a lowlight, every mission features some amazingly fun and varied environments to climb and fight across. There are still plenty of firefights and bottlenecks that will see you die repeatedly, and puzzles that can be quite elaborate but never frustratingly so. (Game Pro)

Although the average diehard fan will waste no time in re-playing the game through its story mode completion, Uncharted 3 also flourishes with its multiplayer option.

Then there's the underrated multiplayer component, which returns after its debut in Uncharted 2. Players have more opportunities to customize their character. Along with special weapon loadouts complete with perks, they can use a generic character and tweak their outfits, voices and even taunts. There are also medal bonuses that grant power-ups after reaching a certain number of kills. For example, one reward gives players access to a RPG. Matches range from the standard Team Deathmatch to Plunder, pitting teams against each other in the quest for treasure. (USA Today)

Despite its near flawless reviews, Uncharted 3 does have its occasional share of slight issues.

The game isn't without its drawbacks, of course. Like the previous games, you're locked into a prescribed story line, and are prevented from doing anything to diverge from it -- sometimes to the point of frustration, as in several scenes where Nate is prevented from drawing his gun without explanation: hitting the button simply does nothing. You have no way to affect the choices Nate makes, even when you might disagree with them, which makes the game feel a bit like being in an interactive movie. Even when you seem to have choices, such as when you're wandering in the desert on foot, you end up in the place you're supposed to no matter which direction you choose. The facial animation, too, while improved since the previous game, still has one foot in uncanny valley territory, which was a bit disappointing, especially as I was simultaneously playing Arkham City, which does a much better job. (Wired)
"Uncharted 3" does have its flaws. As Eurogamer's Simon Parkin points out in his much-discussed review of the game, Naughty Dog developers are so dedicated to their story that if you try to take a side path, you'll be guided -- sometimes gently, sometimes fatally -- back to the task at hand. There was a cut scene or two when I felt as if I were watching a movie -- and not in a good way, yelling helplessly at Drake to please, please, reconsider his actions. Ironically, it's not really a game for people who like to explore, which will set it in contrast to Bethesda's upcoming sandbox-on-steroids, "Skyrim." (Washington Post)

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