Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (2011)

Did He Save You From Your Life, or Damn You to This One?

It’s time for the review of my most anticipated release of this year. It took me a long time to stop saying that Final Fantasy VII was my favorite game of all time, and when I did, I switched it for Uncharted 2. So, obviously, the release to the third part in the Uncharted series was very exciting to me. Could it live up to my expectations? Bet you wanna know, don’t you? Well too bad! REVIEW OVER! Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is brought to us by Naughty Dog and Sony Computer Entertainment.

Our hero, Nathan Drake (Nolan North), and our hero’s old dude, Victor Sullivan (Richard McGonagle), are meeting a pretty obviously evil dude named Talbot (Robin Atkin Downes) in a pub. They are in the middle of a negotiation to trade cash money for Nate’s precious ring from his ancestor, Sir Francis Drake. Nate and Sully decide that the money is counterfeit and refuse the trade, which starts a fight they must face-punch their way out of. In the alley outside the bar, Nate and Sully are surrounded by Talbot and Charlie Cutter (Graham McTavish) and Talbot’s client, Katherine Marlowe (Rosalind Ayres). She steals Nate’s ring and Charlie shoots Nate and Sully in the chest. The series has ended … if you’re dumb enough to believe the two main characters die in the first 5 minutes. We flashback 20 years to when Nate met Sully and when Nate stole the ring he wears. Back in the present and SURPRISE! Nate and Sully weren’t really dead. They were in cahoots with Charlie. The three meet up with Chloe Frazer (Claudia Black) and trail Marlowe. In her secret hideout, they find out she’s after the lost city of Ubar, which is apparently a super sweet city lost in the Rub ‘al Khali desert. As per usual, Nate must get to the special place before the random bad guy gets there and takes something that he will not use in a nice way. Also, they meet up with Elena Fisher (Emily Rose) in Yemen.

I believe this game would be much higher rated if it were Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 2 were Uncharted 3. It feels more like a midpoint than a successor. As with the other two games in the series, this is an action-adventure game with a good deal of platforming, some face-punching, and a good deal of shooting. The platforming works very well with no complaints. In Uncharted 2, the climbing areas would change as you made your way through them to keep them lively and keep you on your toes, and they brought this into Uncharted 3. At one point you find yourself trapped in a burning building. You shimmy up beams until they crack in half and you need to improvise. You run up stairs and they crumble beneath you, but they become less helpful grips on the wall. All very fluid and fun. The melee system takes a big leap forward in this game. It’s getting dangerously close to Arkham City quality. It handles roughly the same: punch faces with square, counter with triangle, tap the left stick twice to throw a Nate-arang. It’s a welcome upgrade because the melee system in Uncharted 2 wasn’t bad but didn’t impress. Of course, in Uncharted 2 you didn’t have to use it all that often. In Uncharted 3, there are entire parts where you’re just surrounded by multiple enemies and you have to fight your way out. And it’s not bothersome because they improved the melee so much. They also made it possible to do an instant finisher if you were in the right place. If you were standing next to them, you could finish the enemy with a bottle, a wrench, a pan, or even a fish. Not a joke. It’s funny, but it’s not technically a joke. But the greater majority of the gameplay here is going to be shooting … and therein lies the problem. I don’t know how it happened, but Naughty Dog done fucked up the aiming mechanics. I recently decided that it would be easier to run an HDMI cable through my wall so I could leave my PS3 in the living room and not have to move it back and forth into my room when I wanted to play it. The shooting mechanics were messed up to the point where I really thought the thin wall separating my PS3 from me was messing up the responsiveness of my controller. Turns out they just fucked it up. This is very strange since there were no problems whatsoever with the shooting mechanics of Uncharted 2, so you would assume they could just copy and paste the same code and at least leave it the same quality as their previous super awesome game. Instead, they messed with it and now it can be extremely annoying to try to shoot an enemy because the slightest touch of the analog stick would either not be registered or it would jump past the enemy’s head and you would just miss. Naughty Dog has promised a patch to fix their sloppy shooting mechanics, but I’ve already got the Platinum trophy for the game, so who knows whether or not I’ll be playing it when they fix it. But, to be fair, the shooting is not so sloppy that it will ruin the game, it will just hurt more than it should because of the game that preceded it. The last boss was also much easier than Uncharted 2’s boss and was slightly underwhelming.

The story, as usual, is well delivered. I think it may be getting to a point where it’s dangerous for Uncharted because all 3 games follow the same basic routine. Nate’s looking for something (mainly out of a sense of adventure), someone evil is also looking for it (mainly out of a desire to rule the world), and Nate takes it upon himself to stop them (mainly out of the fact that he’s the hero of the game). But one couldn’t say they retread the same path since they always go to completely new landscapes each time. The first Uncharted was mainly jungle, the second mainly snow, and the third mainly desert. I don’t remember the first one super well, but I know that Uncharted 2 and 3 do share some pretty epic set pieces. You explore and fight through a burning chateau, a sinking boat, a scorching desert, and a gorgeous city hidden inside a sandstorm. All of them are beautiful. Except for the desert. That sumbitch almost kills us. Douche bag desert. There was also a section that was VERY reminiscent of the scene in Last Crusade when Indiana Jones was trying to take out the tank. I think that even happened around Yemen, but I haven’t seen that movie in some time. But the characters have been well developed over three games and that makes you care for them. You never expected Nate and Sully to be dead in the first scene because why would they show that in the trailer, but there is a pretty surprising scene near the end that was shocking. I did find myself a bit bummed at the end that they didn’t really go that supernatural in this one as they did in the previous two. They had a hallucinogenic water thing going on that had a myth surrounding it about genie’s and some junk, but it’s not nearly as supernatural as the other games. And the water does set up a big fuck you thing like TV shows and movies like to do when something big and game changing happens but FOOLED YOU, it was a dream. That’s kind of cheap, but I saw it coming and don’t want to give it away if you don’t. There was also a part where Nate trips balls because of the water and that made me kind of nauseous. One thing I didn’t like about the story was that there was some backstory between Nate and Elena that was never really explained. They’re kind of awkward around each other in this one and they mention how she’s wearing a ring he gave her, so it’s kind of implied that they may have been engaged, or at least serious, in a relationship together and then it ended but she wasn’t super angry about it for some reason. I wanted to know what the backstory was but it was never explained.

They bring back the same voice crew from the previous games and they still knock it out of the park. Nolan North plays Nate as the cocky, Indiana Jones type character that he’s always played, but he’s still very charming. Sully is the father figure that I never had … just kidding. But he is a great father figure for Nate. Talbot is an asshole that really makes me want to kill him, and then make me happy when I do. Marlowe is more of a hands-off evil person that looks almost exactly like Helen Mirren, and I was a little bummed that they didn’t actually get Helen Mirren to do the voice. But the person they got did fine. She was a manipulative bitch as a good evil person should be. She tries to make Nate blame Sully for getting him stuck in the pattern of always being about to get killed. Chloe’s sexiness was potted down a bunch for this game and she wasn’t in the game that much, but she did have a good couple of funny lines. Elena was Elena, but I love her so it’s good. Charlie Cutter was an odd character. I felt it was strange that he was this brand new character that everybody in the game knew except for us. Just ’cause the crew has signed off on you doesn’t mean we’ll like you, buddy. You gotta earn it. All of the character’s interactions with each other were very natural and real, and usually had a good funny touch to them. I especially liked the conversation about cell phones that they had when Nate had been trying to contact Chloe and Charlie and he said he ran out of minutes on his phone and Chloe’s was broken. I’m not going to transcribe it or anything; you’re supposed to play this thing.

I admit I was bummed out, but when I look back, it’s still not a bad game. The only reason it seems bad is that it followed a game that was so amazing. The platforming is great, the melee is greatly improved, but they messed up the shooting. The characters and story is great and set in some of the most epic settings to date. It treads similar ground to Uncharted 2, but stands out as a great game on it’s own. Once they release the patch, this game will be amazing, but still a step down from Uncharted 2. If you own a PS3, I still think you should own this game, or at least play it. It’s a pretty easy Platinum too. The hardest thing about getting Platinum is beating it on Crushing, which isn’t that bad. So get this game already. …DO IT! I’ll give this game “Uncharted 3” out of “Uncharted 2”. Get it? ‘Cause it’s slightly worse than Uncharted 2? Eh, go fuck yourself.

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