E3 2011 – More Good Ol’ Uncharted in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

So Chloe Frazer is back in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. So is Elena Fisher. Oh, and Victor Sullivan. It’s a regular Uncharted 2 reunion out there, except for Flynn, obviously, because he’s , and Lazaravic, who is also dead. There are no indications from Naughty Dog that yetis, costume or otherwise, will make a return appearance, but most every living character is, who knows.

Back at E3 2011, we got a chance to sit in on a fresh demo of Naughty Dog’s upcoming trilogy topper, which amounted to about 10 minutes of a live gameplay demo and a new trailer. It looked good — I mean, c’mon, it’s Uncharted — but as for new information, new plot points, or anything “new,” really, the E3 demo was entirely lacking.

The gameplay demo puts Uncharted’s wise-cracking protagonist Indiana Jones Nathan Drake on an airfield, trying to get aboard that big silver cargo plane that he will undoubtedly be crashing sometime in the near future for the sake of Uncharted 3′s marketing materials. It’s dusk, and the goal is to sneak across the landing strip and board the plane, but to what purpose, who knows. Elena is on-hand with Drake, too, so this covert op of theirs must be important to the plot and some kind of stop-the-bad-guy story arc.

After a short exchange of dialog, Drake hops the airstrip’s fence with a boost from Elena, but rather than helping her over, he drops and gives her the “it’s too dangerous, I can’t lose you again, I’m going it alone” hero speech. After a short argument, Drake advises Elena to grab a nearby Jeep and GTFO Dangertown, as he’s got people to to let shoot at him and time’s a-wastin’. I’m making light, but it’s actually a well-written scene with lines delivered with the usual quality that Nolan North and Emily Rose bring to their roles. Elena begrudgingly heads out; Drake heads in.

In classic Drake style, our hero gets roughly five steps closer to the plane and just within reach of sneaking onto the airstrip before everything goes to hell. Suddenly spotted, the gate in front of him slams shut, a truck with a mounted machine gun rolls up, and everybody within a five-block radius grabs their AK-47s and starts shooting wildly in his direction. Dodging painful lead-filled death, Drake scales a nearby outbuilding and starts running along the fence, trying to find a way into the airfield. In the distance, the cargo plane — the key to everything, it seems — begins to taxi on the runway.

Nobody expected Drake to do his whole climbing schtick, it seems, and he catches two or three guards unawares; busting the face of one to grab his weapon, dropping down on another from high above to break his fall. Another fence mantled and he’s on the airstrip, a flat-out run for the plane, which…is just…out of reach as it picks up speed.

Luckily, Elena doesn’t listen to Drake — and comes flying up alongside him in the Jeep. He hops on and they floor it for the underside of the plane.

As with all Drake plans, this one gets dangerous in a hurry. As Elena slides up under the plane to approach its front landing gear, Drake carefully steps out onto the Jeep’s hood. Shouting directions and small adjustments to Elena, they gain more and more speed and Drake leaps, just in time to grab hold of the gear and ride it into the plane as it takes off. It’s a harrowing few seconds, and yeah, we knew how it would play out, but it was still pretty damn cool.

A fade out. Fade in: Drake, huddled in the underbelly of the plane, taking a breather because damn. But it’s time to figure out how to crash a plane in the desert and walk away from it, so he starts to crawl through a nearby vent.

No sooner has Drake slipped into the area below the cargo hold than he’s spotted and hauled out of the vent by a huge dude with no shirt on. Drake has to fight this guy. It doesn’t go well, as you’d expect.

Actually, “fight” isn’t the right word. “Strategically avoid” is probably a better way of saying it, and Drake is failing at that part of the battle as the huge guy carries him by his neck, opens the plane’s cargo door, and tries to toss Drake out. He isn’t quite successful — Drake catches a handhold — and then the two start beating the hell out of each other perilously close to a 20,000-foot sans-parachute skydiving attempt.

Drake’s losing the hand-to-hand portion of the battle, but he does get in a few good knuckle sandwiches; enough to knock the big guy to one knee and give Drake a second or two to get past him and start ratcheting off the straps holding down all the cargo in the plane’s hold. A crate goes flying as it comes loose, and then a second — and then a truck, which is too much for the big guy to deal with. Suddenly he’s gone, fight over: except the plane starts to climb and everything that was previously strapped down is now sliding at Drake full-bore.

In yet another spectacular set piece, Drake, too, goes falling out of the plane, but barely is able to snag a cargo net and finds himself dangling — not just out of the plane, but off several pieces of cargo and a truck that are also dangling out of a plane. The demo ends there: promising, if a little thin on details.

Obviously, we’ve come to expect a lot from Naughty Dog and the Uncharted series, and it seems the action-movie craziness we all love so well is returning in a big way to Uncharted 3. The E3 demo was fun, but there’s not much else to tell based on the video I saw. It was cool; I’m excited; it looks like Uncharted. If you like Uncharted, you’ll be happy, because it doesn’t look like any rules have been rewritten.

Can’t get into the Multiplayer Beta? Check out our video walkthrough…it’s the next best thing.

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