Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Review

In most ways, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception isn’t all that different from Among Thieves or Drake’s Fortune. If you’ve played those games, then you know the deal: you’ll travel from one lushly realized locale to another looking for a bizarre ancient artifact, succeed in making impossibly vertical climbs, investigate ancient ruins, solve puzzles and shoot at your enemies. That doesn’t mean it’s a disappointment; fortunately, rather than simply reproducing what worked in previous games, Drake’s Deception also has a few tweaks, like improved fighting, dramatic departures from previous games’ conventions and the best environments yet seen in the series.

It also contains the most interesting premise in series history, and if the slightly uneven story doesn’t quite live up to that premise, the as-expected witty dialogue, surprisingly mean sense of humor and some amazing mocap and voice acting make up for it. The result is a game that isn’t quite perfect, but is ahead, by leaps and bounds, of all but a few you’re likely to play in this or any other year.

It’s just that it comes so close to perfect, and then veers sharply.

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (Playstation 3)
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony
Release Date: Nov. 1, 2011
MSRP: $59.99

Gameplay

As I said above, you’re going to do a lot of what you’ll do in any Uncharted game, and first and foremost, that means platforming and puzzle solving. Puzzle solving remains essentially what it has always been, which is that it might be the series’ biggest weakness. Though the puzzles are always just hard enough to keep the player engaged in solving them without becoming frustrated enough to consult a guide, they’re never actually difficult. As if to emphasize that, Uncharted 3 contains some of the easiest puzzles yet, made even easier by the ability to activate a solution to a given puzzle after you’ve spent a certain amount of time without solving it. This isn’t a bad thing, exactly. The point of an Uncharted game, as I see it anyway, is to work your way through the story about solving puzzles, not necessarily to actually solve puzzles. It would be nice if they required a bit more effort, but if I have to choose between maintaining a thrilling pace and feeling like a brainiac gamer, at least when it comes to Nathan Drake I’ll choose the thrill.

The platforming aspects, however, are some of the most inventive and challenging in recent memory. Climbing works exactly as it does in the previous games, right down to the obvious “Hey Look At That Grab-able Ledge” handholds. But you knew that. The real question in every game is basically ‘how crazy can this get,’ and the answer is ‘very.’ Climbing levels may remain fairly linear, but they’re also tense, huge and extremely varied. I won’t spoil the whole thing, but just for a taste, you can look forward to escaping a burning French manor house, swimming and climbing your way through an amazing, must-be-seen-to-be-believed abandoned shipyard and shortly thereafter, fighting your way into a cruise liner serving as the flagship of a pirate fleet, only to have to quickly escape while it capsizes, constantly changing orientation.

What really distinguishes Drakes’ Deception’s gameplay are the changes Naughty Dog made. No, not the promised automatic ammo pickups which aren’t part of story mode, but the changes to melee combat and new ideas about what an Uncharted level can be like.

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6 Comments on Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Review

JosephPS3 Herman Cain 4 Pres

On November 1, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Great review Ross. I want to get this game but I just don’t have time to play it with all these great titles coming out in a cluster. I’ve read your review a couple of times and I decided I’m going to have to get it and check it out. It’ll be a nice contrast going from Dark souls to Batman to UC3 and soon to Skyrim.

Hey can you develop multiple personalities if you play multiple games simultaneously?

Tom Jenkins

On November 4, 2011 at 9:26 am

Admittedly there are some spectacular moments in Drake’s Deception however I found the storyline and gameplay to be lackluster and even flawed in places

For example at the very end of the game when Drake finally wins an opportunity to thwart the misanthropic endeavours of the enemy

Rather than playing that most triumphant moment in the game there is a cut scene showing Drake hiding, diving and shooting

I could understand the cut scene if it portrayed a sequence of complex actions beyond modern gameplay mechanics

But taking control away from the player at that moment in order to portray regular actions borders on hubris

And gameplay is not enhanced by shaky cameras and swirly hallucinated environments

A shot should be difficult because of distance, obstacles or enemy counter-manouevres

For example in Uncharted 2 there is an awesome scene of a snowy courtyard populated by four heavily armoured enemies with the biggest guns in the game

The only way to beat this level is to use stealth to conceal your position and take each enemy down in series with several doses of rocket launcher

That is what gameplay means to me

Not extended cutscenes, swarming enemies, button mashing fistfights and shaky cameras

It grieves me to say that Naughty Dog really dropped the ball with this release :-(

sam2k11

On November 6, 2011 at 8:56 am

i think the game is quality and fantastic but it was just a bit to short i mean i know 22 chapters is a lot but it was 26 in u2 also i was disapointed with the fact elena and nate were not together properly after the end of of u2 it ended with them nearly kissing in u1 and then u2 starts and elena is completely forgotten then she comes back into it halfway through u2 then it ends with them both kissing and then in u3 the same thing happens all i would like if there is going to be an unacharted 4 i think it should have lots more chapters for lots more gamplay i mean i got it went on it for about 3 hours then went on it for an hour in the morning and i completed it . also they need to put a bit more effort into elena and nates feelings about each other coz know in u3 i think when sully gives that ring to nate he wants him to propose and then elena hugs him and then all three of them leave on a plane together and would really like it if cutter was in the next one again along with chloe i kno ive waffled on a bit but this is what i think properly havent explained it as well as in my head

sam2k11

On November 6, 2011 at 9:11 am

I think uncharted is a quality game in fact its my best game on the ps3 but what disapointed me with uncharted 3 was how long the campaign last i mean 22 chapters is a lot but it had 26 on u2 so its gone down i think it needs more chapters because uncharted is better for its campaign not for multiplayer so if there is an uncharted 4 concentrate 75% on the campaign and 25% on multiplayer. also i was kind of gutted that nothing happened with elena and nate except the end (king of foudnd the end confusing did nate propose or waht hope he did anyway.) i mean they never even kissed all the way through the game and showed there feelings for each other i mean you would of thought they would be a serious couple by now after the end of uncharted 2 mean thats why i was partly excited about uncharted 3 because after the end of u2 i wondered what will nate and elena be like in u3 (maried/serious couple) and then it ends up with well you know hard to explain. but besides that quality game and i hope they keep making more and more uncharted series its a top class game.

bajka.bajko

On November 30, 2011 at 8:27 pm

I think uncharted is a quality game in fact its my best game on the ps3 but what disapointed me with uncharted 3 was how long the campaign last i mean 22 chapters is a lot but it had 26 on u2 so its gone down i think it needs more chapters because uncharted is better for its campaign not for multiplayer so if there is an uncharted 4 concentrate 75% on the campaign and 25% on multiplayer. also i was kind of gutted that nothing happened with elena and nate except the end (king of foudnd the end confusing did nate propose or waht hope he did anyway.) i mean they never even kissed all the way through the game and showed there feelings for each other i mean you would of thought they would be a serious couple by now after the end of uncharted 2 mean thats why i was partly excited about uncharted 3 because after the end of u2 i wondered what will nate and elena be like in u3 (maried/serious couple) and then it ends up with well you know hard to explain. but besides that quality game and i hope they keep making more and more uncharted series its a top class game.

Lee

On November 14, 2012 at 11:46 am

Just got to say that I thought Among Thieves was by far the better game when I originally played this. But recently I decided to have a blast at playing all three games again and when you play this directly after number 2 you realise that its just a better game.

Now don’t get me wrong the story and OMFG moments are not as good as Among Thieves but the gameplay itself is much better.