Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Review

Graphics

It is not an understatement to say that Drake’s Deception might be the best looking game ever released for PlayStation 3. The series has always boasted incredible environments and dazzling set pieces, but in scene after scene, Drake’s Deception tops anything Naughty Dog has previously delivered.The aforementioned abandoned shipyard is a particular standout, but the entire game is practically built on β€œhey would you look at that.” I spent several minutes just looking at the London skyline during the first part of the game.

The scale is, as expected, the biggest in series history. Ancient mechanisms the size of office buildings are routine – apparently the engineers of the Levant during the last millennium B.C. had access to far better technology than the crew currently rebuilding San Francisco’s Bay Bridge. Somehow, a vast city is hidden in plain sight in the Arabian desert. 3000 years of neglect doesn’t cause the collapse of entire buildings and of course, undiscovered monsters somehow haven’t been featured on Animal Planet.

What stands out, however, is the incredible detail. Grains of sand blow across the screen and the air vibrates in the arid heat. Ocean water washes huge, green waves against rusty iron constructs. Fire burns with a realism seldom seen in games and shadows are deep, rich and realistic. All of this is a continuation of the achievements of previous Uncharted games, but it’s not hyperbole to say that the series sets a new standard of graphical excellence – at least on consoles.

Multiplayer

While mainly superfluous compared to the heavily story-based single player campaigns that have made the series legendary, a big surprise is Uncharted 3′s multiplayer, which is surprisingly fun and varied. That’s especially true when you consider the horrible multiplayer beta from last summer that is notable mainly for being completely unbalanced, buggy and tremendously unfun.

First, players can choose to play online, or create a LAN party and bypass the Playstation Network altogether. (I’ll assume like me that you’ll be playing online). Once you’re logged in, you can choose to play 9 different types of multiplayer games:

* Team deathmatch
* Free for all
* Team objective
* Three team deathmatch
* Plunder
* Hardcore
* Co-op arena
* Co-op hunter arena
* Co-op adventure.

As for play itself, while matchmaking isn’t as hand-holding as I’d like – the only way you’re going to avoid being placed into games with at least one level 40 player who will romp all over you is to create your own party – I found it did an excellent job of ensuring a varied group of players keeping things competitive without being as gallingly unbalanced as the beta. It helps that the new boosters – upgraded abilities you can purchase as you rank up – are insanely useful. There are 30 of them to select, 2 of which can be used in any given game. Once purchased, they can give you a tremendous advantage over lower-ranked players, thanks to nasty little surprises like getting the last laugh on the person who killed you by dropping a grenade as you die. Heh.

Kickbacks, short term boosts that make you temporarily more badass, are also pretty cool. There are 19 of them, and unlike boosters, you don’t need to level up and purchase them. Instead, you get them by earning medals during multiplayer. They include cool stuff like the ability to vanish in a puff of smoke, additional weapons carrying capacity and the sudden granting of a powerful weapon. Like I said, cool stuff.

Player character customization is also pretty cool. As you level up you’ll unlock new characters and clothing that can be purchased using the money you’ll earn in game. It allows you to put a cheesy trucker hat on Sully, or play as Chloe, and though these customizations don’t really add much to the actual game, they give you something fun to think about as you play.

Also worth mentioning are the wonderful maps, drawn from both in-story levels and a few unique places. They’re huge and capture something of the scope of the story itself. That’s especially true during team objective missions. They’re also very well designed to facilitate competitive play. It is impossible to camp out and cheese your opponents to death, which forces players to go looking for trouble, as it were. It makes for intense games that typically end by kill count far before the time limit is reached.

Overall, despite being completely unnecessary to fully enjoy Drake’s Deception, the multiplayer is a fine addition to the game that compliments the main story rather well. And good news: play it enough and you’ll also find that the story campaign gets much easier.

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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.