Last night I got around to finishing up Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. In my review of Uncharted 2, I noted some of my qualms with the overall story of the game and I’m happy to say that Uncharted 3 delivers a much more cohesive and awe-inspiring story compared to the previous installment. Note that this will be my final Uncharted review, at least in the Nathan Drake tetralogy.
As in Among Thieves, Drake’s Deception wastes little time in throwing you right into the action. Sully and Nate are trade a ring from Sir Francis Drake for cash, after noticing that the cash is fake the deal is called off. But not before the bad guy tells all of his goons to beat the crap out of Nate and Sully and bring the ring to him!
A bottle-shattering brawl is underway in this London pub as Nate and Sully try to escape. Fist-fighting in this scene is exceptionally well done, and there’s some small environmental stuff that you’ll catch onto as well. Beating a guy up near the bar will have Nate reach out for a bottle and smash it over the assailant’s head; if you’re close to a window then he’ll just grab the guy and toss him out the window! Nate lifts, man, I’m tellin’ ya.
The story really takes off from here, the adventure and characters this time around seem infinitely more creative than what they were in Uncharted 2. Charlie Cutter almost outshines all the characters in the game; my only issue is that I wish he was a larger part of the overall story. Chloe is more of a background character this time around which leaves a majority of the “screen” time to Nate, Sully and Elena.
Drake’s Deception dives a bit deeper establishing Nate and Sully’s past. Early in the game you will learn what circumstances brought the two colorful characters together. It’s an extra layer of exposition that adds some much needed depth to the relationship of the two.
Locations! One of the biggest lures of the Uncharted series, and the locations in Uncharted 3 are astoundingly well-presented. You’ll find yourself in Cartagena, France, Syria, London, the Rub’ al Khali desert and Yemen and each location are beautiful and wildly different from each other. The wide variety of locations makes you excited for where you’ll go next, and it never disappoints.
One location that I must talk about is The Seaward, a boat belonging to the pirate Rameses. A storm is raging as you’re making your way through the ship looking for Sully, whom you believe they have captured. The raging storm adds a really great dynamic to the combat. Cover pieces slip and slide all over, making you pay very close attention to where it will slide next. Enemies also clamber for boxes that are sliding side to side. Combat in this part of the game is some of the best in the series. In previous games, chase scenes have been you running and gunning away from an armored vehicle of some sort, but not in this part. The chase scene in The Seaward is the sea surging into the ship and capsizing it, forcing Nate through the ship while it’s on its side and upside down.
Puzzles are also an integral part of Uncharted. Uncharted 3 has undoubtedly some of the most creative in the series. One of the puzzles involves statue body parts suspended in the air on poles. The player must use a torch emanating light at a specific angle so that the shadow of all the parts forms a man with a spear. It’s absolutely genius and it looks amazing as well and that’s just one of the many great puzzles of the game.
As stated in reviews of the previous Uncharted games, the combat parts are my least favorite of the games. Luckily, this time around the combat isn’t as abundant as in the second game and the firefights tend to be much shorter as well. Unfortunately, the control problems that plagued Among Thieves also plague Drake’s Deception. Throughout the game, you’ll find Drake jumping in a different direction from what you intended more than a few times. Luckily, with the combat being lesser in this game, the ugly controls don’t rear their head as often.
I mentioned that the locations were very beautiful and awe-inspiring in this game, but how does the rest of it hold up? Suffice to say with Drake’s Deception being somewhat of a late entry to the PS3 library, it holds up extremely well in almost every aspect. The only iffy looking parts are Elena’s hair and the vehicles looking like blocks.
An aspect of that I didn’t touch on in my other reviews was the music. I also didn’t mention much about the voice-acting. Well, out of all the Uncharted games I’ve played (Not Drake’s Fortune) Uncharted 3 has the best soundtrack of them all. Composer Greg Edmonson did a fantastic job encapsulating you in the atmosphere of every location, not a single track misses its mark. The voice acting is extremely good as well, not a single character has a bad performance.
Overall, Uncharted 3 is the standout game in the Nathan Drake series. The locations, the characters, the music, and the puzzles: everything works together in perfect harmony to give you one of the best action-adventure games ever made. Uncharted 3 is a game that should be looked to as a reference on how to make a masterclass action-adventure game.
Note: Uncharted 4 is still my favorite though.