The Uncharted series stands out as one of this generation's most, if not the most, celebrated new IPs. Drake's Fortune shook off unfair comparisons to others and emerged as one of the first games to demonstrate the power of modern game consoles. Among Thieves took everything about its predecessor and improved it almost beyond recognition, earning scores of accolades. The third and most recent entry has a lot to live up to, especially when compared to its immediate predecessor. Fortunately, Drake's Deception stands tall among its peers.
The Uncharted games have always been known for their ground-breaking single player campaigns. Even after the second game introduced co-op and multiplayer components, people just couldn't stop talking about the ridiculously cinematic and witty romp they had experienced alongside Nathan Drake. There are many things that Uncharted does that other games simply cannot match, be it story, character development, or amazing set pieces, and Drake's Deception takes these strengths and runs with them (from one side of the globe to the other).
Fans will notice the rather deliberate change in pacing when compared to the previous game. Rather than instantly throwing you into a series of jaw-dropping set piece moments paced well by some quieter sections, Drake's Deception starts at a relatively slow pace that slowly but satisfingly builds up to a crescendo of cinematic action and beautiful level design.
The plot follows Nathan Drake and his long-time pal Sully as they face off with a foe from the duo's distant past in the hopes of finding the "Atlantis of the Sands" and discovering more about Drake's ancestor, the great Sir Francis Drake. Along the way, they run into franchise favorites that provide help and support for the witty and touching dialogue that the series has become known for. The plot, however, primarily focuses on Drake's and Sully's relationship, providing a focal point that I hadn't realized was lacking from the series until I played this game. Needless to say, this just strengthens what is already a superior and better-written story than anything this series or indeed, most other games, have produced up to this point.
Uncharted fans should feel right at home with Drake's Deception. You'll be jumping from platform to platform, grabbing ledges, and rolling into cover as you always have. The shooting remains the game's sole weakness, but that's diminished by a higher emphasis on more-developed hand-to-hand combat and a general reduction in the number of encounters you'll face throughout the game.
Drake's Deception is beautiful. Without spoiling anything, I was immensely impressed with the detail and the types of environments that were depicted in the game. As a fan of Among Thieves, I was not disappointed by the locales I experienced through the rather-lengthy campaign. You'll find the camera easily and quickly panning at the appropriate moments to give that distinctly Uncharted feel to the proceedings. The game also sounds great, with the aforementioned witty exchanges standing out as key strengths.
Despite the campaign's strength, the co-op and multiplayer modes are no slouches. In fact, it could be argued that they have gone through an even larger and more impressive set of improvements than the campaign. Co-op has the most dramatic changes, with a full, seperate campaign included in addition to modes reminiscent of Horde and Left 4 Dead's Versus mode, but with that signature Uncharted twist. Multiplayer is much improved, showing a desire to retain players and grow the Uncharted franchise's popularity, with customization and even more gameplay modes being introduced.
Uncharted has become Sony's flagship franchise in the short span of a few years. With Drake's Deception, it's easy to see why. Fans of the previous games will find familiarity, but it says something when the elements that so effortlessly make up the Uncharted formula are the envy of many other games. Drake's Deception doesn't push the franchise forward in any big way, but it provides a satisfying reminder of why we find Nathan Drake's adventures so compelling.
Gameplay: 9.0 – Nate will be jumping across chasms, shimmying across ledges, and getting into fights within the span of minutes. Pure Uncharted bliss.
Presentation: 9.5 – The story is the best-paced in the series. Set pieces are astoundedly well-crafted.
Graphics: 9.5 – This is the franchise that shows off what the PS3 can do. It's not that jaw-dropping anymore, but it remains one of the best looking console games.
Sound: 9.5 – Exactly what you'd expect from Uncharted. Amazing character interactions and bombastic music.
Value: 9.0 – The full package for the action gamer. Once you finish the campaign, be prepared for hours of co-op and multiplayer
Final Score: 9.3
– Uncharted 3 delivers a slightly-familiar, but satisfingly fun experience that no action fan should ignore.
"The Gaming Corner"