Sony Computer EntertainmentDeveloped By:
Third-Person Action AdventurePlayers:
1 (2-8 Online) Rated:
T for Teen (Blood, Language, Violence) Release Date:
November 1, 2011Screenshots: Link Amazon: Buy Now! Written By:
Matthew PruntyDecember 26, 2011
- There is no doubt that when Naughty Dog released Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune for the PlayStation 3 in 2007, the industry would forever be change in the way they told a story through games. Gone are the days where you can simply slap together a so-so storyline and fill the game to its brim with action sequences. Naughty Dog made sure that their storyline(s) had their own structure, but at the same time lent a hand in fleshing out the overall experience within the third-person action adventure title(s). This in turned created a more “cinematic experience”, which rivaled big Hollywood movies. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves took the story elements, as well as the action sequences to new heights, which result in several perfect scores and “Game of the Year” nods. In what looks to be the final installment for the PlayStation 3 console, Naughty Dog are back with Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception; only this time delving into the history between Nathan Drake and his close friend Victor Sullivan.
What’s interesting about the storyline that unfolds within Drake’s Deception is that on its own it’s a good piece of interactive literature, however when you combine it with the epic adventures of the first two games, you have a solid masterpiece six years in the making. You can easily play Drake’s Deception without playing the other two games and still enjoy every minute, but it’s only when you combine this title with the other two, you fully understand the epic journey of Nathan Drake. It all centers on a ring of Sir Francis Drake, which Nathan Drake came into contact with in the Drake’s Fortune and got its just dues within Drake’s Deception. This ring… this piece of metal holds the key to a long lost civilization that Sir Francis Drake stumbled upon….. and so does Drake.
Just likes its predecessors, the story within Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is told through 20 plus chapters; with its epic adventure capping off with the opening sequence in the pub in England. It is here that we meet our cast of characters and the game branches off into to two interesting storylines; one involving the ring and the other dealing with that history/friendship between Nathan Drake and Victor Sullivan. It would seem that a woman by the name of Katherine Marlowe is interested in Sir Francis Drake’s ring and has arranged a meet-and-greet between her crony Talbot and Nate and Sully in order to procure said item in exchange for a suitcase of cash. The meeting soon goes awry and now both Nate and Sully are once again fighting for their lives. It is this sequence and the moments immediately after that sets the tone for what’s to come within later chapters and makes you wonder about the relationship between Nate and Sully.
For those who already have played Drake’s Fortune and Among Thieves, you have a deep rooted connection with Nate, Sully and the others. It is this connection; an emotional connection, that helps tell the story within Drake’s Deception. From the opening sequence in the pub, to the battle on the back of a plane in midflight and in the Rub Al Khali desert, you hooked in for every moment and just like Naughty Dog designed the game, your own personal emotions are what make the experience all the better. For those who are jumping into the Uncharted series for the first time with Drake’s Deception, a newfound fondness of the adventure, the lore of fiction and non-fiction meshing together and the cast of characters will have you wanting more and more.
Enhanced gameplay mechanics make their way into Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. The first, which you get a taste of within the opening sequence, is the enhanced fighting mechanic. Something that first debuted in Drake’s Fortune, Nate dabbled in fisticuffs when he doesn’t have a gun nearby. However, when Among Thieves released in 2009, it went from simple movements, into a more finite combat system which allowed you to no longer have to rely on a gun all time in order to engage your enemies and take them down. With Drake’s Deception, the fisticuffs system is more robust, allowing Drake to counter and/or block attacks, while at the same time delivering devastating blows to various parts of the body. The enhancements to the system also leads to moments like in the Rub Al Khali desert where Drake would toss his gun to his foe, but at the same time knock him out wile retrieving his gun all within a few seconds.
Another mechanic to be enhanced; for better or worse, is the shooting system. This mechanic has been enjoyed by many and loathed by others. Naughty Dog instituted the “perfect” shooting and cover-based system for Among Thieves, which was tweaked when brought over to Drake’s Deception. While I did notice for a few differences within the shooting scheme, it didn’t stop me from enjoying the experience and doing what I have to do. However, in order to please all those who picked up their DualShock 3 controller for Drake’s Deception, Naughty Dog released a gameplay patched which brought over a workable shooting system very similar to that of Among Thieves, to make everyone happy. I think part of the reason for the modified shooting mechanic in the first place has to do with latency issues brought about with the inclusion of the 3D option. Whatever the case may be, tweaked or non-tweaked shooting scheme, the experience doesn’t suffer in the process.
A new foe; the brute, is also introduced within this game… and boy is he a tuff one to take down. The brutes are different from the common foe you encounter along your journey. They serve two purposes within the game; one to diversify the combat and to allow you to utilize the new fisticuffs system. The first couple of times you run into these guys, you can’t wait to go toe-to-toe with these games, however after awhile these interactions soon feel scripted. However, to help with this, there are moments where you can actually avoid the hand-to-hand combat and action and simply drop them with a well place shotgun shot. The traditional Nathan Drake gameplay mechanics – climbing, grabbing ledges, jumping, chasing, fleeing – are all in tack and flawless in execution.
Just like in 2007 and 2009, Naughty Dog set the benchmark for what PlayStation 3 games; games in general for that matter, could and should look like. With every installment, something new was brought to the table. In 2007 it was water. In 2009 it was vast vistas and realistic environments. With the 2011 release of Drake’s Deception, we got a whole slew of things to marvel at. I’m talking about burning buildings with you in them, traversing a seemingly never-ending desert and chaotic waters which can turn your world upside-down. This game is littered with moments where you are simply amazed and often enough, speechless. The Rub Al Khali desert is the icing on the cake. Never has ANYONE ever recreated a desert in such a realistic manner. I’m talking about each and every grain of sand having “life” to it. When you see Nate traverse to desert in order to find Sully, you get a real since that he’s actually doing that, he could actually die out there in the blistering heat. Naughty Dog’s interpretation of what can and would happen to an individual traversing a desert is spot on and you can’t help but be amazed by it.
Character models are spot on with a few refinements in order to convey that some time has passed since the concluding moments within Among Thieves. Nate and Sully are definitely showing signs of wear-and-tear on them, which makes everything more believable. Katherine Marlowe looks like the spitting image of Helen Mirren. While the visual leap isn’t as noticeable between Among Thieves and Drake’s Deception, you can definitely see the refinement the development team brought to the experience. When option to play the entire game in 3D is worked in from day 1, you have a visual experience that’s on par with the likes of Avatar… for those who saw it in 3D. All I can say is breathtaking.
All of our favorites who have survived the first two games have returned in this final chapter (for the PS3 console) to reprise their roles. We have the masterful Nolan North back as Nathan Drake working side-by-side with the likes of Richard McGonagle (Victor Sullivan), Emily Rose (Elena Fisher) and Claudia Black (Chloe Frazer). As expected, this team delivered a very believable; and at times, heart-felt performances that will be remembered long after the end credits of the game. The witty banter that goes on between their characters on-screen and off is very genuine and funny. The inclusions of Graham McTavish (Charlie Cutter), Robin Atkins Downes (Talbot) and Rosalind Ayres (Katherine Marlowe) help take the interactions between the characters to new heights, though not as engaging as those from our key group.
There is so much to do within Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deceptions single-player campaign and the multiplayer campaign. For beating the game, just like previous installments, you can go back try completing the single-player campaign on a hard difficulty level; with Crushing being the hardest of them all. You can also go back through and try to collect all 101 treasures, which are scattered throughout the 20 plus chapters. You can also secure 98% of all the trophies within the game simply be replaying chapters and defeating foes 30 times with certain weapons, taking down enemies who use shields, etc. Once you have gotten your fills of the single-player campaign, you can jump right into the multiplayer experience; both online and offline and complete your trophy hunt and obtain platinum status.
The multiplayer experience broken down into two components – Competitive and Co-operative multiplayer- which offers up enough content to make everyone happy. There are a total of six competitive modes and three co-op modes. Every kill, every explosion that goes on within the competitive modes will net you some cash, which you can spend on weapon upgrades, new character skins, costumes and more. Obviously, the more time you invest within the online multiplayer campaign, the more you are rewarded with and the variety of items to spend your chase on grows. Looking to acquire massive amounts of cash quickly, you can take try your luck with mission options. Missions can be purchased for a set fee, which allow you complete certain tasks during a multiplayer match for a handsome reward. These missions range from achieving a certain kill count, to acquiring medals or completing specific challenges.
You know the old saying that without friends, you are no one. Well that holds true with Uncharted 3’s multiplayer. The inclusion of the buddy system encourages you to team up with other players to devise strategies for taking down your opponents. No longer do you have to lone wolf it on the battlefield. If you ever go down in a fight, you can respawn where your buddy is located, so you don’t have to go looking for him and maintain backup at all times. However, at any time you want to swap buddies, all you need to do is high-five another player in the game and you will become new best buds. However if you feel you don’t want help your buddy out, keep in mind “what goes around, comes around” and you can find yourself at the mercy of your enemies without any help in sight.
Rounding out the multiplayer experience is the Co-op Adventure mode. This is where I have spent most of my time when playing online. This mode is rather short, but very enjoyable with a five-chapter campaign featuring all the past and present characters from the Uncharted series. This is Naughty Dog’s way of providing a co-op experience to their single-player campaign, but without breaking up their tried and true formula. This mode allows you play through the experience with a buddy or a stranger either online or offline through splitscreen.
We all knew this day was coming, however no one expected it to be so soon. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception concludes a long journey for our guys and gals over at Naughty Dog. What once started out as a simply single-player experience with Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune has turned into an all encompassing experience that has and is shared by millions worldwide. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is the definitive experience for the PlayStation 3 enthusiast. Though often compared to previous installment Among Thieves, Drake’s Deception helped answer many looming questions, while at the same time left some unanswered for the future. From an enriched storyline, to engrossing environments and to a star-studded cast that help to convey the ideals of Naught Dog, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is the best way you can conclude a trilogy that’s not actually stopping with just three installments. 9.5/
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