Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Review #73: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

 Likely the best in the trilogy.
 And here we have Nathan Drake's latest adventure, and probably the best one yet. Although the story is a bit formulaic, bad guy wants to find ancient city which holds ancient treasure that can probably be used for evil and Nate must race to find it before they do, the new bad guys are the best ones yet. Marlowe is the first female villain in the series, and she's more cunning and threatening than Navarro or Lazarevic. Talbot also works as a better lackey than Flynn or Eddy were. Character banter during gameplay remains as one of the series high points.
 Most of the gameplay remains the same, but some stuff has been changed. Melee has been changed for a third time, Square still works as your basic attack, but enemies are now a bit more resilient and may counterattack more often, making you use Triangle to dodge. The new gimmicks are Circle, which now grabs the enemy and context-sensitive attacks, say you are mashing Square near a bottle, Drake may grab the bottle and smash it on the enemy. The change is a bit odd, as melee was fine in Uncharted 2, but many new scenes now leave Drake unarmed, as to have showcase this new system, there's even a new enemy type, the Brute, who can sustain a lot of bullet wounds but will fall to punches more easily. The circle button also adds some annoyances as you may try to roll or take cover, but if an enemy is close, Nate will prioritize grabbing him.
 For some reason, Naughty Dog saw fit to remove the ability to change the shoulder camera while aiming, it's a bit baffling as it was fairly inoffensive even if you needn't use it all that often. New to his arsenal, by timing Triangle, Nate can hurl back grenades, eventually this feature becomes quite useful in latter levels. For the first time in the series, the game actually has hard puzzles. While most still have you switching to Nate's notebook to check for hints, these puzzles will actually make you think.
 Uncharted 2 had some amazing setpieces, like the Train level or the car chase, Uncharted 3 blows them out of the water. All of them are completely over the top and memorable, not to mention very unique. There's a Ship level that you must first invade, while waves rock it back and forth.... and then it sinks and you have to traverse it horizontally. There's a new car chase with horses involved. And there are plenty, plenty more. It's true, sometimes they feel a bit out of place, but the pay off is so satisfying that you won't mind the excuses the game pulls in order to get Nate to those places.
 Multiplayer returns, and it's just as good as Uncharted 2's. The shop system, for multiplayer also returns, and new to the series is offline co-op. Offline co-op is relegated to a couple of mini-missions though. Sadly, a lot of the Single player extras are gone, no more funny filters, Mirror World, Zero Gravity or skins. Regardless, besides the Single Player skins, who really cared about the other extras?
 Uncharted 2 looks amazing, and somehow, somehow, Naughty Dog managed to make this game look even better. Characters look even more detailed than before, there are more little details, like the way Nate reacts when colliding with objects added just to show off. Even getting wet looks better. This game is pure eye candy, no other game looks this good. The music remains just as good, and voice acting is still top-notch. Uncharted 3's presentation is not easily matched, as every field in the audiovisual department is outstanding.
 Uncharted 3 is a fantastic game to end the series. While I wasn't a fan of the new melee system, everything else is spot on. And even though the game is an audiovisual masterpiece, a game is not good if the gameplay is not good, luckily, this game is fun to play, and it's unique and incredible setpieces are easily worth at least one playthrough. For PS3 owners, this is a must-have.
 9 out of 10.

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