Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception


Uncharted 3, like its predecessors, is a very polished game. It is first and foremost a game about interesting locations, so everywhere you go there are small details enhancing the experience and Drake reacts to the environments to make them feel real – the animations, in particular, are really good at conveying the story. I thought the pacing favored action scenes a bit more than Uncharted 2 did, which is mostly a matter of preference.

Now, I am not that big a fan of the game and it may impact my opinions about its shortcomings, so I’ll go through that first – the Indiana Jones- camp just doesn’t get to me. It is a cyclical story – uncover a map to the location of an artefact, find the artifact, antagonist appears out of nowhere and takes it. Rinse and repeat. If this had built up to a climax where you got to take down your tormentors it would be one thing, but the final confrontation with them is relatively anticlimactic. The disconnect from the gameplay doesn’t help much either – Uncharted encourages you to be stealthy when clearing down areas but will not let you proceed until you have alerted and killed all enemies. After single-handily taking down a platoon of armored soldiers you still get to watch a cutscene where Drake gives up since he is outnumbered by four goons. I can see why people would like it – I have certainly glossed over worse problems in games where I liked the basic premise – but I don’t.

The other big problem for me is that Uncharted 3 has cover shooting mechanics and melee combat as well as Prince of Persia-like terrain traversal, the controls to allow all of these elements are clumsy. Maneuvering covers is a much bigger hassle than it should be and it is not uncommon to end up in a fistfight by mistake and then get shot. Considering the game is incredibly linear; more or less a long and usually very narrow story corridor, this is particularly annoying.

Now, Uncharted 3 does go a long way to counter these issues – checkpoint placement is usually very good, puzzles are just tricky enough (although the game is a bit quick to offer you hints) and some of the scenes really are spectacular. It is also a masterpiece of engineering so disregarding everything else I can still admire it from a professional standpoint. But at the end of the day it is hard to enjoy if you do not like the campy adventure story.

2 Comments so far

  1. Karl Zylinski on August 4th, 2012

    I found Uncharted 2 much better. But, as usual with Uncharted, I really loved the characters and the well placed comic relieves. Some gunfights are just too much and it feels overall less polished and more glitchy than Uncharted 2. I found it amusing that Nathan Drake points out when the gunfights get ridiculous: “You gotta be kidding me!”

    The best part of Uncharted 3 is the amazing bar fight in the beginning of the game! <3

  2. Saint on August 4th, 2012

    Yeah, I preferred Uncharted 2 as well, possibly for different reasons though. Having visually impressive scenes is obviously a core feature and while the boat sequence was cool, I thought Uncharted 2 did better overall. Also, there were less gunfights – apart from giving the control issues less opportunities to ruin your fun, it really ruins the mood when you are exploring some desolate ruins and find out that they’re not so desolate after all and apparently the bad guys got there way before you did.

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Posted on Jul 13/12 by Saint and filed under Reflections | 2 Comments »