Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Uncharted 3 Singleplayer Review

I would love to do a review for all of Uncharted 3 Drakes Deception, but seeing as how I've had no access to multiplayer, due to the game not being officially out yet, I cannot do that part of the review at all. Instead, I will be reviewing the singleplayer campaign, the heart of the Uncharted series, and everything to do with gameplay, graphics, sounds and the story. For this review I will be mixing the likes and dislike review method along with the essay format/text format. Know nothing about the series? Well here is a quick overview of the series and the newest game, for veterans of the series just skip over to the gameplay section.

Basic Overview
Uncharted 3 Drakes Deception is the third game in the Uncharted series, all of which are exclusive for the PS3. They are all action adventure games that have a strong story, a good cover system, an innovative climbing system, great voice acting, excellent graphics and amazing environments. The negatives about the first game was that it was short and it only had single player, with collectibles and multiple difficulties. The second Uncharted, Among Thieves, added multiplayer (competitive and cooperative) without compromising the excellent single player adventure. Among Thieves also improved every aspect of from the first game, creating an excellent single player and multiplayer package that people adored. Among Thieves came out in 2009, while Drakes Deception came just barely over two years later. The series is known for it's wonderful environments and deep characters, but some people tend to look negatively on it for it's linear storyline. Nolan North, the voice actor for the main character Nathan Drake, was pretty much made famous because of how well he did voice acting for Drake throughout all three games. Now and days you tend to hear Nolan North all over the gaming world. All three games are made by Naughty Dog, the company is known for Jak and Dexter and the Crash Bandicoot games from the PS2. Now onto the review of Uncharted 3, if you want to know anything else about the series and don't want to google it then feel free to ask.

Uncharted 3 Drakes Deception Single Player Review
Uncharted 3 doesn't really add anything onto the series, but it does have excellent environments that feel fresh,  along with the best story out of all three games. While I am not reviewing multiplayer, I have played it and it does feel improved upon the multiplayer in Uncharted 2, but it mostly felt the same. The two new protagonists in Drakes Deception is a woman named Marlowe and her head lackey named Talbot. They are both British and have a large amount of resources. Marlowe, Drake and Sully are all familiar with each other due to an event that you get to play through in Drake's early childhood. With that, I will start with the story.

Story Review
+Mature tone that is increasingly more present throughout the series
+Villains are evil, powerful and seemingly unstoppable 
+All the main characters tie in together
+All the new characters are easy to like/hate
+Characters from the previous games are not forgotten 
+Gorgeous and brilliant set pieces
+Supernatural parts of the story are enjoyable
+The story comes full circle by the end
+Drake evolves as a character
-Realism is not balanced (more on this in explanation)
-Ending isn't as satisfying as Uncharted 2
-Last boss fight is challenging, but short

There are a couple points I need to explain from that. The last boss fight was very cool, but it didn't have the big lead up or conclusion that you are used to seeing. It was still fun it just didn't have the impact that I had hoped for. I am fine with the Uncharted series not being realistic since they take after Indiana Jones, but I did not see so much inconsistency with realism in either of the other two Uncharted games. For instance, Drake at least once drops/falls from several stories without being injured, but one of the other characters falls a far shorter distance and breaks his leg. The ending of the game is rather short, maybe about 3 minutes long, while Uncharted 2 provided a slightly more substantial ending, but the ending was still meaningful it just wasn't as good as Uncharted 2.

Gameplay Review
+Combat is still smooth and challenging
+Increased number of melee takedowns
+Melee is more interactive
+Movement/Combat melds with the various environments very well
+Cover system still works great
+New chase scenes are challenging, impressive and fun
+100 treasures to find, like normal
-Very few new weapons to use, but still a fairly wide variety
-Enemies that use explosives can be punishingly difficult (more below)
-Beating singleplayer doesn't unlock anything (other than trophies)
+/- Climbing is neither better or worse than the previous games

The gameplay in Uncharted 3 essentially feels the same as Uncharted 2, but it does have some improvements and optimization's. Melee has been improved quite a bit, making it a little more difficult to do successfully and creating some great fist fights. They exemplify melee combat with a new enemy type that is basically a big brute, one that you can kill with guns but he usually closes ground to you very quickly. There is a new enemy type in the late game that uses explosives very frequently and even if you aren't hit directly by the explosives it renders you unable to move for several seconds, if you are playing the game on hard, or higher, difficulty then those few seconds will usually get you killed, especially when it knocks you out of cover. There are quite a few weapons in the game, but most of them are carried over from the previous Uncharted games.

Sound Review
+Excellent environmental sounds, like fire or the ocean. 
+Voice acting is fantastic and convincing
+Gun fire and explosions sound good, but not as great as Battlefield
+The music/soundtrack complements every part of the game very well

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the sound in Uncharted, it is all done well and thoroughly. Every environment and scene has some appropriate music to back it up. The music does a great job of drawing you into an situation, but it will probably be up to your taste in music since the soundtrack has many orchestral pieces. Enemies yell out phrases in battle from time to time, but they don't feel recycled or repetitive.

Graphics Review
+Somehow the graphics are even better than Uncharted 2
+Beautiful flowing deserts 
+The ocean levels show off some new and wonderful water graphics
+The fire graphics are some of the best I've ever seen
+Cities are huge, full of life and detailed
+Detail is evident in ever facet of the world
+No stuttering of FPS drop
+Faces are improved and even more lifelike 

Love the way they made the desert

I can think of nothing negative to say about the graphics, they are splendid, innovative and top of the line. One thing that Naughty Dog has always known how to do very well was the graphics and they keep finding new ways to make the graphics even more impressive. The deserts, oceans, forests and ancient cities are all examples of the great level of quality that their developers put into these environments.

Last Comments
Uncharted 3 improves upon most elements of the series, but it does leave a few aspects untouched and unimproved. The story is my favorite of the series, despite how much I loved Uncharted 2's story. All of the characters are full of life, personality and realistic aspirations. Watching Drake travel through forests, oceans, deserts and ancients cities is a pleasure. The singleplayer story is about the same length as the others, it took me nine hours to play through on hard. You still have the option to play through it on easy, medium, hard or insane. It is odd and annoying that that they removed the bonuses you earn from beating the game, bonuses that were present in Uncharted 2. You can still play a new game+ kind of thing, but it doesn't seem to have anything special about it other than all the treasures you've found are gone. Treasures are all over the place in the game, some easy to find and in your face while others take quite of bit of exploring to find. If you didn't like the other Uncharted games then this one isn't going to change your mind, but for anyone who hasn't tried any Uncharted game then this is a great example of how far the series has come. This is just a review of the singleplayer, but the multiplayer add's on a lot to the lasting appeal of Uncharted 3, it has many modes, many options and many items/skins/weapons to unlock. If you care to check out a bunch of offscreen gameplay head on over to my previous post. Thanks for reading. 

Violent Score: 9 (out of 10)

-Written by Sean Cargle


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