Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception Review
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Uncharted 3 sets the bar for adventure games, it's an epic journey that you'll want to relive over and over again.
- Brilliant characters and storyline
- Breathtaking set-pieces and scripted sequences
- High quality production makes you feel you're the star of your own movie
- Some of the boring logic-based puzzles
- Some of the strange A.I. behavior
"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did."
Opening up Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception's narrative, T.E. Lawrence's poignant quote couldn’t be more appropriate. Developer Naughty Dog boasts a team of designers that are most certainly “dreamers of the day.” These are men who must have harbored dreams in the early days of development that the Uncharted series would be the success it's become, and then made it all possible by acting on their passion and making dreams become reality with an action-adventure franchise that has thrilled PlayStation gamers since its inception.
Uncharted 3 is the culmination of Naughty Dog’s hard work and dedication to the series over the years, and is both a magnificent technical feat and a benchmark of how far the action-adventure genre has come since the jagged rock-climbing days of Tomb Raider on PSone. It’s a game that pits you as the star of a blockbuster movie and blurs the lines between reality and fiction with its Hollywood blockbuster-style set-pieces. Quite simply, it’s a modern-day masterpiece.
But quality production values and glossy graphics can only carry you for part of that journey. Uncharted 3, however, stands up on its own two feet with a storyline and a cast of characters to match, with the incomparable and unflappable fortune-seeker Nathan “Nate” Drake heading up its strong list of personalities. Having started his Uncharted adventure dragging Sir Francis Drake’s coffin from the ocean floor, before setting off on the search for the fabled El Dorado, it’s entirely fitting that Nate is once again doing what he loves best – hunting for ancient artifacts, and teaming up with his father figure Victor “Sully” Sullivan for this third game in the series. We wouldn’t have expected anything less.
In Uncharted 3, the relationship between Nate and Sully is even more poignant and is often brought right to the forefront of the narrative. Naughty Dog has continued its good work from previous games by building on their close relationship, humanizing them so that you care about their alliance and understand their bond. A flash-back to the past, the moment when they first met, validates how deep their friendship runs and sets things up nicely for the rest of the story as they embark on a journey together that is thwarted with danger.
Nathan Drake has been a likeable character from day one. He's the kind of person men admire and women would want to marry, and Uncharted 3 is undoubtedly his finest moment. You empathize and sympathize with him and will him on each step of the way. In every chase sequence and every leap you take in his muddy boots you feel his overwhelming sense of loyalty, as well as his passion and strength for setting out to achieve exactly what he wants to achieve. In many ways, in terms of the characterization of Nate, Naughty Dog has surpassed what Crystal Dynamics has managed to achieve so far with Lara Croft. If you’re a hot-blooded male, Lara’s certainly sexier than the Uncharted star, but we’d rather be friends with Nate any day of the week. Nate has most definitely earned his place as a PlayStation icon.
In Uncharted 3, the storyline premise is predictable but the execution most certainly isn’t as you're taken on a voyage that you can immediately relate to and actually imagine taking place. On the hunt for a 16th century ring that is said to belong to the Elizabethan naval commander Sir Francis Drake, Nate soon discovers that his name-sake was also commissioned by Queen Elizabeth I to search for the “Atlantis of the Sands,” a hidden city buried deep in the Arabian Peninsula. Steeped in intrigue and mystery, with some ... (continued on next page)