Every once in a while a game comes along that really reminds you of why you love video games as a whole. Uncharted 2 was one of those games, and just like its predecessor Uncharted 3 gives the same feeling.
The PlayStation 3’s signature series returns with Uncharted 3, and it’s better than ever before. The amount of polish, time, and pure love that Naughty Dog has put into this project is clear and it all adds up to make one of the best experiences of this year and even this generation of games.
Fortune hunter Nathan Drake returns for another adventure in Uncharted 3, with a quest that has been a long time coming as you find out early on in the story. The game opens with an exciting under the table transaction that leads into a full out bar brawl. This opening sequence gives you a quick introduction to the much improved melee combat, but its fast pace is set off by the slow, more story focused pace of the next mission. This starts off a wonderful pace that the game keeps throughout the entire experience. As Uncharted 3 switches from over the top action and set pieces, to slower platforming parts, or a mix of the two you will never find yourself bored.
Above all, the real thing that makes Uncharted 3 a masterpiece is the story and presentation. The way the story is presented in Uncharted has always been a high point, and it’s even better in Uncharted 3. Over the three installments, the characters of Uncharted have become characters that I truly care about. Nate, Sully, and Elena all feel like real characters and their struggles have become exhilarating as well as touching at certain moments. As Nathan Drake wanders alone and exhausted through an expansive desert, I care about what happens to him and want to see him pull through.
This is the mark of master storytelling, and Naughty Dog is certainly one of the developers at the top for it. More than any game I’ve ever played; the interactions between characters seem real. After three games of working together, the voice actors have definitely developed some kind of camaraderie. They all play off of each other greatly and are completely convincing the whole way through.
A good story can’t succeed on its own though, it takes good presentation as well and in Uncharted 3 it’s stunning. The graphics somehow look even better than Uncharted 2 and animations have been given a higher level of detail as well. Character’s facial animations are some of the best that have ever been seen, and the environments in particular are absolutely gorgeous. There is also a few interesting things that Uncharted 3 does graphically, primarily with hordes of killer spiders and fire.
The level of detail in Uncharted 3 is completely off the charts. From the way the sand sticks to Nathans hair, to the way he pushes himself along walls when he gets too close. Everything about Uncharted is meant to immerse you in an exciting tale of intrigue and treasure hunting, and it succeeds wildly.
The second important part of the puzzle for Uncharted is of course the gameplay. While it may not be as tight as something like Gears of War, gun play and combat in Uncharted 3 is still more than sufficient. Like many shooters, you can carry multiple weapons and grenades, as well as take cover. In fact, Uncharted is very similar to the majority of third person shooters, except for one fact. The maneuverability you have access to. If you’ve played an Uncharted game you know that you have the ability to easily climb and jump your way around almost any area.
Luckily, the gameplay feels just as tight as it did in Uncharted 2, and the new melee system which is surprisingly similar to Arkham Asylum, means that the gameplay doesn’t slow down your enjoyment of the story. There are a few cases in the campaign however, where the difficulty ramps up to some seriously high levels. In fact, there are even a few instances where the game can feel downright unfair. These sequences don’t occur enough to put much of a dampener on the experience though.
There are of course two other modes that deserve serious mention in the game. Like the previous game, Uncharted 3 comes with a full fledged multiplayer and co-op mode. Multiplayer has become a seriously deepened experience from what it was before. There is a sort of unlock system with weapons and characters skins that functions in a way like Call of Duty.
As you gain levels, you also gain money that you can use to buy anything and everything that multiplayer has. You have two bonuses you can add on to your character, that grant things like more ammo or the ability to taunt over an enemy’s body. In addition, as you complete certain objectives in a match you gain medals which can grant a kickback once you’ve accumulated enough. Kickbacks grant you powerful bonuses like an rpg or unlimited ammo for a short amount of time. There is also enough variety in multiplayer modes, to keep you occupied for quite a while.
The multiplayer offering in Uncharted 3 is one of the absolute best you can find on the PS3. The wealth of unlocks and fun maps as well as modes keep things fresh for a while. This is a game that might have the same kind of multiplayer legs that few games can hope to achieve.
The voice acting is of course top notch that you can find anywhere, but the soundtrack of the game also deserves to be mentioned. It’s an interesting and beautiful soundtrack that helps set the tone and sometimes intense pace that the game delivers. Of course, it’s no big surprise considering Uncharted 2 had a fantastic soundtrack as well.
The Uncharted series is one of the absolute best of the last decade. It furthers the way a game tells a story, and becomes an experience. Uncharted 3 improves on almost everything from the previous games. With bigger set pieces, action, and gameplay, Uncharted 3 is just a bigger and better game. If you don’t own a PS3 at this point, consider buying one if for nothing else but Uncharted 2 and 3. They are truly memorable games and have some of the best experiences you can find.
Title : Uncharted 3
Format : PlayStation 3
Developer : Naughty Dog
Publisher : SCEA
Release Date : 11/01/2011