Players: 1-2 (Online: 2-12)
ESRB: Teen (Blood, Language,Violence)
Since hitting the Playstation 3 in 2007, Nathan Drake and the Uncharted series have quickly become a go-to title for anyone attempting to debate the console war. The first game was great, if not the blockbuster its sequels would become.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves released in 2009 and received essentially every accolade the industry has to offer. It established the series as a cinematic series dedicated to pushing video games into the future and mainstream media. It wasn’t long before people were itching for another Nathan Drake adventure, and it’s finally arrived.
As they discussed in the build up towards the title, Naughty Dog has focused on playing with their engine and really letting it shine. The team is literally playing with fire this time around in a gorgeously orchestrated flight from a burning building. Not long later, Drake’s plane crashes in the middle of the desert. While sand certainly doesn’t sound that interesting, Naughty Dog has given it pristine treatment.
The multiplayer has also received a facelift. While there was certainly nothing wrong with Uncharted 2’s multiplayer, it was often overlooked for stalwarts like Call of Duty. This year will probably be no different with Battlefield already out there and Modern Warfare 3 slated for later this week. However, it should be noted that the multiplayer here is deep and exciting. It offers a new spin on the ho-hum recipe with power plays to help even scores in the traditional team deathmatch and several other modes to choose from. The co-op adventure offers a loose story that can be played with friends online or on the couch, which is nice to see. However, the matchmaking is a bit buggy at times trying to stick with your party, and the co-op adventure mode can’t be played in order and needs a way to back out of it at any time. After the chapter select is offered, you can’t escape the mode until the game begins and you choose to leave. Other than this, there are plenty of fun kickbacks and weapon mods, lots of skins and lots of fun.
But I’m not here to say all the good things everyone else has already said. We know what it does well. Cinematic, fun and gorgeous. Here’s what you really need to know.
Uncharted 3 is its predecessor in every way as far as gameplay goes. The look sensitivity can’t be altered, which can take some getting used to, and sometimes you feel like you’re shooting someone right in the head but nothing happens. These won’t make-or-break your game, however, even on the hardest difficulties. You should be keeping to cover anyway.
Where this title is lacking is in story – specifically pacing. Uncharted 2 did this very well. The game started off with you hanging from a train in the snow over a cliff – right into the action. The backstory was jumped into nicely, building back up to where you started, and while Drake’s deduction skills do seem to be bordering on super powers, the plot was consistent. It kept going until you descended into Shambhala where the enemies were notably harder and the stakes were notably higher. It culminated in an exciting final battle and the dramatic escape, resulting in closure and a great title.
Uncharted 3, however, doesn’t build particularly well. (MINOR SPOILER ALERT). The story is going and it’s going and it’s interesting, sure, but you’re not sure where the intensity is. The difficulty is pretty standard throughout. You get to where you’re going and wonder “Wow, when was I suddenly here?” and before you know it the bad guys are almost getting away with it (in an act that is none-to spectacular in itself). Suddenly you’ve stopped them (which isn’t even triggered by a quick-time event, nontraditional for the series), and while you’re certainly left satisfied, the final battle is like “Eh, I’ve been doing this the entire game.” It feels very rushed by this point. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great, but it’s not Among Thieves.
This title does do a lot building on characters and their relationships, however (for the most part). We get a little of Drake and Sully’s backstory together and Sully is pushed more to the forefront, which many of his admirers will be happy to see. Marlowe, however brief and minor her involvement seems to be, is portrayed very well. One won’t realize how much you really hate her until it culminates towards the end, and suddenly you think “I’m not sure why I hate her so much right now, but dammit if I don’t!” So points there. Unfortunately, we’re still left itching to know what on Earth is going on with Nate and Elena.
Overall, a none-too-surprising quality title, worth every penny you might pay.
Bottom Line: 9.5/10