As far as I’m concerned, the Uncharted games were brand new experiences since I completely skipped out on the PS3 (listen to our opening podcast episode to find out why). The first two games were so good, and I couldn’t wait to fire up the 3rd entry, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. Feel free to check out my thoughts on Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves as well!
How does it stack up? Read on…
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
The bar has been set ridiculously high, thanks to the masterful execution of Uncharted 2. How could a sequel improve on the story, characters, and gameplay that were already top-notch? As it turns out, they didn’t really improve much. They just did more of it.
Uncharted 3 allows players to see a young Nathan Drake for the first time, and we see how Drake and Sully became friends and partners. It’s a meaningful connection that establishes a running theme throughout the game. It’s their relationship that really carries this story, and provides for some of the more meaningful moments. The writing and performances pick right up from where Uncharted 2 left off, and the end result is another fun and compelling adventure story.
The gameplay has a few minor tweaks that give the player better control over Drake during gun battles and climbing, but the differences are so minor that I would really consider it an upgrade. The battles are a little more varied this time, and the availability of high-powered guns has been increased. I fired more grenade and rocket launcher rounds in Uncharted 3 than I did in the previous two games combined. Whether jumping between horses and trucks while careening through desert canyons or sneaking through castle ruins while trying to stay out of sight, I was constantly engaged with the moment-to-moment experience of this game.
The visuals look better than ever, and the remastered edition in the PS4 collection makes it nearly indistinguishable from games release this gen. In Uncharted 2, players experienced a number of different environments, but Uncharted 3 takes them almost completely around the world. From a pub in downtown London to hidden ruins in Eastern France and a chase through city streets in Yemen – no single location overstayed its welcome. I constantly had new environments to take in and new places to explore. The ship graveyard was a highlight for me, as the game designers masterfully used that setting to craft some spectacular battles and set pieces.
Nate, Sully, and Elena are characters that series fans have come to love, and the all get some great moments to shine. There are clearly some missing story pieces between Uncharted 2 & 3, but the dialogue between characters catches us up on the cliff notes of the story. Their interactions feel a little more natural this time around as well, and the performances by the voice actors are absolutely top-notch.
As I mentioned earlier, there are some meaningful – and heavier – moments in Uncharted 3 that add depth to each character, and the overall experience is lifted because of it. There are several moments that I actually feared for certain characters’ well-being, and that adds a feeling of desperation for the chase scenes and gun battles.
Uncharted 3 is one of the best games that the PS3 has to offer. The only drawback I can point out is that it doesn’t do much to improve what was already done in Uncharted 2. It’s simply more of that fantastic quality and exhilarating experience. Naughty Dog has done it again with Uncharted 3, and I can’t wait to experience the 4th and final chapter of Nathan Drake’s story.