Monday, May 14, 2012

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception for the PS3 review




I love the video game character Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series. I know a lot of critics like to bash him for being “bland”, but like Kratos from God of War, I don’t really see what the heck they are criticizing. I find Nathan Drake to be an extremely likeable and memorable character. He is smart, but cocky. I find his reaction to certain events real. For example, early in Uncharted 2, Drake gets chased down an alleyway by a truck and he has to keep shooting it until it explodes. After that little chase, he is happy he got out of there alive, but he is still a little rattled and out of breath since he almost died, and that thought just caught up with him. He is a guy you would like to have a beer with. Sure, he might look and act like the everyday guy, but he is more than that. That is what makes this third person shooter franchise so fun. I mean, other third person shooter series like Gears of War are good, but in that series, they just make the scale of the game epic. The characters however, are not that interesting, nor memorable. They are just muscle-bound men with steroid rage. I am getting a bit off-track, so how about we take a look at Uncharted 3 for the PS3? This has to be yet again one of my favorite games of all time. I mean, besides a couple of little flaws that add up, I might love this game more than Uncharted 2 and that game was amazing. Just put in your Indiana Jones theme music and let’s get started. 

Before I get even more biased and over my head, let’s get into the story. Nolan North reprises his role as Nathan Drake. He and his friend Victor Sullivan, once again voiced by Richard McGonagle, search for some more clues and treasures that were left behind by Drake’s famous ancestor. They of course, run into trouble from an old female acquaintance by the name of Katherine Marlowe, voiced by Rosalind Ayres, who wants the ring that Nathan Drake wears around his neck, because it is a key to find what Drake’s ancestor left behind. What happens is mostly what you expect. You get Indiana Jones-style action scenes, a mystical culture, a mystical artifact, gunfights, some kind of demonic being, and many summer blockbuster movie-style scenes that are all combined to make a really amazing story. I think what makes the story so good is how it dives into Nathan Drake’s past, how he met Victor Sullivan, why Nathan Drake wants to find what his ancestor left behind all those centuries ago. I felt more involved in this story since, on top of the great characters, you got a more in-depth story about the characters and their relations. Don’t get me wrong, I love the stories of the last two games, but they always felt like popcorn summer blockbusters with over-the-top and 2-dimensional villains, while this film has a more 3-dimensional cast of characters, both good and bad. It is definitely the best story in any third-person-shooter besides Mass Effect. 

The gameplay is still the stuff you love. You have third-person-shooting, platforming, climbing everywhere like Spiderman, hand-to-hand combat, some minor stealth mechanics, treasures hidden around the game, over-the-top cinematic-like sections that would be perfect in a summer blockbuster, and some huge puzzles to solve. The third-person mechanics work like you would expect. You can take cover and hold up to two guns and about 4 grenades. You can take aim, and fire upon the enemies. New to the formula is the more streamlined hand-to-hand combat to where you can actually get close to the enemy and serve him a couple of knuckle sandwiches. The previous games had combat, but the first game’s combat was not very polished, and while the second game’s melee combat was improved, it is perfected here. You can punch and beat the tar out of your opponent, counterattack, grab, and sometimes grab something like a fish and slap them with it. The platforming is just like the last game. You will be climbing and jumping your way through areas, like a couple of desert towns, underground taverns, a cargo plane, a hidden city in the sand, a castle, and a few other areas. The puzzles are complex and can make you scratch your head, but are not too hard to where it becomes tedious, since if you wait awhile you will get the answer to solve the puzzle. Multiplayer has been enhanced with the return of co-op missions for offline and online play, a character creation for online multiplayer, new perks, an equalizer to losing teams, and multiple maps to play on and other things carried over from Uncharted 2. I know I just skimmed through this part, but for me anyway, I play Uncharted for the story and not the multiplayer, unlike most shooters that have issues with having an endearing single player. Overall, besides Mass Effect 2, Uncharted 3 is a third-person-shooter that I can recommend that has a huge amount of content that will keep you busy for quite some time. 

The Uncharted series has always had amazing graphics and this game is really no different. The detail on everything is amazing. Sure, it might not be as amazing as L.A. Noir’s facial animation capturing, but Uncharted 3 has amazing detail to everything from the wind hitting the sand to the boats floating in the ocean. The music, once again provided by Greg Edmonson has the same incredible music that you can expect with help from Clint Bajakian and a female Iranian American musician named Azam Ali. Overall, you can expect another great package music-wise from Uncharted 3. The voice acting is also top-notch, which again is an issue with a lot of shooters. You really believe that the characters are real and not hearing a voice actor or celebrity just doing the voice.

However, I do have some gripes, but not many. The AI is still terrible. A sign of this is when you see an enemy toss a grenade at a wall in front of him and it bounces off the wall and lands right next to him and someone else. It was hilarious to see, but sometimes it made me nod my head that everything else is so polished until you see the enemy AI. It is definitely better than the last game’s AI, but I still saw some areas where the enemies did some incredibly stupid things. The controls also still felt stiff, and it is one of those games that forces you to do what it wants and you can’t really do much about it. I mean, it plays more like a movie so you can’t just do whatever you want without some consequence. 

The third game in the series in my opinion, has the biggest hurdle to go over. Usually the third game is the best, but someone ALWAYS complains that it doesn’t have the wow factor the second game had and it is played on the safe side. Well, I think this game is the best out of the three and has some of the best moments in any third-person-shooter. While I enjoy shooters like Vanquish, I can easily and fully recommend Uncharted 3 to anyone who is looking for an incredible PS3 third-person-shooter experience. The game is still relatively new so you might want to wait a bit for it to get cheaper. The collector’s edition while not worth it in my eyes is just 100 dollars, and it might go down in price in the future. This is one of the best experiences I have ever had with a video game and you all should play it or at least watch a walkthrough of how amazing this game can be. Just check it out. SERIOUSLY! Stop reading this and go!
This game gets a solid 9 out of 10

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