OFF TOPIC => Review Board => Topic started by: MiniVanMan on November 03, 2011, 01:13:21 PM

Title: [Video Game] Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Post by: MiniVanMan on November 03, 2011, 01:13:21 PM
In a word: Amazing. In three words: Amazing, but familiar.

It's not really a bad thing that U3 feels so much like U2 and, well, U1 for that matter. Naughty Dog purposefully left alone the things that didn't need to be screwed with. Hand-to-hand combat got an upgrade and becomes a highlighted part of game play many times, unlike U2 where it was optional only. You can throw back enemy grenades now, which is much better than panicking and jumping off a cliff to your doom to escape the explosion. Other than that, the game play mechanics are pretty much exactly the same as they always have been, which is fine because the controls are smooth and for the most part responsive. I still have trouble turning around and mounting ladders in tight spaces, but I have that problem in MOST 3rd person shooters, so maybe it's me, not the game.

The graphics received yet another upgrade, mostly with the character models and lighting. There are some cool special effects as well. Some characters look slightly different thanks to more detailed facial features, for example, Elena almost looks like she underwent some sort of plastic surgery. She looks more realistic now, but after seeing her so much in the previous games, it's easy to notice that something's different.

The sand in the later part of the game in particular is incredibly impressive. Footprints don't just appear, they morph as the weight of your body presses into the surface of the desert. If you're on a hill, sand spills out of the pockets your feet are making and trails downward a short ways. The snow in Uncharted 2 looked pretty great, but the sand in Uncharted 3 is unparalleled.

The action is extreme and intense. Uncharted 1 had some cool set pieces, most notably the ending battle. Uncharted 2 had a few large scale sequences, such as the technically impressive train ride (and eventual escape from the wreckage as it slips off a mountain).

These pieces were connected in such a way that it made sense for Nate to be in these situations. The long, winding train ride led to the eventual wreck and escape, and it was all in the course of Nate's journey.

Uncharted 3 has some incredible set pieces, but they don't always feel natural to the story. The sinking ship in particular feels like it was an idea that was worked into the story, rather than a truly inspired section.

Don't get me wrong, the entire level is amazing, from the point the storm rolls in and the waves begin transforming the previously still platforms into a completely different challenge, to the boarding and eventual escaping of a cruise ship as it capsizes and begins to slip under the ocean's surface. The whole thing is incredible, but the entire purpose for being there feels like it was shoe-horned in just to show off a fancy idea for a set piece.

The plane crash served a purpose, however, and was as exciting as it was brilliant looking. You can tell that the plane crash and desert level that followed were designed with extreme care.

One thing there seemed to be an over-abundance of in U3 was the number of times that Nate jumped onto a ledge or object, just to have it collapse under his weight. This happened at least once in every climbing segment. Sometimes it's just to make the climbing more difficult as you need to hurry before you fall, other times it's to position you in such a way that you have to climb where the game wants you to climb. It just seems over done, much like in Uncharted 2 when it seemed that every "partner mission" had a point where one person would fall short of a landing and be caught by the other, dangling precariously above certain doom.

The story is possibly the best this time around, eschewing the usual mythical monster twist at the end and instead finding a more creative way to introduce the "supernatural" element, which for anyone who was bothered by the monsters in Uncharted 1 or the Yeti's in Uncharted 2, will be a much welcome change.

The sub-title "Drake's Deception" leads you to believe that Nathan Drake has a secret, and I suppose he does, but it's not the major turning point it's made out to be. The Drake in the sub-title is not Nathan Drake, but Sir Francis Drake, and it's his Deception to which the title is referring. Nate himself has a few secrets that are never answered, so I'm unsure as to why they were brought up at all, but all in all the story is not the series-changing twist many were expecting, it's just another chapter.

The only real problem I can think of with this game is that the intensity is ratcheted so high right from the get-go, that by the end of the game, you're sort of desensitized to it. I felt a bit like I just wanted to see how everything tied up, and I was getting tired of the never-ending chase. There are several moments that break the pacing up to pull you out of the fairly repetitive game play of certain missions, but while Uncharted 2 nailed the pacing of those moments, Uncharted 3's gun fights seem to last just a bit too long. Uncharted 1 had the same problem, only it was made much, much worse because the enemies in that game took a lot of damage before dying. The only major threat in Uncharted 3 is letting shotgun baddies get too close, or those bastard grenade launcher/RPG assholes who always show up at the worst time.

I do like that the gun fights are fairly open-ended as to how you finish them. For example, one took place in an airport shipping yard. I climbed to the top of a few stacked shipping containers where in previous efforts a grenade launcher asshole kept killing me from, and every time a bad guy climbed up, I just shoved him off to his death. If a shotgun dude or other armored asshole climbed up, I just let loose some shotgun blasts of my own until he was no longer a problem.

Overall, Uncharted 3 sets the bar for visuals once again. The sand effects alone are worthy of awards, and the entire escape scene in the end is incredible looking.

The voice acting is great as always, the story is interesting, the bad guy is a REAL smug asshole whom you really cannot wait to get a hold of and put the hurt on, yet there are enough moments that take time to show you that Nathan Drake is a human being as well, which is a nice change of pace from most heavily-action oriented games.

I like first person shooters for the immersion, but you never really get a chance to connect with the character you play as. Uncharted 3 doesn't make you feel like Nathan Drake, it makes you feel like his side-kick, with him every step of an incredible adventure. He may not be the deepest character in gaming history, but Uncharted 3 shows that there's more to him than he apparently let on in previous games. But... it just doesn't blow me away like it probably would if I didn't know what to expect.

Regardless, easily one of the best games of the year, if not THE best. I haven't even touched multiplayer yet, either.

10/10 from me, but take that with a grain of salt because I am definitely an Uncharted fanboy.
Title: Re: [Video Game] Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Post by: Sponty on November 04, 2011, 08:59:59 PM
Holy shit that was a long review. You ever thought of writing for a gaming magazine?

edit: ZOMG my post count is the same as my area code  :willy:
Title: Re: [Video Game] Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Post by: Netforce on November 05, 2011, 05:51:55 PM
I thought about picking it up.
Does it have a co-op mode?
Title: Re: [Video Game] Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Post by: MiniVanMan on November 06, 2011, 07:48:25 AM
I thought about picking it up.
Does it have a co-op mode?

Yep. Haven't tried that out yet. It was fun in Uncharted 2, can't imagine it'd be less fun here.
Title: Re: [Video Game] Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Post by: Netforce on November 06, 2011, 06:26:32 PM
Awesome. I'll pick it up tomorrow.