Reader Review: Uncharted 3 - Drake's Deception

To say that Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception was successful would be an understatement. The game received overwhelmingly positive reviews and shipped millions of units in its first week of sale... so was it worth the hype? Kotaku reader and regular reviewer, Tristan Damen, isn't so sure if the game was deserving of all the glowing praise it received. Here is his review.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

The first two Uncharted games were reason enough to buy a PlayStation 3. Both were challenging, beautifully-rendered adventure games that combined solid third-person cover shooting with thrilling set pieces and platforming sequences. Nathan Drake returns — two years on — for his third adventure, Drake’s Deception. Can Naughty Dog deliver a third time around?

The Good

The Keanu Reeves Effect - Drake’s Deception is the most visually-stunning game that I’ve played since Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction. The varied locales, which range from ancient temples to the London Underground, are rendered with such painstaking attention to detail that you’ll often want to take pause and appreciate what Naughty Dog have managed to create. More spectacular still is watching these structures and vistas fall apart. Be prepared to think and say “Whoa,” a lot.

Knowing the ropes — The Uncharted games have been like comfort food for this gamer’s soul; and the third game works similarly enough to its forebears to soothe even the most cynical gamer. You’ll be able to predict every plot twist, every explosion, every false platform and handhold. You’ll laugh at each of the casts’ clever quips, and sit on the edge of your seat when you believe for anyone of them to be in mortal danger. Even the way trophies are doled out is nearly identical to its predecessor. Uncharted 3 is the videogame equivalent of an action movie, and it’s an association of which the developers are clearly not ashamed.

The Bad

Doesn’t play well with others — Even now, just weeks after launch, most of Uncharted 3’s various multiplayer lobbies are as desolate as the Rub’ al Khali desert. Worse still, modes like Co-op Adventure feel like a missed opportunity. Recycled assets, aimless narratives, and repetitive shoot-out stacked upon repetitive shoot-out makes this mode entirely skip-able.

Fisticuffe — You’ll notice from the outset that Uncharted 3 features a more fluid melee combat system than that found in previous iterations of the series. What you’ll also notice — particularly by the end of the adventure — is that said melee combat system is shoehorned into as many situations as humanly possible. When there’s competition that does it better (far better if we look to the recently released Batman: Arkham City), you have to question whether the attention devoted here could have been diverted to more important areas... like the gunplay.

The Ugly

Stormtrooper Syndrome — Do yourself a favour: as soon as you’re armed with a gun, crank the sensitivity up to full. Even then, aiming is almost unforgivably-sluggish, particularly for a series where the gunplay has previously been a highlight.

A bigger bang — For all the explosions and burning buildings, Drake’s Deception doesn’t take any risks in term of narrative outcomes – there’s no heartbreak, there’s no failure. It would have been nice to have been surprised when the credits rolled.

Sheltered life — Even seven chapters (roughly two hours) in, the game is still teaching you how to play: freezing the action and presenting button prompts to help you along. If any of the puzzles stump you, you're often presented with a fully-fledged solution instead of a subtle "hint". All of that handholding ends abruptly with the nineteenth chapter: the damage model becomes insanely brutal, and I'd wager that most of my one-hundred and twenty-nine deaths eventuated from those oppressive final acts. Sometimes I'd spawn to a hail of RPG and grenade fire, or in front of a group of over-powered enemies. All of the momentum from the earlier levels was ground to a frustrating halt.

The Verdict

If I may, I would like to contest Simon Parkin’s oft-discussed review of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with the score (if anything, I would have gone lower), it’s the content of his argument that I have a problem with. He essentially claimed that to its detriment, Drake’s Deception does everything to keep you on course; and that even when you’re set to fail, the game will give you a helpful push to make that final jump, or kill that persistent group of bad guys. This doesn’t bother me at all, as the Uncharted games have always provided hyper-linear experiences that are at their best when the player is “on the track.” It’s when the track work isn’t quite finished that the games have faltered.

The third instalment has more of those “bumps” than any other game in the series. It’s a great game that is unmatched in terms of visual prowess; it’s just this time, the flaws are more noticeable, and this impacted on my enjoyment of the game as a whole.

What do you think of Uncharted 3? Do you agree with the points Tristan has raised, or do you think he's miss the mark? Let us know what you think!


Comments

    My review for this would be some like
    -no cheats
    -unskippable cutscenes
    -plot holes
    -laggy multiplayer
    -waaaay too linear
    -"epic" moments thrown in for the hell of it
    -what was the deal with the ship? why would you do that?
    -no reply value at all
    -crushing mode was too simple compared to past titles

    It seems the formula that naughty dog used to make Uncharted 2 was recycled for 3. The games differ from the first, but the catch being is that the first is actually good. 2 and 3 were made, almost as fanservice to action blockbuster fanatics and it's disgusting.

      - Yes no cheats, whoopdeedoo, move on...
      - All prerendered cut-scenes are skippable, except in game ones, it has always been like this.
      - Plot holes like? I understand there are somethings that weren't fleshed out or ending too quickly.
      - I don't seem to have a problem with it, so it must be just you.
      - Sorry were we playing the same game, how do you be more linear than a linear game, you go from A to B, what else is there.
      - "epic moments" like? The whole of Uncharted games is one whole epic adventure, if you missed those you must have been playing a different game to the rest of us.
      - It's a linear game so what did you expect... were the previously games any all that different each time you played it? Sounds like you are ripping on the genre of game rather than the game itself
      - How much more complex did you want crushing mode, it gave you less health...what else?

      But I can see why you'd be ripping on Uncharted 2/3, you seem to prefer Uncharted 1 which crams endless hordes of spawning bullet-sponging pirates for no gameplay reason...thank god Naughty Dog realised that wasn't a good direction.

      "-no cheats"

      Are you serious? Are you really listed that as a bad thing?

        +1

        I dunno what he was going on about, although I do think there is something missing from Uncharted 3 that Uncharted 2 seemed to have in spades. Yes, I don't know what that is, yet.

    http://wp.me/p1NBQj-99

    Posted about my disappointments in one of my favourite game franchises here. Complete within incorrect Monsters Inc. references (thanks Strange!)

    Yeah, I'm glad to see I'm not the only one underwhelmed with UC3. It was fun while it lasted (about two days on hard). But, really, sweet graphics aside, it just a bit 'churned out' to me. It's hard to put a finger on it, but it just didn't grab me the way the first two did. Ultimately, I was a little bored by the whole thing.

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