Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Uncharted 3 Review

Story. Usually, the worth of a game is judged ultimately by its story as long as nothing else ruins the gameplay experience. Uncharted 3 sets the bar in terms of it's story once again, leaving other games in the dust. A game that's origins started in single player continues to excel in that category, while improving upon the previously established multiplayer proves to be an excellent title. Without a doubt, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is the best game of the series, proven by the excellent story, unbelievable graphics, and improvements in all facets of the game.

Uncharted 3 takes single player story and gameplay to a whole new level. The second game in the series was a major improvement over the first in terms of overall experience, but this game makes minor tweaks to create a masterpiece. The story starts out really well, guiding players new to the series along the obligatory tutorial levels, but it does it in such a way that those already familiar with the controls will still have a great time playing through them. The overall story follows Nathan Drake's history, and delves into the relationship between Sully and Drake. It's definitely interesting to finally see how these two met up, and proves to be an amazing part of the story through the game as well. Along with the relationship between those two, many other relationships are discussed, and really proves how much you can care for a video game character. Nathan Drake has always been obsessed with his past, and with that of Sir Francis Drake's expeditions, lending to his treasure hunter mentality. This leads Nate to the biggest quest yet, a search for the Atlantis of the Sands. Of course, it wouldn't be an Uncharted game without someone else attempting to discover the same storied riches. Katherine Marlowe is introduced in this third installment in the series, and the story does a great job of establishing her as the best villain (rather, villainess) of the series. The "OMG" moments of the second game also make an appearance, and really take things believable over the top. The overall story has a varied level of difficulty, and a nice balance of puzzles, firefights, climbing, chasing, and cutscenes.

The story aside, this game still proves to be amazing. Gameplay wise, this installment is easily the most well-done. The mechanics of the game are just spot on, improving the few annoyances of the second game that mainly dealt with combat and climbing. You'll be faced with many challenges, which involve solving puzzles, taking out guards silently, and even running for your life a time or two. The puzzles aren't the most difficult thing in the world, but aren't necessarily a cakewalk either. The pacing seems a bit better than the first two as well, leading to a more evenly spaced out game in terms of time management and the number of firefights versus cutscenes versus climbing. The difficulty seems to be a bit too much at times, however. At certain checkpoints, the amount of damage received from the firefight is just overwhelming, causing a bit of frustration. Overall though, the challenges faced are best taken slowly and methodically, rather than going Rambo on everyone. All throughout, the humor is there as well, with almost every character lending something to the story in terms of humor. Many of the lines really weren't forced, and the writers do a great job with it.

The graphics are yet another outstanding part in this game. With the past two titles often regarded as benchmarks for other games, it's not surprising to see that Uncharted 3 yet again sets the mark to beat in terms of overall awe inspiring graphics. The biggest and most noticeable new features are the fire, smoke, water, and sand mechanics. The levels in the sand are probably some of the most stunning in the Uncharted franchise, and show how games should really look. Throughout the game, many different locations are visited, including Syria, France, and London, among others. Each city or location is designed with everything in mind, down to the last minor details. Rarely did textures have to populate even, lending to a much more immersive gameplay experience. The facial features and overall textures are also improved, making this one of the most realistic looking games on the market. It sounds great as well, with very great attention put into realistic sounds and explosions, as well as excellent voice acting (Nolan North). The musical score adds to the experience, making each moment just that much more epic.

Lastly, multiplayer. It's been through a beta, and its been through a Subway month of early play. The game's multiplayer is so varied, its impressive. There a many different modes, and the maps are actually really well thought out. No team is usually given any sort of advantage, and the overall experience is more fun than even the likes of the most hardcore first person shooters. It's meant to be a more enjoyable experience for all, rather than only those who are great at the multiplayer. With having the full multiplayer early, its safe to say that its been improved since the second game, and even since the beta. More modes have been added, and a ton more customization in terms of guns and characters. There's also more co-op missions to complete, and the multiplayer focuses a bit more on teamwork rather than being a lone ranger. For the single player alone, Uncharted 3 is amazing, but including an amazing multiplayer makes this game a definite purchase.

Story -9.5
Naughty dog yet again sets the standard for a game fueled by story. It does happen to leave a couple characters out of the ending, and forgets them entirely about 2/3 through the game, but otherwise its amazing.
Gameplay – 9.5
The difficulty is a bit too overwhelming at times, and Crushing difficulty must be ridiculous. Otherwise, the gameplay is amazingly fun and varied.
Graphics – 10
The mechanics of sand, fire, and water added to the already great overall graphics make it look like one of the best games ever made.
Sound – 10

Nolan North provides a great performance as Nathan Drake, as well as a great supporting cast and good attention to detail. The soundtrack is also great.
Replayability - 9.5
The story provides multiple difficulty levels and treasures to find. Also, a mulitplayer mode that rewards players with unlocks and has many different facets keep this game interesting for a while.

Overall Rating – 9.75


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