Uncharted 3, My Take

Having me do the review for Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception probably wasn’t the best choice. I’ll admit it, I’m biased. I mean seriously, deeply biased. To understand the bias, you need to reach into my past.

Raiders of the Lost Ark Box Art

Raiders of the Lost Ark Box Art, This is gonna' be great!

When I was a kid, I wanted to be Indiana Jones. I wanted to fly off to distant places to hunt for treasure and shoot Nazis. Picture little SteveO getting called by a friend and invited over to try out the “new” Indiana Jones game for the Atari 2600. Let’s just say that I was at his house before he could put the phone down and ask his mom if it was OK.

He showed me the box that contained the mystical cartridge, it looked like this …

My mind ran wild! It’ll be just like playing the movie except I control all the action! Slowly, my friend popped in the cartridge – after blowing on it of course – and soon we were whisked away to that far-off land hunting treasure, solving mysteries and fighting the Nazis! As you can see from a screen grab, it was an amazingly deep experience filled with vivid imagery and amazing game play.

Raiders Of The Lost Ark Screen Grab, stunning realism. . . errrrr no.

The game play really captures the flavor of the movie

Except well, it wasn’t.

So, with that in mind I shall now give my review of Uncharted 3, Drake’s Deception, and here it is:

It was fucking awesome, except……well, it wasn’t.

I know, right? Here’s what I mean, it was arguably the best of the series for several reasons (which, of course I will go into), but it missed for me on a couple of very small plot points that once I finished really stuck out.

So why was it the best? Everything is better. Better locations, better game mechanics, better story better characters; just plain better than the previous two games. Let me break it down for you though.

First, the thing is beautiful. I mean BEAUTIFUL. It was so well done that I got sucked in to just looking at the scenery. I found myself walking around and checking out all the stalls in the bazaar; when swimming, I was looking for every hidden place in the harbor. Oh, and the cruise ship was just amazing, from the roll of the deck to the ornate decorations, I have never been so sucked into a game that wasn’t open world.

Beauty aside, the game has real substance too. It has a tightly wound plot that is easy to follow. Obviously it was written by people who could craft a story (take note Kojima and whoever the fuck came up that slop called Final Fantasy 13).

How does it play? That is a really good question. Let me tell you all about the game play mechanics and improvements they’ve made since Uncharted 2…………………………..

Alright, that’s boring. And lets be real, I wasn’t going to do it justice anyhow. Besides, you’ve seen E3 and all the trailers, you already know its better. The biggest change is the hand-to-hand combat. The opening of the game introduces this new style and while it’s not substantially different than previous versions, it does make the fight sequences more fluid. They do become repetitive though, one fight sequence seems to fit all areas.

Shooting mechanics? Yep, they’re better too.  For instance, the fucking AK-47  will actually fucking kill a fucking opponent in UC3,  something earlier installments neglected.

Let’s talk environments. This is where UC3 really shines, the attention to detail is amazing, just when you think the PS3 couldn’t be pushed any further they manage to do it. But then again, this is Uncharted; what do you expect?

All in all, Uncharted 3 a fantastic game, worth every penny. I give it 8 Shurikens out of 10, in spite of the plot holes, it’s a worthy successor to previous installments and just an all around fantastic game.

So what about that: “It was fucking awesome, except……well, it wasn’t.” thing?

 

OK SPOILERS BELOW….. Don’t read any further until after you’ve played and finished the game so we can discuss.

 

 

 

The trouble with UC3 has nothing to do with the game as it was released. I mean seriously it’s a great game. If Plato were in his cave playing a PS3, he would be playing Uncharted 3. The trouble is that there were elements in the game that just didn’t fit.

Plot Hole 1: The spiders. Why were they in there? We see one in amber in Marlowe’s underground library, we meet them in France and then a few times more towards the end of the game.

Next Week We'll Have Bats!

But why? They just don’t have any role in the story. The planning session probably went something like this:

Director: “Hey, we need to elevate tension in the scene and get Drake running, but we can’t use Talbot here because we need him later so what should we include?”

Writer: “How about spiders?”

Director: “Spiders, you say? Excellent. Maybe in the next level we’ll have bats! Bats are really scary” (apologies to Second City TV and Count Floyd).

 

Maybe he's a Highlander

Plot Hole 2: Talbot.

WTF? How is he not dead? I’m pretty sure he gets killed every time and then he magically shows up later. You know what though? I’d accept an immortal Talbot if you could say he was wearing the amulet of the Djinn or something, but nope, no explanation at all. He just keeps showing up. He’s like the  Energizer Bunny.

Oh, and when he does meet his final moment, its weak. It like the writers put a sticky tab on the script that said “Have the Intern kill off Talbot here, please.”

Oh well.

 

Plot Hole 3: The desert. There are little problems in the desert that bugged me. Drake wanders around so helplessly in the desert you really begin to feel for him. The pacing for the level was perfect and the cut scenes amazing, you really begin to feel lost in the desert, except…. When he finally gets to the abandoned settlement full of Marlowe’s men. He goes from being on his last legs to fighting like a fucking lion.

Ok, you know what, I could go with that, but well fuck Naughty Dog, here’s an idea, why not have him stop and take a goddamn canteen from a fallen foe, or sip from a well.  I mean we spent all this time lost in the sand and sun, what do you say we get some closure and take a few minutes to hydrate and put on some sunscreen.

Lastly at the close of the desert level Drake is, well, he’s fine. Like nothing ever happened. Drake has fully recovered and is ready to roll out of there with Salim (nice to see you again Tenzin) and fight the bad guys.

I Don't Belong Here.

Plot Hole 4: The ship level. The entire ship level, which kills me because it was so fucking awesome, just doesn’t fit. It was simply a level between all the other levels.

We frantically chase and board a ship carrying Sully in a horrible storm and survive its rolling deck, its thug filled rooms and even its sinking only to be washed-up on the shore of the city we just fucking left? On a perfect day? Hey Naughty Dog, if I’m getting on a boat, hows about taking me somewhere!

Here’s the thing about Uncharted 3, it really is a great game. It should be in the top running for Game of the Year and despite my snarky comments, I enjoyed every moment of it. I guess I was just hoping for more, like in my Atari days; I wanted the box, I got the game. Same here. I wanted it all; I wanted to be Nathan Drake, I wanted to play a movie and be the star, but in the end I just got a game – a really good game.

 

 

Score: 8/10