Naughty Dog continues to push the PlayStation 3 to its limits.
By Kamal Hwail
After the overwhelming success of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves back in 2009, there is a lot of pressure on Naughty Dog’s shoulders. For a game that garnished numerous Game of the Year awards, many wonder, what can Naughty Dog bring to the table to make this universe worth revisiting? Is it more of the same or is it a fully fleshed adventure worth every cent? Well, Nathan Drake’s latest adventure manages to be a worthy successor. Allow me to explain.
First and for most, Uncharted 3’s greatest deception is your doubt. It rewrites the rules of making a cinematic blockbuster. The expert cinematography is simply sublime. The Uncharted franchise is known for its wonderfully crafted cut scenes, but Uncharted 3 is something special. In terms of the watching a film kind of feel, this is the real deal. Everything from story, graphics, musical score, and game play blend into a perfect little package. This level of quality is rarely ever seen in video games expect of such games like the Metal Gear and Mass Effect series, and Heavy Rain. From the moment you click “New Game” until the second the credits begin to roll, everything you do is crucial to the progression of the storyline. Among Thieves, seems to be composed into two parts: game play and cut scenes. However unlike its predecessor, Drake’s Deception takes this concept to the next level seamlessly combining these elements into an interactive film. This is, if anything, what makes this game truly shine and one of the best the PlayStation 3 has to offer.
Another aspect that was groundbreaking for Among Thieves was the graphical technology. Uncharted 2 had some of the best visuals any system had to offer and that’s not even including the spectacular set-pieces such as the locomotive train. Well, put that all in the past because Uncharted 3 is the real stunner. Although it may not repeat the drastic jump from the 1st to 2nd game, it definitely makes a few significant upgrades. The way Nathan touches wall as he passes, the way fire dances up walls, and the way sand gets caught in his hair is breathtaking. Nathan Drake’s animations have also seen major upgrades as you now controlling a real breathing human being. Just the simple things such as how he makes 180 degree turns, how he picks himself up after tripping, or how he blocks his eyes from sunlight are crucial to the realism of this game. Although I will not spoil any special locations here, the artistic designs are superb and really seem to capture the moment. Also it should be noted that there are some large action set pieces that prove once again that Naughty Dog are the masters of pushing technology and they absolutely out-perform Among Thieves.
As expected the voice acting and sound effects are top-notch and I will not go into that, but what is noteworthy is the musical score. Uncharted 3 has the most incredibly emotional, epic, and brilliant music ever heard within the Uncharted universe. The Arabian style blends perfectly into the action and the emotional pieces add a dramatic feel to the moment.
Although Uncharted 3 may be arguably the best game on PS3, others may argue it to be a disappointment. This ultimately comes from how shallow the story is. Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s still amazing. We finally get some personal insight from Nathan Drake and the rest of the gang. This is awesome. It’s just that compared to the 2 previous games which seem to be a thrill ride that keep you guessing the whole way, Uncharted 3 heads a bit into a different direction. None of its multilayer plot lines are fleshed out and it feels like a flat mess. Certain plot points don’t seem to go anywhere and just die off. Also certain game play sequences can have its fair share of dull moments. Again, the story is still satisfying by the end of the game but it wouldn’t hurt if Naughty Dog had revised certain scenes.
Uncharted 3 is a phenomenal work of art. It may be one of the best the PlayStation 3 has to offer. It definitely sets a new benchmark for a cinematic experience which future games will be judged by. Naughty Dog hit the industry’s pinnacle with Uncharted 2: Among the Thieves, garnering top honors and numerous game of the year awards. Drake’s Deception serves up a stellar experience, but it’s not as polished as its predecessor. Again, it’s hard to top perfection. Despite its small shortcomings, you will definitely find redemption in the multiplayer which is rich and deep and indeed the go-to-game for PlayStation fans. If you own a PS3, do yourself a favor. Pick this one up. If you don’t own a PS3, consider buying one.
Final Verdict: 9.75 “Incredible”