Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception – First Impressions

I knew going into this game that I was going to like it.  I played the second installment of the franchise back in September and absolutely loved it, so I knew the hype surrounding the third was well founded.  In fact, many people consider the Uncharted series one of the best video game franchises out there, and I’m very much inclined to agree.  When I jumped over to the PS3 in late 2010 after my Xbox 360 finally gave out, I was told repeatedly by Jsixgun that this was a series I had to check out.  Unfortunately, and for some unknown reason, I went out and bought the second one last September, and to this day I’m ashamed to say I’ve never played the first one (though, once I’m done with Uncharted 3, the first one will be the next game I play).  Regardless, after completing the second installment I fell in love with the Uncharted games, and so was very excited when my Grandma bought me the third game for Christmas.  And yes, that is adorable.

Usually a game will be excellent at one thing and everything else it will do poorly.  Rage was great with graphics but everything else was lacking.  Battlefield 3 is great with tons of things, but lacks the story.  Hell, even Skyrim is great, but comes with bugs and not the best graphics in the marketplace.  But Uncharted 3 seems to be one of those rare games that gets everything right.  I’ll start with the obvious and state that the graphics may be the best I’ve ever seen.  Now, I often praise games for having amazing graphics, but Uncharted takes it up a notch with its meticulous attention to detail.  It is, as far as I know, the only game out there where your clothes remain wet once you get out of water.  It is one of the very few games that I walk slowly through the levels just to take in the scenery.  Whether you are in a dilapidated French castle or a museum in Syria, this game does everything it can to make you feel like you are there.  The atmosphere is unmatched in terms of graphical beauty and detail.

The game is bright and colorful, which makes it wonderful to look at.   Not to take anything away from Gears of War, but compare that game’s extended use of grays to Uncharted’s full spectrum of colorful scenery, and it’s clear that Uncharted is one of those rare, beautiful games.  But graphics alone can’t make a game great, and so it’s a good thing Naughty Dog has meticulously built an amazing underlying game.  And while I sometimes do poorly at third-person shooters because I find them clunkier and more unwieldy than their first-person counterparts, I feel that the third installment has improved its shooting mechanics tremendously while retaining all the familiar aspects.  The cover system works very well in my opinion, and coupled with the array of guns, new and old, you get one fantastic shooter experience.

But you are not relegated to guns alone, and the fighting mechanics have also been improved.  I would liken them to the Batman: Arkham games in a way, though maybe boiled down to basics a bit more.  The feel, however, remains the same.  The game is also more difficult than its predecessor; the challenge giving it more of a game feel than simply a going-through-the-motions quasi-movie.  This is not to say that the theatrics have been reduced.  Quite the opposite, this game remains just as movie-like as the previous installment, and the story is just as captivating.  Naughty Dog is renowned for its story telling and they’ve kept up with the expectations in Uncharted 3, creating a complex yet easy-to-follow narrative that makes it exceedingly difficult to put the controller down.

What I like most about Uncharted 3 is that there is never really any redundancy of gameplay.  It excels at diversifying the flow of the game, so that at one point you are playing a pure platformer, while at other times you are engaged in nothing but a shooter, and later a Portal-esque puzzle experience.  Which, speaking of puzzles, these are some of the best I’ve seen in a game before.  And I’ll admit, more than a few times I’ve been tempted to consult the internet to find out the answer.  But I’ve avoided doing so so far, and I’m glad I haven’t.  Figuring out some of these challenges, especially one that looks like a medieval gameshow board (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you get there) are extremely satisfying, and help to make you feel more like you are actually in the shoes of Nathan Drake.  They are pretty damn difficult at times, but never impossible, and always make you feel like a genius when you figure them out.

On top of it all, however, is the best part of Uncharted, and that is the characters.   You really grow to love these characters as the game progresses, and you get to see their relationships evolve over time.  The ending of Uncharted 2 really was a touching moment, and so far I’ve seen some hilarious moments between the four main characters in the third game.  A great story really may be the rarest thing of all in a video game, especially one that involves character development, but Uncharted does it just so well.  It really is like a movie in this regard, and you’ll find yourself growing close to the characters as the game progresses.  Drake’s smart-ass comments when things go wrong are some of my favorite times in this series, and there is no shortage of them in this latest game.  I’m only about 1/3 of the way through, but I’m having a blast so far, and I’ll write a more proper review when I finish the game.  However, even at this early stage, I can still give my strongest recommendation to those of you who haven’t played it yet.  If you’ve played the first two, I’m sure you need no convincing.  And if you haven’t played any of them, don’t be like me.  Go out and buy the first one and then the second, and so on.  Uncharted really aren’t games to be missed…


One Comment to “Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception – First Impressions”

  1. Stabilization? Isn’t that what 2010 was? About 5% rise YOY seems relatively “stable” to me!A US rbnoued would help, however it’s this blog’s thesis that Canada and Vancouver’s prices relative to household incomes and rents are too high and that’s the elephant in the room. Restricting supply will cause rents to increase but not incomes.In terms of a US housing market recovery, based on the analysis by Fed members and bloggers like CalculatedRisk, prices still look high nationally. It’s likely many years off to where prices will merely begin to track inflation again, let alone increase above this.

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