Game Review: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3)

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception continues the adventures of wisecracking, ledge-jumping, bullet-absorbing Nathan Drake. This game reveals two keys to Drake's character: how he and his mentor Sully first meet, and the significance of the ring he always wears around his neck. The game begins in a pub in London, opening with a bang and also introducing newbies to the controls. As the story unfolds, players are taken to the streets of Colombia, a forest in France, a citadel in Syria, and the Rub' al Khali desert in the Arabian peninsula. The end of the journey is the "Atlantis of the Sands," a mystical city that holds a potential weapon sought by the game's villains.

Drake's Deception continues the many fine elements of the previous games. It's beautiful--easily the most visually stunning entry in the Uncharted series, with well-rendered character movements and locations. There are instances when the camera pulls back to show Drake as a tiny figure struggling in the backdrop of an enormous setting, and it's mighty impressive. Meanwhile, the music is as reliably good, the dialogue is as sparkling as ever, and the action scenes are fun, with plenty of running, slow-mo leaping, brawling, and shooting. There's maybe just a tad more difficulty in some fights with the sheer number of minor baddies and weapons. My heart rate went up during a few of the more protracted skirmishes.

The biggest improvement, apart from the visuals and combat system, is the character development. Drake's past and his motivations are revealed in this third outing, and it's clear that he cares very deeply about the two main supporting characters, Sully and Elena, now his estranged wife (Hah! Team Chloe!). And he's a good guy, as shown near the end of the game. But there's still one big mystery about him, which involves the title. I shan't spoil it here, but I hope they answer my question in the fourth game!

This review ain't all praises, though. My beef with this game is the plot. It's weaksauce, which is forgivable because Handsome Adventurer on Quest for Mystical Thing is a winning formula, BUT. The story got downright derivative at times. I felt like I was watching The Mummy during one part. Naughty Dog tried to distract me with an extremely enjoyable sequence involving horses and RPGs, but I was not diverted! How dare a game studio borrow a story element from a late 90's movie that itself took liberally from an 80's franchise! The temerity!!!

Also, the hallucination sequences gave me motion sickness. :(

But, as my father-in-law would say: whatever. This series is so awesome that I went to GameStop today to get Uncharted 1: Drake's Fortune. I can't wait! wheeeee

TL; DR: Among Thieves had a better story than Drake's Deception, but Drake's Deception is superior at everything else.

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