Retrospective: Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception

Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception (henceforth known as UC3) is the third game in Naughty Dog’s amazing Uncharted series.

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Originally released on November 1, 2011 now almost 2 years ago, does Nathan Drake’s third adventure still stand as tall as it did when it originally released or was it all just one big deception?

For those of you unfamiliar with the Uncharted series it stars Nathan Drake as a treasure hunter looking for a specific treasure or place each game. Joined by Sully Sullivan, his mentor, and usually a female acquaintance or two they go on crazy adventures all over the globe in search of lost cities, missing ships and just about anything you can think of that might lead to a nice payday.

All of the treasures Nathan Drake seeks in the series are based on real life myths and people. Nathan Drake himself is believed to be related to Sir Francis Drake, an English explorer that actually existed. Even the places he explores are pulled right from real world myth like in UC3 where drake is in search of The Atlantis Of The Sands also known as Iram Of The Sands that was famously described by Lawrence Of Arabia (T.E. Lawrence) as “A city of immeasurable wealth, destroyed by god for its arrogance, Swallowed forever in the sands of the Rub’ al Khali desert”.

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UC3’s story has Drake & Sully, along with help from a few new and old faces trying to find the whereabouts of Iram Of The Sands. To find its location Drake and Sully need to get their hands on Sir Francis Drake’s astrolabe and ring. Drake already has the ring and has made arrangements to get the astrolabe from this games villain Katherine Marlowe as well. This leads to a huge adventure going all over the world to places like France, Yemen and the Rub’ al Khali desert in Saudi Arabia to learn the location of the fabled Atlantis Of The Sands.

Uncharted games always have great stories but UC3’s story is better then the rest. From start to finish there are constant surprises and twists not to mention the large cast of great characters new and old. Its combination of witty one liners, action and drama work perfectly to make UC3’s story really stand out.

The gameplay in UC3 is tight and fun. Moving from and into cover is smooth and fast and being able to climb on most things gives you plenty of tactical options in the huge gunfights that pop up thought Drake’s adventure. Have a shotgun? Move from cover to cover blasting bad guys along the way. Working with an AK? Climb that wall and get to the high ground to line up those head shots. Aiming is smooth and quick making head shots just hard enough to line up to still feel satisfying while giving you the ability to get plenty of them. Each gun has its own feel and sound but my favorite is by far the AK-47. Its tight aim and small amount of sway makes it the perfect short and long range weapon.

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The Uncharted series is known to have some of the best platforming sections in gaming and UC3 is no different. Drake’s notebook contains clues to the puzzles and are extremely useful in figuring out some of the harder puzzles. Things such as walking along the right path of tiles or turning statues to face a specific direction to open a secret path are fun and fairly easy but most are a little more complicated and can be very challenging sometimes to the point where it takes you out of the game a little bit. In my opinion UC3 has the hardest puzzle of all the Uncharted games. Watch out for that medieval game show section as Drake would say.

The Uncharted series is also known for having some of the best graphics of this generation. Even Uncharted: Golden Abyss (Developed by Bend Studios) on the PS Vita is at the top of its class graphically. UC3 still stands out as one of the best looking games on the PS3 and its 3D gameplay is unmatched for a 3rd person action game, but after playing The last Of Us for about 40 hours now, you can see the huge jump Naughty Dog has been able to make to their graphics engine. That said UC3 isn’t meant to be nearly as realistic and still looks great with highly detailed animations, environments and people.

UC3’s multiplayer portion of the game just recently became free-to-play and shouldn’t be overlooked especially for FREE. Uncharted’s combination of climbing and gun play makes for fun online multiplayer battles. Modes like team death match and plunder are fun but the online co-op play is my favorite putting you and 2 more online players into a sort of mini story you need to work through capturing treasures along the way. UC3’s great 3D also works in the online multiplayer.

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As with every Uncharted game the iconic Nolan North is the voice of Nathan Drake. Nolan always does a great job voice acting and really brings Drake’s character to life. Drake’s fear while being shot at and cockiness while doing just about everything else all sound very realistic and help to keep you pulled into the games story. The sound of grenades exploding all around with snipers shoot at you in the distance as you dodge and weave from cover and up a wall with bullets ricocheting off the bricks around you is great and sounds amazing.

Overall Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception is still a great game. Its amazing story and use of real world myths, people and places gives it that extra something that really make it stand out. While UC3’s graphics might not be quite up to par with Naughty Dog’s newest game, The Last Of Us, which we reviewed here still looks amazing and continues to have the best 3D available on the PS3.