Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Review (PS3)

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is the highly anticipated follow up to 2009’s Game of the Year, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. It was developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment America. Does this third installment match the same awe that Uncharted 2 achieved? Let’s find out.

Story: 5/5

Without saying much about the story, I will keep this less detailed and more of a synopsis as almost anything said will be a spoiler. The story starts off with Drake and Sully walking into a bar in London to do an exchange. Drake has a potential investor, Talbot, to buy off Sir Francis Drake’s ring that he wears around his neck at all times, but things get a bit complicated at this point. Drake and Sully will venture through numerous locations around the world to track down artifacts that will lead them to find Francis Drake’s secret, as well as the Atlantis of the Lost Sands. However, their complications will lie among their adversaries, Talbot and Katherine Marlow, whom have their own agenda for locating the Atlantis of the Lost Sands. The storytelling that Naughty Dog has mastered, more so than any other developer, is still in full effect here. The dialogue is absolutely brilliant and the story is enticing, keeping the player going until you reach the game’s credits. While the story was slightly stronger in the original two installments, the third installment’s story is still brilliantly crafted.

Gameplay: 5/5

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception doesn’t alter much of the already perfected formula but it does takes those mechanics and further enhances them. Naughty Dog has taken elements from both the first and second game to make the ultimate Uncharted experience with finely tuned pacing. The combat has been drastically changed this time around and feels a bit like Batman: Arkham City’s fighting system. When in a fist fight, more enemies will surround you as you’re pummeling an enemy which means they will want to get a few cheap shots from behind you. Luckily, the counter system has been enhanced in which you can counter your enemies from any direction and utilize the environment doing so. If an enemy is near a table, Drake might counter them by grabbing their head and slamming it on the table. Drake may also look for any random object on a table and utilize that against his enemy. It is really neat to see that he’ll utilize the environment 100 percent and that you’ll always see something different in combat thanks to how real his animations are.

Shooting mechanics have been further improved with tighter cover mechanics and the new “vertical cover combat” system. This new system really added a sense of vertigo while taking out goons shooting at you from above. Interestingly, the enemies can now kick you off a ledge that you are hanging from, but thanks to a counter system, you can easily switch the odds into your favor. Climbing traversal has remained the same for the most part but it seems like Drake has an easier time grabbing objects more so in this installment than any other one before hand. Occasionally in the first two games, Drake would refuse to grab a ledge if it just shy of reaching distance. This time around he was grabbing ledges flawlessly.

When Naughty Dog was creating Uncharted 3, they mentioned they were a bit worried about how to one-up themselves with what they had achieved with Uncharted 2. Well, I can easily say that Naughty Dog has taken the challenge and passed with flying colors. In Uncharted 2, most people will remember the epic train sequence the game provided along with many other memorable moments. This time, Naughty Dog added insane action scenes that take place on a cruise ship, a cargo plane and throughout the desert that will be talked about as some of the best gaming moments in history. Words cannot describe how jaw-dropping these action sequences are and has to be seen to be believed. Uncharted was always a blockbuster thriller, but it was always a clever one at that.

Multiplayer in Uncharted 2 was a deep and immersive experience. Naughty Dog has outdone themselves in this department as well with this latest installment’s multiplayer. The amount of content offered here is extensive and sets a whole new bar for future multiplayer titles. When in a multiplayer lobby, you’ll notice the bottom right of the screen has something called “Uncharted TV,” in which you can watch the game’s trailers as well as the “Plays of the Week,” showcasing some of the best kills captured in multiplayer matches. It’s a feature that many developers should take notice to as it is entirely original and unlike any lobby system out there. Also, every match played is once again recorded but now you can edit the footage in-game or export it to YouTube, Facebook and/or your XMB so that you can copy the file to a USB and edit it on your computer with no hassle.

Competitive game modes consist of your typical Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch variants, along with Plunder and the new Three Team Deathmatch, but with a neat few twists. First off is the “Power Play” mechanic in which the losing team is given either the ability to either see the locations of their opponents, dish out double damage or take part in an objective mid-match. For example, the losing team may have to take out the Marked Man on the winning team to get some extra medals to earn your Kickback Reward quicker. This mechanic really helps keep the matches fresh and rarely leads to a stale feel. The other feature that makes this multiplayer stand out are the game’s interactive scenes occurring within the maps. Every map is full of detail and life unlike many other multiplayer titles to date. Imagine jumping from truck to truck on a runway, shooting out the opponents on the cargo plane, which is aiming to take off, to only then continue the match in another section of the map. How about doing a shootout speeding through the underground tunnels of London between two train cars until it reaches the station and then continue the battle there. It’s these cinematic sequences you will be partaking within the multiplayer that really makes it stand out in an over-saturated market.

The three-player cooperative adventure mode also makes a return with a few sleek additions. First off, the coop adventure takes place throughout five chapters, each roughly 15-25 minutes long. As opposed to the previous installment’s coop, this one displays the chapter you are playing at the beginning, very much like the main campaign does. While this is a minuscule detail, it further adds to the sense that you’re playing a campaign rather than just a coop mission. The additional thought that Naughty Dog put into this was not by just utilizing areas from the main campaign, but also by having remodeled Borneo from Uncharted 2 and the Monastery from Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. Returning to these areas definitely brings a sense of nostalgia when playing through them and seeing the Monastery in particular, with the updated graphics, is certainly a slick move on Naughty Dog’s part.

Graphics: 5/5

Naughty Dog set a new bar for visuals this console generation and once again, it holds the throne as the best looking game on a console. While the difference between the previous installment and this latest addition aren’t as vast as the comparison between the original title and it’s sequel, Uncharted 3 has certainly maintained and exceeded the bar yet again. The interesting take on the game is that the moment you start, it looks great. However, as the game progresses, the visuals ramp up as well. The main graphical element in Uncharted 2 was the snow, which was intricately detailed. This latest installment focuses on sand and the same amount of detail was treated here. The desert in this game is simply breathtaking and jaw-dropping to witness. It feels like you are actually there…and that’s without the 3D feature enabled that the game has. Drake’s animations are once again the best the industry has seen and they’ve been dramatically increased from the extensive amount that were already in the previous installments. Drake animates even more realistically to the point where if he bumps along the corner of a wall, he will show that his body reacts to that the exact way we would in real life. It’s these fine details that Naughty Dog strives to showcase within their animations and again, it’s an absolute spectacle to witness. Words can’t describe these astounding visuals.

Sound: 5/5

Upon starting the game, you will hear Drake’s theme playing at the desert-filled main menu. Hearing this is like hearing the Indiana Jones theme at this point, where you can’t help but get excited for Drake’s latest adventure. Greg Edmonson returns to compose an extraordinarily powerful and moving score along with JD Mayer and Azam Ali (both of which were known for their work on Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow). Voice acting here is once again, among the best ever seen in gaming history. Nolan North does an astonishing job portraying Nathan Drake once again, as does Richard McGonagle (Victor “Goddamn” Sullivan), Emily Rose (Elena Fisher) and Claudia Black (Chloe Frazier). However, seeing how naturally executed their lines of dialogue are performed is something that has to be heard to be understood. Depending on the situation, Drake will actually say lines that are most likely what you’re thinking in your mind. For example, there was a scene where I had no guns and came across a wave of enemies and I thought to myself, “oh s***!” Well, about a second after I said it, Drake said the same exact line. It’s these little moments where the game immerses you like no other. Sound effects have been dramatically amped up this time around as well. Every gun fires with a punch that sounds like they’ll put someone down rather quickly. Environment ambience is also done extremely well, giving off the sensation that you’re actually there with the characters. Bottom line is, turn off the lights and crank the sound up to the max because this is one audio experience that must not be missed.

Overall Score: 20/20 = 10/10

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception isn’t just one of the best PS3 games currently available or even just a strong candidate for “Game of the Year.” Uncharted 3 sets a bar that is truly second-to-none. Naughty Dog has once again proven their mastery, not only with the PS3, but among all the developers in the industry. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is a game that will be talked about for years. Whether you’re gazing at it’s superbly detailed visuals, engrossed in it’s expertly crafted story, partaking in heart-pounding action sequences or clocking in countless hours with it’s deep and addictive multiplayer, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is a masterpiece of a game that should not be missed by any means…period.


+ Unsurpassed Visuals

+ Phenomenal Soundtrack and Sound Effects

+ Perfected Gameplay

+ Deep and Engaging Multiplayer


– Story, while excellent, isn’t as strong as the first two installments.