Saturday, 12 November 2011

Uncharted 3 Review

The sequel to 2009's game of the year and the new entry into Sony's most valuable franchise is here. Uncharted 3 is riding on a mountain of expectations from everyone, including me so here's the question.. Does Uncharted 3 live up to the expectations?

From the get go, you can see a change in Uncharted 3 in visual terms, it's a mystery how Naughty Dog did it but U3 is a better looking game than U2. A lot of games try super realism in their graphics to look beautiful, Uncharted, although has beautifully realistic graphics, uses a very vibrant and unique art style which brings everything in the universe to life. Animations have went through quite a substantial change from U2, Drake is even more interactive this time around as he randomly does animations as your walking around the area. Some examples are the way he puts his hand up next to a wall as you walk by it and the way in which he stumbles automatically as you run across bumpy grounds. These animations are a nice addition but can look a little stale at times as Drake just randomly puts his hand on walls when your not even walking in their direction, his hand just twists and touches the wall behind your back. The snow in U2 was impressive and this time around, snow is replaced by sand, you will stare in awe at the screen as sand will fall onto Drakes clothes and get stuck in his hair. Its a true work of art.

The gameplay has went through even a bigger change than the animation. The way you shoot is more.. wavy, as the shooting mechanics do not have any aim assist in the campaign whereas U2 had aim assist in the campaign. The weapons also give more kickback and that adds to the 'wavy-ness', I like this new addition but it was a pain to get used to at first. The reticule now opens up when you shoot with weapons, this makes it harder to shoot enemies and makes 20m distanced headshots almost impossible, which were always easy to pull in U2.The problem here is that Naughty Dogs addition to gameplay are both welcome and annoying as the moments in gameplay, where you like and dislike the new additions are equally present. However, the new hand to hand combat is brilliant and reminds of the combat from other games like Batman Arkham City. The hand to hand combat is excessively emphasised as there are a lot of scenes where using your fists becomes the only option. While in combat, Drake automatically uses his environment and that creates a fun environment as you smash shisha pipes into dudes heads. Overall gameplays good with new additions, its still the best 3rd person action gameplay I have ever played, however the new additions are not fully welcomed as they are a hit and miss.

The story this time around is great but leaves a bad taste in your mouth as the latter part of the game just doesn't live up to expectations. The travel into Drakes origin and the exploration of Sully as a father figure is brilliant. There are some moments in the game where I was so emotionally touched that I was feeling emotional pressure as I awaited the result of the action. The game brings a new and old characters back, the new characters are this english dude, the english villain and Salim. The english dude [ I won't tell you how you meet him or it'd be a spoiler ] is hilarious. He is extremely interesting and if you live in London, he does crack a couple english jokes you will get. Salim is also an interesting add, I love his expressions and his voice as they add tension to the situation in which Drake meets him. The villain this time around is also a nice addition and is not just a two dimensional 'baddy'.The characters from U2 were brilliant and so in U3 you would want to see all of them back together, this is something that doesn't completely happen. In U3 characters like Chloe just disappear without a lot of explanation and the whole gang never gets together. This leaves an empty feeling. U3 opens questions and never answers them, from the first time you meet Eleana to the last there is a romantic tone revolving something (I won't say), you never find out what exactly happened to get to the point. For characters which I care about, this is annoying and only frustrates when I ask myself why this game didn't tell us that. One gripe, this is a big one for me, in Uncharted 2's campaign you could buy things such as 'Zero gravity for objects', 'Fat Drake', 'Sepiatone colour mode' and any weapon you want for use in the campaign, these bonuses were a blast to play. I absolutely loved playing as Fat Drake in the campaign, equipping him with random weaponry such as the tranquilizer gun. These bonuses have been taken out of Uncharted 3 and I am absolutely bitter about it. Seriously, bad move Naughty Dog.

The multiplayer this time around is a big focus for the game. You can notice this from the first instance you load the game and see the menu. This multiplayer is amazing, I absolutely love it and prefer it over other multiplayers such as call of duty and gears of war. The customization of characters is a great addition, using money you earn to buy things is fun, the maps are freakin' cool (especially the runway one), co op is really really well done and as a whole, multiplayer keeps you engaged for countless hours after you have completed the brilliant story. There is one gripe, in multiplayer you are allowed to take a basic template of an ugly villain/hero and dress him up, I have no idea why Naughty Dog didn't add the option for us to be able to dress Drake/Sully and our other favourites. Little options like wearing sun glasses are present but there is no option to dress our heroes any further than that. This is extremely stupid, Naughty Dog shouldn't have missed that and I'm quite mad about that. Lets get a little positive, the new medal system is nice where you have to earn certain medals to get a treasure, which in the long run, unlocks clothes for your hero, even though there should have been more options. To sum it up, multiplayer is fantastic but for an Uncharted game it is not my primary reason of purchase. I purchase Uncharted because its story is one of the best in the industry and to see the series lose some of its story magic to make its multiplayer better saddens me.

Uncharted 3 sticks between a rock and a hard place. Naughty Dog has brought a wave of new additions but with every addition there was a negative aspect. Do make sure you understand that I am being picky here as  Uncharted is one of those franchises which requires a  fully detailed analysis due to its high quality. Overall U3 is not as good as U2 in story but is better in the rest of the features, the story is one of the strongest points of the Uncharted series as it is the stand alone thing which boosted the series to the top of the mountain and so the weaker story makes a massive impact on Uncharted 3's overall quality here. Also next to that, a couple bad decisions and choices do stand out when you compare Uncharted 3 to its predecessor. These disappointing changes and barely satisfying changes are ones which affect this games overall presentation. As amazing as this game is, I would be lying if I gave it a perfect score. For many of you, this game will be better than U2 but for me personally, the weaker story is more than enough to disappoint me.

I give Uncharted 3 , 9 and a half Subway sandwiches out of 10


If you liked the review (hopefully) check out my reviews of the previous uncharted games.

Uncharted 1 Review:

Uncharted 2 Review:

Also follow me on Twitter @TheGeekyPenguin


  1. Great review! I can't wait to play this one! It looks and sounds awesome.

  2. Character acting has again improved between this game and the last one, just like the last game did over the original. Faces are fuller and more expressive (Chloe's face is major evidence of this). This game looks so good family members will stop to see what I am watching and so entertaining they then wind up sitting down to watch me play. This is one of the first things I noticed when I played it at a co-worker’s house from DISH the other day when I got completely hooked on watching him play. I haven’t had the chance to play it at home yet with myself because I added it to my Blockbuster@Home queue. The graphics and storyline looks so awesome that I wish I had the money to just go out and buy it, but I’ve found in my experience that I end up saving a ton of money on games by just paying a flat monthly fee for renting.

    1. Definitely the acting has improved, I couldn't agree more about Chloe's face too (I am a sucker for hot treasure hunter types ;) .. If you do ever buy it I am sure the games multiplayer with awesome campaign will give you your moneys worth, however the story is what I bought the game for and that can be completed easily in a rentals time. If you ever get the chance, if you haven't played uncharted 2, try that game too :)