Sony Corp.’s Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception for the Playstation 3 is a rare treasure that melds platform and shooting into an epic tale that spans the globe and dives deeper in scale than any other action title before it.
In Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Nathan Drake begins a search for the lost Atlantis of the Sands after suspecting that Sir Francis Drake may have detoured to the area on a mission voyage for Queen Elizabeth. Drake and comrade Sully embark on a new mission that sends both into imminent danger.
Controls are similar to prior entries and solid in both platform and shooting roles. Drake is more nimble than ever and can scale buildings, swing from chandeliers, and climb with ease. Shooting is solid with tight aim controls and a cover system that allows Drake to stick easily behind any wall and peer out to fire. Melee options are refined with additional reverse maneuvers that blend well into the action.
Enemy AI is solid with each utilizing multiple cover options, and at times aggressive attacks. Enemies will draw users out from hiding by quickly tossing grenades (which Drake can throw back if done immediately) or shoot dead-on from distance locations.
Each location is a well-engineered puzzle, with players scouting the area to detect how to traverse from one area to the next, or figure out traditional puzzle unlocks to open a new pathway.
Level design is fantastic with huge environments built for the player to platform through. Stand-outs include a burning castle that crumbles to bits as Drake attempts to escape, and a sea level in which the each platform moves and sways against the physics of a digital ocean. The technicality of each location in terms of physics and scale has likely never been approached in any prior action game.
Multiplayer versus remains solid for a quick frag fest. Competitive modes include Team Deathmatch, Free For All, Team Objective, Three Team Deathmatch, Plunder to bring an idol back to the base, and Hardcore for matches without supplemental advantages.
New to multiplayer are custom character loadouts that include two Boosters and one Medal Kickback. Boosters enhance skills and Medal Kickbacks can allow users to obtain a weapon or add a one-time limited advantage in a competitive match. Users are assigned a buddy in each match which can be used to spawn against and special team medals.
A new feature in each mode is Power Play which will insert an advantage for the losing team in order to balance the kill score. Conversely the Power Play can allow the winning team to earn more cash to unlock custom add-ons.
Multiplayer co-op further extends the game with brand-new exclusive missions for online or local sessions with up to three players. Teamwork requires users to revive each other after death or defend another player while he or she tends to an objective. Each mission is a tough yet satisfying challenge with a mass of hard enemies and a total of 15 lives shared by all users.
All multiplayer sessions earn users in-game currency to purchase Boosters, Kickbacks, and custom character items.
The graphics engine is stellar at 30 frames-per-second. The attention to detail is second-to-none with amazing destruction, dynamic lighting, and natural physics. Animation is top-notch with Drake physically reacting to his environment, from putting a hand against a nearby wall to stumbling from quick movement. A small drawback is enemy hit detection, which can lack animation and feedback to question whether an enemy is injured.
The sound engine is solid with loud gun fire and explosive effects. The soundtrack is exceptional with a sweeping orchestral score and arranged chants that create a foreign ambiance. Voice acting is stellar with each actor able to hone a true sense of humor, honesty, and character to each persona.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is an epic treasure hunt that combines trademark platform and action elements into a scale of historic proportions. Drake may still be on the hunt for treasure, but players will find it as soon as they press start.