Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception - Uncharted 3: Gameplay and graphics

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We

had our doubts about how Naught Dog could top Uncharted 2’s big

high points, but if it hasn’t outdone them it’s certainly matched

them. Once again, set-pieces that would be the climax of another game

become the closing point for a chapter: the big pay-off before it all

starts up again. The gun-battles are great, but the real highlights

of Uncharted 3 are those moments where all hell breaks loose, with

environments that burn, crumble, dive and flood around you, with

Naughty Dog’s excellent animation systems working to make every

interaction with the environment look and feel totally

convincing.

Uncharted 3

In

some ways, the gameplay remains unchanged from Uncharted 2, but there

are some improvements. Close combat plays a larger part, with a

greater emphasis on counter moves and some excellent (and very

satisfying) context-sensitive animations, making it all the more

enjoyable to grab an enemy, slam them against the nearest hard object

then give them the old one-two until they collapse. Punches, kicks,

throws and headbutts all flow naturally together.

Stealth also works

better than it ever has in an Uncharted game, with some brutally

efficient attacks and more flexible use of cover. We’re not talking

revolutionary enhancements, but they certainly add something to the

overall experience. And if Uncharted 3 is linear, there are pockets

of action where you’re free to express your own play style. Is there

a bunch of goons between you and your next objective? Well, you could

go in all guns blazing, but why not sneak up on them and even out the

numbers?

Uncharted 3

Graphically,

Drake’s Deception looks even better than the already stupendous

Among Thieves. The level of detail and clutter in the scenery is

frequently breathtaking, and the lighting has an amazing photographic

quality, that works as well in secret underground chambers and

moonlit ruins as it does on the sun-bleached streets of the Yemen and

Catagena. The animation is dazzling – just witness the way Drake

pushes and stumbles against the scenery as he runs, or the way

bystanders turn their heads to watch you move. Close-up, Drake’s

deception doesn’t quite go for the photo-realism of Heavy Rain or

LA Noire, yet the characters are, if anything, more believable. The

models, the body movements and the motion-captured animation seem to

blend together into one personality.

Uncharted 3

Nor

should we ignore the sound: Drake’s Deception sounds like a

big-budget movie. It’s not that it’s hard to find a game these

days with a sweeping score and good voice acting, but you can tell

that Nolan North and his fellow actors are working in the same room,

and that the cast has had time over all three games to build up some

kind of rapport. There are no phoned-in star performances or ugly

pauses, and the dialogue just flows. Use of sound effects is equally

good, whether it’s the spot effects that add atmosphere deep

underground, or the bangs, shots and blasts of a massive fight

scene.

At

this stage, it’s hard to talk much about the multiplayer options.

While we’ve had a chance to play a few competitive games, we

haven’t experienced the full gamut of modes and maps by any means.

We’ll update this review once the game is

released.

Verdict
Uncharted

3 sits in a long line of linear, cinematic action games, but it sits

right at the pinnacle of the style because it’s cinematic values are

so strong, its spectacle so dazzling and its action so very

satisfying. A magnificent blend of all that’s best about games and

blockbuster movies, and one of the most exhilarating experiences you

can have on a console. 

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