Game Info:

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Developed By: Naughty Dog
Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment
Released: November 1, 2011
ESRB Rating: T
Available On: Playstation 3
Genre: Action Adventure
Number of Players: 2 offline; 12 online

When the critically acclaimed Uncharted 2: Among Thieves released, at the time I thought that this was the best the Uncharted franchise could ever be. They redefined the standard for the franchise and oh boy, was that standard high. I'll admit, I had a lot of doubt that Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception would be able to stand above Uncharted 2, raising it's hand in victory. However, I was wrong, because Naughty Dog has raised the standard once again and in the end, the victory goes to Uncharted 3 for being the best overall game in the Uncharted franchise. 

You will be taking control of a man named Nathan Drake, who is a treasure hunter and explorer. He and his friend, Victor Sullivan, travel the world finding hidden treasures to uncover historical mysteries. In this particular title, Drake and Sully travel to different places in the Middle East with hopes of finding a lost city named Iram. However, there is a force that is trying to stop them: A woman named Katherine Marlowe, who happens to have history with Drake and Sullivan. Marlowe and her partner, Talbot, will be chasing you down during the whole journey in hopes of finding the city for themselves.

A lot of praise will go toward the smooth and responsive controls. I didn't have any trouble learning the controls when I first started playing the game. However, it appears Naughty Dog thought otherwise because you spend the first few chapters slowly learning how to get the controls down. What I mean is, you won't have full control until around the 5th chapter. Although this may be helpful to some, I believe that the average gamer would have gotten the controls down very quickly. Granted, it isn't as bad as it may sound because while you're learning, the game is moving forward. So, you aren't sitting at one spot with text showing up teaching you how to do specific things. The story continues forward, so this can be seen as a positive thing. And once you go through a few of these chapters, you will be able to have full control over Nathan Drake.


Strong Points: Responsive and deep control system, Beautifully designed 
Weak Points: First few chapters can be rather dull, Co-op split-screen is two player only, Fans of action will find many portions of the game to be boring
Moral Warnings: Swearing, Violence, Blood, Stealing

Let me break down exactly what the gameplay is like in Uncharted 3. You are in an old building, looking around for some clues that will help you find a lead in your journey, when all of a sudden you spot a group of enemies that have a bounty over your head and are searching for you. You can go about this in several different ways. You can use your stealth skills and sneak by a few enemies and crack a few bones, or you can run straight in with your fists out and take them all out, one by one. Whichever path you choose, it will be unique every single time. There are also moments where you will have to climb different obstacles to reach a certain destination; just remember not to look down. The pacing is excellent and will make you feel like you're actually in control. It is a non-stop thrill ride and you are in control of it all.

When it comes to the visuals in the game, you can tell right away that the designers have spent a lot of their time designing the beautiful landscapes. The small attention to detail on the faces of every character really brings them to life. The colours blend together perfectly in the scenery, making the world feel real. Also, a lot of my praise goes towards the lifelike animation. Naughty Dog did an excellent job bringing realistic animations into this game. So good, that it may confuse people. When you walk past a picture frame on a wall, it will knock back and forth. Nathan will also put his hand on walls and other objects when walking by them. Small things like this bring life to the game and make it feel real.

So, now that we know that Uncharted 3 has great gameplay and visuals, what better way is there to fit them all together than with an amazing soundtrack. I found that the music from the beginning to the end went beautifully with what I saw with my eyes. There is a song for every situation that is presented in the game. Let's not forget the sounds that come from shooting guns. Every single gun sounds distinct and you won't have trouble identifying what weapon your enemy has. Naughty Dog did an excellent job putting everything together to make a complete package. 

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 92%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 10/10
Sound - 10/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls 5/5

Morality Score - 53%
Violence - 5/10
Language - 1/10
Sexual Content - 8/10
Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 5.5/10

But to make the complete package, well, complete, there needs to be a story. Uncharted 3 does not disappoint when it comes to the story portion of the game. You will feel a connection with many of the characters you come across. The faces you meet on your adventure will all be unique, identifiable and unforgettable. Nathan Drake himself is quite a refreshing character to see in a game like this. He can be clumsy and childish but that's what makes him who he is. Don't be surprised when you get into a horrible situation where the only person at fault is Nathan Drake.

Unfortunately, as great as the story may be, I feel that the fans who prefer action will be very disappointed. There are a few moments that can be very frustrating because you spend a lot of time just walking around and looking at things. That's because Uncharted 3 seems to be much more story-driven and the focus is more on delivering a cinematic experience. For instance, there are two whole chapters early on in the game where you spend time looking at artifacts in a museum and following someone. Normally, I wouldn't have a problem with this but there were many slow moments that felt like they were only in there to make the game longer. However, if you happen to be a fan of just sitting back and watching a story unfold while you're holding the analog stick forward, then you're in for a treat. You will be able to control Drake during a lot of the cinematic scenes. I guess it's better than having an hour long cut-scene, right?

When you finish with the game, there is a lot of replay value. During your journey, you will come across some hidden treasures that you may pick up and collect. There are exactly one hundred treasures scattered around in the game. The treasures themselves have no real value, but for Completionists it should be satisfying enough to play through the game a second or third time. Also, if you beat the game on the Hard difficulty, you will unlock the Crushing difficulty, and trust me, that name is very fitting.

There is the co-op mode, where you and another friend can play together using split-screen. If you have a third friend that wants to join in, one of you will have to share a controller or buy another copy of Uncharted 3, a Playstation 3 and have an online connection. I find this to be a big problem and hopefully the next game in the franchise will offer more than 2 players for the co-operative mode. You are given three different co-op modes and one of them is called Hunter Arena. You and your friend are against each other and whoever is on the Hero side tries to collect as much treasure as he can while the other player tries to stop him with AI enemies by his side. If you don't feel like facing against someone, Naughty Dog supplied an Arena mode where you and your friends will play on the Hero side, collecting treasure, while AI enemies try to stop you. Along with those, there is an Adventure mode that has it's very own story. Definitely a lot of fun if you ever feel like playing with your friend, relative, or spouse. 

The online multiplayer mode is a huge improvement to the one that is present in Uncharted 2. You can create your own character, create an emblem that will show up on certain clothing and you can choose a taunt for when you feel like humiliating an opponent. If you don't feel like customizing your own character, you are given the option to play as Nathan Drake. Many other skins, clothes and weapons are available to you when you increase your rank and have enough in-game money. Money is used like experience points and will increase your rank. And you are able to use the money for spending. You will get lots of cash if you play through any of the multiplayer game modes, including co-op. Some of the multiplayer game modes you will see are Team Deathmatch, Plunder (Capture the Flag) and Free-for-All. There is a unique mode called Three-Team Deathmatch, where 6 Players are broken up into 3 pairs and go against each other. And a mode called Team Objective, which is a team based mode where the objective changes at random during the match. There are also perk unlocks that are very similar to the kind you'd see in other online games. Some of them can be considered cheap and annoying, but nothing too game-breaking. Naughty Dog updates the multiplayer very frequently, so you won't have to worry about any exploits or glitches.

As for the morality score, there are a few things that left me shaking my head while playing Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. For one, there is a lot of profanity. In the first chapter alone I counted 3 different moments where someone would say a curse word. I didn't hear the f-bomb once, though there are moments where the characters say the word halfway but get interrupted. Stealing is a main part of the game and story. Technically, you are stealing the treasures that are scattered around in the game, and there is a part in the story where you break into a museum and steal an ancient artifact. Some of the taunts in the multiplayer mode are completely inappropriate and can be crude. There are many, many times during the game where you will hear characters put the Lord's name in vain. I felt uncomfortable a few times because of how consistent it was.

When it comes to violence, there is no excessive blood or gore. The worst you will see is a blood stain on a shirt. When you shoot at an enemy, you will see a little bit of blood squirting out of them, and that is the worst that it gets. I don't recall seeing blood on the ground or on the wall at any point during the game. There are times where <***spoiler>Nathan Drake will be drugged by an enemy and you end up controlling him during the trip. There is also a moment where you fight supernatural enemies that run around in blazing speed and have fire coming out their heads. You later find out that these enemies aren't real and that Nate drank water from a well that had some sort of hallucinogenic in it.</spoiler****>

In closing, I'd like to point out that Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is the ultimate game for fans of the Action Adventure and Third Person Shooter genre. Everything that is done, is done right, except Morality. It's downright upsetting that Naughty Dog went in this direction for the third game in the franchise. This isn't the type of game that I would recommend anyone to play and this isn't the type of game you'd want your children to see or hear. It surprises me that Uncharted 3 was rated T for Teen by the ESRB, considering the amount of swearing and violence that is presented in the game.

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