Uncharted 3 Review
Disappointing sequel that lacks the slick pacing of its predecessor
Posted by Ben Thomas (nutcrackr) on Nov 19, 2011 - 3:15am EST (Nov 19, 2011 03:15)
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is the newest entry in the third person, action adventure franchise developed by Naughty Dog. Players once again assume the role of the likeable hero, Nathan Drake (Nate). This time evil takes the form of an older British woman, Katherine Marlowe, who is trying to find the “lost city of Ubar.” The lost city is located in Rub 'al Khali desert and she will need Nate’s ring to find it. Sir Francis Drake was originally asked to locate the city but it was never found. Nate will visit Syria, Yemen, France and London as he tries to find the lost city before time runs out. Uncharted 3 also happens to be the sequel to one of the greatest games ever made.
The story in the third game is minimalistic. It opts to let players think rather than spell things out. Katherine Marlowe becomes the big bad and replaces the warlord, Zoran Lazarevic, from the second game. She is well introduced via flashbacks involving a young Nate and Sully. Her role in the game is underplayed, coming off as a bit of a side character rather than a true nemesis. After she participates in an intriguing cut scene during the middle of the plot, she isn’t seen again until the very last level. Her second in command, Talbot, says little and uses drugs to manipulate people. The end resolution for both of these “bosses” is not good. Shooting explosive tree sap, as in Uncharted 2, was not the epitome of boss battles but at least it involved guns.
The most disappointing aspect of the story is the lack of character interaction and humour. The third game is the least intentionally funny of the series with mixed dialogue and ordinary delivery. Nate rarely makes amusing quips about current events. Even some of the adlib lines feel out of place or forced. Dialogue from buddies sounds more like you brought a tour guide along rather than a companion. Nate will often be alone and out of communication which further reduces cohesion. Most on-screen time is reserved for Nate’s father figure, Sully, with the rest of the cast filling minor roles.
Charlie Cutter, a bald British treasure hunter, joins Drake with passion for adventure. Chloe returns, after some bad plastic surgery, and her role is disappointingly minimal given how fantastic she was in the second game. Chloe and Charlie disappear half way through and never return despite their key role early on. Even Elena is paired with Nate for just one unexciting mission around an airport during the night. Aside from helping push a few jeeps she proves to be a rather dull buddy like the others.
Two juicy bits of information are brought forward in relation to Nate. The first involves his relationship with long-time sidekick and reporter Elena Fisher. We get hints early on that he broke off an engagement with her. The second, and by far the most interesting, involves Nate’s past. After this bombshell is dropped by Marlowe during a mid game cut scene, nothing more is said or explored. The game leaves you hanging when it seems like such a crucial bit of information. If used carefully it could have enhanced the entire cast.
The sequel does away with the supernatural elements you saw in the first two games. Well, with the exception of large man eating spiders who attack by the thousand and hate the light. Some drug induced dreams play out like supernatural sequences anyway. These dreams might be uninteresting segments of Nate running through alleys as the screen becomes wavy. Games like Batman and Max Payne have done unconscious forays more effectively.