The Uncharted series has quite the reputation in the gaming community, but how did developer Naughty Dog convince millions of people to join the cult of Drake? With Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception quickly making its way to game-of-the-year lists, how does this adventure manage to be absolutely pristine and without fault? It turns out this game doesn’t have what you would expect from an award-winning title…and that’s what makes it so great.
1) Lengthy cut-scenes
Uncharted 3 has been touted by Sony themselves as a cinematic game, but at what point does this start to hamper the release? Multiple cut-scenes and dialogue exchanges regarding the great “Sir Francis Drake,” “The Atlantis of the Sands,” and other legends might leave some yearning for a dragon sniper to cure their itchy trigger fingers, but I feel differently. The rich story on display here is a rare beast in gaming today, and the stellar facial animations and voice acting help seal the deal.
2) Linear gameplay
When you finally do take the reigns, Uncharted 3’s epic quest might come off as a limiting one. The narrow streets, castles, and caverns of this 10-hour game leave little room for taking in the sites or excavating the game’s 101 scattered treasures. However, ask yourself this: Would you rather take part in a carefully scripted journey full of incredible set pieces or make an aimless trip through long stretches of desert?
By trimming the fat and narrowing the focus, Drake's Deception gets down to what you as a gamer actually want to play, creating a memorable experience instead of a bland one.
3) Simple fighting mechanics
Drake might have picked up some shiny new toys this time around, but there are times in his latest endeavor where close-quarters combat is a necessity. Who would think that a simple three-button setup could work so well?
The traditional punch-dodge-punch mechanics are still in play here, albeit with a grapple button now thrown in for good measure. It’s not deep, and occasionally, it's not worth your time. But it is so much more satisfying to melee a brute than to shoot him down with a well-placed bullet to the head.
4) Plentiful hints
Without puzzles, our hero Nathan Drake wouldn’t be an adventurer; he’d be an action star.
The brain teasers found in the caverns and halls not only make a return, they also come back in greater numbers. Uncharted 3 manages to make matters worse (depending on your tastes) by ramping up the difficulty of said puzzles, making the next chapter that much further out of your reach.
Well, it would be if it weren’t for the helpful hint system. Any problem left unsolved after a few minutes will cause the game to break the fourth wall and include a button cue that conveniently shows you what to do and where to do it. Those looking for a challenge can always disable the feature, making it a win-win for all players.
5) Easy gameplay
With its heaping helping of handholding, Drake's Deception is guilty of perhaps the biggest crime any game could commit. Camera angles conveniently point out where you need to go every step of the way. Plentiful cover and stealth moves are at your disposal. And you have unlimited lives. This makes Nathan Drake an unstoppable force who could probably engage the game without any help from the player.
Don’t lock him up and throw away the key though; this guy’s a hero. By breaking the mold, Naughty Dog has created a title that all people can enjoy, no matter their gaming tastes. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is unlike anything you’ve played before — even if it's not what you've come to expect.