Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Review

Posted: November 3, 2011 by Tim Utley in Reviews
Tags: , , , ,

A true Masterpiece

I have played many games over the years, but none like Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.  Even Uncharted 3’s predecessors must bow before how much of a masterpiece the third entry in the franchise is.  This game is absolutely stunning on all fronts and kept me engaged from the opening cinematic until the credits began to roll.  There are many reasons to own a Playstation 3, but Uncharted 3 hurdles over them and becomes THE definitive Playstation 3 title.  Everything about UC3 has been overhauled with some mechanics seeing minor leaps and some seeing major.

Game Play

The game play in Uncharted 3 is a shining example of a studios ability to fix and refine issues from a previous game.  Naughty Dog has addressed most of the issues that held UC2 from being even better than it was.  Mainly the stealth portions of UC2 were wonky and didn’t perform as Naughty Dog had probably envisioned.  They are still not perfect in UC3, but they have seen some serious work and they are much more fluid and alerting your enemy by error has been reduced, but not eliminated.  The hand-to-hand combat system has seen the most refinements and is very similar to that of the Batman and Assassin’s Creed titles.  Drake will take on multiple opponents at once and dispatch them through counter maneuvers, straight brawling, or well calculated throws.  It can be faulty at times, but only when you are engaged by an inordinate amount of combatants; when it’s just Drake a few enemies it works almost flawlessly.

The shooting mechanics have seen a few tweaks but nothing revolutionary or unfamiliar to people who have played the other Uncharted titles.  Aiming and shooting seems to be a little tighter than UC2, but it still takes a ridiculous amount of ammunition to defeat enemy patrols.  This problem can lead to some somewhat overwhelming shoot outs, but nothing that is insurmountable without a few tries.  Also moving into and out of cover can and will result in an unnecessary amount of deaths.  The cover system is one that still needs some polish and will be very apparent when you play the game.

The platforming elements were far and away the highlights of this game for me.  Yeah scaling walls and climbing from one side of the room to another still exist during some moments of the game, but it’s the giant set pieces that put this game so far beyond anything else it doesn’t even have to bare humor.  They are just that incredible.  [Slight Spoiler Alert]  For instance when Drake needs to navigate the sinking cruise ship and his sense of confusion is reaching almost unbearable levels because everything in the ship has been contorted to the utmost extreme; you feel that too.  Or when Nathan is trying to climb back onto a cargo plane and random pieces of cargo are being hurled at him; you feel that desperation too.  [Spoiler Alert Over]  It is the level of immersion combined with the platforming that really makes this game stand out.  Trust me more than a few sequences will have you on the edge of your seat.

Game Play Score – 19/20 (there are still issues with the cover system that need to be addressed, still fun as hell though)

Most desperate of times


The presentation in UC3 is very top notch.  The story of the game is a very touching one [no spoilers I promise].  It immerses you more so into the world of Nathan Drake than the previous two titles.  At any point in the game you get a deeper sense of what Nathan’s mission really is and it’s not what you’d expect this time around.  It still leaves some questions unanswered, but that is what Uncharted 4 is for right?  The camera work or cinematography of this game is absolutely mind blowing.  The camera will pan out to make the player understand and appreciate the scale of the environments, but will conversely zoom in to show you how claustrophobic the setting can be (poor Cutter).  The characters all stand out and contribute something unique to the narrative and it will always keep you guessing what will happen next.  Anytime you think you have a fix on this game it will prove you wrong; trust me it is one hell of a ride.  Lastly in regards to presentation the menu system, while not the most important attribute of a game is very clean, sharp, and easy to navigate within UC3.

Presentation Score – 20/20 (great story, great characters, great camera work, great menus)

New and Old characters meet in an alley, how romantic


Forget everything you know about what a console game can accomplish graphically, because Uncharted 3 can and will put it to shame (sorry Gears of War fans).  UC2 was the pinnacle of graphical excellence for me on the consoles and I was pretty sure that nothing would ever eclipse UC2’s graphical prowess.  Boy was I wrong.  Everything about UC3 is a work of beauty.  Every little detail in this game will wow you.  During certain sequences [no spoilers again] I would literally stop what I was doing and see how the environment had augmented Drake’s appearance by circling around him with the camera.  It was absolutely astonishing how detailed Naughty Dog got with Drake’s character model at times; truly a sight to behold.  UC3 is a work of modern art.  The littlest things were given such great detail and those little things amalgamate into one spectacular looking title.  I’ll say it one last time; you need to see this game in action because you are in for a real treat.

Graphics Score – 20/20 (nothing is this game’s equal in the graphics department)


The sound design in this game is like almost everything else in this game, amazing.  The voice work really brings the characters of UC3 to life.  The sound effects from explosions and gun fire also sound amazing and really amplify the experience (huge pun intended).  The game’s score is really emotional as well and complements Drake’s travels throughout the game.  The only issue I had with the sound is that it cut out a few times during play.  I’m not sure if it was the game or my hardware, but it jumped me out of the experience regardless.

Sound Score – 19/20 (everything sounded amazing, the sound cutting out was not cool)

Future playability

The game has multiple difficulties for the player to tackle and 101 treasures (w/ one of those being a relic) to find.  Also not to mention the game has online multiplayer and co-op modes to engage in.  I haven’t tried either of those modes yet and I apologize (will post impressions when I get a chance).  So I cannot comment on them, but if they are anything like UC2’s additional modes they will be fantastic as well.

Future Playability score – 20/20 (I know I haven’t tried the additional game modes, but this game isn’t something fans will put down for quite a while with so much packed into the single player experience.)

Final Thoughts

Not many games will come along in our time that will engage you like Uncharted 3 manages to do.  This title is nothing short of exceptional and is something that I believe all gamers should experience.  The people over at Naughty Dog are masters of their craft and it shows in this title.  Like I mentioned at the beginning, this is the definitive Playstation 3 title and may well be the definitive title of this generation.  Telling you that you need to play this game would not be doing the game justice.  You need to experience this game, because at its core it is just that; an amazing experience.

Final Score – 98/100 (not perfect, but damn close, something you must see and experience if you consider yourself a gamer)

This game was purchased by me for $60.  I completed the game on the normal difficulty in 9 hours and 44 minutes and attained 40% of the game’s trophies.  I must mention that I haven’t played the multiplayer yet, so this review is just about my single player experience.  Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is a Playstation 3 exclusive.

  1. Great review – I saw the trailer on TV for this the other day, and it definitely had a “Wow” factor – made me want to play a console game in the way “Tomb Raider” did all those years ago. A question on the graphics front – while it looked absolutely spectacular, and I believe the footage in the trailer is in game footage, I thought it looked a bit blocky & rough around the edges. Is that the case at all in the game?

    • Tim Utley says:

      I wouldn’t say so, the graphics were pretty top notch on almost every front, maybe some of the environments could start to look repetitive (desert stages are somewhat guilty), but the overall design aesthetic held up pretty well through out the game, great question and thank you for your feedback

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