by Jeff Gates
reviewed on PS3
There is something special about heroes. We are drawn to them like a moth to a flame. Heroes give us hope, heroes entertain us and they prove that even the most modest person can do great things. The Uncharted series is a story of one such hero, Nathan Drake. From the moment he opened Sir Francis Drake’s coffin to the instant the curtain fell on Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Nathan Drake has proven to be a true hero. He isn’t 200lbs of carved muscle or an armored army of one. He is an average man (though slightly ninja like) who rises to great things in his quest for the truth about his supposed distant relative Sir Francis.
Is Film-like What We Like?
What makes a film great is a lot of what makes Uncharted 3 great. You have a likable, imperfect lead-man surrounded by a strong cast in a story that throws the viewer for a loop every once and awhile. Over the years we have grown to honestly care about the fates of Nate, Sully and Elena as well as the supporting cast. The wonderfully voice-acted characters and the beautiful, stunning world are what make Uncharted 3 so superb. However, these things are also what make it weak, because the perfect presentation seems to have come at the cost of gameplay.
Words like linear have been thrown at the franchise often, but for me it’s not the linearity that is an issue – it is how that linearity seems to be going in circles, if that makes any sense. Outside of the dabs of cinematic moments like falling out of an airplane or walking in the desert this franchise just seems to be recycling gameplay. If you have played 30 minutes of Uncharted you have played all of it (outside of those cinematics and the story, of course). The basic formula is as follows: Scale a wall that has different colored bricks so you don’t get lost, walk across a plank that you cannot fall off of, enemies start shooting, take cover, shoot back, run at them and punch them in the genitals.
I guess this basic formula is prevalent throughout the genre but should we accept that? Or should we make a point of the repetitiveness so that developers change things up a bit? (Keep the crotch-punching though, I like that.) [Ed. – You would, wouldn’t you]
A couple years ago when Uncharted 2 came out they did change things up. There were plenty of gameplay moments that made us say ‘wow.’ While Uncharted 3 also has those moments, the points in between are what ‘Sully’ the mood, pun intended. Nothing’s changed, and though Nathan is forever young, the franchise is getting old.
Uncharted 3’s story has the same issue. It is very much like the previous games. It begins with meeting the cast and maybe some sidetracking moments, and then you discover your goal is to find some city of unimaginable wealth. A few clues and mishaps along the way and you arrive in the city at which point it … well I won’t spoil it for you, but if you played Uncharted 2 you get the idea.
Strong story with characters you’ll truly care about. Multiplayer and co-op shine. Graphically stunning.
This formula is getting stale. The Lackluster gameplay hurts the tremendous moments this game has.