Uncharted 3

Art, Distractions, Gaming 5 Replies

Not Drake. Not Jason Statham either, but rrrarrr!

Drake is back! Drake is back!! GASP DRAKE IS BACK!!

No not some Toronto rapper, foos, Nathan Drake, from Sony’s potboiler game series Uncharted. We’re at #3 if you’re counting. And if you’re not, this post will be like jibberish to you, postbear.

Lets get right to it, WITHOUT ANY SPOILERS…

Uncharted 3 is tops in the “game as movie” genre. From the beginning we’re treated to establishing scenes of how Drake and his faithful manfriend, Sully playfully interact while kicking ass in a London pub. A cut scene of dialogue and some bar-breaking rough housing, more characters show up and bla bla bla – things happen. Suddenly we’re whipped back 20 years to see the origins of Drake (something U1 and U2 never really touched upon, other than Drake telling us he’s a descendant of Sir Francis Drake) and how he teams up with Sully. This turns out to be some of the most clever writing/game production I’ve seen in a long time. Oh and all that I just described? It’s basically the tutorial for the game, hidden cleverly inside the prologue. Brill!

With Drake’s and Sully’s backstory established we jump back to the present day and continue on with the action. Without ruining anything, the game hits all the points you’d expect in an adventure movie: discovering long lost secrets, hidden cabals, pirates (modern day, vaguely Somalian – very topical) and treasures that may not actually be physically obtained. ooo! And while this is all going on we’re treated to themes of trust, revenge, hubris and even defeat – something hard to do when the purpose of a game isn’t to make the player identify with a character’s will to stop, to end. But yet they manage to create feelings of finality in some scenes – and yet you’re still mashing buttons. And wanting more.

One section of note in the game comes right after a spectacular plane crash in the desert. Juxtaposing action to calm, like we’ve seen in countless desert movies, Drake must make a long, hot journey through miles of desert. You’d think this would be extremely boring for a video game, but the designers manage to interweave dramatic cinematic elements into play. The developers succeed in engaging the player in what could have been a really risky element in an action game, which makes me love the game on so many levels.  Since the movie/game genre is still in it’s infancy, the designers are able to use these well-heeled movie cliches to it’s advantage – almost like they were new.

A whole lot of nothing. But it's freaking amazing nothing.


Here’s where I go apeshit over the beauty of the game. I… Its… beautiful. Many times I stopped what I was doing  just to spin the camera. I suggest you do that too. The developers Naughty Dog create such stunning environments that you forgive them the 3-4 year wait time  between games. Every time I finish an Uncharted game I wonder how they’re going to outdo themselves in the next game, considering the platform hardware stays the same. I keep wondering if Naughty Dog is pushing their games up into the top levels of processing speed. Yes the environments are that impressive.

Everything is punchy, well lit and on fire.


What didn’t I like about U3? The fight mechanics were redundant. Punch punch dodge punch punch – NPC is down! That’s pretty much the extent of close combat dynamics and it gets a bit repetitive at times. The character modeling during the cut scenes felt odd too, in terms of rendering. In some cases the eyes and expressions were spot on but then suddenly you’d get a character who moved their hands like they were wearing mittens, or their mouth looked like Jeff Bridges in Tron: Legacy. Minor points but I am sure Naughty Dog had to make concessions on some things to cram all that atmospheric goodness into one game.

Speaking of cram… I’d be happy if Naughty Dog/Sony left off the Online Gaming/Multiplayer aspects of this game to swap out more story or an extra scene here or there. I’m not an online gaming kind of guy and this part of the game will never be used by me. Considering the game is established as an adventure game, why not make the Multiplayer part be optional, paid DLC?

Okay so to sum it up… Best game I’ve played in a long time.



5 thoughts on “Uncharted 3

  1. Pingback: Journey

  2. Sean G

    Yeah – gotta disagree on the desert thing. Boring. Mind-numbingly boring…and I like desert movies. That Star Wars film is tops…at least the parts that aren’t in the desert. 😉

    I found it to be visually the best of the three, but seriously…do I need to run through a never-ending marketplace while drugged…to answer myself – no, I don’t. Still the good parts outweighed the bad, I thought. The whole ship sequence, the villa in France…AMAZE-BALLS.

    The 50+ bullet hits to the head that it takes to take down a body-armoured bot…not so much fun. I mean, it shouldn’t be easy, but it also shouldn’t be scream-inducingly hard either.

    Gameplay was a SLIGHT let-down only because the diverging from the “norm” was too far from the “norm” for me, but visually it was mind-blowing.

    Oh – and the puzzles were way too easy in this one.

    1. Anonymous

      Okay the armoured guys were equal to the fight engine. Too much. I agree. Into the “Hated it” column.

      The marketplace and desert walk were pure atmospheric elements, more so than game elements, IMHO, hence they worked for me. Funny I didn’t find them “too long” in terms of game play. Having suffered through 12 hours of a bad mushroom trip, I think I related a bit too much, I guess.

      But just how much control do you offer a gamer in a movie-style game? Too little control and it’s a “Rails” game where you’re ushered through rooms/environments with no option to stop and explore. Too much and it becomes a open ended sand box game.

      I’m pretty sure the puzzles were second thoughts, back seat to the shooting/story elements. But I didn’t mind them (or honestly remember them, for that matter).

      1. Sean G

        Yeah, the only one I remember was the one with the body parts on sticks in that room…and I only remember it because I was disappointed in how easily it was solved and how much potential was pissed away.

        I was pretty cranky playing it a lot of the time, often throwing my controller against the couch. Wah! I’ve actually taken a break from it, in favour of some cool move games that I bought – pretend exercise! WEE!!

        But you’re right…its a trade off. I suppose they balanced it in the best way possible.

        I still think its one of the best game series going.

        1. Anonymous

          I love some of the Move games, but it’s not taken off like Wii or Kinect. Needs more gamey things. Like the “Beat the crap out of people with a sword” demo game. Speaking of which, we’re seriously looking at Kinect, hoping it will work in our cramped TV room, just so we can get the Disneyland game.

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