The Uncharted franchise has been a powerhouse for Sony ever since the original Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was released back in 2007. For those of you who don’t know the series, the Uncharted games are very story driven 3rd-person action adventures. The classic “Indiana Jones”-style charm of the games has resulted in the series as a whole selling over 12 million copies. Developer Naughty Dog set a pretty high bar after the masterpiece that was Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, so I was left greatly anticipating the third entry in the series.
You of course play as treasure hunting rogue Nathan Drake doing what he obviously does best, tracking down a lost city which is apparently full of immeasurable wealth. The legendary lost city in question is the “Atlantis of the Sands” which is said to be in the middle of the Rub’al Khali desert on the Arabian Peninsula. Along with you on the journey are a number of old friends from the series including Victor “Sully” Sullivan and of course on-again off-again love interest Elena Fisher. Chloe who was introduced in Uncharted 2 also makes an appearance as well as a new friend Charlie Cutter. With scenes set in France, Syria and more there are plenty of opportunities to showcase the amazing graphics that Naughty Dog are known for.
The game opens with a bang as Uncharted is known to, with a heated bar fight followed by a classic Naughty Dog cut scene with the introduction of the antagonists Katherine Marlowe and Talbot. At this point I already found myself getting edgy with excitement at playing the game, and I was keen to see where the story was heading. I wasn’t disappointed when the next section of the game had me playing as a young Drake roaming the streets in Columbia, and witnessing his wonder and curiousity while exploring a museum about Sir Francis Drake. The young Drake chapters were some of my favourites because of the great character development showing the origins of the relationship between Drake and Sully.
As the game went on I found myself thoroughly enjoying the epic soundtrack, beautiful scenery and epic set pieces, in particular the cruise ship level which I think is possibly the best level in the game. Naughty Dog are no strangers to good level design, and the way they manage to invest you emotionally in their characters is masterful to say the least. Although the combat was slightly frustrating, I found myself getting used to it as the game went on, much the same as the previous games. The storytelling of Uncharted 3 is the definite strong point, as you can expect, and that made up for any pain caused by the combat. From searching desperately for Sully to save him from captivity, to roaming the endless desert searching for water, this game had me gripped almost all the way through.
As you can tell from what I have said above, I absolutely love this series and for 99% of this game I was on the edge of my seat and in love with this one too. Unfortunately it let me down in a few ways that were really uncharacteristic of the previous games, in particular a few plot holes and the ending sequence of the game. Without spoiling the story all I can say is that the ending left me extremely unsatisfied, and there were a number of elements which were introduced earlier in the game which got one mention and then were never heard from again. The ending itself just felt extremely abrupt and almost out of place with the standard set by the original games. These problems may have been the result of a rushed development or perhaps understaffing due to Naughty Dog working on Uncharted: Golden Abyss for Vita and starting work on The Last Of Us. I can’t say for sure but it seems like the story wasn’t planned out to the extent that Naughty Dog are known for and that is a massive shame.
As for the multiplayer modes, I did not get a chance to play any of that yet unfortunately. I will get onto it and talk about it on the podcast in the near future and share my thoughts.
My gripes with the ending were not enough to completely taint my experience and I still thoroughly enjoyed the game. The moments of excitement and just the general amount of fun I had while playing it definitely helped to overshadow the negatives for me. Overall I still rate the game highly and definitely recommend people buy it, however I would definitely suggest playing through the original two Uncharted games first if you haven’t.
This game was reviewed using a copy provided by Sony Computer Entertainment Australia