Deceptive Practices

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is a far, far more fitting title than I would have thought. Something has gone terribly wrong in Naughty Dog's pulpy cinematic series.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: November 6, 2011
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I've been sitting on this review for a while now, unsure of how to start it. Part of me simply doesn't want to commit the thoughts in my head to the permanence of putting it online for all to see, and the rest wants to hold out hope that something will change, but the reality of my time with Uncharted 3 is starting to sink in.

No, it doesn't appear that there will be an update to Naughty Dog's third entry into a series that has become the embodiment of what the PlayStation 3 can do. This testament to an unerring commitment to delivering an interactive Hollywood blockbuster is going to stay just as it is now, and unfortunately, what it is right now is a painfully broken experience that, at times, seems almost brazenly committed to forcing the player to suffer rather than enjoy Nathan Drake and friends' antics.

Really, the more I think about it, the more I realize the issues that begin dog piling atop each other toward the middle of the game can't be solved by a simple patch; there were conscious design decisions that went into building scenarios that are simply not fun. In fact, they're the opposite of fun, as if moments like the plane shootout in the first Uncharted and the blue guardian fights in Uncharted 2 were stretched out into literally hours of anti-fun.

To understand why there's so much inherent frustration in some of the most visually incredible parts of a game that will almost certainly be remembered as the most gorgeous example of what this generation was capable of, one needs to break down some of the changes that were made to the core game design.

Uncharted 3 begins, as the first two games did, with a brilliant bit of mood-setting. Nate and long-time pal Sully stroll through the rain-glossed streets of London on the way to a meeting in a pub -- a meeting that doesn't exactly go as planned. A brawl breaks out -- and I mean a serious, pub-clearing, bit of impromptu pugilism meant to serve as a tutorial for the new melee combat system. Attempting to ape the basics of the recent Batman games' FreeFlow combat system, Nate can now square off against multiple opponents, swapping between targets freely and tapping the Triangle button to reverse would-be attacks from all angles.
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