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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It can make the multiplayer experience incredibly frustrating; a non-stop sequence of spawning and dying at the hands of people who know every little nook and cranny of these levels. If you can put in the hard hours, you'll eventually start to catch up, but be prepared for maddening stretches of pain and frustration; the game's matchmaking has no qualms putting a level six or seven player up against one in their 50s, 60s or higher. Yes, really. And no, it's not fun. At all.

So here we come to the final verdict. A game that should have been the closest thing to an interactive Hollywood blockbuster instead end up playing like a shoddy knock-off of it predecessors. The single-player features far too many gunfights that are a chore on easier levels and seemingly impossible on harder ones, melee combat that is far too involved to be useful during firefights (at least on harder difficulties) and a forced, terribly implemented set of stealth levels that collapse into -- you guessed it -- more gunfights. Coupled with controls that seem to fight you the entire way, what was supposed to be a jaw-dropping, pulpy thrill ride instead ends up being the worst single-player experience in the series. The multiplayer options do help prop things up, but they require their own time investment.

The problem is that when Uncharted 3 hits its high points, they're so much higher than almost anything you're likely to have played before that I can't help but recommend that people check out the game at least once. Just play it on an easy difficulty level, dabble in the online (and yes, there's a pass, so renting or buying used is out unless you want to drop a few more bucks for access) and see how it feels. Those chasing a Platinum (as I did successfully with the first two games, but absolutely will not do for this one) will find nothing but pain and suffering in Nathan Drake's latest outing.
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The Verdict

Were Uncharted 3 any other game, if it didn't hit with dizzying highs to offset the abysmal lows, it would be infinitely skippable. Instead, compelling (but difficult) multiplayer and enough "wow" moments mean it's worth seeing, but not owning.


Completely and utterly mind-blowing. This is, hands-down, the best-looking game on the PlayStation 3, and likely the best looking game ever made.


Again, absolutely flawless in its execution. Greg Edmonson's score is so rousing that it's impossible not to get caught up in the game's cutscenes and showpiece moments.


I wish I knew what went wrong, but it went really wrong. Aiming is a chore, platforming feels clunkier and the whole experience is just clumsy and bumbling to the point where I wonder how the same people could have made this game as the last two.


The single-player experience this time out is painfully flawed, overly familiar and yet still manages to pack enough awe-inspiring moments that it's worth witnessing at least once. That's impressive.