Format reviewed: PS3
Other formats available: None
Developer: Naughty Dog
Nate Drake is back and once again he's off around the world looking for hidden treasure whilst solving more puzzles than a jigsaw-obsessed 12-year old.
It has been two years since Among Thieves, but the second we put Drake's Deception into our PS3 and the Uncharted music kicked in, it was like seeing an old friend again.
Now we should probably say something before we go very much further with this, we loved the first two games. However, as with so many things over time, our love for Uncharted is starting to wane. The saying ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ is starting to be appropriate here unfortunately. The trouble is, you see, is that Uncharted 3 does strike us as simply more of the same. And although the Uncharted formula is one that we like, puzzles, shooting and more shooting, it is beginning to wear a little thin.
Previous games were held together by what we felt was a pretty tight script, with some excellent voice acting, and some chemistry between the characters. In Uncharted 3 the writers seem to have got a bit bored and the only joking they seem able to do are crude innuendos between Sully and Nate.
Also, we think, the formula is being stretched to edges of its playability. The first game was a nice reworking of the adventuring setting following in the footsteps of Indiana Jones and Lara Croft, the second expanded on it slightly, but with 3 it's a tad tiresome. As you scale yet another building over obvious handholds and then jump and swing across rooms on chandeliers you do get a distinct feeling of déjà vu.
That's not to say that there aren't new features, there just aren't that many. The only one we can think of right now is the ability to throw grenades back. If they land near you, you see a swingometer-type gauge on screen and you have to try and hit triangle when the swinging line is in the middle. This works most of the time, apart from one occasion when one of Nate's colleagues was standing in front of him and the grenade bounced off his head back at Nate!
So basically there's not much new, but what is more important is that Naughty Dog has taken away one of the most useful features; switching which hand Nate holds his gun in. This is very useful when standing in cover, which isn't very good in UC3 either, so that Nate can always shoot from cover no matter where he is standing. In UC3 he can only fire weapons right-handed, which is very annoying.
And then on to the cover system. This just doesn't seem to be as good as in previous games. You need to press circle to make Nate find cover, however, much of the time this doesn't work very well and the movements are very jerky and not very lifelike. In fact a lot of his movements in UC3 are like this, it's rare for him to move smoothly.
One of the USPs for the Uncharted series has always been the stunning visuals and the amount of detail in the levels. In some parts UC3 is as good as its predecessors, however, we are not sure if it's just us but in Drake's Deception they don't all look as good. We're not quite sure if this is because they aren't as good as in UC1 and 2 or that other games have raised the bar and UC is being left behind.
The single player storyline is just one part of the game though. In UC3 Naughty Dog has made it much easier to play the game co-operatively, you can now select the co-op option from the main screen along with multiplayer. This is much the same as in UC2 although you will need a PSN Pass code to do this. What this means is that if you get the game second-hand you will need to pay £7.99 to go online. So much for the PlayStation Network being free.
In the end we are a little sad that Uncharted 3 Drake's Deception is something of a let down. Yes you do get to play one level as a young Nate and find out how he and Sully met, but even that isn't that interesting. UC3 isn't a bad game by any means, it just feels as though its time is up.
Review by Count Pixel