So here we are at the final chapter in Nathan Drake’s PS3 trilogy. How does it stack up to the others?
An argument that often splits Uncharted films in to two separate camps is whether Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is better than Among Thieves. For me, it’s an undisputed YES! That’s just my opinion, and really, the argument is mute, as the gameplay in both are very much the same and it ultimately comes down to which story the player prefers, which is completely subjective.
I can understand why a fan would initially be stuck with disappointment by Drake’s Deception, The story is basically the same as Among Thieves, all the way down to what has happened in the time between games. In Among Thieves, it was established that Nate and Elena had broken up, and, what do you know, in Drake’s Deception it’s established that Nate and Elena had broken up. Again. Even down to discovering a secret city in the final act. Hell, even running from the city as the ground crumbles beneath Nate’s feet. It’s totally the same!
Despite the similarities, the reason why I prefer Drake’s Deception, the set pieces are phenomenal, and far superior to its predecessor. It’s non-stop. There’s one set piece after another, and they combine climbing, running, covering, gunning, everything we’ve learnt in the past three games. There’s the airplane scene, the horseback scene, the whole shipyard and boat chapters, the flashback scene, the fire at the chateau in France, and of course, Iram of the Pillars. It goes from one exciting scene to the next. However, I did audibly groan a little when it cut to the forest in France, like, really? We are going back to a forest, again? I felt like I had played that chapter a million times in the franchise.
What makes the game even better is that there is a huge amount of thought behind every single camera angle and every single line of dialogue. The intro to the game is full of engaging shots and detailed storytelling, then it cuts to a flashback 15 years earlier. Did Scorsese direct this or what? The flashback might be the greatest stretch of gameplay in the whole 10 hours, and the gameplay isn’t particularly anything special, but it’s the enigmatic story that keeps you glued to the screen. It provides some rich, genuinely heartfelt history between Nate and Sully (it makes up for his felt absence in Among Thieves.) I haven’t played anything like it, ever.
One key theme of the Uncharted series is the supernatural elements, and Drake’s Deception has the best supernatural moments. The demons don’t cause the game to suddenly switch to a survival horror out of nowhere, like the zombies in Drake’s Fortune, but they still instill fear and anxiety. They are not impossible to kill, like the guardians in Among Thieves, where you just have to run around until a cut-scene is triggered, but they are tough enough. The demons’ designs are great too.
There is still no variety in the character models. I fought the same English meatheads about 800 times, and all of Marlowe’s suited up agents look exactly the same. It’s the only thing in the whole game that pulled me out of the immersive experience. A big complaint I’ve always had with Uncharted are the puzzles, and it’s no different here. A couple of the puzzles are a little better, such as the sun dial one, and the cog one, but even then, there’s back and forth dialogue that tells you how to solve it. It takes away that satisfaction of figuring it out for yourself. There are other things I could nit-pick.
Besides that minute issue, I have almost no complaints. It’s so close to perfect. There’s the introduction of my favourite, terribly underused new character, Cutter. There’s the first great antagonistic; Marlowe is fascinating, especially by having history with Nate and Sully. It all comes together so well. The stealth levels have been significantly improved too. And the game is objectively stunningly beautiful.
And that’s the end of the Uncharted “trilogy.” Next up is Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. But maybe I’ll take a break from Uncharted for a week or so. I’m all climbed out and I have a massive back log of PlayStation Plus games.
One more thing…
With Naughty Dog’s past franchises, it’s always been three story games and a cart racer; Crash Banidcoot – three story games and a cart racer, Jack & Daxter – three story games and a cart racer. So, the next Uncharted game has to be a cart racing game, right?
Jokes aside, how phenomenal would an Uncharted cart racing game be? Just imagine the locations, the weapons you can throw at other cart racers. Seriously, this has so much potential.