Join Naughty Dog’s fortune hunter for the final game in the series to be released on PS3, and continue Nathan Drake’s tale to find The Atlantis of the Sands. 2 years since Drake’s conflict with the Warloard Lazarević and an old threat returns from a joint past to finish what Sir Francis Drake started. Here is our Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Review!
Developed by Naughty Dog and originally released in 2011 for the PS3, a re-release was made available in 2015 as part of The Nathan Drake Collection for PS4 which was handled by Bluepoint Games.
“The dreamers of the day are dangerous men
for they may act their dream with open eyes
to make it possible. This I did.“
“Lawrence of Arabia“
Starting the game Sully and Drake are in London, once control is given over, the player is thrown into a bar fight. This isn’t out of the ordinary for Nathan and it really is an impressive way to introduce the characters and melee combat for the rest of the game.
Escaping he finds himself in an ally remembering years prior and the events that would change Drakes’s life forever.
“Did he save you from that life? Or did he just doom you to this one?“
Once regaining control of Drake in London, Drake realises that more is at work than it seems and after “infiltrating” a secret base he learns that Sir Francis had been sent to Arabia by John Dee, the original 007. Carrying on Drake reveals the involvement of T.E. Lawrence and the idea that Sir Francis went to Arabia in search of the Atlantic of the Sands, however for unknown reasons hid whatever he found even from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth I. Realising he has both sets of clues, half from Sir Francis and half from T.E. Lawrence, he proposes half his team heads to Syria, and the other half goes to France, to find what was hidden with Knights from the Crusade. The alternative idea was to scour the Rub’ al Khali desert for the lost city, a Six Hundred Mile distance, which would have made for an unproductive game.
With the courses set Drake and Sully tackle the French Chateau, while Chloe and Cutter tackle Syria. In the jungle of France stands an abandoned Renaissance-style building, dating back to the 11th Century. Owned by Lord Godfry after returning from the Crusades only a single tower is left from the original castle. Infiltrating the derelict mess and overgrown remains until the pair find their way to the inner keep and the trophy they are after, unfortunately, encountering Talbots men. Soon finding out there are worse things than Talbot and his men Drake is forced to find his way out and check on Chloe and Cutter in Syria.
“If you’re gearing up for one of your ‘I’m too old for this’ speeches, spare me.“
Unlike the previous two instalments in the series, this one shows a more determined and prideful Nathan Drake, who has everything to lose, Sully knowing this tries to pull Drake back from being reckless however Drake won’t hear it.
In Syria Drake and Sully infiltrate to save their friend and end up getting caught up in the middle of Talbot’s operation and the explosive combat erupts forcing Drake and their friends to defend themselves until backed into a corner.
Learning that his next destination is Yemen Sully contacts an old friend to help them enter the city and explore with as much freedom as they can manage. Encountering Talbot shortly after reaching a vantage point Drake decides to go after him and not long after ends up in the talons of Marlowe, wanting to talk. Escaping and pursuing Talbot through the streets of Yemen Drake gets captured by Rameses, a pirate. The following sequence, in my opinion, is one of the best in Drakes Deception. Not knowing where he is, Drake needs to claw his way out of the holding cell and back to his friends, however, with his environment against him and nature having a way of setting its own rules Drake is thrown around a Ship Graveyard, before boarding a cruiseliner and subsequently sending it down.
Back in Yemen, Drake finds out that Sully has been taken by Talbot and sets out to save him, which leads him to board a plane and sends it to its fiery demise in the middle of the Rub’ al Khali. Without knowing where he is and without essential resources Drake is left to stumble around in the desert until coming across a rundown settlement where Talbots men are stationed. Thankfully being saved just in time by the Bedouins and gaining them as allies their leader reveals the truth to Drake about the Iram of the Pillars before helping him disrupt the English’s plans and Save Victor Sullivan.
“I’ve got nothing to prove”
– Nathan Drake
Gameplay, Mechanic-Based, and Graphic Changes:
Throughout the Uncharted games, Naughty Dog improves with every interaction, Drakes Deception is the pinnacle of this on the PS3 and really shows off what the team could do. In the first game, we got a solid foundation for all areas of the game. The second game improved upon these areas and developed more, for Drakes’s Deception this is so true and feeling the differences between all the games in the sequence is really incredible.
As for the alterations in this game, there is a good number. Mechanically wise the game has been made smoother and flows way better than in either previous title, even on the PS4 Remaster. Aiming weapons, Parkour and using the journal is really smooth and satisfying to do in Drake’s Deception, this goes for the Graphics as well. The few things that I would like to Highlight that are not in the other titles, or in them much are things like:
- Ship/ Plane
- Supernatural Entities
These have been highlighted because of one reason or another, the most prominent of them is the Ocean sequence, which is pretty impressive compared with where Drake has been before. The desert is another really interesting feature showing off the true physics of the game. This is different to the water-based environments of the Ship Graveyard as it reacts dependent on Drakes movement whereas the Water is flowing and drives the physics. Gameplay wise Naughty Dog introduced a lot of interesting ways for the player to interact with how the game works, however, the best ones are on the Ship and Plane. This is because these environments are in motion, like the train in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, the difference with these is the forces involved. The plane has its cargo bay open which causes turbulence, so standing still is near impossible let alone shooting enemies. The ship is similar but the waves make the ship and anything on deck shift around, this is drastically altered later when it is sinking and the goal is to escape before it drags Drake down.
Returning from Both Drake’s Fortune and Among Thieves are vehicles. normally this wouldn’t deserve a mention, however, Naughty Dog added a specific vehicle into Drake’s Deception that is worthy of highlighting. This is a horse, which you only get to ride in two of the chapters it is a unique and interesting experience, even down to trying to shoot.
Finally, we have the late-game enemies. Drakes Fortune had “Zombified” humans called Descendants. Where they might fall under this Category they were only mindless monsters. Among Thieves had the “Yeti” enemies called Guardians. These too were just men in suits which made them look terrifying. Drake’s Deception follows this pattern however it’s more to do with a Psychological adversary. Where they are humans you fight, Drake sees them as fiery demons who can use supernatural abilities.
This really is the pinnacle of Nathan’s Development over the three games however there is a side to him that is mostly unseen. This is Obsession and letting his Pride take point on the adventure rather than playing it smart and cautiously. Although a rare side of him it is something that helps drive his development and as the game goes on there is less focus on it and more on the Nathan Drake that has been built up before.
Joining Drake is a cast of great characters, both good and bad, these are:
- Victor Sullivan
- Elena Fisher
- Chloe Frazer
- Charlie Cutter
- Katherine Marlowe
Although Sully, Elena, and Chloe are returning from previous titles in the franchise they seem to take a back seat to Drake. Although this is fitting, it being Drake’s adventure, Drake’s Deception feels like it’s designed to be the concluding story to his saga of events. That being said there could have been more done with the supporting characters that pushed Drake in certain directions. Sully does this at the end of the Chateau Chapter pushing Nathan away from the suicidal course he is starting to look like he is taking.
To conclude the game is a fantastic addition to the Uncharted franchise and easily better than its previous instalments of the series. Drake feels more fleshed out and experienced in how he moves, he also feels like there are more responsibilities weighing on him than in the other game. This isn’t a bad thing it’s actually something that helps him push through some of the situations, knowing that he has something left to do, or return to. The downside to this game is that it feels like the end of an era and Drake actually retiring from the fortune hunters lifestyle, the team at Naughty Dog throw some deliberate things into the game to make the gamer pause and think. One of these is Marlowe’s comment “That’s not your real name, is it?“. For someone who has followed Uncharted, this might not be surprising, however, the fact that Naughty Dog drop this on the player and never touch on it over the course of the game is more than a bit irritating, considering how the game concludes. This is only a small thing in the grand scheme of the game but it’s enough to subtly hint that Drake’s story might not be over (yes there is A Thief’s End but we are not going into that).
There is one thing about this game that really rather irritates me, we know that it’s so many years since his last outing and double that since his first one. That being said he will have gained muscle mass, experience and skills. In addition to this, the graphical capabilities of the look of Drake have changed slightly, and where it isn’t a massive difference it is enough to take note of. What is most irritating about this version of Drake is that he has a different Eye colour to what he has in Uncharted Drakes Fortune and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. In the first two Uncharted games, Drake has Green eyes, whereas in Drake’s Deception, his eye colour changes to Blue. Where this is not a major thing it is still really irritating, and therefore worth noting.
Overall the characters are well-rounded and the enemies this time around for Drake, made it personal back when Drake was 15. That was enough of a driving force to have Drake lose sight of how he was trained and stick his pride and obsession for the goal in front of what he knew, making this Drake pretty interesting.
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