This is page two of a two-page review. Click here for page one.
When Naughty Dog do all-out action, they do it with such flair and confidence that you cannot help but be mesmerised, but it’s the way that cut-scenes (both pre-rendered and realtime) are integrated into the gameplay that impresses the most. They never take you far away from the game but help to set the scene quickly and fluidly, and it’s a constant surprise when you’re handed back control, the protagonists idleing waiting for your input. Uncharted regulars will be all too aware of this, of course, but the boosted visuals really do take your breath away sometimes.
Sure, it’s not all plain sailing and perfection, but the niggles – bullet sponges, a dash of repetition and a couple of gaping plot holes and bizarre decisions – amount to little more than minor issues, never threatening to spoil what is otherwise an overwhelmingly flawless single player experience that’s second to none on the console. The campaign, which runs to around ten hours on Normal, is a thrill from start to finish and one that certainly warrants a second playthrough (hardcore Drake fans will be happy that Crushing returns) after you’re done. To put it simply – there hasn’t been a better single player game for years, and that’s not even mentioning the rest of the game.
Indeed, whilst Multiplayer is the star of the show after you’re done with Drake’s latest, the welcome addition of co-op – especially one that’s just as playable split screen as it is over the internet – is a really smart move by the developers. There’s some old ground here (literally) but it’s always fun to ramp up the difficulty and slog it out with a mate as you battle against the AI. Again, I don’t want to ruin the fun by listing the various levels on offer, but let’s just say there’s some inspired choices.
Naughty Dog proved with Uncharted 2’s multiplayer that treasure hunting, crotch thrusting, and snappy dialogue could not only conjure up one of the most-acclaimed singleplayer experiences, but a stellar online diversion too. Uncharted 3’s online multiplayer is essentially a refinement of its predecessor, adding a new gallery of weapons, perks and cinematic backdrops – with the occasional new feature for a more unique and well-rounded venture. It may only have a handful of game modes, but unlike other online shooters you will find yourself playing all of them instead of sticking to your Team Deathmatches, occasionally opting for something a little more objective.[drop]Plunder makes a triumphant return, standing in as a capture the flag variant in which the target objective can be thrown from player to player and even used as a weapon. Aside from your regular free-for-all, “hardcore” and TDM game types, Uncharted 3 also ushers in Team Objective mode. In a similar fashion to Killzone 3’s Warzone, matches are divided into several phases with the first team to successfully complete three being crowned as the winners. Objectives are cycled into the game with a bit of variation including King of the Hill, Marked Man and Deathmatch.
Character customisation has been given a revamp with players now able to adjust the appearance of Uncharted’s iconic heroes and villains. Boosters now have a second tier and weapons can also be optimised using a number of modifications to suit your play-style. One of our favourite inclusions in Uncharted 3’s multiplayer has to be the Medal Kickback mechanic, rewarding skilled players with item drops and temporary buffs, from RPGs to increased speed and carpet bombs to corrosive projectiles. Multiplayer is great fun, and will surely carry the game on long after the single player is done and dusted.
So, Uncharted 3. It’s been a long time coming, but rest assured it’s an absolute triumph. Bordering on being the perfect example of the genre, Naughty Dog’s latest adventure showcases striking developer talents against a console that surely must be at its peak now. The story’s great fun, the visuals are the best I’ve seen the PS3 kick out and the overall package is superb value for money – this is one of those games that only come around every few years, and if you miss out on Drake’s Deception in favour of anything else this season, you’re missing out on a real treat. Gamers have never had it so good.
- Amazing graphics and sound throughout
- Sublime, pitch perfect blend of action and adventure
- Wonderful voice acting and superb musical score
- Huge multiplayer sections
- Genuinely funny, touching and endearing at times
- Some of the puzzles are too easy and quickly cast aside
- A few minor sticking points and bugs
There’s no question here: this isn’t just the best Uncharted game Naughty Dog have made, it’s probably the best PlayStation 3 game anyone has made – and I’m not sure what other praise I can offer. Understand this: I’ve had such an entertaining experience with Drake’s latest epic that I’m actually struggling to think of any sections I didn’t actually like – and because of that it’s something that I’d encourage everyone to play, regardless of what your tastes might be, so refined is the whole package. A brilliant, brilliant single player, enjoyable co-op and a multiplayer that’ll last for months if not longer.
What’s not to like?
Thanks to Jim Hargreaves for his assistance with this review.