Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception - PS3

Game Description: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, the third installment in Naughty Dog's acclaimed adventure series finds Drake searching for a lost city in the Arabian Peninsula. New features in Uncharted 3 will include "enhanced backward climbing" and the ability to fight multiple enemies at once.
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Uncharted 3 Gameplay Impressions: From Burning Buildings to the Scorching Desert

Uncharted 3 Gameplay Impressions: From Burning Buildings to the Scorching Desert

By Christopher Monfette - Posted Dec 17, 2010

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception surprised many with its recent announcement, but the action/adventure title continued to surprise when we were offered a meaty demo of one of the early levels. There really can be no dispute that the Uncharted series has essentially mastered the marriage of gaming and cinema, providing a visually spectacular, action-packed experience with smart scripting, solid performance and tight, visceral gameplay. In fact, the year in which Uncharted 2: Among Thieves released, the game simply couldn’t avoid comparisons to the recent Indiana Jones film, a lackluster failure in comparison to Uncharted’s mastery of the genre in any medium.

WATCH: Uncharted 3 Demoed On Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

As shown in the recently released trailer, the third game in the franchise will be set against a desert backdrop, providing a fresh challenge for developer Naughty Dog, having already mastered jungle landscapes in the first game and snow/ice environments in the second. We’re told that the narrative will focus primarily on the relationship between Drake and Sully with the adventure shifting back to the mysterious adventures of Nathan’s ancestor, Sir Francis Drake. Whether the deception in the game’s title refers to Nathan or Francis – either being deceived or doing the deceiving – is purposefully vague.


But we know for certain that Drake will be traversing the least explored region in the entire globe, the deadly deserts of the Rub’ al Khali, otherwise known as the Empty Quarter. His goal? The very same pursuit as Lawrence of Arabia himself, the famous archeologist T. E. Lawrence: the legendary City of Brass, the Atlantis of the sands, the lost city of Iram. His search, however, will pit him against an ancient group that will conjure Drake’s deepest fears.

While Drake’s time in the billowing sands of the desert will set a new visual landmark for the series – including heat haze, shifting sand formations and even mirages – the level we were shown takes place earlier in the game, prior to Drake’s arrival in the Empty Quarter. Set in an abandoned, over-grown château in the forests of France, the level begins innocently enough. Drake and Sully are trapped on one of the upper levels, searching for a way across the collapsed, rotting floor, when Drake leaps onto a hanging chandelier, showing off Nathan’s new ability to climb and interact with physics objects in the environment. The chandelier twists and turns as he shifts around the base and pushes an old column across the divide for Sully.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception Screenshots

Which, of course, is when all hell breaks loose. A pair of enemies douse a far-off wall with gasoline. As Nathan tries to sneak around, hanging from the top of a grand stairwell, two other men set the gasoline alight. A small explosion sends flames in each direction and the fire begins to spread across the woodwork, seemingly in real time. As the combat beings in earnest, we noticed the fire move across the floor, up a column behind which we were taking cover, forcing Nathan out into the open, one hand raised against the heat.

PHOTOS: Uncharted 3 Screenshot Gallery

As Drake and Sully make their way through the burning building – now a full-on conflagration – the changes to the hand-to-hand combat system become increasingly evident. Brawling is now a multi-target affair as Drake can switch between enemies, using a heavily expanded range of contextual moves. For instance, while fighting one thug, we were restrained from behind by another. As the first enemy unholstered his gun, preparing to shoot us directly in the chest, Drake reached forward, pulled the man’s gun-hand under his arm, and forced the assailant to pull the trigger, killing the grappler behind him. The gun was then wrestled free and used against the shooter himself.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception Screenshots

Later in the game, we’re told, a bar brawl might shift in your favor as your attack button will cause Drake to smash a nearby bottle over an enemy’s head, or break a glass to use as an improvised knife. Even this early on in the game’s development, it feels that the combat will offer a robust, but logical set of surprises and “Oh, sh*t!” moments as the adventure progresses…

As always, however, even in a burning chateau, there’s a fair amount of platforming, and the newly tweaked animations continue to impress. Drake can now back-jump to ledges behind and above him, as well as shoot while shimmying on platforms or moving across balance beams. But most importantly, these platforming moments are where Naughty Dog truly gets to blend the cinematic with the mechanics of gaming.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception Screenshots

A simple jump to a nearby ledge can turn into a harrowing moment where an entire wall gives away, falling back across a chasm, seemingly into the fire below. One misstep finds the floor giving way beneath your felt, sending Drake careening through a weakened wall, out into a stairwell, over the railing, grabbing desperately for any surface that’ll prevent his fall into the flaming pit three stories down.

VIDEO: Uncharted 3 Debut Trailer

Graphically, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception continues to impress. The small, decorative details of the chateau, overgrown by the surrounding forest, really set the scene. Dust-filled streams of light poured in through every crack and window. The spreading fire gave off heat plumes, ash and smoke, moving dynamically throughout the environment. The rapid-fire transitions from platforming to scripted cinematic were seamless, pulling the viewer viscerally into the experience. And while the improvements to the game – at least in this non-desert level – were less visual and than they were contextual, the franchise certainly seems to be moving forward and we cannot wait to see what awaits Drake in the Rub’ al Khali.

Comments are Closed

  • Shadow_ben_jamin

    (Girlfriend walks in) "Hey what movie is this?"

    Posted: December 19, 2010 9:33 PM
  • JRX75

    I think the release date should be pushed up.

    Posted: December 19, 2010 9:12 AM
  • EdSabre

    Uncharted has become a great franchise and it's really filled the void that Tomb Raider has left in the market. While I am excited to play this, I can't help but feel that it wont be long before their extensive use of over-the-top cinematic moments will cause the game to become stale. Kind of like Call of Duty, if they keep throwing more and more outrageous moments at you, then you'll become used to them and they wont feel as suprising or memorable as they used to. I mean, how many times in this one will Drake grab something, only to have it give way suddenly and cause him to almost fall to his death? I just hope the game can keep up the variety and the pacing and not just throw more and more of those crazy cinematic action moments at us, because awesome as they may be, even that would get old after a while.

    Posted: December 19, 2010 6:45 AM
  • joe1355

    I kinda really need a PS3 now. damn you Microsoft.

    Posted: December 18, 2010 4:44 PM
  • Zeronox353

    I just Jizzed

    Posted: December 18, 2010 12:23 AM
  • RandyMercer

    I mean, if you're not excited for this game, are you really a gamer? I don't want to come off as overly biased but when you have a studio as talented and hard working as ND, how can you be pessimistic or cynical? ND could have easily just played it safe but no, they're pushing themselves and the tech of the PS3 further. Less than 11 months to go.

    Posted: December 18, 2010 12:08 AM
  • JingJang

    I'm happy to say that I'm a bit pessimistic about this one. It just means the surprise at finding another excellent game will be all the greater and mroe satisfying

    Posted: December 17, 2010 11:26 PM
  • slackersphere17

    @ :12 CRAP!

    Posted: December 17, 2010 7:11 PM
  • Wildcard273

    My God, 2011 is going to be sick with great games. Holy crap, I can't wait for this. I can't believe we have to wait almost a whole year for more Nathan Drake. I'm sure this game will erase any thoughts about the upcoming epic fail of the Uncharted movie with Mark Wahlberg

    Posted: December 17, 2010 12:23 PM
  • mrnerd89

    I just realized that Nathan Drake and Naughty Dog have the same initials...Mind totally blown.

    Posted: December 17, 2010 11:28 AM
  • gtamaster503

    Uncharted 2 cleaned up GOTYs in 2009. Mass Effect 2 is cleaning up GOTY in 2010 (actually Uncharted 2 won VGA GOTY and Red Dead won VGA GOTY not ME2 but still). So who will clean up in 2011. Uncharted 3 or Mass Effect 3?

    Posted: December 17, 2010 11:08 AM
  • fist of fury

    Next year is going to be an amazing year for games. I mean titles like Uncharted 3, Crysis 2, Deus Ex, LittleBigPlanet 2, Batman Arkham City, L.A. Noire, inFamous 2 and the list goes on. Good bye social life i'll miss you.

    Posted: December 17, 2010 9:24 AM
  • DeeWebb23

    hope my ps3 dosen't explode from so much badassity.

    Posted: December 17, 2010 8:47 AM
  • cmdluke

    Game of the Year, for sure!

    Can't Wait!

    Posted: December 17, 2010 8:37 AM
  • yeyo30

    all they need is a good history line for the third game, the game is good by it self ,if is not broken dont fix it

    Posted: December 17, 2010 6:32 AM
  • atx88

    I throughly have loved this series so far. The story telling in both games so far have been fantastic, with both graphical and story improvements increasing exponentially from the first to second game. I'm very thrilled to hear I'll be able to get my hands on this within a year. Few games offer a genuinely strong story with a character that the players can grow with. Drake is one of those characters. As the two games have progressed you can see how he has grown and the people in the story have developed and this is the mark of good development within the studio, in my opinion. Hopefully this third game will be much more than just eye candy. But I've got really high expectations for this after what ND gave us for uncharted 2.

    Posted: December 17, 2010 4:20 AM

    There's no doubt in my mind it'll be awesome, but what worries me is that UC2 was so good that there's very little they can meaningfully add to the gameplay. The tweaks mentioned (platforming and brawling) are cool, but hardly essential. ND's going to have to pull something out of the bag before I can get really excited.

    Posted: December 17, 2010 4:03 AM