Play
Please use a flash video capable browser to watch videos.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Review

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception Review

  • Game release: November 1, 2011
  • Reviewed:
  • PS3

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception continues where its predecessor left off, delivering a memorable adventure that pleases on all fronts.

by

Is it possible to have your expectations raised too high? Uncharted 2: Among Thieves delivered a monumental leap over the first game in the series, and it might be easy to fall into the trap of assuming the same advancements would take place in every subsequent release. If that's your state of mind going into Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, you might walk away slightly disappointed. But that's not a fair response. Though the third entry in this treasure-hunting franchise offers a similar experience to its revered predecessor, it's no less magical. Just about every element showcases the care and craftsmanship you would expect from the series. Combat is even more versatile than in previous entries, combining incredible shooting encounters with advanced hand-to-hand takedowns set in lavishly designed areas. When you need a break from the taxing physical endeavors, thoughtful puzzles allow you to explore your more contemplative side. And these two elements are punctuated by exhilarating set-piece events that leave you gasping. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is another superb entry in Nathan Drake's ongoing quest to find the world's many lost treasures.

Once again, Nathan Drake is in search of lost treasure in a mysterious land. The story encompasses many of the same tropes from previous games--deception, twists, camaraderie--though the nuts and bolts of the plot have never been one of Uncharted's strong points. Rather, it's the realistic portrayal of characters--their lively back-and-forth discussions and snide jokes--that give you a reason to care about the tale. Drake, Sully, and the supporting cast sport detailed animation that makes them almost look real, and their playful dialogue further cements this image. Tempers flare, threats are made, and you can feel the tension during heated moments. But these lifelong friends always make up, and it's their believable relationships that make it so easy to become invested in their struggles.

When you picture Uncharted, you may think of plundering ancient tombs or throwing as many grenades as you can manage in bombastic sequences. But the opening of Drake's Deception eschews the larger-than-life action the series is known for in favor of an old-fashioned bar brawl. This is where the new animations that have been incorporated into fisticuffs are apparent as you wrestle with a platoon of aggressive men in a confined place. Shoving a burly dude into the bar while you pummel his face or grabbing a stray bottle to crash over someone's head conjures images of Patrick Swayze handling business in Road House, and the controls are precise enough to make it possible to manage an approaching group without getting your face beaten. Ultimately, these instances where you're forced to take matters into your own hands are the weakest aspect of the game because your freedom is so limited, but that's not to say they're boring. There's a satisfying rhythm to throwing fists while avoiding counters, and you have enough flexibility to move around that you don't feel like you're just performing mindless quick-time events.

That bald man is about to eat a knuckle sandwich.

As much fun as it may be to bash in a man's head with a wooden chair, it can't match the thrill of beating a man with your fists when he's sporting an assault rifle. There are segments where you have to fistfight in Drake's Deception, but there are other times when you're in a battle for your life and you can use any weapon you want to stay alive. Thanks to the incredibly impactful animations of a hand-to-hand assault, it's fun to put aside the bullets and explosives to focus on getting your hands dirty instead. Being sneaky certainly helps. Snapping a man's neck before he can turn around or just shoving someone clear off a building is immensely rewarding. But there are other times when stealth doesn't work, and you find yourself grappling, feinting, and punching below the belt, while bullets fly and enemies scream death threats at you. Particular animations make these encounters a special treat. You may grasp the barrel of your gun and swing at someone's head with a metal uppercut or elbow a foe in the neck like a wrestler suffering from roid rage, and it's hard to contain your joyous laugh. There are times when you run out of bullets and fighting with your fists is the only way to go. Once you finish off your foe, a slow motion moment in which Drake snatches your enemy's discarded gun in midair adds a fitting end to the fight.

Of course, you don't have to go toe-to-toe if you'd rather not. The beauty of Uncharted's combat is that you can dispatch foes in a variety of ways, and all of them feel incredibly empowering. The key is the expertly designed levels. Drake's Deception is a cover-based, third-person shooter; thus, chest-high walls populate many of your encounters. But those familiar structures aren't used as a crutch here. Verticality gives you the option to climb around like a gun-toting monkey if you prefer, getting the drop on lackadaisical foes. If a man with a rocket launcher is forcing you to hunker behind a piece of debris, fear not; you can smoothly leap from cover, shimmy up a nearby wall, and sprint pell-mell across a rooftop. Grab a sniper rifle on the way if you want to handle him from afar or a shotgun if you'd like to pop him right in the head. Toss grenades at the group of enemies hiding by that well, man the turret once you finish off its previous operator, or sprint past everyone until you make it to the door that marks your safety. Versatile level design lets you choose how to go about killing your pesky foes in Drake's Deception, and rock-solid controls ensure every action you want to perform can be pulled off without any hesitation.

Nathan found the perfect hiding place: right in a spotlight.

If you're feeling sluggish and just want to use your gun for a while, doing so is a perfectly valid alternative to the high-flying adventuring. The mechanics in Drake's Deception have been refined even further from the previous game. No matter which gun you grab, you can target weak points with ease, and enemies recoil when you prick their flesh with searing-hot bullets. Drake's Deception offers so many different ways to take down foes that you might think it falls into the camp of jack-of-all-trades, master of none. But that's not true at all. If you take things slowly--crouch behind cover only risking your neck when the opportunity presents itself--you have just as much of a chance to succeed as someone who makes use of Drake's agility. And you can have just as much fun, too. The weapons are a blast to use. Landing a headshot from across the map with a sniper rifle is eminently satisfying, as is taking out a gunner with a sure blast from a shotgun. You can easily keep an enemy off balance with a fast-shooting assault rifle or knock a grenade right out of someone's hand with a steady pistol. Ample ammunition lets you focus on the fun of firing rather than scrounging for extra bullets, so you can stick with your favorite weapon if you want or mix things up after every fight.

Uncharted is at its best when the difficulty rises. During many of the game's fights, you can relax and dispose of foes with easy grace. Though this is certainly fun, being forced to play smartly makes things even more exciting. Enemies aren't scared to charge at you when you're hiding behind cover. When you see someone sprinting in your direction, you have to decide quickly if you're going to run or fight, and that decision is frequently the difference between life and death. Dealing with flanking enemies while a sniper is keeping you pinned down forces you to act with determination, and though you may die repeatedly in certain sections, it rarely feels like the game is at fault. However, not every aspect of the combat is flawless. There are times when the AI forgets you're trying to kill them and they just stand around, taking in the impressive view. On the other end of the spectrum, your location may be uncovered when you're trying to be sneaky, even if you stay out of sight. There's also a small quirk with the hand-to-hand killing animations. One of these involves pulling the pin from an enemy's grenade. This looks painfully delightful, but if this randomly triggered event happens at the wrong time, you could be stuck with nowhere to flee.

The occasional flaw doesn't prevent the combat from being immensely thrilling, and the excitement continues in the platforming sections. As in previous games, there are times when you must climb up walls, swing from pillars, and shimmy up trees, and these sections are linear. You can't jump unless there's a handhold to grab onto, and there's only one way out of your predicament. Thus, it's not as empowering as in games where you move with unrestricted freedom. Aside from the combat, every other element is structured to limit creativity, with the focus placed on the beautiful sights and unexpected pitfalls. You might think you're safe climbing a strong wooden ladder, only to see it deteriorate in your hands. And it's these moments that inject some excitement into your leaping. You never know what is going to hold your weight, so you move quickly and purposefully, hoping you can reach solid ground alive.

Puzzles also return from previous games with few changes. While Drake is wandering around ancient cities, he stumbles upon seemingly impassable barriers, but the solutions are hinted at in his handy journal. You may need to complete a mural by casting a shadow or light up certain sections of an enormous globe, and these aren't particularly difficult, but they are still a great diversion from the thrilling action sequences. And that's one of the most impressive aspects of Drake's Deception. The pace smoothly moves between action and puzzles, with entertaining cutscenes thrown in the mix. You never spend so long on one activity that you grow tired of performing the same tricks repeatedly. The chapters bleed into one another, so it's easy to lose a dozen or more hours before you realize just how long you've been playing. And once you wrap up the campaign, you'll want to go through one more time. Ramp up the difficulty, suss out the hidden treasures you missed the first time, and soak in the sights once more. This is a fantastic game that grabs your attention and never lets go.

Never turn your back to an empty well.

But if you do become lonely, there's a chaotic cooperative mode. There are three different options, but the best of these is Adventure. Here, you team up with one or two friends and take part in five reconstructed levels from the campaigns of Drake's Deception and Among Thieves. Puzzle and platforming sections have been removed, so the focus is placed entirely on combat. And it's incredible. Enemies are more susceptible to your fists than in the single-player campaign (two punches should finish them off), and it's a hoot to sprint around the battlefield cracking necks and punching groins until you fall to a barrage of gunfire. Just hope your friends resurrect you because you have a limited number of shared lives and the difficulty can get steep. There are sections where you can't rely on your fists to come out ahead, and these require you to carefully coordinate to stay alive. One friend may unleash suppressive fire with an assault rifle while you move in with a shotgun or just snap someone's neck when he's distracted, and there are so many ways to play that going through these levels multiple times is still fun.

The other two cooperative modes aren't quite as good, but they have their charms. Arena is a series of co-op challenges against an onslaught of enemies. You may have to reach a certain kill count or steal a treasure, and it's fun teaming up with some friends to take on the unrelenting horde. The other mode mixes competitive play with cooperative strategizing. Hunters is a two-versus-two assault where one team tries to steal treasures while the other tries to stop them. The defenders also have AI teammates, which makes it pretty tricky when you're trying to nab their goods. Although both of these modes are good fun, they get tiresome more quickly than Adventure. Things enter a predictable rhythm after a few rounds, and though the core mechanics are satisfying enough to overcome this, they have limited appeal.

Nothing says Adventure like shooting dudes with guns.

The real draw of the online offerings is the competitive mode. Uncharted 2 introduced multiplayer competition, and Drake's Deception builds on that strong blueprint. The versatility of the single-player combat is well realized here, so a wide variety of tactics can be employed to kill those who challenge you. Hand-to-hand fighting, long-range sniping, grenade tosses, shotgun blasts, and all of the other great maneuvers from the campaign are here, and the well-designed levels give you plenty of different options. One big difference is the speed. Playing online is much faster than offline, so hunkering behind cover isn't nearly as effective. The sprint button is far more useful, and you better use it frequently or you'll be run down by someone who knows what he's doing. Sprinting to a safe place, firing a few choice shots, and then moving on delivers a satisfying rhythm, and the fear that someone may be sneaking up behind you keeps you from becoming lax. Experience points give you money to buy new weapons and perks, which changes things as you sink more time into it. And if you want to start on the same page, a hardcore mode strips out those bonuses so skill, and skill alone, is what determines a winner.

All of these different modes and gameplay types look phenomenal, thanks to impressive technology and strong artistic design. A stirring soundtrack beautifully complements your journey, drifting between hard-edged riffs and delicate acoustics, depending on the situation. Everything that Drake's Deception attempts, it pulls off with flying colors. This is a beautiful, cohesive, and, most importantly, fun adventure that cements the Uncharted franchise as one of the best around. More of a good thing is welcome here. You'll laugh with joy, yelp with excitement, and, above all else, be thankful that you're playing something as expertly crafted as Drake's Deception.

The Good
Lots of exciting tactics in combat
Expertly designed levels reward experimentation
Great pacing
Excellent presentation including visuals, voice acting, and music
Exciting competitive and cooperative play
The Bad
Slight AI flaws
Stiff platforming limits creativity
9
Superb
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Discussion

81 comments
Hellcanwait
Hellcanwait

I'm sorry but i can't stand this game.

during every single climbing/running sequence I found myself wishing this was a AC game with the freedom of a AC game.

during the shooting gallery parts, I wanted it to be anything else really, those where just horrible.

and QTE...I've yet to meet anyone who thinks QTE are great fun and have a place in games.


I forced myself to play it for about 2 hours, then it just became too much.




dipdish
dipdish

I finished the single player campaign half an hour ago, and I think the game truly deserves praise. Other than the amazing gameplay, I must say that the relationship between Drake and Sully, and the emotional depth in the story, which we cannot find in games too often, is just great. By the way, I do not think platforming is stiff, as stated in the review above, it's actually better than most games. 

sashimiboy1969
sashimiboy1969

I just finished this game and thought it was incredible.  I really liked the desert areas with the middle eastern themes. I thought the pirate stages were not consistent with the story line though.  Still, I had a blast!  I would rate this 9 out of 10!  I'm looking forward to getting the PS4 game in December.  All the games in this franchise have so far been worth every penny! 

andmcq
andmcq

I've been playing through the Uncharted series for the first time. I played Uncharted 1 about a month ago and it was brilliant. I played Uncharted 2 about a fortnight ago and it too was brilliant, actually better in every aspect compared to Uncharted 1. I started playing Uncharted 3 about two days ago and completed it this morning. What in the Hell happened? 


It was clearly rushed. The gun play was frustrating, the enemies barely varied, the variety and access of weapons/guns was all over the place and most of all the story was fractured and was just a complete cluster-f**k. 


Really disappointing TBH. It feels like it needed another couple of months work to stitch the story together and really give the support characters more to do. What was with the whole Pirate/Ship levels? The whole story line took a huge detour for about two or three hours there. And Cutter just disappears? No explanation? How did Talbot disappear behind walls? How did they come back after being shot by Cutter? Are we to assume these were illusions?


It was a decent enough game, but really unpolished. Not a bad game by any means, a solid 7.5 IMO. 

ristactionjakso
ristactionjakso

Stiff platforming? What about stiff aiming and gunplay? The aiming alone breaks this game. Uncharted 2 at least had manageable gun mechanics. Uncharted 3 not so much. The shooting and aiming feels more like a chore and isn't enjoyable at all. Never in all my life had I played a shooter with aiming and shooting mechanics as bad as this game. Why would they decrease the quality of gameplay in Uncharted 3 from what it was in Uncharted 1 or 2? Makes no sense.

NexApex
NexApex

Just beat the game a couple of days ago. I really enjoyed it and thought it was up there with it's predecessor in terms of it's over the top action adventure. There were some blurry face animations and lack of enemy verity, but the implementation of the hand to hand combat,  grenade throw back mechanic and the new animations Drake's character does around his environment are excellent additions to an already near perfect series. The story may not be as tight or lovable as Uncharted 2, but I still had a blast with it's pacing and over the top level design.


I had some questions at the end of the game about Drake's motive from treasure hunting to world savior. How the main antagonist got hold of the pieces so easily, but makes sense because of what they were after. And the disappearance of Chloe.


Overall it holds up as one of the most exciting and entertaining experiences I've ever played. Few games have had so many jaw dropping moments in video games.

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

Call me sick, but if this game had bullet wound and blood spray effects, it would be much better. the shootouts in this game feel cheap with the lack of carnage. Some Max Payne 3/RDR type blood effects would work wonders in this game. I give this game a 7/10. Anyone saying its a 9 or a 10 is lying or has no clue about good games.

carolino
carolino

got it on ps plus


finished but is not my style of game. 

i can not find one TPS of FPS that give me same amouth of pleasure then a good RPG


i can see the value but for me is still a shallow, easy , fast game 


sorry folks






monicker
monicker

Well, I'm very happy for nearly 5000 people (out of nearly 5000 people) good for them. I don't begrudge them one bit, in fact I'm happy so many people loved this game. I on the other hand, stand by my opinion, the first and third games in this series were crap, while the second was brilliant. Tom McShea is the worst video game reviewer I have ever read or seen, he makes fan boy 12 year olds on youtube seem legit. I don't think Naught Dog will tank due to my critical, yet very honest and heartfelt review, nor do I want them to. They're a great company capable of great things, as they proved with Drakes Whatever 2 and The Last of Us. I think it's fair for people who don't agree with 5000 people out of nearly 5000 people to get all opinions, both positive and negative.

That said, happy gaming, I now I'm gonna be.

monicker
monicker

LOL - Of course Tom McShea raved about this crap burger. This game was bad. At best a 7. Uncharted 1 was terrible and at best a 4.


I don't understand the rave reviews this game receieved. Uncharted 1 was terrible, then,  Uncharted 2 hit was an amazing experience, not just an amazing game. It was gorgeous, involving, fun and a game I played through twice, and will play again someday. 


This game was a lazy, been there done that, snooze fest. Where UC2 pared down and refined the combat encounters, this piece of crap brought em back. UC1/3 in a nut shell: Start at point A, fight 30 dudes in a sad, boring gears of war arena, run to point B fight 30 dudes in a sad, boring gears of war arena - rince repeat until you get to a lame final QTE boss in UC1 or the game just kind of limps to an ending in UC3.


Tom McShea is the worst reviewer on any site, and this game was a disappointing pile of crap.

kohle36
kohle36

Ok ok, so here's my question: everyone says it's not as good as UC2. I tried to dislike, but eventually really enjoyed 2. Is it worth my time for 3? Also, goty or non?

ShadowofSonic
ShadowofSonic

Very solid game, not quite the game that Uncharted 2 was, but a must play for nearly anyone this generation.

jark888
jark888

This is the genuine next gen game. A lot of memorable moments. Impressive presentation and entertaining plot and characters' personalities. Visual artworks, refinements including great sense of involvement are just to name a few.

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

Dumping a clip in enemies felt very cheap and weightless in this game. The bullets don't mark up enemies like they should. When a game has this much gun violence, it's imperative to show some realism so people playing this can know that guns are NOT TOYS. if this game had the carnage of Max payne 3 or Red Dead, than I would love this game.

NTM23
NTM23

I love the first Uncharted (though not on my initial play through, but so many times after), and when it came to the sequel, I was very disappointed. The reason behind that is because I personally felt the shooting was weightless with the majority of weapons, and the soundtrack, save for one song, didn't do it for me, and yes, that is about it. So while it's hard not to call it a great game, it's definitely not on par (to me at least) with the first or second when it comes to entertainment.

 

I was thoroughly surprised to see Uncharted 3 was as superb as it was. I played it late, just back in June, and before that, I knew I wanted to play it, but I really only expected to enjoy it from a character level; I just wanted to see where they go next, and how their story ends, and I just hoped that the game would be fun as well, and then to my surprise, it was fantastic, and still is. It's one of the games I just started playing again. I understand why people love two so much, but I don't share the same feelings. 

andrewmm424
andrewmm424

Everyone always says Uncharted 2 is better, but I can't see how; the story in 3 is far superior, and so are the gameplay mechanics. This should be a 9.5 easily. 

mojeige
mojeige

UNCHARTED 3 é o melhor jogo de sempre. Qem ainda nao tiver, vale a pena comprar, é muito cool pessoal.

A historia está muito boa, os gráficos são otimos muito mesmo muito realistas... o Modo online também esta muito bom.

argonic209
argonic209

awesome it looks like firefly by Joss Whedon/Tim Minear. minus all the scifi technology. the chandelier in the game reminds me of shindig ep 4. i would be swell if they made a game of the series, or an offshoot like it.

Nerdies
Nerdies

hey guys im looking for a good ps3 game, uncharted 3 has got great reviews all round. im just asking if i buy this game i will know whats going on? i have bearly touched the first 2 in the series, is it nescessary to play the first before this one? or is the story easy to pick up on?

carloscanalesv
carloscanalesv

Best game in the series, which is saying a lot, actually.The human factor punctuated by the clever dialog trade-in between characters is what elevates this title above it's predecessor.Melee combat has been much improved too, now making it a useful combat tool.Set-pieces are of an all-time high quality, ozzing cinematic, blockbuster movie-like moments, but with added inmerssiveness due to total interactive qualities.One of the best experiences I've ever had as a gamer.

 

Shoinko
Shoinko

@ploodie i was thinking exactly the same thing about drake touching the walls, ridiculously over used and very annoying after a while. Its supposed to be realistic but who touches walls every time they pass one in real life? nobody. ND need to up their game big time for the next one.

Shoinko
Shoinko

im a big fan of Uncharted 2 but this is nowhere near a 10, even 9 is overrating it. id give it an 8, good game, good mp but not as good as its predecessor.

Shoinko
Shoinko

i have played on a couple of 3d tvs, one expensive 800hz samsung model and im not all that impressed by it. Wipeout hd is prob the most impressive but even thats not amazing. Its ok but completely unessential, many textures are downgraded and the depth effect isnt that great. For me the 2d gaming experience is still superior at the moment.

icetone
icetone

I loved the Beta, hope I get this game

tom2750
tom2750

@Hellcanwait  you have bad taste also the story line and story telling are some of the best in gaming but let me guess you're one of those idiots that's cares about nothing but game play even tho this game has amazing game play anyway even if you are a game play only person as if you are going to judge how good a games game play is based on the start of the game

tom2750
tom2750

@Dredcrumb9  any one who gives this game a 7 is one of those idiots that think story line/storytelling and characters and there relationships with each other don't matter in games and all that matter is the game play

tom2750
tom2750

@carolino  why would someone play a very story and character focused game that is the third in the series and not play the 2 before it to build up the story to the third game

monicker
monicker

@kohle36 UC3 was not good. But if you really enjoyed UC2 then why not? Just remember UC2 is still good, while UC3 is a sad pretender. I loved UC2, but hated, HATED UC1/3...so lower your expectations and you may have a little fun. I found it boring and very often tedious.

Wisdominsilence
Wisdominsilence

 @andrewmm424

 

The second game was a huge leap over the first UC game. UC 3 doesn't do that major jump. On the other hand, UC 3 has an outstanding story, multiplayer and visuals. UC 2 had all those but MORE. The story was more emotional and epic, the soundtrack is among the best in videogaming history and the multiplayer was an addictive experience.

Pyertos
Pyertos

@Nerdies ene meyra mee wyejene menek bedu uncharted 3!

SsangyongKYRON
SsangyongKYRON

 @Nerdies It's easy to pick up, but I prefer playing the first and the second before the third. It's great to witness how the game evolved and developed over the years in graphics, gameplay and story of course. Enjoy.

ClusterBlaster
ClusterBlaster

 @digi-demon yeah it breaks PS3 if you consider how much graphics this game churns out. UC3 has some of the best graphics this generation & that is why i love the series & was one of the reasons i bought a ps3.

DiverseGamer
DiverseGamer

 @digi-demon

 Yeah. I put the disc into my PS3 and it blew up. I still haven't found all the pieces of it. :P

jecomans
jecomans

@Shoinko My natural walking style actually involves so much wall and railing touching that people often think I'm drunk or have balance issues. So that's a least one person. 

eddieham13
eddieham13

 @Shoinko  @ploodie I have noticed they do the same thing with "the last of us" though I actually don't mind it, in fact I love the detail they have used with the animations and pretty much everything with the game.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception More Info

First Release on Nov 01, 2011
  • PlayStation 3
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is a unique third-person action adventure game exclusively on the PlayStation 3 that incorporates the mechanics of a shooter and platformer-style gameplay.
9.1
Average User RatingOut of 4787 User Ratings
Please Sign In to rate Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Developed by:
Naughty Dog
Published by:
SCEI, SCEA, SCEE, SCE Australia
Genres:
3D, Action, Adventure, Open-World
Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
Teen
All Platforms
Blood, Language, Violence