Naught Dog set the bar real high with the excellent Among Thieves. Its hard to imagine what more they could do to top Uncharted 2, that being said Drake's Deception does not disappoint. Sure this is more of the same, the same great story-telling, the same exciting action sequences, the same charming cast of characters. If it ain't broke don't fix it and this game is anything but. In fact, the changes the do make in this title, from the improved melee combat to the wonderful set pieces, in my mind make this the best Uncharted yet. Naught Dog's, along with other wonderful developers like Telltale, really prove how much potential there still is in linear narratives for videogames.
Drake's Deception feels like a combination of a heist movie and an origin story. You have one band of thieves following Drake going up against an secret organization lead by Katherine Marlowe. In the race to discover Sir Francis Drakes' secrets you soon find yourself flashing back to the past where you first encounter Marlowe. As a young boy Drake is caught sneaking into a museum featuring several pieces of Sir Francis Drakes belongings. This is where the race for the "Atlantis of the Sands" begins and where Drake meets Sullivan for the first time. Its exciting to see how Drake and Sully meet but at the same time Sully's connection to Marlowe makes you wonder just who you can trust.
On your journey you'll visit an array of different and exciting locations. From Drake's origins as an orphan in the streets of Cartagena, to a French Chateau, and from there a large Syrian fort. As you venture across these different locations in the race with Marlowe you'll have to deal with her different lackeys. Ramses, the pirate leader and one of the more amusing antagonist in the series, will leave you running around a ship graveyard. Talbot is Marlowe's right-hand man and has some hallucinogens he'll use on you and your allies. All in all there is plenty of things to see and many interesting characters, old and new, that you'll cross paths with on this journey.
The core gameplay isn't that much different from the previous game; this is still an excellent cover-based third-person shooter. The main difference this time around is the vastly improved melee combat. Close-quarters combat now feels very fluid and has a lot of weight behind it. Not only will Drake throw punches but he'll use the environment around him to pick up objects and slam enemies around. Another thoroughly enjoyable addition to Uncharted 3 is a couple superb chase scenes. The rooftop scene with young drake and, even more so, the chase with Talbot in Yemen are both thrilling and memorable.
Although this isn't as big as a leap from Among Thieves as that game was from the first there is still a lot to love. The story is exciting, again its hard to compare this game to anything besides a action-packed blockbuster. Of course there is so much more you can do with a game then a movie. You get to put yourself right into the action; shooting, punching, and running, from one scene to the next. Wonderful characters, both good and bad, really make up the heart of this game and help keep you immersed. This all goes to show how well Naught Dog has refined the art of crafting a good linear narrative and why we keep coming back to play more of their titles.