Uncharted 3 improves on a variety of aspects, and is as polished as gold in nearly every regard.
The story once again follows modern treasure hunter Nathan Drake as he hunts down the ancient 'Atlantis of the Sands', using clues from his ancestor. Of course, things are never this simple in the world of Nathan Drake, and he isn't the only one looking for this treasure. Although the story never matches the superb pacing of Among Thieves, it's still comes exceptional close.
However, fans of the series knows the story is so successful due to the characters, and would not be nearly as extraordinary without them. This time the story digs into the background of Nathan Drake's character, and his relationship with Sully: His mentor. Other characters make a return too, and are just as realistic and clever as ever. These are characters you want to succeed, no matter what their issues are. You really care about their journey, and you care even more about their survival.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves contained a breathtaking art design, and pushed the technology of PlayStation 3 quite far. Predictably, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception has gone even further beyond that, and is possibly the most visually stunning game on PlayStation 3 to date.
The incredible water effects return, and are even more amazing than before, and the lighting effects all look natural and continue to impress from beginning to end. A desert has some of the best sand effects seen in gaming so far, and the character models are insanely graphic. Facial expressions are spot-on, and all the animation is groundbreaking. Nathan Drake now interacts with the environment more normally too, and this makes the technology even more mind-blowing. The graphics are particularly good in the memorable set-pieces, which leaves you breathless.
The attention to detail is also astonishing: Down to the point where individual steps look different, and have different patterns of cracks in them. In a certain gameplay moment, a beautiful forest has eye-catching leaves falling from the trees, and a town seen earlier in the game is populated by citizens who all look a bit different.
Audio is incredible on many fronts: Starting with voice-acting. The characters would not be nearly as believable or lovable without the voice-actors casting them, and yet again, they do a fantastic job. The sound effects are undeniably great, and certainly add to the thrilling set-pieces throughout the game and even to the overall experience. Adventure-type soundtrack is played throughout the game, and captures the sense of exploration perfectly as well.
Uncharted 3 blends a perfect pace of puzzle solving, platforming and heroic action. Puzzles are the most challenging they have been in the series so far, and end up being perfect difficulty. But what's so great about the gameplay is how quick the pace changes, and thanks to responsive controls, platforming is better than ever. Not only that, but some new welcomed additions are in place: Such as more thrilling melee combat. You get your first taste of this in the first level, and it is spectacular. Another little detail is the ability to dive underwater, and although controls aren't perfect here, it's still a good addition to the game.
The brilliant level design is creative and clever and is filled with a great level of imagination: Especially at the set-pieces. Most of the gun-fights moments are opened enough for choice: And the game makes good use of sneaking. The sneaking controls work fine, but sometimes the enemies catch you even though you were far out of sight. A.I has a few other problems too, with the most note-worthy one being the A.I refusing to acknowledge your existence or getting stuck.
Gun-fights are just as good as ever though, and the guns now have a bit more weight to them. The cover system still works well too, despite Nathan Drake sometimes moving in a different direction than you want him to. A new problem does arise though, and it has something to do with the aiming. Specifically, when you aim at a enemy the reticule slows down, and this is unmistakeably unneeded. Sometimes when enemies are close by, and you want to aim at them it takes longer than expected thanks to this new system and could cost you a retry. It isn't a huge problem, but it's definitely noticeable.
The game clocks in at about eight hours, but if you want even more, there is another one-hundred treasures to find and a extra difficulty mode. Not only that, but competitive multiplayer and cooperative modes have returned better than ever.
Cooperative mode is incredible, and unlike Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, it now supports split-screen. You can still connect online of course, but the option for split-screen is still great. Cooperative mode has you working together with your friends as you try to overcome challenges, and most of the fun involves the fantastic Adventure Mode.(which supports up to three players) Adventure Mode is extremely addictive, and also challenging and it encourages team-work from your friends. For example, the first level has you opening large crates throughout the jungle from Uncharted 2: But is very difficult without the help of a experience gamer due to enemies constantly attacking from all sides. There is a easier difficulty level, but hardcore players will find plenty of joy in even the normal mode.
Arena is another mode, which has your team surviving a attack from waves of enemies. Although it is fun it really isn't as great as Adventure is, but it's still a enjoyable mode worth trying. Finally, the last one is called Hunters, which has two people on one team and two on another team. Basically, the attackers must steal treasure from the defenders in order to win. Cooperative mode has a new useful feature too, which is a sprint button. When your friend is in aid, it comes in handy and once again thanks to the responsive controls, it is easy to use.
If you want some competitive gameplay, a thrilling competitive mode is obviously available. Most of the game modes you would expect are here, and the maps where these battles take place creates completely fair gameplay. They are also as creative as the campaign, like one which has you jumping from truck to truck behind a moving plane or another that takes place on a high-rise building.
The new sprint button makes a appearance here also, and it allows you to have as good as a chance in close-quarters as you might have in a long-distance firefight. As you progress, you unlock new character skins, outfits, taunts, weapons and more by purchasing them with credits. But for those who prefer a even more fair fight, a hardcore setting removes all advantages.
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception has a exciting campaign, fair competitive multiplayer and a challenging cooperative mode regardless of the issues, brought to life by extraordinary technology. Even though it isn't the best in the series, it importantly comes close and is a game as polished as gold.