PS3 Review: Uncharted 3

Ever see a really good movie and wish it was a game? Unfortunately licensed based games usually turn out for the worst. Fortunately, the PS3 exclusive series, Uncharted, has found the formula of a bringing consumers a movie experience in a video game. U1 was a step in the right direction and U2 was universally praised as a giant leap forward as one of 2009’s best. So then how does the 3rd stack up?

The story in Uncharted 3 is as solid as ever. The popcorn action is back in spades, but the story also tries to slow down and examines Drake’s past as well as his motivation for adventure. While this and other plot points fail to be answered, mores teased, as well as having a slow middle, the game overall is great. It’s ripe with poppy lines and great characters. Once you start you won’t be able to put it down until the epic finale.

The gameplay is, for the most part, unchanged. Guys shoot at you, you duck, and fire back before moving on. The puzzles are good, but are fewer in number and are complete forgotten during the later half. There is a greater emphasis on melee combat and it works well enough, but be prepared to see the same attack animations over and over. And while the shooting was never Uncharted’s strong point, it does feel a bit weaker here. This can cause some frustrating moments in combat especially when surrounded by enemies who seem to think a clear headshot is only a flesh wound.

Uncharted 3 may be PlayStation 3’s best looking game. The graphical leap from 1 to 2 was amazing and while it’s not as big here, there are still some nice improvements in the physics. The sand and water effects may make you take a second to process that a video game is doing this: it’s that good. And as always, the character models and voice acting are some of gaming’s finest.

The somewhat disappointingly short, but sweet campaign coupled with an ok multiplayer experience makes Uncharted 3 one nice package. Yeah there are problems and Uncharted 3 really has iterated on its formula much since 1, but that’s not a bad thing. The developers play it safe this time, but Uncharted is still Uncharted and that’s better than most games could hope.

Score: 5/5 Stars

Special Notes: This article was originally published on December 7, 2011 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.

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