Uncharted 2 is easily my favorite and best rated game this generation with MGS4 right behind it. I thoroughly enjoyed the first fame, and loved everything about Uncharted 2, and so I was ecstatic when the third title in the franchise was announced. The anticipation is finally over, and I’ve completed the game. Unfortunately I was not as thrilled as I was after playing Uncharted 2 due to some questionable issues I had with the game, but Uncharted 3 is still a really great game.
Let’s start off with the bad:
The beginning of the game is starts a tad slow after the opening scene. It’s nice to be able to see some history of the cast, but it moves at too slow of a pace IMO. There’s a ton of walking around and exploring which would be great if there was actually exploring rather than the linear scope you have to follow. The game picks up in about an hour and it’s back to smooth sailing from there, at least most of the time.
The fighting mechanics played entirely too much of a role in this game. I can shoot one of those big hulking guys with 128 bullets and not kill him, but 10 punches is enough to knock him out...Yeah makes no since does it. The physical combat was an improvement just forced entirely too much. After a very early part in the game there was no need to force it anymore, that part got the job done.
There are still too many unnecessary platforming deaths, an issue that remains from the second (If I remember correctly the first didn’t have this issue nearly as much). If you don’t want me to jump down there then make the jump look far enough that it would kill me, instead of a 10-foot drop. And in cinematic scenes don’t make things look like you need to jump when you don’t have to. Example conclusion of the French Chateau if you jump there’s a 50 / 50 chance you’ll die when all you have to do is run to the end, and Drake will vault over the obstacles, yet doesn’t do this automatically any other time. Which brings me to my next point.
There are too many chase scenes in this game. Whether it’s running after someone, running from armies, riding after someone, running from some creepy crawlies, or running from nature. It happens too much. I know they’re suppose to be nice set pieces, but there are too many of them.
The pacing was off in this game. Some scenes last entirely too long perfect example the castle. It felt like it was never ending. And at the same time transitions from location to location don’t seem as fluid this time around. There’s little reason why things move from one location to another, and the believability is somewhat dwindled because of this (example after getting off the cruise ship). A reviewer said it best, the game is set-up for its set pieces and the rest of the game is just there to help you progress towards them, before reaching the end, and ultimately makes the game feel a bit non-cohesive.
Finally the graphics. Yes the graphics. Graphically the game is very impressive in most areas, however, some questionable inclusions hurt some of the games visuals. The Prime example is the castle stage in the single player. The castle itself is incredibly detailed, and looks amazing. But then you look off into the distance and see a small city that looks good enough. But look to the left and it’s one huge bland texture with scattered reused buildings from the city all in low res. Why was that even made viewable is beyond me, but it ruins the total beauty of the game when instances like this pop up, thankfully they don’t happen often. All the characters look great except Drake’s face is too detailed with scratches and dirt, and makes him look downright weird at times, like he’s been a bum for all his life, and it won’t wash off.
Finally our heroes don’t get to show as much personality or play enough of a role this time to feel like the cast we all know and love. This is Drake’s story and Sully’s along for the ride and Elena and Chloe are in the back seat. I just feel this was a missed opportunity for us to get to know these characters more, but they drop out of the game like flies.
But even with all these problems, Uncharted 3 still manages to be good, really good.
There are definitely improvements over the previous game. For the most part the game looks absolutely beautiful with special note of the ship yard, Desert chase scene, and entering the lost city (Lost City WOW). Improving over what they did with Uncharted 2 would have been a difficult goal for any developer, but Naughty rose to the challenge. While not visually leaping forward, Uncharted 3 manages to do so much more and still look better than Uncharted 2, which is a huge feat. Animations make the experience seem real.
The story is unexpected, and seems a bit underwhelming at first, but ties everything together in the final couple of chapters.
The gameplay is better then Uncharted 2 on so many levels. It’s just tweaked to a new level.
Multiplayer is better in most regards, and is the greatest improvement in the game; however, I had more fun with Uncharted 2.
I completely understand what reviewers were saying about how they couldn’t get Uncharted 2 out of their head while playing Uncharted 3, and that’s because Uncharted 2 is the better game, and you’re constantly thinking if only they did this, or I wish they had done that better. But don’t think I’m down on Uncharted 3, that’s not the case in any way. I just feel the game could have been better if Naughty Dog waited another year to release it. It would have been polished more, had the pacing fixed, graphics could have been even better than what they are, the story could have been worked on more and told better, the aiming could have been perfected, the fighting to shooting ratio could have been tweaked, some of the areas could have been more open and exploratory. There’s so much they could have done better if only they had another year to work on the game, but that’s not the case. That seems like a lot of bad in this review, but that’s what I decided to focus on, because those of you interested in the game already know how great the franchise is, and Uncharted 3 is a worthy addition to the franchise, just not the leap over Uncharted 2, that we saw in 2009.
Also why is it that Drake and company tries so hard to be careful about finding the location they’re seeking to be followed every single time by the baddies? I know it’s there to keep the action going, but instead of being followed all the time this scenes would be the perfect opportunity to introduce new enemy types.
The open areas like moving through the city should have been what the whole of the game was. That would have been the innovation needed to make this a Game of the Year winner vs. being a forefront contender. The open areas look great, and had you been able to actually maneuver your way to you destination freely vs. the snail paced walking it would have gave something refreshing to the amazing formula Uncharted 2 already provided. More open areas would have made this game stand above and beyond what the final product was (even if limited like in MGS4).