GDC: Uncharted 3 Eyes-On
I'm back and the embargo has (in internet time) long since lifted, but you still can't hear enough about Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, can you?
Debuting its third dimension at GDC it was striking to see how well-suited the environments (and theatrics) characteristic of the Uncharted series are for 3D. Using a scene from a previously shown area in which Drake and Sully battle through a burning building, the beauty of the series carries very well. Before all fiery hell breaks loose, there's a brief moment to appreciate those subtle climbing cues, the battered architectural playground laid out in a new dimension. Then, with wallpaper curling around you, embers dancing in the air, and smoke thickening the space that oft-spoken of immersion becomes reality. If you're into 3D then Drake's Fortune looks to be one entirely convincing spectacle.
I still struggle with the necessary evil of what we call 3D, the relatively shallow depth of field. With your focus largely pre-determined I catch myself straining to observe the bird in the lower right, or something else deliberately left out of focus. This was less of an issue in Uncharted 3's gameplay than I've seen elsewhere, since their focus isn't on having bullets rushing out the screen at your face, but on the environments as a whole. The fire looks realistic, the details are beautiful, and the structure collapse has the intensity to rival the train-climb from Uncharted 2. I'm still not a 3D believer, but I wouldn't be surprised if the game won over fans, and those already excited about 3D gaming? You will be very happy campers, indeed.
Revealing the primary villain for the first time, the Naughty Dog team emphasized the sheer bossy-ness of this boss: Katherine Marlowe. The British B is all-woman - she fights with more than just firepower, and using women's tricks like manipulation are so definitely not beneath her. Employing psychological warfare and commanding minions far more skilled and battle-ready than those previously seen in the franchise, the opposition will be insidiously cunning and brutal. Part of a secret society dating back to Queen Elizabeth's reign, they have a long history of combat training with methods shared over centuries. No, these guys won't be going for the obvious kill.
The cutscene showed off more than diabolical potential and was downright titillating for all you story lovers. First impressions (British and old) and associated stereotypes (polite and fragile) are dashed when Marlowe immediately proves herself decidedly rude and more than up for a fight - so long as she has her highly trained secret society guys on hand. We're all more than familiar with a grizzled angry guy with a big gun, and since there's something extra scary in the unknown, aristocratic elderly female antagonist Marlowe is capable of striking fear in our treasure-hunting hearts.
Sharp-tongued and ill-intentioned, Marlowe's scene with Drake and Sully in the alley makes you reconsider any qualms you had about punching old ladies in the face. Stealing a man's ancient family jewelry after your platoon of muscle beats him down? Not classy. Without Katherine in the thick of battle, it will be hard to deliver aforementioned punch to the face, but she can't always orchestrate things to her liking from a safe distance, can she?
Stealing a man's ancient family jewelry after your platoon of muscle beats him down? Not classy.