Unchartered 3: Drake’s Deception
Price: About £15
Er, yes, I did say Arkham Asylum next, didn’t I? Well, I am more than halfway through that. But then I got to remembering that I played Unchartered 2 over Christmas last year, so for nostalgia’s sake, I popped this in the PS3. And promptly finished it about three days later.
Nate Drake’s third adventure boasts all the same perks as the previous two – great characters, cinematic set pieces, a winning combination of puzzle solving, stealth and blowing the hell out of people with rocket launchers. While realism was stretched in this one to brand new breaking points, it did so with a great deal of charm and charisma.
The story starts in London (you Americans love a sinister British accented bad guy) or at least a vision of London populated entirely with grimy bars and Jason Statham look-alikes. There is brawling and smashing heads into toilets, and a great deal of ‘grabbing things from the environment to smash over peoples’ heads.’ Thus begins the adventure to prevent said British bad guys from acquiring an ancient artefact of untold power.
While the gameplay is almost identical, the characters now familiar faces and the continent hoping escapades expected, Unchartered 3 does manage to keep the franchise fresh. There are some intriguing sequences that reveal more of the central relationship between Nate and his mentor Sully. Seeing Nate as a young boy, and a few suggestions implied by the bad guys give us telling insight into our heroic lead and the past that we know very little about. There are also some pretty great mind bending sequences as Nate succumbs to the mind altering effects of a drug the bad guys use.
Best set pieces include an utterly ridiculous, but spectacular fight on board a plummeting aircraft and the following escape from seemingly inevitable doom, a nausea inducing sequence on board a boat in rough seas and of course the final location – a secret city in the desert.
Downsides include some pretty impossible sections where pressing a button at exactly the right moment was the only way to escape an untimely (and repetitive) demise. The game does tend to throw you a lot of checkpoints in these sequences though, so each bit of progress you make is at least saved. The controls in general did seem a bit shaky at times. Trying to climb out of a collapsing building is rather difficult when you’re trying to jump over a stair banister and can only manage to repeatedly jump in the air as if trying to grab a higher ledge. And there was Nate’s habit of throwing back grenades into the cover you are standing next to, resulting in them blowing up right next to you… That got me a few times before I gave up on the ‘throw back grenades’ mechanic.
But overall this is a great game for fans of the franchise like me. The puzzles are hard enough to be satisfying, but not rage inducing, while the shootouts don’t drag on too long, but do provide plenty of opportunity to cause creative mayhem. If you enjoyed Unchartered 1+2 you’ll definitely get a kick out of this one.
Up Next: Batman Arkham Asylum (really this time)