Guest Author - James Shea
The latest in the Uncharted series of adventure-shooters, Uncharted 3 provides more of the same content that the first two games brought.
To open up, let me say this: If you've played Uncharted 1 or 2, you know what you're getting for Uncharted 3. It's the same game in new locations: shoot bad guys, solve puzzles, have periodic exciting chase scenes. Even the plot is basically the same overarching concept connected to new treasures and artifacts. Again, if you've played a previous Uncharted game, you know what you're getting with Uncharted 3.
For those not familiar with Uncharted, it's a third-person shooter that combines run-and-gun gameplay with parkour-style climbing and occasional puzzle solving. In essence, it's an Indiana Jones movie in game form, and it goes out of its way to be as cinematic as possible. The story of each Uncharted game thus far has been about finding some ancient treasure that turns out to hold a terrible secret; naturally, this game is no different. Overall, the game's single-player is linear but reasonably fun; the story's nothing to write home about, but the combination of character writing and action sequences will keep most players interested.
In addition to its single-player game, Uncharted 3 has both competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes. Both of these use a Call of Duty style RPG system, where different perks and traits can be unlocked. While the nature of the unlocking is kind of annoying (because you can't really take what suits your playstyle until you've unlocked them all), it works to provide some additional incentive for playing.
The game handles pretty well as shooters go, but it's evident that run and gun is way more emphasized than careful cover shooting. Fisticuffs are a surprisingly effective option as well, but moreso in single-player than in multiplayer. The game stays reasonably fun and frantic, though some parts near the end of the single-player campaign can just be annoying. It's hard to give a more detailed analysis of the gameplay because it's (a) simplistic in general and (b) the same as previous Uncharted games. You duck behind cover, you shoot at people, you run up to someone and punch them in the face, and then you repeat this until the game is over.
The game looks incredible, both in terms of actual graphics and setting design and in terms of how the camera is used during gameplay. The game's developer, "Naughty Dog", puts its usual amount of care into the design of ancient temples and crypts, and the game's globe-trotting story ensures that there's plenty of different environments to see. The character models are also incredibly detailed, making the cutscenes feel near-real. One touch that I liked is that during melee combat, at least in single-player, the camera zooms in more and gives it more of an actual fighting game feel. There's some dramatic slow-mo when an enemy is taken down, and the choreography of the fights (while a bit repetitive) is pretty impressive.
Overall, Uncharted 3 was an enjoyable game to play, albeit one that seemed a bit standardized at this point. The clearest mechanic I can provide is that if you enjoyed Uncharted 1 & 2, then Uncharted 3 will be a lot of fun. If you didn't, then nothing about UC3 will really change your mind. 8/10.
Buy Uncharted 3 from Amazon.com