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Uncharted 3: A Video Game Review

uncharted 3 58bThis is the worst time of the year to be a fan of video games. The conventional wisdom is that there is no time to release a big budget video game like the holiday season. There are three reasons for this that I can see. One is that this is the time of the year when video games are more likely to be given as gifts. Another reason is that, at the end of the year, video game journalists compose their top ten lists. For this reason game companies try to have their best products released around that time, much like a film with Oscar aspirations is more likely to be released a month before the Oscars than a month after. Finally, I think this practice is largely in place, because this is the way it is done. There are some notable exceptions. Mass Effect 2 was released in January of last year, to incredible sales and critical acclaim, and went on to win a number of Game of the Year awards. Red Dead Redemption was released in May of last year, and achieved the same thing. These are the exceptions. This year, six games that all aspire to GOTY status are releasing in five weeks. It should go without saying that these games also aspire to break sales records and make everyone involved into gajillionaires. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, released last week, was one of these contenders. (Ed. I swear Ben, if you make a Marlon Brando joke, you’ll never write for FBC again.)

This is the part of the piece where I confess that my day job, addiction to Netflix streaming, and the releases of the last two weeks have prevented me from doing my duty and finishing Uncharted 3. On to the (p)review!

Uncharted 3 is a terrific game. It is a fantastic summer action movie, complete with interesting characters, iconic locations, and wildly impressive set pieces. There is the gunfight in the inferno of a gorgeous French chateau, the chase through the streets of London at night, and the battle on the cruise ship in the middle of a storm. These are incredible scenes that have just staggered me as a player of games. There is also a sense of drama, with several scenes that contain no action, but serve to advance the story.

Honestly, the most impressive thing about Uncharted 3 for me is the sense that this is a real world. This is helped by the incredible graphical rendering of a burning house, a ship in a storm, and the lush jungle. This is just a part, though. When Drake, the protagonist and mostly hero, jumps across a chasm and grabs a ledge, he does so with an audible “oof.” When walking near a wall, he puts his hand out to touch it. He spends a lot of the game yelling, “Crap, crap, crap!” In other words, he isn’t the unflappable, mute hero of video games. He is the highly flappable, stubborn John McClane-type hero. Drake wins because he is resilient, not because he is perfect. Another thing that reinforces the world is the incredible voice acting. Helmed by the incomparable Nolan North as Drake, the cast in this game never fails to impress.

The only problem I have with this game is Uncharted 2.

Uncharted 2
delivered the same level of action and character, but everything seemed a little tighter. I didn’t find myself wondering about the motivations of the henchmen, or trying to figure out why a particular scene was included. I should mention that I thoroughly enjoyed shooting those guys in the house fire, whether or not real life bad guys would stick around to shoot back. Ultimately, Uncharted 3 delivers on everything I wanted in a game, just not quite as well as Uncharted 2. At no point did the game fail to entertain, which is the only thing that matters. The closest thing I can muster as an actual complaint is that it feels like a series of perfectly executed action scenes strung together, instead of a perfectly executed story filled with action scenes. This is a case of a game just barely failing to meet the highest of standards. In order to alleviate any potential ambiguity, I still highly recommend playing this if you own a PlayStation 3. If I were the guy who gave a score at the end of my reviews, I would give this game a 4.5 out of 5. Just do me a favor and play Uncharted 2.


Ben Rhodes, Fanbase Press Senior Contributor


Favorite Book:  Cryptonomicon Favorite MovieYoung Frankenstein Favorite Absolutely Everything:  Monty Python


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