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.