REVIEW: ‘Uncharted 3’ proves not all developers dream equally

By D.J. ARIZMENDI

If there ever was a console-exclusive game that could unify every gamer, of every genre, of any system, “Uncharted 3” would be that ambassador.

The story is a rather simple one. Players assume the role of thrill-seeking Nathan Drake as he and  his streetwise gang seek treasure that spans across various corners of the globe. It’s a tale that’s as old as it is quintessential.

Though some may perceive the structure trite and contrived, the pace is unarguably hasted and never forgets what it is all about, the adventure.

All the usual suspects return to their respective roles, and all bring their A-game to the table.

None of the performances feel forced, which is rare for a game, and has a caliber that can only be matched overseas from works like the “Yakuza” series. The real stars of this shameless blockbuster are the set pieces and graphics.

Anyone who read my “Batman: Arkham City” article may be experiencing deja-vu from that last sentence, so let me make this clear: U3 has the finest, superlative and most ambitious set design seen in video game history.

The terrain you explore and interact with make ‘Pandora’ look like a bitch.

The worlds explored range from the desert to the sea and everything in-between.

Instead of playing it safe and having these elegant levels stay in one piece, the folks at NaughtyDog have no problem watching their world burn, literally. What you passed by once as a room of beautiful art, becomes a flaming graveyard on the way back.

What helps these astonishing scenes come to life is the blistering detail put into every bit of texture on the screen.

To simply say that the visuals are the premier example of how games should look would be understating it. The graphics in U3 actually represent how games in the next generation should look in terms of constancy.

No matter the scenario, day, night, indoor or outdoor, U3 handles them almost as they were different games. It makes sure that every chapter is as good looking as the last.

While some developers work tirelessly to make their games feel more pragmatic, U3 is unashamedly proud to show it’s gaminess by giving players control over events that any other game would have made into a cutscene. The transitions from gazing eyes to trigger happy hands is so seamless you might forget that you actually get to control the action.

Gameplay remains largely similar since the last outing, but it’s all the small changes that make a major impact.

For instance, you can now throw back grenades if your timing is right and melee combat is now contextual with the environment. Thanks to these enhancements, the combat is flawlessly adaptable and you never get the sense you did something wrong.

That being said, that does not mean you will not die. The difficulty has some sharp spikes, but fortunately the checkpoints are very forgiving and well placed.

If having probably the greatest single player experience is not exciting enough, you can always hook up with your bros in multi-player for either co-op or competitive modes.

The two modes are actually surprisingly deep and offer perks, badges and a leveling system that so many “Call Of Duty” fans have come to adore.

With so many games out this year, I had some doubt that U3 would stick out, but after completing its story and dipping into the multiplayer, I absolutely have no doubt in my heart, mind or soul when I say that “Uncharted 3” truly is the definitive game of this generation.

 

Grade: A+

Photo Illustration by Miki Jennings

Filed Under: Arts/EntertainmentReviewsTech/Gamers

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