My Thoughts - Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
If you played either of the first two games in the series then you have a pretty good idea of what's in store for you in the third installment. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception throws you right into the story and the cutscenes between each chapter really hook you and keep you wanting to play. The combat can be a downer at times but if you like the first two, the tomb raider series or just treasure hunting books or movies its worth playing. Also the game is less supernatural than previous two in the series but does turn down that road at the very end. So if you had a problem with that part of the story, especially with the first game like I did, they did a much better job of incorporating it this time around and it almost leaves you wondering wait when is the crazy stuff coming.
The only real detraction from this game and its kind of a step back from the second game, which was a major improvement combat wise over the original, is the AI. The AI is almost too good and there were four or five play sessions of mine that I cut short, because I was getting mad at constantly dying on normal difficulty. To me a game with a great story and a movie like flow like this series should be more about moving you along to the next story point than trying to be a tactical shooter. Without getting into a difficulty level debate they should have lowered the one labeled as normal to make it a bit easier for those looking for the basic experience. You can always ratchet up the difficulty if a challenge is your thing but normal is plenty tough on this game.
On the actual combat experience, the bad guys bring tactics, armor and firepower to nearly every fight. If you don't make your shots count in the early stages you will be easily pinned downed and shot in the back by flanking enemies. The game makes no bones about it even in the early stages the AI will try and pin you down behind a piece of cover while their buddies try to flank around behind you or smoke you out by tossing grenades your way every 30 seconds. From about the middle of the game on you will be facing snipers, heavy weapons (machine guns, rpgs, grenade launchers), shotgun wielding armored dudes along with occasional big guy in a majority of the firefights which can be pretty overwhelming.
The one nice thing the game does, that you do not see to often in other games, is it autosaves during some of the combat. Late in the game the battles have a set of distinct waves, which you will start to notice if you die six times at the airport like I did. When you spawn back in from the save, it will have moved up Drake a bit on the map from where the encounter starts and the first wave will usually be skipped. Mainly that means some basic enemy types with maybe one or two snipers won't show and it starts you with the second wave, but it is welcomed none the less.
Without getting into to many spoilers, the game's story focuses heavily on the relationship between Drake and Sully. He is by your side for the first half of the game and becomes the target of your rescue attempts in the second half. There isn't the usual cliché sex-appeal sidekick like in the previous two outings but both of those characters do reappear during the game and will join you on a couple of missions. The ending features the series trademark turn from treasure hunting to supernatural crazy enemies but is great none the less.
When not shooting bad guys or enjoying Nolen North's voice work the game has you climbing and solving ancient puzzles, two hallmarks of the genre. The climbing is fine but is the same from the previous two series, and I usually rushed through it due to my prior experience with the system. As for the puzzles, I found those pretty tough. I'm not a puzzle game player and I had to take the hint option on a number of them to figure it out. Also the drawings in his trusty journal can be pretty cryptic on some of the puzzles.
If you haven't already played Uncharted 3, I would recommend giving it a go as soon as possible if you own a PS3. I think it has something to offer everyone and that is what makes it a great game. It has the shooter aspects which is the rage of this generation cycle but it also has a great story and some pretty challenging puzzles. I didn't try the multiplayer due to personal preference towards single player games but that is not what this series has been about. If you are looking for a great single-player story experience Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is worth owning.