The third entry into the Uncharted series starts off in a way that is somewhat more subdued compared to the previous entry. Nathan Drake does not start dangling off a train carriage on the precipice of a plateau in the Himalayas, but rather in a rather typical London pub, doing a trade of Sir Francis Drake’s ring for cash. Of course, it quickly goes awry, with Drake and Sully embroiled in a bar brawl, tutorialising the changes to the melee combat, which this time controls a little more like Batman: Arkham Asylum but still maintain the same general feel of Uncharted.
This is also a globe trotting adventure that takes through flashback’s to Drake’s childhood as a street urchin in Cartagena, Colombia which explains how him and Sully became friends, to a decayed and overgrown French Chateau which seems like a preview for The Last of Us. Then you’re whisked away to Syria and then Yemen, with full of exciting chases, platforming and setpieces along the way, such as escaping the whale-like skeleton of a decrepit ship, to shooting and stealthing your way through a cruise line that capsizes necessitating a thrilling escape. Another has you, with the help of on again off again girlfriend Elena Fisher, trying to catch a cargo plane and jumping on to it reminded me of the last act of Toy Story 2. Every set piece sequence, some of which might feel like repetitions of those in Uncharted 2 are still nevertheless exciting.
The general forward motion of the plot is very similar to it’s predecessors to the point of being quite predictable, down to the exact moment the supernatural element comes into plays. Nevertheless, despite being repetitious, the filled out back stories of our core cast,the vocal performances of all characters and the little touches each character has, such as Cutter’s claustrophobia and the implied engagement between Drake and Elena make for a good humoured, yet still strong emotional core to a rather predictable plot that is a joy to experience.
In terms of mechanics, the cover shooting and platforming is much the same as it’s predecessors, except much better refined with more weapons, whose sound effects pack a surprisingly heft punch. The roll here is also much less weighty and thus faster, enabling much more mobility in combat. You can also throw grenades back now with a timed bar that work much like the active reloads in Gears of War.
Naughty Dog, with the remastering efforts again done by Bluepoint Games really show off their technical chops here, with volumetric lighting being used frequently, wonderfully detailed character models and animations and exquisite texture work and realistic art direction and brilliant visual design make this quite the artistic and technical achievement visually. Considering this was originally released on the PS3 about 5 years or so ago, it is all the more impressive. And now at consistent 1080p60fps, the detail is truly incredible, down to the finest grain of sand. The soundtrack of course, is as bombastic and rousing as ever.