Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception Preview
By: PlayStation Pro 2.0 Staff on February 11, 2011
When you look at the box art of some North American copies of Uncharted 2, you will see the phrase "25 Perfect Review Scores" plastered on the front. Impressive, isn't it? And now there is a Game of the Year edition of Uncharted 2. But how many game of the year awards did Uncharted 2 receive? Answer: It earned over 50 awards.
Yes, the game really is that good and it was the most critically acclaimed game of 2009. We can't even begin to express how good the game is and we're sure the majority of the other 3.8+ million worldwide owners of Uncharted 2 feel the same way.
However, when you set the bar that high, how do you approach the sequel? Wouldn't it be easier to put the series on the back burner and wait until the PlayStation 4 to blow us away groundbreaking graphics and gameplay? Not to mention that would allow more time to hammer out a well thought out story and more witty dialogue.
Lucky for us, Naughty Dog loves a challenge. Not just the challenge of developing a vast world on aging PlayStation 3 hardware that the Uncharted series demands, but the challenge of making the game feel better than the predecessor in every way possible.
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception once again places you in the shoes of fortune hunter, Nathan Drake, about a year after the events of Uncharted 2. He is searching for the lost city called the Iram of the Pillars, which T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) dubbed the "Atlantis of the Sands." The game's plot draws upon the archaeology days of Lawrence, so the story isn't completely fictional. But like the other Uncharted titles, don't expect a deep history lesson here; most of it is still made up.
Drake's research takes him to various places around the world and ultimately into the Arabian Desert with his friend and mentor, Victor "Sully" Sullivan. Sully has a role only in the beginning of Uncharted 2 and is not seen in most of the 2nd game until the ending cutscene. Drake's love interest may return in this 3rd chapter of the series but like it or not, Naughty Dog has made it clear that the core story is about Drake and Sully this time around. They are not blood related, but Naughty Dog aims to explain how the two developed a father and son relationship.
What other environments will Uncharted 3 throw the player into? Near the beginning of their adventure, they visit a rundown French chateau with much of its roof, floors, and walls missing from many years of neglect. Vegetation is growing inside of it, so it almost resembles an ancient ruin in a jungle more than a house.
After some exploring inside the chateau, they come across some thugs setting the building on fire. As expected, the duo cannot leave the same way they entered and the chateau becomes a fiery obstacle course filled with bad guys with guns. In dramatic Uncharted fashion, the building will crumble and and fall apart as you run, jump, crawl, and shoot your way out.
At this early stage, we are unsure who those baddies are or what they are planning. However, Naughty Dog has made it well known that the main antagonist isn't the tired formula of an evil treasure hunter/smuggler seeking fortune and fame or a war criminal wanting unlimited supernatural powers, but rather a clandestine organization with a cunning leader who manipulates through fear. Not the type of fear you have when you have a weapon pointed at your head from a few inches away. Something more indirect than that.
And before the adventure is over, Drake will have to face his deepest fears. That's all Naughty Dog is saying for now though and that doesn't really bother us. We want to find out for ourselves when we actually have the game in our hands.
Both simple and big changes have been made on the gameplay side of Uncharted 3. For starters, you will automatically pickup ammunition and some weapons. Gone are the days of having to press a button to pickup more ammo for your rifle or pistol. This isn't new or innovative to the genre at all, but it's still a welcome change.
Hand-to-hand combat is now more complex in a way that allows you to brawl with more than one enemy at once. Drake will also have new contextual melee attacks, disarms, and stealth moves. What that means is that he can use the environment around him. Such as using a nearby chair, slamming the enemy against the wall or knocking the weapon right out of their hands. Of course, since you'll have new ways of interacting and fighting the enemy, that means the enemies have to be smarter too. The AI is promised to be beefed up and able to use squad tactics.
Much like the last game, there will be online competitive and co-op multiplayer modes, and like all sequels, they will be heavily expanded with lots more content and features and upgrades. Along with something about the cinematic elements of the single-player campaign being brought into multiplayer. We wish we could go into more detail here, but Naughty Dog isn't saying much yet on how they will make the multiplayer better.
We guess for now, it's safe to assume more customizable matches, more maps, more weapons, more clever objective based missions, and just more of everything in general along with unique game modes that only the geniuses at Naughty Dog can come up with.
One thing to note, however, is that Uncharted 3 won't have PlayStation Move support like previous rumors suggested. Apparently, the game just didn't work well with Move support so it was axed.
Uncharted 2 was easily the best looking console game ever released when it came out October of 2009. Even today, some people say that it still holds the award for best console graphics, while others agree that it should now go to more recent PlayStation 3 hits such as God of War 3 or Killzone 2. Either way, it's almost unthinkable that Uncharted 3 can look better than its predecessor without frame rate problems.
It is visually better though. Uncharted 2 used six of the PlayStation 3's processors and so will its sequel (technically there are seven of them, but one of the processors is reserved for the PS3 operating system and cannot be used by the game).
By heavily optimising the code to more efficiently utilize all six of the PlayStation 3's SPUs, you will have a game that can render more particle and visual effects such as fire, smoke, sand, and water more realistically and convincing than any other console game before it without any major slowdown to the frame rate. After all, this is one of the reasons consoles can last 5+ years before a new generation comes along. Developers are always finding ways to push the console to limits they didn't think were possible.
Other improvements on the visual side of Uncharted 3 include smoother character animations, much more variety of animations, and high-resolution stereoscopic 3D. And like mentioned above, most of the game won't just take place in a desert, so don't worry about the game getting too stale from all the desert combat and exploring. Besides the French chateau, there will be other locales around Europe and the Middle East. Those exact locations are still a secret for now.
That's all for now. Look forward to more Uncharted 3 information in the near future. Oh yeah, and don't forget to watch the Uncharted 3 gameplay video below. Click the HD button for better quality.