The Uncharted series has been the finest and most consistent set of PS3 exclusives the system has seen. Often the envy of Xbox fanboys, it’s shown off the PS3’s abilities from the moment the first game landed nearly 4 years ago. While other exclusives such as Killzone and Resistance have impressed in various measures, the first two Uncharted titles were consistently fantastic from start to finish, so Naughty Dog had quite some task when it came to improving everything for Drake’s Deception.
It turns out they managed it.
It’s not difficult to see what makes Drake’s Deception such an appealing prospect for gamers. From the very first minute the storyline hooks you in and doesn’t relent until the game is done and dusted. Brawling your way out of your initial encounter you can immediately see improvements to the animations and fighting dynamics, with cut scenes blending seamlessly with actual gameplay to give an almost cinematic feel from the off. This carries on throughout the game, building up to some bewilderingly impressive set pieces later on that will leave you holding your breath without even realising it. You could possibly argue that they’re not quite as epic as those found in Uncharted 2, you won’t get shot at by a helicopter while running around on top of a train for example, but there’s a significant number of great moments anyway.
The storyline is your typical Uncharted affair, but with far more twists than we’ve seen before. It’s not overdone though; this is still a plot that a Hollywood film would be proud of, and you’ll be hard pushed to work out where the story will go next. A game like Drake’s Deception is pushed on by its storyline, and with it being such a key element of the game any spoilers would really screw things up for you, so I’m going to shut up about that and talk about something else.
Drake’s Deception looks gorgeous, and the vast range of environments you’ll come across only serves to make this even more prominent and noticeable. This is an area that has definitely been spruced up since the previous game, which considering how amazing the Uncharted series has been looking already is no mean feat. Some sections of the game look better than others, but that’s more a result of some parts looking unbelievably good as opposed to the rest not looking up to scratch. As before it’s tough to give examples without giving too much of the plot away, but when you reach the desert you’ll see just how great this game can look… we also get to see additional characters in the story more than before, and although they could’ve been used a little more the way the story and shoot-out mechanics utilise them is fantastic.
When Naughty Dog added a multiplayer element to Uncharted 2 there was a lot of annoyed rumblings from fans, right up until the point they actually played it. The online side was a fantastic addition, combining a challenging but enjoyable set of co-op missions with a huge range of multiplayer competitive modes that grew and changed as time went on. In Drake’s Deception, they’ve taken all of the good stuff from last time out and made everything better. The co-op is still there and is as cool as before, but it’s the competitive side that’s had a slight overhaul. While the same sort of game modes are available, some games now begin with an action sequence where each team fights for control of a certain situation. This could be, for example, taking control of a plane as it takes off, or trying to get the upper hand between two trains thundering through London’s underground network. It adds a novel and exciting twist to the multiplayer modes, but isn’t the only addition we’ve been given. Medal kickbacks, awarded when you’ve accrued a certain number of medals, give a small reward scheme which is much fairer and well thought out than the perks you’ll find in other shooty based games whose names I won’t mention (although we all know I’m talking about Call of Duty) giving you a relatively small reward, but one that’s still pretty useful in the right hands.
The maps are great too, giving an ideal mix of cover opportunities and open spaces to have a good old fashioned gun fight in. You’ll also get mid-game events too like a sandstorm which blows across the map, reducing visibility to almost nothing and giving the battle an entirely new perspective. It all adds up to an online experience which is totally different to anything else you’ll find at the moment.
So Drake’s Deception is the perfect package, right? Well, no, not quite but it’s damn close. There’s still a few awkward moments with the cover system, and it’s not a huge leap over Uncharted 2, but the fact it is an improvement over the last time round is something to be celebrated in itself. Uncharted 2 was the finest game you could play on the Playstation 3, on any system in fact, but not anymore. Drake’s Deception sits alongside Arkham City as a game that deserves to be played on every level, to the extent that those of you who either don’t have a PS3 or decide against buying this will be missing out on a quite phenomenal game the likes of which we might not see again in this generation.
Don’t think about it. Just buy it.
Reviewed on PS3