Hands on With Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Single-Player
Having only just recently become a PlayStation 3 owner in the last six months, I’ve very quickly become a fan of Sony’s flagship franchise, Uncharted. The adventures of Nathan Drake and company are a series of compelling tales that have earned a place in my heart as some of the greatest video game stories ever told. This last Wednesday at the 2011 PlayStation Holiday Event, I was able to grab some face time with a singleplayer demo of Drake’s latest adventure, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, and boy oh boy, was I impressed!
The Uncharted 3 singleplayer demo allowed you to select one of two levels. Since there was a line, we were unfortunately only able to try one of them. The first level on demo was the Cargo Plane level, and the second was the level that we explored, The Chateau.
The level begins with a group of unidentified thugs pouring gasoline on the floors of an old, long abandoned chateau with orders to burn the house to the ground. Drake and Sully, of course, are having none of this, and open fire on the would-be arsonists. The evil-doers unfortunately succeed in setting the dilapidated dwelling ablaze and the two protagonists find themselves fighting their way through the flames with enemies around every corner.
The Uncharted 3 demo maintains much of the same look and feel of the original two games with some improvements to the textures as well as lighting and environmental effects. Throughout the Chateau, you can see walls adorned with lush greenery as nature has begun to reclaim the building, while broken ceilings and walls give you a glimpse to the outside world in crystal clarity. As the house continually degrades into a roaring inferno, smoke begins to fill the rooms; the floors begin to give out beneath you, staircases fall into the blaze below you, and what was once a luxurious establishment quickly turns into a hellish, fiery pit. As I navigated my way through the mansion, the level of intensity that I personally felt was magnified by the sheer beauty of the destruction going on around me.
The gameplay mechanics have been improved as well, most notably in the instances where you go hand-to-hand with foes. As you throw a volley of punches, a quick-time event prompts you to hit the triangle button to dodge your opponents blow. If they dodge a swing, there’ll be an opportunity for them to put you into a hold. As they do so, the game prompts you to begin tapping the circle button to break free and come back swinging. This use of quick-time events in a game is quite possibly one of the best that I’ve seen. Unlike in most other games, the event doesn’t break up the flow of gameplay, but rather enhances the experience by allowing events to unfold like you would see in a real life action sequence.
Other notable advancements deal with the parkour aspect of the game. Drake’s abilities to scale walls and ceilings really add to the level of challenge in a given area by making you think about a particular area in three dimensions instead of two; using not only the moldings embedded in the walls, but exposed ceiling beams to make your way across an expanse. I actually had to adjust my approach from the typical manner in how I play Uncharted, and that made this feel like something very fresh instead of just another addition to the franchise.
My time with the Uncharted 3 demo was entirely too short, leaving me at a literal cliffhanger with Sully and Drake holding on for dear life to a ladder as the building was crumbling around them. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception launches in less than 30 days, and I for one am absolutely frothing at the mouth to get my hands on this game for a more lengthy engagement. From what I experienced of the Chateau level and saw of the Cargo Plane level, Uncharted 3 is guaranteed to be an action-packed adventure that will keep us on the edge of our seats for some time to come.
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