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Rating: Not Rated

Like an Interactive Movie that Punches You in the Face

Talraen's Review of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3) (Video Games)

Almost everything about Uncharted 3 is absolutely fantastic. The graphics are amazing, the set pieces are absolutely incredible, the writing is excellent, and the story is even pretty good. It would be basically the perfect game if not for the incredibly frustrating difficulty spikes.

There are a few specific problems with the combat design in the Uncharted series, which are especially present in the third installment. First, there are way too many enemies. In a game where cover is both necessary and not terribly protective, this is a serious problem. If you are swarmed, you will die, and the only way to avoid that is often to kill enemies with speed and precision - no easy task. Second, the combinations of enemies are just nasty. Respawning snipers are one thnig, and armored enemies another, but both at the same time is just cruel. Most enemies in Uncharted 3 qualify as top priority targets, which means some are always going to slip through the cracks.

Third and most of all, the difficulty curve is completely out of whack. For instance, late in the game a new enemy type is introduced, where when it dies it transforms. First, you'll fight a pair of them in an area with lots of cover. It's a tough fight. Immediately after that, you'll fight a trio of the same enemies in that same area. This too is a tough fight, and not much fun after the first one (where half the fun is the relief of finally winning). A bit later on, you'll face five of these enemies in an area with next to no cover. Considering that this is at least two and a half times as challenging as the first fight, which was already too hard... yeah.

But that's the only downside. Everything else about this game is top notch, and even though it's frustrating on Normal, you can always play on Easy. It's basically an interactive movie anyway, you may as well. If you've played the first two games in the series, you should be expecting great graphics and writing, and Uncharted 3 delivers both. What really sets it apart is the ridiculously epic nature of its set pieces. There are at least three mid-game set pieces which would be among the greatest ending sequences in video game history in any other game. All of them involve insanely dramatic escapes right out of a great adventure movie.

Uncharted 3 also offers fantastic variety, even when taken as a whole with its predecessors. There are long sequences without puzzles and other sequences without combat - the game doesn't feel obligated to mix and match, and along with the crazy escapes this gives it some very interesting pacing. A lot of the things you do are just awesome and unlike anything you've seen elsewhere - I spent a good portion of the game with a huge grin on my face even as I realized I'm not really in that much control. Being along for the ride is just fine by me.

Uncharted remains possibly the most worthwhile series on the PS3, and anyone who owns the console owes it to themselves to check it out. Be prepared for some frustration, but the payoff is well worth it.

Score: A-

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