…and then I played Uncharted 3.

And the skies, um….

And the angels…well….

No, really…?

(And really, spoilers ahead! As well as strong feelings about a relatively new game ahead!  Seriously, if you really want to play Uncharted 3 and haven’t, don’t read any further.  Go play the game.  Or go play elsewhere on the interwebs — I hear they are very entertaining.  Heck, go play outside.  But do come back, some time, maybe…please?)

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception cover art © Naughty Dog, Sony (source)

We aren’t the types to go crazy over new games, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get visibly excited as certain release dates approach.  Late last year, we were simply buzzing as we awaited the release for four games: Arkham City, Battlefield 3, Uncharted 3, and Modern Warfare 3.  When I picked up Arkham City in mid-October, I went ahead and pre-ordered the other three, each due out over the next three consecutive weeks.  The whole “good things come in three’s” notion was not lost on us, and outside of Arkham City, we had convinced ourselves that we were about the get three of the greatest games of all time.  When it came time to get Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (2011), we traded in Uncharted 2 towards the purchase.  This was not without an “are we sure” discussion.  We thought we were sure.

I stuck close to Arkham City for several weeks, but my husband got to the other three in quick succession.  His thoughts on Uncharted 3 were muted, but I forbade him from telling me any details about the game.

“It’s…good,” was about all I’d hear until I started la-la-laing with my fingers in my ears.

I read the articles, I saw the gameplay footage, I watched every trailer that came along.  Uncharted 3 was going to be awesome.  I knew that it wasn’t going to be like Uncharted 2, but I still hoped, nay, I knew it was going to be a fantastic game, just like Uncharted 2.

Was I worried it wasn’t going to live up to my expectations?  Sure, a little.  I mean, second sequels, they can be hit or miss.  Return of the Jedi was great, but it was no Empire Strikes Back.  Indiana Jones was much more entertaining in the Last Crusade than he was in the Temple of Doom.  Superman 3 was, well…Richard Pryor and all that.  And I couldn’t even tell you what happened in Star Trek 3 because KHAAAAAAAAAAAN!!! So yes, I had my trepidations going into Uncharted 3, but I was prepared to have fun and be entertained.

P. S. Superman 3 is really one of the all-time great bad movies. Do you not see what is happening in the picture??(source)

Uncharted 3 told the story of Nathan Drake’s story: his background, how he met Sully, how he got into the rare-artifact-finding business, how he got his name.  Drake’s primary quest revolved around his stolen ring (mentioned in Uncharted 2, stolen at the start of this game) and his quest to find a lost city, Iram of the Pillars, that was reportedly discovered by Sir Francis Drake.   The core cast of characters from Uncharted 2 is back: Sully, Chloe, and Elena. And this time, another cohort joins the team, Cutter, and a different villain fills the ranks, Katherine Marlowe – she’s head of an ancient order that’s bent on world domination.   In a terribly small nutshell, Marlowe steals Drake’s ring, which she needs to find Iram.  Our Nathan Drake wants his ring back and kinda, sorta, wants to find this lost city as well, if only to stop Marlowe’s dastardly plans.

Well this is a little awkward… (source)

It sounds rather neat and tidy (but it wasn’t)…and very familiar.  It was almost the exact same plot as Uncharted 2, except with a different city and different means to the same end – hero overcomes numerous obstacles to stop villain from taking over the world.  Shame, shame, Naughty Dog – a little lazy don’t you think?  If the whole point of the trilogy was to get to the core of who Nathan Drake was, this was a sad way to get there.

Take that you…! Wait, didn’t I just fight the same character model in the jungle, and the desert, and on the ship? Oh right…I did. (source)

And therein lies my main problem with Uncharted 3.  The controls were fine; the gunplay was fine, repetitive, but fine; the climbing and puzzles were fine.  If I had never played Uncharted 2, Uncharted 3 would probably have been the best damn game I had ever played.  The graphics were great – the scales of Drake’s challenges were made bigger, if more obvious.  But the lack of story…no…the convoluted mess that was the story…that drew my ire.   Drake, Sully, and Marlowe were the primary players in this game – Chloe and Cutter barely made any dent in anything useful, except at the very beginning; and Elena, a spitfire in Uncharted 2, she was extinguished to the role of Drake’s helper, plot setter-upper, and badly-foreshadowed reconciler.

Why am I even here? (source)

There were flashbacks to Nathan as  a child – and dear lord do I dislike being forced to play as a child in a game – that helped shed light on his relationship with Sully, and that thereby illuminated Sully and Marlowe’s past together.  And all that was somewhat interesting, but none of it really mattered by the end of the story.  Marlowe died, and Drake and Elena (and Sully) rode off into the sunset.  The whole story of Drake’s past was never really tied up, and by that point in the game, I could have cared less, having worked through several hours of other useless plot points that didn’t really go anywhere.

And speaking of useless…and I mean absofuckinglutely useless…hallucinations.  Jesus H. Christ, the hallucinations.  A good bit of several levels revolved around Drake having hallucinations, whether he was injected with something or was going delirious in the middle of a desert.    In the beginning, hallucinogens bring about the flashbacks.  At the end, hallucinogens (literally, something in the water) bring about bizarre and annoying fights with ridiculous smoke and fire demons, while the background sways and Drake stumbles like a drugged monkey.  And between the flashbacks and the city, there was the desert.  The only reason I haven’t picked up the game again to play is because of that fucking desert.  Drake’s circling the middle of nowhere, finding that abandoned outpost, the boring car chase, the gunfight at night in a the goddamn sandstorm.  I hated it.  Oh. My. God. GRRRRR.  I hate it all over again just thinking about it.

Look, I’m sorry about all the cussing, but christ! You know what I mean. (source)

But while the thought of that makes my brain explode with anger, I can’t say that I totally hated the game.  I still mostly enjoyed the puzzle-solving and the exploring.  And there was plenty of suspense.  I marveled at the mid-air scene with the airplane; I was truly impressed by the capsizing liner; and I was in awe of the grandeur of Iram.  The play, the looks, they were all cool with me, it was just the twisty, lazy, LSD-laced story that killed my interest.  I mean, of course Drake’s gonna save the world and get the girl, but I didn’t care about his past as much as I cared about his present in Uncharted 2.  Drake, he and I had something in Uncharted 2.  Not so much in Uncharted 3.  That lack of connection made me very sad, and angry. Oh so sad and angry.

I can’t bear to see this thing through to the end! It’s all so…boring and repetitive!! (source)

Looking back, I’m a little amazed at how many reviewers extolled Uncharted 3 to the gaming heavens.  It won several Game of the Year awards and got plenty of high ratings.  Like I said, it’s a decent game; but while its credits rolled, all I could think of was how much I wished we had kept Uncharted 2.

10 thoughts on “…and then I played Uncharted 3.”

  1. I’m commenting again because I just beat the game today. About a month ago I gave in and got a PS3, and it came with this game. Maybe I would’ve liked it less if I played “Uncharted 2” first, but I did mostly like it. The gun fighting was indeed repetitive, though. Oh my gosh, it wouldn’t stop. And yeah, the hallucinations. The first time he was hallucinating and wandering through the narrow alleyways of that city, it just kept going and going and going. I get it, he’s drugged, and I’m bored. Let’s get back to the game.

    It was still pretty fun, though. That city at the very end was amazing. Shame it got destroyed. And the sinking ship was pretty neat. The tedious gun fighting was my biggest complaint.

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    1. Congrats on completing it (and on the new PS3)! I might have been a little bitter while writing this post, but I highly recommend Uncharted 2. Uncharted 3 isn’t a sub-par game by any means — the ship had some of the game’s most stunning visuals and was one of my most favorite levels. If you ever get around to playing Uncharted 2, I’d love to here your thoughts, especially since I can’t go back in time (yet) to play 3 first then 2.

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  2. Not only was the story weak, the ending crisis and resolution felt oddly similar to Uncharted 2. Yeah yeah, we have to sink the long, lost location of X because X will tap into the worst aspects of our nature and destoy us! Let us run away whilst things collapse, oh my!

    Uncharted 3: Now With More Sand

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    1. LOL! You’re not joking about the sand….the desert….the horrible horrible desert…made me want to take lsd so at least I could hallicinate along with Drake. And yes, the ended was a total rehash of Uncharted 2 with different scenery … so very disappointing.

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  3. Boo, Naughty Dog. That reminds me of Naughty Dog’s “Jak and Daxter” series. “Jak II” was one of the best games I’ve ever played oh my gosh! “Jak 3” was…fine. It seems Naughty Dog can’t handle making the third game in a series as great as the previous one. “Jak 3” also was not as fun as the previous game. I never could understand the story at all (and the characters, which were the best part of “Jak II”, were lame in “Jak 3”). It, too, even had mainly a city (two cities actually, one new, one the same city as before, which they ruined by making it half the size as it used to be) and a huge desert, the latter of which I hated forever and ever. I like the game enough that I’ll never sell it, but gosh Naughty Dog. I’m finding so many similarities in “Jak 3” and “Uncharted 3” . They both also had a boring car chase scene! Oh, how I hated it. It was in the desert, and it was stupid. I kept failing and having to redo it for like an hour. Where’d your creativity go, Naughty Dog? Well, at least “Jak 3” had no hallucinations. That was the main difference I can find. And I assume “Uncharted 3” had no obnoxious talking weasel. Or talking bird monkey thing.

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    1. OMG, I will certainly steer clear of the 3rd installment of Jak and Daxter! I’m sorry Jax III was such a bad experience, I hope you have moved on since then. I pass Uncharted 3 everyday in our den and just feel bad. Maybe I should move it.

      If Uncharted 3 had had an obnoxious weasel or talking bird monkey thing, I might have enjoyed the sheer absurdity of such things in such a serious game. Naughty Dog took Uncharted 3 way out of the fun realm and into the this-story-hinges-on-the-safety-of-the-entire-world (but not really) realm. The useless origin of Drake’s name? So sucky – they should have taken a cue from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

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  4. I’ve always seen Uncharted as an extended, better playing Tomb Raider, so I’m not at all surprised that they have followed each other into obscurity. I always find it strange when I remember that these are the people who made Crash Bandicoot!

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    1. Crash Bandicoot? Really? I had no idea of Naughty Dog’s former life! Ooo, but I do remember very briefly playing a borrowed copy of Crash…that was one fun game. Tomb Raider never found a place in my gaming world, but I can certainly see and understand it’s similarities to Uncharted. It is kinda nice that us girls now have our Lara Croft in the form of Nathan Drake (haha), even if he did suck it in Uncharted 3.

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