Saturday, December 31, 2011

Video Game Assessment: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (2011)

Hell yes. Hell yes!

My review of this game was originally going to be me saying that simple sentence above about fifty times. That's what this game is. It's a can of "Hell yes!" This game is fantastic through-and-through, great levels, great gameplay, great characters, and great story. There's almost nothing to dislike here, unless you dislike mass slaughter in video games or Nathan Drake as a character. Well, I guess you could be in the audience that doesn't like it because it rips off of Indiana Jones. Fair enough, I say.

Well, despite being a bit of a rip-off, it's a fantastic rip-off. It's a game that looks and feels original even while seeming to be a bit of a love letter to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It's a good movie to give a love letter to, easily my favorite Indiana Jones film, and despite being similar to the movie, Uncharted 3 does a lot differently. The story is wholly original. The gameplay feels sublime. The characters are realistic and wonderfully done through and through. Sully is fantastic. Cutter, a character introduced in this game, is also fantastic. Drake himself is wonderful as well. The game plays the same as its always played, but there are some interesting innovations, mostly with fighting mechanics. Boy, did they love those fisticuffs mechanics.

And you know something? It works. The fights have weight behind them and never really feel old or tiring. The places where a gun fight is going to be difficult, the gun fight is difficult. The places where climbing or running from something is going to be difficult, it's difficult there too. The game feels right. It feels good. Certainly there are some rougher things, but innovation is going to get you that. Some of the scenes and story moments go on a little too long or don't make as much sense as they should, and, like the second game, some parts of the game can be incredibly frustrating and trial-and-error.

Now, that's not a bad thing. It just simply is. Games should be difficult to feel like you've accomplished something in the end. And I feel like I have simply by playing this game. I feel like I can't say as much as I want to or need to. I can't say enough good things about this game.

The locales are gorgeous as is expected in these games. And the first half of the game is brilliant in my opinion. The pacing, the gameplay, the look and feel of the game... everything is right. The characters and situations works well together, blending ideas and emotions, and making something suitably awesome in its wake. The villains are some of the best villains I've ever seen. They're easy to hate and wonderful to hate. There was even a scene near the middle of the game that made me recoil from the screen seeing how ruthless the main villain of the game is. I don't think that any other game has ever made me do that, and that's a testament to the power of writing in this game.

The second half is also well done, but also very challenging. There are fewer characters to interact with, and that buddy system throughout the first half of the game seems to go away in the second, and, honestly, it felt disappointing to leave certain characters behind. I did like the Arabic levels though. I can speak and understand a smattering of basic Arabic, and it was cool to hear and understand some common phrases. I thought it was neat, but that's just because it personally wowed me.

The ending and some of the more psychological elements to the game are also fantastic, but knowing me, they would be, wouldn't they? I have a thing for well done psychological stuff and this game has a good heap of it, especially towards the end. Hell, it kind of throws in some dark psychological horror like stuff, and how could I not like that? Seriously.

I also loved the voice acting and the music and everything about this game. The difficulty could be a bit bad at times, but never bad enough that I couldn't finish a level. Honestly, altogether, it was a fantastic game and I have nothing bad to rant about and only good things to say, so I'm going to recommend it and stop.

Anyway, this was my favorite new game of the year, and what a year it's been. I've played through a few games for the first time this year, including Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts IIDragon Age II, Uncharted 3, The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Portal 2, Psychonauts, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Honestly I've liked them all. Uncharted 3 is still my favorite of the year though, and, honestly, I kind of like it better than the second game as well. But anyway, those are my two cents.

I do have some more reviews coming in January, don't you worry, but this will be my last review of the year. Expect a heavy review of Mass Effect 2 as well as a possible review of Dungeon Siege III if I finish it in time. I have some movies I'll probably check out as well, and maybe a book or two if I get the time to read. Anyway, I'm off for this year! Have a great new year! 2012, fun times, right there... yup.

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