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Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception Review - PS3
gimmick to enliven the action. It’s cliché, but why not something like a whip that lets you swing across or reach higher places? There are only so many times you can stumble around a smoky/dark/sandy room as your escape routes are blocked by falling timbers/spiders/boulders.
Furthermore, what appears at the start to be a cool new gadget – a kind of decoder ring that is used to translate old languages – is immediately taken out of your hands and automated. Instead of letting the player fiddle with the gears and decipher the message, the game reads it for you instantly. Why? What’s the point of even doing the motion if there is no player involvement? In fact, the same goes for the puzzles as a whole. At the start of the game I was impressed that a mainstream title had managed to do two or three ingenious new puzzles I’d never played before elsewhere. Clever, and requiring real thought, they were refreshing and interesting. Once you cross the halfway mark, though, the game abandons all puzzle elements in favour of shooting and survival sequences.
Another problem with a lack of originality is that the gameplay niggles stand out more. The game twice froze in a hard lock requiring manual reset of the PS3, which is never good. At least the game has a chapter select that lets you replay particular standout sequences, and a fairly intelligent autosave that will put you right back where you were mid-mission. I rarely felt like I had to redo so much of a story that it became tedious – for the vast majority of situations I was back where I had failed previously.
It is also tough not to compare the game’s revised melee combat with Batman: Arkham City, a game I’d recently finished and am fairly certain holds the title of best fighting system I’ve ever played. Unfortunately, Uncharted 3’s melee is simplistic and overly reliant on quick-time events. You have one punch and a grab, and must simply mash the former until an on-screen prompt tells you to hammer the evade key to escape a hold. The use of the square button as a context sensitive control mostly just leads to you accidentally swiping at an enemy instead of doing a stealth takedown, alerting them to your presence. In fact, much of the stealth functionality is a bit buggy, with enemies able to spot you around corners and takedowns not always hitting.
Which brings us to the weapon combat, which is also a little bit off. It’s your standard stop and pop shooter, with cover required to survive. The guns feel mostly underpowered, with some enemies able to be shot in the head eight or so times before going down. And the helmeted Terminator-esque soldiers that storm you slowly with powerful shotguns are the worst. They’re unsusceptible to melee attacks until you ... (continued next page)
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