With the economy tanking, our Constitution in tatters, Europe on the brink of collapse and the Middle East being taken over by Islamists, it’s time to take a serious look at Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. Because I finished playing it last weekend. And all that other stuff is, you know, kind of depressing.
The truly amazing moments in this game — even more amazing than anything in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves — come in the playable action sequences that are so close to the experience of being inside a movie that they’re almost like being inside a movie. Escaping from bad guys across a rooftop, running from a collapsing palace, fighting your way through a ship on a storm-tossed sea, battling your way into a cargo plane even as it plunges toward the earth: these sequences look so good and play so seamlessly that they make just sitting and watching actors do the job seem kind of tame by comparison. I loved that stuff and I also loved the new emphasis on Lara Croft style climbing and puzzle solving.
And the reason I loved those things is that, for me, the major drawback to this series has been an over-reliance on massive gunfights. I played this game in easy mode in the hopes it would cut down on the number of bad guys I would have to shoot to get to the next level. Not that I have anything against shooting bad guys, but a few times in this game, as in the one before, I groaned aloud at having to get through yet another gauntlet before I could move on. That may just be me, but I find these massive melees repetitive and boring. They’re a leaden stand-in for truly creative levels.
But there is plenty of cleverness, technical and artistic brilliance and plot to go around here. Good script by talented director Amy Hennig. Excellent acting by Nolan North, Richard McGonagle and Emily Rose — who’s so much prettier than her animated character, it seems a shame to get only her voice. All in all, a very good time, and a reminder that, for all the unoriginal dross in the video game world, the technology and creativity are advancing toward a genuinely new and interactive form of entertainment that’s going to get better and better for a long time to come.
Unless Barack Obama gets re-elected. Then everything will continue to get worse.