Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is my favourite Uncharted game!
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let me start justifying why I feel this way as you begin sharpening your pitchforks.
Having never experienced these games before, I knew I was in for an incredible ride with my purchase of Bluepoint games’ remastered collection of Naughty Dog’s beloved franchise. Being in the know of what these games were, I had a fair idea of what I was going to get into. I was expecting high-flying action coupled with Hollywood-esque storytelling and explosive set pieces. To my pleasant surprise I got all of that and more. I loved these games from the beginning of Drake’s Fortune, to the end credits of Drake’s Deception.
Having said that, I was also expecting some other aspects of these games as well. Primarily, the order in which the games ranked to each other.
Meaning, I was expecting to have a fairly good time with Drake’s Fortune, being blown away by Among Thieves, and having a good (but at the same time disappointing time) with Drake’s Deception. I understand it’s not fair to have such a specific mind set before going into a game, but being so that this topic has been talked about and exhausted so much in the past few years, it was hard to ignore.
It’s much like my expectation was for The Last of Us; having never played it originally for the PS3, I was expecting a life changing experience from playthrough on the PS4. Although it stands as one of my favourite games of all time, I was disappointed in many aspects. I feel this is much the same with Drake’s Deception. Nobody had high expectations from Among Thieves, but they did for Drake’s Deception, and when you go into a game or movie, or anything really, expecting a 12/10, and only receive a 10/10, you are doomed for disappointment. But let’s move on to exactly why I thought the third game was the better experience.
Listen, I’m not saying I didn’t like Among Thieves, quite the opposite actually. And I’m not even saying that the second game is worse than the third. They’re different. It’s just that the third did things that boded better for me. What’s so difficult is that both games are incredible, so it’s very hard to choose a winner. They do things differently, but in ways that works perfectly for each respective game.
Among Thieves is definitely more robust and bombastic with crazy set pieces, whereas Drake’s Deception is much more narrative driven and cinematic, while still having the cleanest gameplay. Naughty Dog refined the combat in Drake’s Deception, making mêlée not only an option but rather a necessity during combat. You can throw back grenades, then fight an enemy with your fists, steal their weapon, and detonate a grenade that’s attached to them. There are great stealth segments (though I didn’t really get to experience those very well seeing how my skill level when coming to stealth battles is laughable). And just different gameplay elements and sequences that are driven by the narrative in the best way.
Speaking of which, the story in this game is easily the best one yet in my opinion. I feel in this game we really get an insight into Drake’s relationship with Elena, and especially Sully, which is done by an incredible 3 chapter long flashback sequence into Nathan’s boyhood wherein he first met Sully. Chloe returns to this game, which is great, and there’s another great addition of a character named Cutter. Although their appearance is short-lived, the time we spend with them is great.
The main villain, Marlowe, is much more menacing. Appearing as a frail old lady, she is smart, manipulative, and can easily get what she wants without lifiting a finger. She has depth, much unlike Lazarovich in Among Thieves who was a very generic, one-dimensional character. And the fact that her story is tied in with Drake’s ancestors, makes her even more relevant. Marlowe is easily the best antagonist in the series.
I cared about the characters and story of the third game. I adored some of the narrative sequences in the game and really felt I was a part of this world going on this journey with these characters.
The gameplay, to me, was much more refined. Platforming felt less sticky and floaty, which was the biggest issues I had with the previous two games. Drake’s movements, overall, felt smoother and in sync with the button inputs. It wasn’t perfect, but much better to my taste. The hand to hand combat was, by far, the best addition. It completely changed the way you approached combat, forcing you to not stay in one place and really think on your feet about different tactics in taking down your enemies. Even though the shooting in the third game felt off, the stealth and hand to hand combat elements made up for it, mostly anyway.
This game is not without flaws. The pacing had some issues with random jumps to different settings. There were fewer classic, “wow” moments that we were used to in Among Thieves. Don’t get me wrong, there were some incredible set pieces, and as mentioned above, really fantastic narrative sequences that were directed impeccably…just not as many explosive sequences.
The gunplay felt off, just not as tight and smooth as in Among Thieves. There were a lack of puzzles, and the one’s that existed, though interesting, weren’t the best we’ve seen. And lastly, there was a good chunk of chapters in the beginning/middle where I felt truly bored. Nothing was progressing and the game wasn’t introducing anything new gameplay or narrative wise.
But all that being said, I still preferred this game over Among Thieves. It felt the cleanest, the combat was very diverse, the narrative was hands down the best, and I don’t know, middle chapters aside, I loved the whole game as an experience. I got to really understand the characters and I actually felt like Drake during many of the sequences. Again, it’s like splitting a 9.9/10 and a 10/10. Both games are exceptional, but Drake’s Deception was the one that truly gave me the overall best experience.