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Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception – E3 Preview

June 13, 2011 Written by Jonathan Leack

Uncharted has become an iconic series for the PlayStation platform over the past few years, elevating the PS3 from a great multimedia device to a must-have console. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is just around the corner, and thankfully lots of media was available at this year’s E3 including trailers, and even multiplayer as well as co-operative demos. High expectations would be an understatement, but even under the unfathomable pressure it looks like Naughty Dog will deliver.

The first demonstration given featured Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher at an airport location. The style of the environment was something the series has never seen before, which appears to be a trend based on what has been shown so far. It quickly became clear that a few new gameplay mechanics were thrown into the mix, including the ability to tackle enemies, as well as much-refined melee combat. The cinematic experience was simply stunning, and an awesome action sequence led Nathan from a Jeep onto a moving plane, eventually fighting a large, angry fellow who didn’t seem to like Nathan as much as we do. Several moments during the demonstration were a step up from both previous games, and the choreography looks to raise the bar.

The demonstration shown during Sony’s conference displayed an epic mission on a huge ship. According to the developer, the entire set piece is dynamic, and calculations are used to create the realistic water effects which made the demonstration so believable. These same calculations also transfer over to the sand environment, where we’ll be sure to see quicksand and other new obstacles. A vertical style of cover will also be incorporated into the series for its first time, and these modifications along with others should ensure a fresh experience.

One of the most impressive additions this time around comes in the form of split-screen multiplayer, which unfortunately wasn’t available on the show floor. However, the same co-op seen in last years game was, and it was truly exciting. Many of the teamwork-based features are back and improved, so moving along the path from start to finish should flow better than last year’s offerings. The additional weapons and more enjoyable melee fights enhanced the experience, and made battling swarms of enemies a lot more enjoyable.

In addition, the online multiplayer was fully available to the public, and drew an enormous crowd at Sony’s booth. The strengthened level of customization over last year’s product adds a lot to the already highly-entertaining competitive environment. Customizing your character from head to toe makes the game even more rewarding to play, and the kickback bonuses drive the competitive motor.

Visually speaking, Uncharted has made strides to retain its series reputation as graphically dominant. The most noticeable changes have been made to the fluidity and quantity of the character animations. Nathan Drake is now even more dynamic, and each step he takes is different than the last. Verbal exchanges and movement are simply stunning, so story delivery should be at its height. The 3D shown in one of the trailers was convincing, and the effects rushed toward the screen making the experience even more dramatic.

Put simply, this is exactly what we expected from Naughty Dog, a game that will not only put up a fight for the Game of the Year award, but will inspire other developers. Gameplay is just as outstanding as the last release, but new layers of content and polish have improved an already great experience. Even more, now that the co-operative and online multiplayer modes have been beefed up considerably, this will be a game that offers even more play value.

One of the developers noted that Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is currently fully playable from start to finish. However, he followed up by stating that polish takes about as much time as creating the game. As a result, the latest adventure with Nathan Drake will be available during the first week of November this year.