InDis – Ep 422 – Game of the Year 2018

Episode 422

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Episode 421

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InDis- Ep 420 – Insert Weed Joke Here

Episode 420

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Uncharted 3 Review

Uncharted 3 Review
Game Name: Uncharted 3
Platforms: Playstation 3
Publisher(s): SCEA
Developer(s): Naughty Dog
Genre(s): Action/Adventure
Release Date: November 1, 2011
ESRB Rating: Teen
Big Ups: Great characters, brilliant graphics, the cruise ship, and the cargo plane.
Big Downs: The last half isn't as solid as the first half, plus the final act is too rushed.

Only a few games truly stand out from the pack of the hundreds of titles released in one year’s time. Some excel in writing. Some introduce us to technology we’ve never seen before. Some are just downright fun to play. Naughty Dog happened to do all three of those things with their latest release, so let me get this out of the way right now: Uncharted 3 is one of the best games that has ever been made.

We’ve seen this storyline before. Nathan Drake, in all his Indiana-esqe glory, teams up with his familiar crew to search for a lost city in hopes of discovering wealth and fortune. Don’t forget to throw in a dash of evil antagonist who employs an equally evil army that’s armed to the teeth with only one thing on their checklist: to kill you. Sure, the basic summary of an Uncharted game isn’t too fascinating. In fact, that’s never been the series’ strong point. It’s all about the characters. If Uncharted 2 focused on the love triangle between Drake, Elena, and Chloe, then Uncharted 3 would be about the bromance that is Drake and Sully.  I, for one, am pleased that their relationship was put under a bigger microscope because there are some great stories to tell here.  That combined with how the cutscenes are crafted during development make for some great drama that rivals current television. For those who don’t know, Naughty Dog gets their voice actors to physically act out their scenes while being mo-capped as their lines are recorded. It’s such a brilliant way to film cutscenes and that’s the reason the Uncharted series still adorns the crown as the king of cinematic gaming.

And my favorite part of the game starts right about.......

The writing in the game is very strong in the first half of the campaign. Naughty Dog pulls no punches with the directions they take, especially in the first few chapters as you delve into the history of some of these well crafted characters. For the most part, the game is extremely well paced, but does tend to fall short and come off a bit rushed in the end. No matter how rushed it does get, the dialog between the characters never falters. Amy Henning and crew, who truly “get” this series, wrote a fantastic script in terms of the moment-to-moment dialog that flows wonderfully throughout the entirety of the story.

I need to cut to the chase once more: This is THE BEST looking game on a video game console to date. I had to lay that fact down firmly and quickly in attempt to avoid gushing like a crazed PS3 fanboy at how wonderfully perfect the textures are or how utterly precise the lighting reflects off of Chloe’s apple bottom. This is as close to perfect as I’ve seen a game get. The view of a lit European city at night, aged red cliffs stained from thousands of years in the hot Arabian sun, a hollow and rusted ship graveyard; just to name a few standout moments where I had to stop to just stare and say,”Wow.” This has been a consistent strong point for the series and Uncharted 3 doesn’t disappoint one second of the way.

Hard to look out into the distance with that bright future.

Technologically speaking, this game is amazing. Naughty Dog introduced the player to the concept of the “moving level” with the train chapter in Uncharted 2. In this iteration, we have about 4 standout instances where we truly see this tech shine. The cruise ship, which was unveiled a few months back, is the most impressive example of the “moving level” that I’ve ever seen. They put a real cruise liner stage into a tub of turbulent water in real time. You will never get the same physics twice. Fucking brilliant! Use that as a box quote on your inevitable Game of the Year edition, Naughty Dog.

For those who are not too crazy about the Uncharted series, this is probably still not the game for you. The basic gameplay is still here: Platform, shoot faces, shimmy, swing, solve puzzles, shoot faces, run, jump, barely make said jump, shoot faces, etc. Drake still feels a little loose and out of control at points, but at this juncture in the series we just have to accept that it’s a nuisance that we have to deal with from time to time. The only thing that saw improvements was the melee combat, which you do use more often this time around. Along with the standard Drake one-two knockout punch, you can interact with the environment. If an enemy’s back is against the wall, you can shove him against it and have an easier time taking him out. You can also interact with items in the vicinity. Is there a glass bottle or a large tuna on the table next to you as the brawl ensues? Pressing the triangle button to attack while pushing the left stick in that item’s direction will make Drake grab that and one hit kill the poor sap who is going to to-to-toe with him. A nice little addition to the gameplay, but definitely not enough new here cause the Uncharted haters to cross the picket line. Maybe next time…

Elena is still adorable and Sully's not bad to look at either.

Some people will come up with valid points about how Uncharted 3 isn’t one of the greatest games ever (and some of those points could have some truth to them), alas there is no denying that this is one of the most entertaining and breathtaking experiences a gamer can ever have the privilege of paying $60 dollars for. The bar has been raised for the industry and I can only be hopeful that other developers can come close to crafting a more immersive, beautiful, funny, intense, and pleasing experience as this one. Thank you so damn much, Naughty Dog.

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