Is it possible to have your expectations raised too high? Uncharted 2: Among Thieves delivered a monumental leap over the first game in the series, and it might be easy to fall into the trap of assuming the same advancements would take place in every subsequent release. If that’s your state of mind going into Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, you might walk away slightly disappointed. But that’s not a fair response. Though the third entry in this treasure-hunting franchise offers a similar experience to its revered predecessor, it’s no less magical. Just about every element showcases the care and craftsmanship you would expect from the series. Combat is even more versatile than in previous entries, combining incredible shooting encounters with advanced hand-to-hand takedowns set in lavishly designed areas. When you need a break from the taxing physical endeavors, thoughtful puzzles allow you to explore your more contemplative side. And these two elements are punctuated by exhilarating set-piece events that leave you gasping. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is another superb entry in Nathan Drake’s ongoing quest to find the world’s many lost treasures.
Once again, Nathan Drake is in search of lost treasure in a mysterious land. The story encompasses many of the same tropes from previous games–deception, twists, camaraderie–though the nuts and bolts of the plot have never been one of Uncharted’s strong points. Rather, it’s the realistic portrayal of characters–their lively back-and-forth discussions and snide jokes–that give you a reason to care about the tale. Drake, Sully, and the supporting cast sport detailed animation that makes them almost look real, and their playful dialogue further cements this image. Tempers flare, threats are made, and you can feel the tension during heated moments. But these lifelong friends always make up, and it’s their believable relationships that make it so easy to become invested in their struggles.