Thursday, February 03, 2011

Our Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception wishlist!

As many gaming fans already know, the next instalment in the Uncharted franchise has been announced and will be reaching excited PS3 owners by November this year. As many other happy gamers who have heard the news, I can‘t wait to reignite my gaming friendship with Uncharted’s cocky-yet-lovable hero Nathan Drake and this series of third person action adventures developed by Naughty Dog.

This time, players join Drake and old friend and mentor Victor “Sully” Sullivan on their journey to find treasure in a lost city deep within the inhospitable Rub al-Khali Desert all known as the "Atlantis of the Sands".

As with Uncharted 1 and 2, expect big environments to explore and traverse, fantastic storytelling, lots of cinematic action packed gun battles and interactive ancient puzzle solving as well as the usual treachery, dealings with unsavoury characters and near certain death that follows Drake around. Its publisher, Sony, has promised a lot more than what was available in the previous two games, which is a big statement when you think how good they were.

Uncharted 3 will have expanded melee and brawling hand-to-hand combat where you can take on more than one opponent at once, a bigger multiplayer offering a completely new gaming experience, as well as improved physics, visuals, and environmental effects. Not only that, if you are lucky enough to have all the latest gaming technology, Uncharted 3 will also support stereoscopic 3D.

From the few snapshots and videos already available, the visuals look really impressive, a more refined version of Uncharted 2, especially the flame and sand effects on show, while the game itself seems to dig into the history of Drake and explores further his relationship will Sully.

I have no doubt that when this game is released it will be one of the best Playstation 3 games so far. I also believe that what has been promised will be delivered, and for that I am saving all my money for a 3D television.

I do, however, have a few of my own ideas I hope the game will deliver...

1) Firstly I want Uncharted 3 to be longer than the previous two, I just found the other games too short and in both I was left wanting more. A big reason for this was how disappointing the main bosses were. I didn’t feel I was challenged enough at the end of the either game to feel that sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Something was missing.

In particular I found the final battle in Uncharted 2 frustrating and at times downright boring. The boss battle against Serbian war criminal Zoran Lazarevic made the player abandon the gameplay style they had learnt throughout the missions and ended up being a very one dimensional act of running-around-in-a-circle until you got a chance to shoot. It seemed rushed and didn’t do the rest of the game justice.

Similarly, the final battle in the original Uncharted with Atoq Navarro was limited to QTE, and was again unlike anything else you learnt throughout the game. It was way too easy to complete.

2) In addition, some of the movements of Drake in the last game like surviving huge falls and rolling awkwardly into walls were at some points laughable. For instance, on more than one occasion during gun battles in Uncharted 2 (am not picking on it - I did in fact love the game) I got seriously annoyed finding myself rolling around into the enemy firing line when I was actually trying to hide behind cover.

Also, in some cases when I was jumping between high ledges above levels I had already played across, I was able to fall from great heights but still come out unscathed, while at other times just missing a low ledge from which I should have survived, I was repeatedly seeing the death scene.

3) I also hope that the newest instalment offers gamers more ways to traverse its lush environments as in the previous two I found the game quite linear at times. Many parts only presented a select way to explore, with only single paths between tree openings or up steep cliffs available.

What about a bit more freedom like a sandbox game? Drake could choose which path to take up a mountain or through a forest - or whether to go into scenarios with all guns blazing or go through the whole mission by just using stealth. I think this would add longevity as gamers would be able to play levels again in a completely different way.

4) It would also be really fun if gamers were able to take control of some of the vehicles Drake finds himself behind, whether it is a car, a plane, or super tank, similar to the jet skis in the first game.

From what’s been shown of Uncharted 3, with the majority of gameplay set in a desert location, I hope the future games will look to use some underwater locations (…Lost City of Atlantis anyone?) as well as more urban environments, like a sprawling modern city, to go with the traditional jungles and mountains.

5) As for sidekicks, I'm looking forward to learning more about Drake’s relationship with Sully, but I hope it doesn’t become a game where players have to protect their partner throughout the proceedings. Some things are best, and more fun, done alone.

As much as I would like to see a little more development with a love interest, I hope Naughty Dog gets realistic! Anyone in Drake’s position in the last game would not have chosen the plain and annoying journalist Elena Fisher for the is-she-evil-is-she-not siren Chloe Frazer – no contest.


The idea of developing the relationship between partners never seems to mean writing a compelling and engaging back story, it always seems to mean creating a couple of irritating gameplay mechanics that leave you dependent on the partner's usually substandard AI. I look at statements like 'developing the relationship between Drake and Sully' and all I picture is Resi 5, and the desire to shoot Sheva in the face!

I would choose Elena over Chloe anyday. Elena is cute and relationship material. Chloe is only a one-night stand.