Good things come in threes, and the Uncharted series has been a very good thing indeed. Naughty Dog’s trilogy has been a shot in the arm for action-adventure, and the company is now shuttering the colourful career of the highly nimble treasure hunter Mr. Nathan Drake. So what’s new after seeing four years of him flailing wildly through the air?
Apparently, not a great deal. We have seen this act before, and that’s part of the game’s problem: it’s nothing new. There’s the reverse camera angle escape sequence that necessitates a reload because you can’t see where you’re going. There’s the constant crashing through rotten timbers after a death-defying leap of faith that would shatter a lesser man’s tibia. There are the plentiful rocks and pipes that give out under Drake’s weight. They’re hallmarks of the game and we’ve come to expect them, but perhaps they’re getting a little too familiar.
The good thing is that most of the previous games played very well, so recycling those elements makes for enjoyable gameplay. The puzzle / journal system is still present, along with the subtle hint cues to keep the story moving. The action and gun play are still tightly executed. The spectacular cut scenes and scripted sequences are leagues ahead of what most other studios can produce, and it’s all supported by some great voice acting and a fantastic soundtrack, although the story of the search for Iram of the Pillars tends to meander compared to the other two games.
Drake’s Deception is a good finish for the series, and fans should find closure at the end of the substantial single-player campaign. The game plays it safe. It takes what has worked in the past and uses it to tell a half-decent story. If you’re looking for the game to offer something in terms of innovation, there’s not a great deal on show. Perhaps it was the familiarity of the game that left me wanting for more, but I can’t deny that I enjoyed my time with it. Manage your expectations with the game’s accolades, and enjoy the ride.