You see, we got Uncharted 3 on launch day and the intervening hours, days and weeks seem to have all but evaporated. Along with our bowel movements and career (10 days impromptu absence will do that, apparently).
Naughty Dog are back with arguably the greatest PS3 exclusive Sony has on its side. For while your Gran Turismos, Metal Gear Solids and God of Wars are all exceptional variations on a theme, the Uncharted series (the wonky first entry aside) feels like the most groundbreaking and genuinely progressive franchise to date, finally managing to bridge the hereto unachievable gap between Cinema and Video Games.
Let’s backtrack for a second though. If you haven’t yet had the chance to put yourself in the very, very handsome shoes of one adventuring explorer extraordinaire Nathan Drake, here’s a little set-up.
Essentially Indiana Jones and Croft rolled into one wise-cracking, sexy and charming leading man, the series has followed him as he shoots, jumps, shimmies and explodes his way around the world in search of mythical treasures. While that sounds about as generic as action heroes come, Naughty Dog instil each scene with such carefully crafted, eye-poppingly cinematic moments, you can’t help but get swept up in the spectacle.
The story this time around finds Drake on the hunt for a secret lost Middle Eastern city, in a plot that drags everyone’s favourite supporting cast members along with him, throws them in an action blender and sprinkles a few liberally added literary references for added depth (Francis Drake, T.E. Lawrence, and Elizabeth I are all key to the plot).
Thankfully, like all the best Indy movies, you don’t need to have played the previous games to jump into the third entry. Self-contained but with enough nods to long-term fans, Drake’s adventure is as captivating as they come. You’ll find yourselves propelled around the world through the streets of London to underground tombs, Syrian castles, the sweaty hustle and bustle of Yemen’s street markets, and pretty much everything in between.
If you thought Naughty Dog had excelled themselves with Uncharted 2, here they top it in almost every conceivable area. The graphics are retina-blisteringly beautiful, the score is beautiful and tactful, the action set-pieces are genuinely spectacular (it’s very rare a game makes me scream joyful expletives – but Uncharted 3 had me yelling at the screen on countless occasions), and the voice acting is better than most Hollywood films (we’ve come a long way from Resident Evil’s ‘master of unlocking’).
And while the set-pieces are unabashed OTT spectacle, they’re directed, scored and choreographed so well that you really feel like you’re in control – and genuinely a part of – Hollywood’s greatest action moments.
While you can tell that Naughty Dog have pushed the system as far as it can go, the storytelling, platforming, puzzles, combat, characters and direction are all near-perfect, and bafflingly, expertly balanced.
If you need a reason to buy a PS3, this is it.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is out now and available on PS3.