The following post contains plot spoilers for Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception dispels any doubt regarding the series’ aspirations. Uncharted strives to step into the void left by Indiana Jones as popular culture’s premiere pulp-adventure series. It’s an impressive effort. Nathan Drake is a roguish charmer with the capacity for sentimentality and violence. He’s surrounded by memorable sidekicks, villains, and love interests. The game’s plot darts about the globe, giving players an opportunity to virtually explore exotic lands and defy death in spectacular action sequences. From tonal, thematic, and artistic perspectives, Uncharted is a welcome experience for those of us who have been waiting for another Indiana Jones since 1989 (like any rational person, I disavow The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull‘s existence).
Unfortunately, the series’s very existence as a video game often proves to be its greatest undoing. For years now, I’ve argued that Uncharted‘s dual existence as a cinematic adventure is at odds with its devotion to the structure of a rigorous action game. Uncharted 3 is the clearest example of this conflict. Difficulty spikes and repetition clash with the story’s breezy cadence. At around eight to ten hours, Uncharted 3‘s campaign overstays its welcome, mostly thanks to its gameplay.