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September 17 2011
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
3/11/2011SonySonyNaughty Dog
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
12-16$109.95
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Nathan Drake returns to headline Uncharted 3.
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Uncharted 3's flame effects are spectacular.

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A new enemy to be wary of.
Naughty Dog are a developer that needs no introduction. A decade ago during the PSOne days they dominated sales with the Crash Bandicoot franchise while during the Playstation 2 era they introduced us to Jak and Daxter. While we would love to see either of those franchises back on the current generation (although the Crash is now out of Naughty Dog's hands). This current generation has seen the developers to turn to a more realistic game with Uncharted - a game in the same mould as Indiana Jones with plenty of exploration, action and adventure - but starring Nathan Drake.

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An early Uncharted 3 screen showing a plane crash in the desert.
Sales for the franchise have been phenomenal with the original Uncharted: Drake's Fortune selling 3.65 million copies to date, and the sequel Uncharted: Among Thieves selling 4.66 million copies. Sony, and Naughty Dog, will be be hoping for even more from this sequel.

Taking inspiration from the archaelogical days of T.E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, Uncharted 3 sees Nathan Drake searching for the legendary lost city, the Iram of the Pillars.

Naturally Nathan Drake will come across many individuals intent on stopping him but along the way he will have the assistance of friends including Chloe Frazer and Elena Fisher and of course his mentor and friend Victor Sullivan. In terms of what we've seen the developers have shown off a level containing a burning chateau which Nathan Drake and Sullivan are trying to get out of as it collapses.

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Water slowly fills the sinking ship.
At E3 2011 Naughty Dog showed off a gorgeous level which takes place on a sinking ship. It really is astounding with the cruise ship rolling around, Nathan leaning to counter the movement of the ship, lights swaying and therefor affecting the lighting in the levels, and the water gushing in the lower levels of the ship. It's gorgeous, and a perfect setpiece to show off the technology yet again.

Despite the near perfect previous title Naughty Dog are looking to improve the gameplay in this third outing even further. Tweaks to the game include automatic picking up of ammunition, being able to fight multiple enemies at once, "enhanced backward climing" (whatever that means), and improved enemy AI and the ability for enemies to form squads.

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Stand-off among the flames in Uncharted 3.
Naughty Dog are also promising much improved co-op and multiplayer options. Uncharted 2 included some side-missions which allowed co-op gameplay and it was terrific fun but quite seperate from the main game or multiplayer. Uncharted 3 will have considerbly more content in the co-op mode and while it won't form a part of the main campaign, the missions tie into the main storyline. A multiplayer beta was released in July and was very slick indeed.

The final game will include multiple game modes but some other enhancements including a buddy system where you can respawn on a partner's position, treasures randomly placed around the maps, boosters have been reworked, and Power plays have been implemented to balance the gameplay if one team gets well ahead in the match. These won't be available in hardcore game modes. Impressively if playing online matches in split-screen modes you'll be able to sign in each player with their own PSN ID.

There is one more very interesting aspect to this games release. As we are all well aware the Playstation Network outage was a major stumbling block for Sony in 2011 - but there's one very positive impact on Uncharted 3. The developers, without a network to test the multiplayer component of game on, had to develop and implement LAN code which Naughty Dog have now confirmed will be included in the final game allowing you to play the game over a LAN rather then the web.

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Playing one of the multiplayer levels.
Graphically Naughty Dog's Uncharted series has always set the benchmark in this generation on all platforms, and this third outing looks like pushing the franchise further then ever before. Not only have the developers created some of the most impressive sand effects, but also fire as seen in the first chateau demo, and water as seen in the sinking ship but the game will also support stereoscopic 3DTV sets and there are rumours of split-screen co-op being included as well - somthing which is yet to be confirmed, but feasible and moderately easy to implement given the 3DTV support.

Of all the games due out in 2011 Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception has to be at the top of the list for many gamers. The two previous games remain not only the best on PS3, but also among the best games of all time.