Like Lara Croft before him, Uncharted hero Nathan Drake is a globe trotting but somewhat accident prone treasure hunter and adventurer who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty while looking for priceless historical artifacts. In other words, he’s Indiana Jones without the Nazis. And like the games of both Ms. Croft and Dr. Jones, the Uncharted series tells grand tales by mixing together combat, exploration, and story-driven puzzles.
What makes the Uncharted games as good as Lara’s, and so much better than Indy’s is how developers Naughty Dog pull all the elements together. Individually, the jumping, acrobatics, and puzzles are not as inventive as those in the Tomb Raider or Prince of Persia games, while the cover-based shooting works better in, well, dedicated third-person shooters. But in Deception, like its predecessor, the whole is far better than its parts, as it melds these elements together seamlessly in service of the story and without detriment to the gameplay.
It also helps that these games’ stories are told with a serious flair for the cinematic. Not only does it use movie-inspired camera angles, movements, and techniques like it’s shot by a professional cinematographer, but it seamlessly mixes them with the gameplay mechanics.
But the kicker is its exceedingly smart and well-written script. Not only does it make the characters feel multi-dimensional, but the dialog is so snappy that it would make Diablo Cody jealous. Though it does help that the lines are delivered by experienced (and clearly well-directed) voice actors.
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