Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception – what we want to see

No supernatural silliness

We play Uncharted for action, adventure, romance, and comedy… but for some reason, Naughty Dog keeps assuming we also want a heaping dose of horror. Thus, a treasure hunt through lush tropical wonderlands eventually devolved into a dull, dark shooter slog through zombie-infested corridors in Drake's Fortune. The sequel's abominable snowmen weren't as distracting – until they transformed into nearly invincible Smurfmen, that is.

What do you want to bet that Nathan faces off against magical mystical mummies in the deserts of Uncharted 3? And that he'll act shocked and surprised, even though this has happened to him twice before? And that they'll be a paranormal pain in the ass to kill? Enough already.

Better boss battles

If Uncharted 3 must have supernatural enemies, however, at least use their otherworldly monstrousness to inspire bigger and better final bosses than what we experienced in the first two games. The 100% scripted, button-prompting fistfight at the end of Drake's Fortune was hugely disappointing compared to the intensity of the previous 10 hours, and while the helicopter battle midway through Uncharted 2 was tremendous, running around in a circle shooting plant life with Zoran Lazarevic during the last chapter was not.

So for the sake of excitement, go ahead and create a gargantuan creature with predictable patterns and obvious weak points. It couldn't be worse than what we just described. Or better yet, lose the guns and make the final encounter a scripted chase sequence or a daredevil platforming puzzle – both seem more true to the spirit of Uncharted anyway.

Higher difficulty

Speaking of puzzles and platforming… they're a little too easy. The solution to every obstacle is automatically written in Nathan's journal, and the path through every room is helpfully pointed out by the direction of Nathan's jumps and reaches. Unlike the best Tomb Raider games, you never find yourself stuck for long in an Uncharted game. Your hand is usually held the whole way through.

Messing with this approach too much might ruin the perfect pacing of Uncharted, so we don't want Naughty Dog to force harder puzzles and platforming on players. Instead, give us choices. Enable us to turn the auto-align off or on for Nathan's acrobatics. Include an optional "grab-on" button for ledges like in Prince of Persia. Increase the complexity of the puzzles, but then incorporate a tiered hint system through the journal. Higher difficulty shouldn't be defined only by "more enemies" and "less health."

Cooler collectibles

Collecting the extra treasure scattered throughout Nathan Drake's travels is mildly diverting, but is it addictive? Is it rewarding? We'd feel a lot more invested in the hunt for hidden artifacts if Naughty Dog expanded that element of Uncharted into its own detailed minigame.

Above: What, exactly, is a "fibula thogchag"… or the "phurba thogchag" for that matter? A deeper collectible system could tell you!

First step: No generic sparkles on the ground. The treasure you see in the menus should be the treasure you see in the environments. In fact, recognizing which items to take from your surroundings, based on sketches in your journal, could be half the fun. Next, add descriptions that explain the significance, history and mystique of each item. Finally, study Red Dead Redemption (how each treasure included hints to the next treasure) and Batman: Arkham Asylum (how the collectibles told an entirely separate side story) for inspiration.

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  • BigBoss213 - March 17, 2011 3:36 a.m.

    I agree with all of these also, as well as what originaljonty said.that would be sweet! I think it would be cool if their was a boss fight where u just use your fist but not just mash square over and over but somthing like in MGS4 when u fought liquid.On a side note:it should be Nathan Fillion who plays the drake role in the just doesn't seem to fit right with mark wahlberg to me.
  • TurtleAssasin33 - February 24, 2011 3:59 a.m.

    I agree most with, well two of them. one, no supernatural BS, please. and two, NATHAN FILLION!!! he was awesome in Firefly, and there's no reason for him to not be cast as Nathan Drake
  • ExemptMrFish79 - February 20, 2011 11:01 a.m.

    Whatever Naughty Dog do with Uncharted 3 I'm sure will be amazing, but how are they going to improve those visuals??? Uncharted 2 still looks amazing now nearly a year and half on.
  • outlyer - February 19, 2011 8:42 p.m.

    My extra suggestion: get more focused. Among Thieves jumped all over globe but had, IMO, a less compelling story than Drake's Fortune. U2 was much prettier, and enjoyable but a lot less interesting to me. What Xephimost said, too. Besides, I loved the complete shift in balance at the end of the first game. Those "zombies" changed how the game played and all of a sudden you were a lot less kick-ass and had to run for your life and the change didn't last enough to be really annoying. Also, Claudia Black is too good to be left aside, even if I don't care too much about Chloe here's hoping she is there too... > "Because otherwise, the Mark Wahlbergs win." That would be terrible.
  • lovinmyps3 - February 19, 2011 3:23 a.m.

    Nathan Fillion should play the other male in the new love triangle! Now that would be some competition for Drake!
  • Nikku7 - February 18, 2011 8:52 p.m.

    Lose the Supernatural Silliness? Yeah I see how some may think that the supernatural encounters in the first two games could be a little silly, but that is a core element of the genre. If it doesn't build up to something otherworldly, what the hell does it have in terms of epicness and awe besides the set pieces? Would it be like Nathan Drake in a Scooby Doo mystery? I don't want that. Don't build up someones hopes for something supernatural just to prove it false! That kills it. They could, though, make the supernatural beings less stereotypical in the case of the zombies, and not so much a pain to fight, but instead give them different weaknesses than normal enemies. A more puzzle worthy way of killing them than just shoot repeatedly. I don't think the genre should lose the Supernatural parts, I think they should just carry it out in a better way. More for amazement and less for horror. Personally I don't see how the Shambalans were horrifying though. Please give us something more interesting this time than zombies or blue tribal hulks, like a more animal-like being to fight. I hated it when the abominals turned out to be fake in Uncharted 2.
  • sleepy92ismypsn - February 18, 2011 3 a.m.

    Sony needs to give away Uncharted 3 beta keys with pre orders of inFAMOUS 2. It's a Playstation tradition. Pre order Sly 4 now and get the Uncharted Team Racing beta key ;o
  • Crypto140 - February 17, 2011 9:35 p.m.

    Im with the supernatural stuff going. When I saw the nazi... dare I say, "zombies" in the first one, I was laughing. And the same with the giant smurfs in the sequal. And also, I think Uncharted 2 had subliminal messaging in it telling you that game was fun, becasue face facts people. 25 perfect reviews? No game could get that, while Uncharted is rated T. And we all know how Uncharted 1 went. It was still good, or at least they sucecceded with the subliminal messaging.
  • Samael - February 17, 2011 8:21 p.m.

    Agree with everything but "higher difficulty" and "lose the supernatural". I thought the difficulty in 2 was practically perfect, but I had enough trouble getting through the damn ice cave platforming as it is, don't take away my auto-grab! And the supernatural elements really have been with Uncharted from the beginning. I agree that it needs to be done better, but it should not be removed.
  • blackadder79 - February 17, 2011 4:45 p.m.

    I agree with all of these except the supernatural one, I don't know why people have such a problem with that. If it were to lose the supernatural element, in my opinion it would be losing one of the core elements of the series. I always thought the supernatural twist gave the games an Indiana Jones like vibe and made the ending sequences a lot more unexpected and thrilling. Considering all the over-the-top action sequences throughout the games, I thought the over-the-top supernatural bits the end matched up nicely. And to spend the whole game searching for a "cursed" treasure or city or something and not have that whole supernatural thing at the end would be kind of anticlimactic I think. Maybe I'm in the minority here but I always enjoyed the twist, it seemed to set it apart from other third person shooters. I'd rather face off against an army of abominable snowmen (even if it is unrealistic, which is part of the charm for me) than another regular guy in a tank like in every other realistic shooter.
  • philipshaw - February 17, 2011 2:27 p.m.

    These are fantastic ideas and the one at the end needs to happen. All I want them to do is expand on the co-op multiplayer they had in UC2. It was great but there was only 3 missions,give us more missions and these could maybe fill in some back story
  • avantguardian - February 17, 2011 7:23 a.m.

    @errrrbo: great point (and much more practical than my ranting ;), having chloe return as a foil to elena would just seem redundant...
  • Errrrbo - February 17, 2011 7:07 a.m.

    I disagree on Chloe returning. While I did really like her character, I feel like she served her purpose entirely in Uncharted 2 and plugging her in here would just not have the same impact. She's like the Joker in the Dark Knight: They were great in what they did, but now it's time for someone new.
  • 2cute2Bcruel - February 17, 2011 3:27 a.m.

  • Grif - February 17, 2011 3:18 a.m.

    I'm still mad that Nathan Fillion didn't get the part for the movie.
  • alouette22087 - February 17, 2011 2:33 a.m.

    Things I would love: 1) The return of the Makarov PM. It was an icon of Drake's first outing, and even the cover art of the second game had it, but no luck. 2) Local multiplayer/co-op. I miss the days of being able to see my friends when I played, and every game these days makes you go online it seems, save for a few. Recaptcha: social ymenga... Sounds like something to see the doctor about.
  • OneEyedGoon - February 16, 2011 11:21 p.m.

    Yes to Chloe coming back. My ears need the lovely tones of Officer Aeryn Sun. *hugs Farscape DVDs and cries*
  • NightCrawler_358 - February 16, 2011 10:58 p.m.

    Playing the "Locomotion" level (train) in competitive multiplayer would be one of the coolest maps ever made! Climbing on the sides and jumping on the tops, going through windows, and maybe some branches or signs sweeping the top? Maybe slowly the back of the train would explode and derail? Then you have to keep moving forward! That would be the sweetest online level ever.
  • Genericpenisjoketista - February 16, 2011 10:56 p.m.

    I agree with the guy that said "get off Wahlberg's ass." No, he isn't as good as Fillion can be, but that doesn't mean that he's a bad actor. I also agree that he doesn't fit the role perfectly, but hey--does anyone remember Max Payne? The movie sucked and was forgotten. I'll be happy if they decide to make a "proper" movie for both series, but until then, let's stop bitching that game-movies suck. We all can recognize that without explanation. All of that being said, this article was awesome.
  • manicania - February 16, 2011 9:28 p.m.

    I completely agree about the boss battles. I want to see some giant ridiculous monster or mecha that makes you think "How the f*** am I supposed to hurt this thing?" And I'd love to see new kinds of enemies, it seems they're pretty typical in the Uncharted games. Maybe some guys with robot suits or something...or an evil scientist...

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