During a recent news conference on the sidelines of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Sony and developer Naughty Dog shed a little more light on what we can expect when “Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception” hits stores this fall.
If you’ve been living under a rock, or are relatively new to the PS3, “Uncharted 3” is the sequel to Sony’s best-reviewed, console-exclusive blockbuster “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves,” which topped a lot of critics and fans’ Game of the Year list for 2009. (I had it as my first runner-up, for what it’s worth.)
Based on what I and a roomful of gaming journalists saw, “Drake’s Deception” will carry the same cinematic presentation, top-end graphics and Indiana Jones-style storytelling that helped make “Among Thieves” such a megahit. The event I attended served as a coming-out party for Katherine Marlowe, who serves as the third game’s adversary to hero Nathan Drake. In the second part of the presentation, we all donned 3D glasses, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s the trailer introducing Ms. Marlowe. (Note: Contains profanity and fisticuffs.)
After we watched the trailer, we learned that Katherine is a longtime adversary of Drake and his buddy Victor “Sully” Sullivan. She’s the head of an ancient secret society that dates back to the time of Queen Elizabeth I and Drake’s ancestor, Sir Francis Drake. Sir Francis’ ring, which she swipes off Drake at the end of the trailer, is at the heart of a longstanding dispute between the two.
After we met Katherine, we got a chance to see the game running in 3D. Not counting stuff on Nintendo’s 3DS handheld, which is a different sort of viewing experience, “Uncharted 3” is maybe the fifth or sixth game I’ve seen running in 3D, and while I don’t think any game justifies spending thousands of dollars on a 3D-capable set all by itself, “Uncharted 3” is the first game I’d show off to folks if I had a TV capable of playing it in 3D.
Up until “Uncharted 3,” every game I’ve seen running in 3D has been a first- or third-person shooter. The games’ primary action sequences take place while looking down the sights of a gun. The “Uncharted” games, however, place just as much importance on platform-jumping, puzzle-solving and taking cues from the gorgeous scenery as they place on pumping bad guys full of lead.
And it’s in the platform-jumping that 3D “Uncharted 3” would appear to shine. The little handholds on the walls seemed to pop out a little bit more in 3D, and as Drake and Sully sought to escape a collapsing building that had caught fire, the swirling embers and thick smoke took on an extra level of detail that wouldn’t be as noticeable in a game where you’re shooting the whole time.
It also was readily apparent that “Uncharted 3” is a game heavily backed by a manufacturer of 3D television sets. It’s not hard to envision the game’s level designers popping in a few shots here and there that both look great and just happen to showcase some cutting-edge, consumer-level technology. One early shot in which Drake peered through some slats at Sully was an early standout.
While I don’t expect I’ll own a 3D TV by the time “Uncharted 3” hits stores, I wouldn’t turn down the invitation to pop over to someone else’s house and play in glorious 3D.