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Uncharted 3 – Behind Closed Doors Preview

Uncharted 3 – Behind Closed Doors Preview

(Pardon any typos and the sloppy writing. It’s 2am here in the US. Eek. This is a rough and ready overview of the behind-closed-doors presentation on Uncharted 3 that I thought I’d throw up – not literally – before calling it a night. Enjoy!)

Before talking about Naughty Dog’s special behind-closed-doors demo of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception at E3, it might be worth talking about the set-up. It took place inside a plane. Not an actual Boeing 747 but a hollowed out replica of the plane’s mid-section, with netting, gas masks and helmets draped up on the sides. We didn’t sit on seats but sat on wooden Uncharted 3 crates instead.

Oh, and we were handed 3D glasses as we sat down. ‘What could that possibly be for?’ wondered our investigative minds. Definitely not a 3D demonstration. Nope.

The unusual set-up was symbolic of the extra level of effort Naughty Dog goes to with its games and once the presentation kicked off as Game Director Justin Richmond started playing through the live demo, it was clear that Uncharted 3 would be no different.

Drake and Elena start off on a roof-top and staring at a cargo plane being loaded in the distance. Drake murmurs about how difficult the mission is as the duo figure out a plan to get close. Leaping off the roof onto a nearby ladder and sliding down, they push towards the plane when Drake scrambles over a gate too tall for Elena to cross.

Elena protests but Drake insists he has to go it alone to the cargo plane, calling it a million to one shot. “When I almost lost you before…” he starts, letting the sentence trail off as he looks away. “Take that jeep and get out of here.”

Drake then heads towards the cargo plane but a gate slams shut in front of him. He’s been spotted – sirens sound, gunfire whistles in Drake’s direction and a helicopter spotlight locks onto him. Drake scurries over to the nearby building to climb up it to scramble to cover.

The gameplay is very much classec Uncharted action gameplay, a mixture of gunplay (Justin shoots a few guards ducking behind the air vents on the roof…) and close combat (…apart from when he decides to get close to drag them over the air vent). While Drake clears the roof, bullets keep flying overhead from other soldiers in pursuit. The pacing is punchy and the vibe is tense, as Drake still has to get to the cargo plane in time.

Roof clear, he leaps off onto some bags below, which scatter outwards and tumble to the ground in a realistic manner. It’s worth mentioning that this could have been done in a cutscene but it’s all real-time, with Drake’s leap from the roof to the ground looking all the more impressive because you know it’s something you’re in complete control over.

Back to the cargo plane chase and while Drake has managed to get round the gate, the cargo plane has been loaded up and is about to take off. Drake is about to give up when a jeep swings onto the runaway. Elena is back! Leaping onto the back of the jeep, Elena screeches towards the front of the plane, while Drake sways and tries to keep his balance on the back of the speeding vehicle.

The jeep drives alongside the front wheel of the plane and Drake steadies himself before leaping onto the wheel, as it tucks back up inside the plane’s body, taking Drake with it. It’s all playable and

Inside the plane Drake shuffles through an air vent before making it to the back of the plane, where he opens the cargo bay. There he’s assaulted by a guard and a close-range fight breaks out between the two of them.

With Justin at the controls, it’s hard to tell exactly what he can or can’t control but when Drake is tackled from close range, it looks like you can rain down blows with your left and right hands. The fighting continues as the duo spill onto the cargo bay entrance, which is open and leaves them placed precariously above the desert.

Drake has a series of other moves which look like they’ll be context sensitive, such as a knee to the head when his assailant is staggered and losing his balance. Naughty Dog has definitely ramped up the close range combat and using his new moves, Drake gains the upper hand until he can climb to the cargo inside the plane and pull a parachute. The parachute inflates and yanks the cargo out, smacking into Drake’s attacker and hitting him to his death.

Unfortunately, Drake now has a new problem – the rest of the cargo in the plane is being pulled out with it. As he struggles against the force sucking him out of the plane, Drake slowly climbs back inside, avoiding all the tumbling cargo and debris. Eventually, he gets hit by a box, sending him falling out of the plane and to his… not quite. Drake manages to grab onto the trail of cargo that’s barely attached to the interior of the plane. Dangling miles above ground, the demo ends.

It seems that this set-piece is what will lead into the scenario that shows Drake in the desert with a crashed plane behind him, although Naughty Dog wouldn’t say. They then showed the trailer released during E3 except in 3D. The 3D definitely looks more impressive than anything else on PlayStation3 to date, with the sequences such as the cargo tumbling out of the plane given more punch by the 3D. Interesting side-note to all this: the trailer shows Elena wearing a wedding ring on her hand. Hmmm.

For more info on the 3D, the technical challenges, the Call of Duty inspired multiplayer and PlayStation4, stay tuned for our full interview with Naughty Dog co-president Christophe Balestra! After I’ve had some sleep. Zzzzz.

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