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Nov 10, 2011
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By Matthew Scott Hunter

UNCHARTED 3: DRAKE’S DECEPTION (T)

Sony Computer Entertainment

PlayStation 3

Most adventure games simply put you in a room and give you something to do. Uncharted games put you in a room, give you something to do and then tear that room to pieces while you’re doing it. Any elaborate strategy you devise flies out the window the moment the chateau begins burning apart around you, or the cargo tanker begins rapidly flooding with water, or you tumble out the back of a plane without a parachute. These elaborate and virtually non-stop cinematic sequences keep you perpetually on your toes, constantly feeling like you’re in a bit over your head. Aside from a greater emphasis on fisticuffs, there isn’t a whole lot to differentiate Drake’s Deception from its predecessor in terms of gameplay, but there doesn’t have to be. Uncharted games are about the thrill of discovering what dramatic cliffhanger is waiting around the corner, and this third chapter in the series certainly hasn’t run out of surprises.

Over the course of three games, Nathan Drake and his motley crew have endeared themselves to us, and their pithy dialogue and superb voice acting make the cut-scenes a welcome break from the carefully choreographed bedlam. The difficulty ramps up nicely as you grow closer to the lost city, Iram of the Pillars—this entry’s requisite MacGuffin. And once the credits roll on your single-player campaign, Drake’s Deception will keep you busy with cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes, which give a slight boost to player speed for a nice frenetic pace. With three excellent adventures under its belt so far, the Uncharted series is beginning to look like the best reason to own a PlayStation 3.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: WAR IN THE NORTH (M)

**1/2

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Xbox 360

Little did we know that while Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli were waging their epic battle against Sauron’s forces, another ranger/elf/dwarf trio was fighting in a similar skirmish up north. These Rosencrantzes and Guildensterns of Middle-Earth are the focus of this latest LOTR game, and while their story occasionally intersects with Tolkien’s, it’s hard to care about the exploits of this heretofore unknown B team. The environments do a good job of reproducing the atmosphere of Peter Jackson’s films, but the narrative is forgettable, and once you’ve hacked and slashed a few orcs and cave trolls, you’ve hacked and slashed them all.

GOLDENEYE 007: RELOADED (T)

****

Activision

Xbox 360

Last year’s GoldenEye 007 remake finally makes its way to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, giving those who defected from Nintendo consoles after the era of N64 a chance to soak up the nostalgia. But you needn’t have played the classic N64 shooter to enjoy Reloaded. More reimagining than remake, this game features several nods to 1997’s great (albeit dated) original, but is otherwise a completely modern James Bond adventure. There’s a terrific balance between stealth and run-‘n-gun gameplay and the clever addition of a nifty smart phone gadget that can be used to snap espionage photos, hack turrets or detonate remote mines.



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