Video Game / Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

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"All men dream. But not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to realize it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men. For they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible. This, I did."
T.E. Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia (opening quote)

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is the third game in Naughty Dog's Uncharted series. It was originally released on November 1, 2011 for the PlayStation 3.

Since starting his career, Nathan Drake has carried a ring from Sir Francis Drake around his neck, which he believes will help unlock a great secret. Finally offered the opportunity to put his quest into motion, he comes into conflict with an enemy from his youth who seeks the same end.

Tropes

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: The scene of Elena and Sully trying to convince Nate that Iram isn't worth it, a sitdown with Marlowe where she infodumps Nate's past, and Nate's return to Elena after his cruise ship escapades, illuminating Nate's choice between the fake identity he's built around being Sir Francis's heir and the life he could have with Elena and Sully.
  • Action Prologue: The game opens with Nate and Sully fighting their way through an English pub's worth of Mooks to escape after a deal gone bad.
  • All for Nothing: Nate fights his way through a massive shipyard and a ship in order to rescue Sully, only to find out that Sully was never actually in captivity at all.
  • Apothecary Alligator: There is a dissected crocodile attached to a balcony in the library below London. There is even a trophy for jumping over it called "Ride the Crocodile".
  • Arc Words: "One Shot at This" or words to that effect are repeated throughout the game by Nate many times, and by Elena near the end. It's also the title of one of the chapters.
  • Artistic Licence - Geography: The vista after climbing to the roof of the dingy pub in the prologue implies it's somewhere in Southwark. Rather than being a rundown neo-Dickensian slum, it's one of the most multicultural, and more importantly most expensive, areas in London. The chances of finding a dive like that, which openly breaks the smoking ban too, are slim.
    • The abbandonned section of the London Underground is a bit of a stretch too, since not only is the actual Tube network not that extensive south of the river, a lot of what’s there is far more modern than as depicted (The Victoria and Jubilee line sections south of the river are both post-1950) and in extensive use. The closest part of the network to what is depicted would be the Aldwych branch, a complete section of tunnel closed in 1994, which is north of the river.
  • Automaton Horses: Horses can not only keep up with, but go faster than, a convoy of trucks for more than ten minutes.
  • Bar Brawl: the game opens with Nate and Sully fighting a gang in a London bar.
  • Bedouin Rescue Service: Actual Bedouins rescue Drake from Marlowe's agents in the desert, although the scenario is different from the norm (they are initially hostile towards Drake until he puts them at ease that they're both interested in the same goal).
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: There are spiders the size of your hand that attack in swarms and can only be repelled with light.
  • The Can Kicked Him: Drake takes out a Giant Mook with a toilet tank lid.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Sully grabs an propelled torpedo grenade gun near the ending. Drake uses it a few minutes later to destroy Marlowe's crane.
    • The preserved giant spider in the underground library in London.
  • Claustrophobia: Charlie Cutter has a fear of small spaces. It's what finally causes him to snap and attack Drake while under the effects of Talbot's mind control drug.
  • Continuous Decompression: A plane gets a hole blown in it in and decompresses for almost half a minute. To make things even worse, the cargo ramp had been open just a few minutes earlier, with no decompression and, apparently, no equalization of pressures.
  • Convection Schmonvection: During the burning chateau level, Nathan and Sully hold their hands up to their faces to ward off the heat, but otherwise act as if the fire isn't there - including walking through very small walls of fire with no ill effects.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: During the flashback to Cartagena, young, defenseless Nate is about to be gunned down by one of Marlowe's agents, only to be rescued with one shot by Sully. Inverted at the very end of the game, when the player must have Nate deliver his own conveniently timed shot to rescue Sully from Talbot (see also Book Ends).
  • Cutscene Boss: A variation. The final fight is a series of quick-time-event mini-cutscenes, but they're context-sensitive and mixed into a normal gameplay fistfight.
  • Continuity Nod: Sir Francis Drake's journal is still present, and the bullet hole from the first game is still there.
  • Controllable Helplessness: After the plane crash in the desert, you control Nate as he wanders helplessly through the desert for three days.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Played with in a cutscene that was shown at an E3, where Drake headbutts a high-rank mook during his Evil Laugh, disarms him, grabs one of his grenades, throws it at a flammable barrel, then fires two shots at a Mook on the other side of the room, missing by a country mile.
    • Revealed to be played straight in the game proper where after stealing the mook's gun and grenade he puts a round in the chest of pirate captain with one shot.
  • Determinator: Drake's push through the desert after the plane crash takes course over a couple of days with little supplies.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The title refers to both Sir Francis lying about where he went on his voyage, and Nathan lying about being Drake's descendant.
  • Escalating Brawl: Sully and Nate have to fight their way out of a bar. It starts with them just finding a few guys in the backroom and escalates to them having to fight everyone in the bar, in a brawl that spans from the backroom to the bar counter to the bathroom to the back alley.
  • Filler: The entire sub-plot centered around Nate being captured by Rameses' pirates is this. It takes up four whole chapters of the game, yet, it has no connections to the main plot, and was likely made as an excuse to add in a ship graveyard setting and a cruise ship setting. The game tries to justify its inclusion by having Rameses capture Sully, whom Nate is trying to rescue, only to find out later that Rameses never had Sully to begin with, and lied just for the heck of it. This in turn, flips the entire sub-plot on its head. It's generally agreed upon that removing this part from the game would virtually have no impact on the main plot. Even Nate himself lampshades this near the end of the part.
  • Firing in the Air a Lot: The hero team does this on some maps if they win in the multiplayer.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The 'Chokers' from the Co-op/Multiplayer wear gasmasks.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Elena still wears her old wedding band while working in Yemen since, according to her, "It helps in this part of the world." Anyone with a passing knowledge of Middle Eastern gender relations can guess why she wears that ring.For those who still don't get it 
    • Nate mentions Sully searching out a "basket act"note  while serving in the Navy, to which he responds with a chuckle. Elena doesn't quite get it, and Sully quickly changes the subject.
  • Giant Mook: Brutes, who are clearly a lot bigger than the usual mooks; you only tend to get one per major gunfight. They tower over Nate, and take several hits or gunshots to go down.
  • Immune to Bullets: Talbot is apparently immune to bullets, until he's finally killed at the very end by Drake shooting him. No explanation is ever given.
    • This is possibly subverted, as it may have been a Mind Screw on Charlie's part (though it certainly seemed as if the other characters and the player saw Talbot get shot). Also, Talbot has a taste for the theatrical.
  • Jump Scare: The end of Nate's second Mushroom Samba near the end of the game has one when his reflection in the water unexpectedly springs to life and grabs him.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Unlike the previous games where you are shown exactly what causes the "Magical" phenomenon, all you get to see here is the brass container covered in magic seals, before drake blows up the crane holding the container and it sinks to the bottom of the cavern. It's not even leaking.
  • Madness Mantra: Anyone affected by the tainted water inevitably ends up spouting gibberish that at least makes sense to them. This is the clue that something's not at all right with Nate in Chapter 21 of the game: he eventually starts mumbling to himself about "demons of smokeless fire" while fighting hallucinations of the same.
  • Meta Twist: The previous games have humans transformed into monsters by the artifact. At first, Deception also seems to have them, but Drake's just hallucinating.
  • Mind Screw: Drake suffers from these after drinking the water from the ruins due to its hallucination-properties towards the end. Several other characters do, as well, because of the effects of a mysterious drug the enemy wields. However, even apparently un-drugged characters see Talbot recover from being shot, and mysteriously vanish from a dead-end. Word of God is that Talbot is simply a gifted Mind Screw Driver who wears a bullet proof vest.
  • Mushroom Samba: A very non-funny one as Talbot uses darts with tainted water. First on Cutter whom he temporarily brainwashes to turn against Drake, before then commenting (from his point of view) that the floor and walls were melting. Drake gets hit with one later and his hallucination makes up one of the levels of the game. His perceptions and sense of reality gets distorted with people becoming two dimensional flat figures and Nate wandering around narrow alleys. Likewise later when he drinks some of the water and experiences what he thinks is Sully's death and yet another much more elaborate hallucination stage only to later be snapped out of it.
  • Nostalgia Level: The first co-op mission takes place in Borneo from Among Thieves, only during nighttime and with the pockets of C4 being replaced with crates of artifacts. The boss fight against Lazarevic's second-in-command (which was originally at the end of the train level) takes place at the end camp.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Nate gets to wander around the Rub'Al Khali desert, trying to find his way through one of the most inhospitable places in the world. He has no idea where he is in relation to anything else, he can't navigate by the stars because he has no experience doing so, and he has no food or water. There are no enemies to kill. The sequence is frightening for how delusional he gets over the course of three days.
  • Oo C Is Serious Business: Nate flies into an Unstoppable Rage when Sully is killed. Luckily, it's just a hallucination and Sully is still alive, because seeing the charming, affable Nate lose his temper like that is terrifying.
  • Optional Stealth: Sort of. There are sequences where you can sneak up and dispatch enemy soldiers, but there are always a few soldiers near the end who cannot be killed without being detected, at which point more soldiers appear. The end result is that being stealthy is rarely worth the difficulty, and can be very frustrating if a player is trying to play through these sequences perfectly, not realizing that it can't be done. It is sometimes possible to use exploits to stealth kill the remaining guards, but this is complicated, requires a lot of luck, and is clearly not the game designers' intention.
  • Permanently Missable Content: The relics. One of them, the Antique Wax Seal Stamp, is found in Chapter 6 near a waterfall. The tricky part here is that there is a one-way drop just a short distance along the path, and the game autosaves after the drop, so if you miss this one and go too far, there is no way to go back and get it. Say goodbye to your 100% Completion.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Happens to Drake in the first Brute fight.
  • Put on a Bus: After Charlie breaks his leg in Syria, Chloe takes him to a hospital and neither of them are heard from again. What makes this use of the trope special is that they actually used a recently commandeered bus to get to the hospital.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Weirdly zigzagged at Ubar. Lots of the buildings are falling apart. The incredibly complicated machinery still works just fine.
  • Random Events Plot: Drake's Deception is the most digressive of the four games and jumps around a lot before reaching its central plot. It starts in London, flashes back to Kid!Drake in Cartagena, returns to the present in London, moves to France, then Syria, and then Yemen and an extended section in a Ship Graveyard that digresses from the plot entirely only moving to the finale, the Rub' Al Khali Desert and the City of Ubar in the final few sections. The other games spend far more time in the location of the treasure and MacGuffin with a greater sense of place and mystery. Likewise, the other games had a single Posthumous Character (Drake, Polo, Avery) who inspires Nate to the MacGuffin, whereas this game switches between T. E. Lawrence, John Dee before returning again to Drake.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Cutter was supposed to appear though the entirety of Drake's Deception, but the character had to be written out when Graham McTavish landed a role in The Hobbit.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: In an uncharacteristically brutal scene for Nate, Sully's apparent death sends him out after Talbot, slaughtering soldiers on his way through Ubar, screaming and swearing to kill them all. Luckily for Nate's sanity, it was all a hallucination.
  • Save the Villain: Marlowe falls into quicksand, and Nate attempts to save her. In the end he is unsuccessful.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: Rameses, in an attempt to kill Drake, shoots the window of a sunken portion of his ship and is killed when the area floods
  • Shown Their Work: The Colombians actually speak the Colombian dialect of Spanish (one of the dozens of dialects of Spanish).
  • Sinister Subway: A long abandoned station in the London Underground serves as this.
  • Starts Stealthily, Ends Loudly: Enforced. Barring the use of exploits, it isn't possible to finish the stealth sequences without being spotted.
  • Tarot Motifs: Recurrent partly because Marlowe's organisation deliberately plays up the symbolism. One journal has three tarot cards pinned inside it; The Tower, The High Priestess and The Magician. The last two are labelled "Marlowe" and "Talbot", respectively, and the cards are indeed excellent representations of the characters, being an older woman who guards hidden knowledge and a man of mysterious power born of trickery.
  • Thirsty Desert: Part of Drake's Deception takes place in the Rub' al Khalinote , one of the largest and most inhospitable sand deserts in the world. And Drake has no idea where he's going, where he is, and he has no supplies. The sequences makes very good use of Nothing Is Scarier, as the only thing trying to kill Drake is the unforgiving sun and his own increasing desperation.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The con at the beginning naturally goes off without a hitch.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: The game opens with Drake and Sully falling into a trap by the bad guys and being shot dead. Turns out it's a Batman Gambit so they'll lead Team Drake back to their HQ where they have another MacGuffin our anti-heroes want.
  • Villain Team-Up: In Chapter 5 of the co-op campaign, Lazarevic, Flynn and Eddy Raja team up to fight Drake, Cutter and Sully. Not that it helps them any. Cutter, who was only introduced in the third game, is understandably confused.
    Cutter: Who's Eddy?
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The pirate-infested ship graveyard in the Indian Ocean. The entire thing could have been excised with no effect on the main plot or character development, not that that stops it from being one hell of a set piece.
  • Wedding Ring Defense: Employed by Elena.
    It helps in this part of the world.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We're never told what happens to Cutter or Chloe at the end, though Sully hand waved their fates midway through the game by saying that Chloe took Cutter to a hospital to get help for his broken leg.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The huge similarities between this game and the third Indiana Jones movie are probably intentional. Plot-wise, both involve the Crusades and a secret hidden in the Middle East. Character-wise, both feature a flashback to the hero's teenage years and an exploration of their relationship with their father/father figure. Even some of the set pieces are the same, such as an escape from a burning castle and a horseback assault on a desert caravan. The climax also features the hero watching his father figure get shot although in Drake's Deception's case, this is a hallucination.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Talbot has the East End thugs set fire to the Chateau to kill Nate and Sully, only to lock the entire gang inside.
  • Zerg Rush: Hordes of fist sized spiders chase you through the various ruins.

Alternative Title(s): Uncharted 3, Drakes Deception

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