Thanks to Sony and Naughty Dog, I had the opportunity to attend a special behind closed doors demonstration of their upcoming game, Uncharted 3. Squirreled away in the blindingly white and shiny Sony lounge at E3, the Uncharted cinema room was a work of art in its own right. Decorated to look like the inside of a cargo plane, complete with crates and netting, the cosy dozen-man theatre was themed perfectly for the up-coming footage.
The scene opens up with Drake and Elena (returning from the previous title) sneaking their way into an isolated desert airport to infiltrate a cargo plane. With Elena leading the way, the franchise's trademark fluid animations were showcased as the two scurried across the dimly lit roof-tops towards the heavily guarded plane. Because of the danger, Drake instinctively decides to go it alone leaving Elena behind (much to her dismay). This manly sense of heroism proves that the love-interest between the two characters is still present from Uncharted 2. After a bit of emotional banter, Drake says goodbye to Elena before running off to the plane's lowered cargo door.
Of course, as Drake's luck would have it, just meters from the plane all hell breaks loose as he's discovered by several armed guards. Stranded in the middle of the open, we watch as Drake scrambles around amidst a flurry of bullets and nearby explosions.
Uncharted 3 appears to have improved the combat significantly since the previous title. Although the shooting, grenade throwing and stealth take-downs all work in the same manner, we also witnessed more varied close-quarter combat and even aerial take-downs. One epic fight between Drake and one huge Arab dude (he was literally twice the size of him) looked like a fully choreographed brawl from a movie.
After an action-packed battle, Drake manages to shake the guards and make his way to the run-way. But with the plane gearing up to take-off speed and Drake exhaustingly running along behind it, it appears that all is lost... or is it? Naturally we won't spoil it for you.
Earlier in the day, Evan Wells of Naughty Dog also walked us through another scene in the game that proudly displayed the graphical prowess of Uncharted 3. Set onboard a ship in stormy seas, every rock and sway from waves crashing into the side of the boat were captured perfectly as Drake stumbled around just to keep balance. Barrels and lose objects also rolled around on deck and the developer's were keen to point out the realistic physics and lighting effects that soaked up the screen with stunning detail. There's no question that Uncharted 3 pushes the boundaries of what the PS3 can deliver in terms of cinematic, action-packed adventure. And as any fan of Uncharted 2 will attest - that's no easy feat.
Uncharted 3 is set to land in November 2011 and we have been told that the entire competitive multiplayer mode will be available as a free demo this October.
Stay tuned for an exclusive interview with Christian Gyrling, one of the Naughty Dog developers, talking about Uncharted 3's multiplayer.
The Good: Combat appears to be improved significantly.
The Bad: November is a long time to wait till we get our hands on it again.
The Ugly: Some of those fist-fights. Pow!