2011’s most cinematic game hits stores today

One of the reasons video games and Hollywood have stayed so far apart in the public eye is the gaming world’s casual regard for plot. Games, traditionally, are a series of event moments strung together by a rather threadbare plot (though you could say the same thing about some of this summer’s tentpole theatrical releases). Uncharted-3

The “Uncharted” series is different – and the release of the game’s third installment today is a good example to non-gamers of what game developers are capable of when they bring together all of the elements of an entertainment property.

“Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception” continues the story of globe-trotting treasure seeker Nathan Drake and his collection of associates (father figure/mentor Victor Sullivan, love interest Elena Fisher and a mysterious enemy Katherine Marlowe (voiced by Rosalind Ayres, but who looks like a dead ringer for Helen Mirren). It’s full of action, truly funny dialogue and interesting characters.

The gameplay is just fine, but what makes “Uncharted” so special is the story that humanizes the characters – and actually creates a bond with the player. Combine this with a ton of mo-cap work by developer Naughty Dog and it results in a game that fuels emotions other than adrenaline rushes.

It’s easy to see while playing this game why Sony is so eager to not only make it into a motion picture, but to get it right. (Director Neil Burger, best known for Bradley Cooper’s “Limitless” and the Edward Norton-starring “The Illusionist,” took over the directorial reins in July after David O. Russell walked away from the project due to “creative differences” – a move that thrilled players, who weren’t happy with the direction Russell was taking the franchise.

While it’s not a perfect title, the work done by creative lead and writer Amy Hennig is worthy of note. With this game – and this series – she has breathed new life into the Saturday matinee model that served George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford so well. In many ways, “Uncharted” is the rightful heir to Indiana Jones’ fedora.