Should You Buy Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception? Yes

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is the follow-up to inarguably the best game released in 2009. That predecessor managed to lock in more than 200 game of the year awards, including ours. How do you think Uncharted 3 will fair in the long shadow of Among Thieves? Here's our gut check on Uncharted 3, due out early next month.

Brian Crecente, who will be reviewing the game and is about a third of the way through the campaign and half of the way through the coop play: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is one of my favorite games of all time. It nailed nearly everything it tried to do, but what really sold me on the game was the way it managed to make you forget you had no control over the story you were playing, but instead got you to care about what happened next and to whom.

This is this generation's Indiana Jones. I've been soaking in Uncharted 3 like I do a good book, absorbing its lush environments, its nuanced character development, its pitch-perfect dialog. The story, while slightly cartoonish in an over-the-top 30's serial sort of way, is intriguing and packed with fun little hybrids of history, mythology and conspiracy. The mechanics do an adept job of mimicking some of the best bits of other great games. It's not solid precision Call of Duty gunplay, or romping Batman face-smashing, or Assassin's Creed free-running, but it echoes all three and then makes each its own.

The cooperative play is a surprisingly deep stand-alone experience and the online, which I've just barely started to look at, looks promising. It's an easy buy, and a potential replacement for Uncharted 2's spot as one of my all-time favorites, but I'll have to finish the game and play much more multiplayer to reach that final conclusion. Stay tuned for my full review in a week. Yes.

Michael Fahey, who hasn't played the game, but remains deeply interested: The Uncharted series isn't just a high-rated action adventure game franchise; it's the definitive PlayStation 3 gaming experience. If you've not played an Uncharted game, then you've not experienced everything the console has to offer. Even if I hadn't seen one screenshot or trailer for Drake's Deception, I'd purchase it based on my enjoyment of the first two games in the series alone. Yes.

Stephen Totilo, who liked the second game better than the first: The creators of Uncharted 3 would prefer we recognize their game as a triple package: campaign, co-op and competitive modes each jewels worth treasuring. The campaign, of which I've played the first five varied and all excellent chapters, is enough for me. As before, it's well-acted, well-told and beautifully drawn. And, as before, I find the gunplay less interesting than all the climbing through exotic locations. Fistfighting is better than ever, animating fluidly and with great variety, which makes the shooting feel all the more excessive, and less interesting than all that it interrupts. Puzzles, as promised fit more into the game world and feel more natural.

Naughty Dog throws surprises into the campaign from the start and keeps the action fresh, exciting and technically marvelous. I haven't found much in the game to convert hold-outs, particularly those who lament the occasional monotony of combat in a series as linear and scripted as this, but for those with adventure-movie tastes who loved the previous Uncharteds, and for those PS3 owners seeking only the best for their system, this is an obvious yes.

Gut Check is an off-the-cuff impression of what we think of a game: what we'd tell a friend; how we'd respond on Twitter or Facebook or over a beer if someone asked us "Would you buy this game?"