Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is an action-adventure platform video game played from a third-person perspective, with the player in control of Nathan Drake. Drake will have a large number of different animation sets, enabling him to react according to his surroundings. Drake is physically adept and is able to jump, sprint, climb, swim, scale narrow ledges, wall-faces to get between points, and perform other acrobatic actions. Drake can now take on opponents in more ways than before: hand-to-hand combat with multiple opponents, contextual melee attacks, and new stealth options. Uncharted 3 also features expanded and diverse traversal moves with deep gunplay. Drake can be equipped with up to two firearms – one single-handed and one two-handed – and four grenades. Drake can pick up weapons, automatically replacing the existing weapon he was using, and additional ammunition from downed enemies.
The player can direct Drake to take cover behind corners or low walls using either aimed or blind-fire to kill his enemies. The player can also have Drake fire while moving. If Drake is undetected by his enemies, the player can attempt to use stealth to take them out, such as by sneaking up behind them and killing them with one hit, or by dropping down onto an enemy whilst Drake is hanging from a ledge. The stealth mechanic has been simplified and improved. Some areas of the game will require the player to solve puzzles with the use of Drake's journal, which provides clues towards the puzzles' solutions. When enabled, a hint system provides gameplay clues, such as the direction of the next objective.