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Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Review

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is the highly anticipated – and much hyped – sequel to Naughty Dog’s PlayStation 3 exclusive, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. The PlayStation 3 has a rather fickle ‘hardcore’ fanbase, who hype games beyond all measure – see Killzone 2, as an example -, but once the initial thrill of their new game has worn off, they’ll move on to hyping their next big exclusive. Uncharted 2 has received more hype than is good for any game, but it just may be worth it.

Taking place two years after the events of Drake’s Fortune, Among Thieves begins as it means to go on – in blockbuster style. We see our hero, Nathan Drake (voiced excellently by Nolan North again) in a train carriage, bleeding, apparently having been shot. The carriage then starts to tumble and Drake falls out the bottom of the now vertical train. Within seconds of seeing him falling out and grabbing onto a railing for dear life, you are in control. You’ll spend this time getting use to the games new climbing mechanics. No longer do you just shimmy left and right, you can now exercise the ability to free climb, and by free climb, I mean go exactly where the developers want you to; though it looks a lot more natural than it ever did in Drake’s Fortune.

Once you have escaped your near death from the wreckage of the train, you are then shown a flashback to how Nate found himself in this position. Sitting at a bar having a beer, Nate is greeted by an old friend, Harry Flynn and Harry’s girlfriend, Chloe Frazer. Here Nate is offered a job, robbing a museum in Istanbul to recover a green oil lamp which Drake initially believes to be worthless. Needless to say, the heist doesn’t exactly go according to plan and from here on out you will find yourself chasing after Marco Polo’s legendary lost fleet; something called the Cintamani Stone and the lost city of Shambhala (also noted as Shangri-La).

Your adventure will bring you to various locations, and let you hook up with some old friends including the lady-loving Sully, and Elena Fisher – the reporter from the original Drake’s Fortune. The story is typical Indiana Jones style, with you and your friends searching for lost treasure, maybe saving the world while you’re at it, but it all gets told in such a fashion that you’re wanting to see the next bit, which is one of the game’s best qualities – I constantly found myself playing and saying, “I’ll save at the next checkpoint”... “Oh that looks interesting, better save after that instead”... “Ah, a cut scene. It’d be stupid to skip this, I’ll save later...” and so on, constantly wanting to go to the next part.

Other than the earlier mentioned ‘free climbing’ the game controls vastly similar to the original, but it feels tighter and more responsive, leaving you less likely to go jumping off a cliff by accident (by less likely, I mean you still will, just not as much). You still have to use cover wisely to stay alive, and you still can only carry two weapons at a time – with one exception, you can carry a sidearm (pistol, machine pistol, Pistole (a very powerful pistol) etc..), a heavy weapon (AK, M4, Shotgun etc...) and the heavy chain gun all at once, but the chain gun doesn’t come into your possession very often.

The game is spent either shooting foes or platforming and solving puzzles, and the platforming has been reduced from the original, with more focus on shooting things here, which is a good thing – it keeps the game flowing at a faster, action movie pacing. The aiming is spot on and is still a near identical copy of Gears of War’s cover and shoot system. The platforming as noted, is less frustrating than before, but you’ll probably still find yourself dying more at the hands of a vicious cliff than the enemies themselves.

When you’re travelling around the world, searching for Shambhala, you can stop and investigate the games gorgeous environments looking for treasures, and performing odd tasks for money and medals (the in-game reward system). These tasks can be truly fitting and genuinely funny, such as Drake jumping into the swimming pool of a hotel and shouting “Marco!” and waiting patiently on his reluctant companion to shout “Polo” back to him. It’s small moments like these that add to the characters in the game. Drake is likeable in an everyday man kind of way, while Elena and Sully retain previous charms. I’ll leave you to find out about the new characters yourself.

Of course, one of the reasons Uncharted 2 is garnering so much praise is because of its graphics. It would be a crime to not mention them – they are absolutely gorgeous. Naughty Dog worked hard on water effects in Uncharted: Drakes Fortune, but here they’ve gone for snow effects. The environments are fantastic to look at and run around, the character models are superb, as snow sticks to Drakes jeans and the powdery, softer snow bounces around under Drakes heavy feet, and the animation is among the best I’ve seen.  There’s a certain part of the game that see’s you jumping from jeep to jeep while also shooting at your pursuers. It looks amazing, doesn’t let up for a second and is simply exhilarating to play through.

Uncharted 2 also sports a multiplayer component, which I was very sceptical of when I first heard about it. Uncharted is a single player experience, so I thought multiplayer would break it. How very wrong I was. Using a similar ranking / perk system to Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty 4, Among Thieves sees you playing standard deathmatches and capture the flag type games, as well as co-operative play, with you and two others either gunning for a treasure somewhere, or taking on waves of enemies a’la Horde mode from Gears of War 2.

Uncharted 2 is one of the best games I’ve played this generation and I definitely recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in gaming. It’s the most fun single player experience I’ve had in a long time, and the multiplayer is going to make sure I go back to it again for some time to come.

9.00/10 9

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (Reviewed on PlayStation 3)

Excellent. Look out for this one.

Uncharted 2 is one of the best games I’ve played this generation and I definitely recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in gaming. It’s the most fun single player experience I’ve had in a long time, and the multiplayer is going to make sure I go back to it again for some time to come.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
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Angelfromabove - 11:49pm, 3rd April 2015

Ive still got the first one sat on my shelf that i havnt even opened yet! May give it a go, if i like it purchase this one.

icaruschips - 11:49pm, 3rd April 2015 Author

The first one is really good too, but this one kinda takes everything about it and improves it. Both games biggest shortcomings are length though, both can be completed in well under 10 hours.

Angelfromabove - 11:49pm, 3rd April 2015

got the day to myself monday so ill have a bash at it then. :D Good review btw.