Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Review
The comedic, no luck hero Nathan Drake returns for a second time as Naughty Dog creates Uncharted 2: Among Thieves for the PlayStation 3 exclusively. You play as the hero in events that take place after Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. When you begin, you will find yourself injured on a train in the middle of a snowy mountain region, and this will be the setup for the tutorial of the game. The intro really sets you in to the feel of the game, and gets you prepared for the worst there is before you even jump into things. But you will not actually play in this area until about midway through the game. Instead, the game continues to test out your skills by sending you back in time to tell the story of how you got to this point, and does a very good job of it.
One of the first things that you will notice about this game is that it is beautiful. Just the same as the first game, the detail that has been put into every piece of the game’s graphical ability has been excellent. The amount of distance that you can see is very far, and can really be seen when you enter the cities. Everywhere that you move is very detailed, and there are very little issues with walking in any of the environments. As with the first game, water effects are one of the best looking pieces of the game. If you are submerged in water, your clothes will look like they are legitimately wet. Not only that, but if you only walk in water up to your knees, only the bottom parts of your pants that were in the water will actually look like they got wet. Light effects also stand out and look wonderful. There are times when not only you, but your other AI-controlled companions, will be in a dark tunnel, and you will be carrying flashlights. Depending on whatever direction each character is looking in is where you will see a small circle of light from your flashlight. There is also another time where you will have to light some resin on fire, and it will light up the entire room in a very unique blue glow. The light effects on not only your characters, but their surroundings, is very excellently done.
Games are not only graphics, though, but also gameplay, and without a solid gameplay mechanic, even the most beautiful games can fall flat. Uncharted 2 is not one of those games however. The beginning of the game sets you back in time with the event that begun the mess that Nathan has gotten himself into, and sets you into a stealth action area, where you must sneak around a museum without being caught, taking out the guards silently, and you are given no weapons to do so. Following that area, you are soon thrust back into the usual Uncharted third-person shooter, which handles very easily. Later in the game, you are put on to a moving train, and even further in the game, you are put into a rail-shooting type of situation on moving vehicles. Uncharted 2 offers a wide-variety of gameplay, keeping the game interesting at all times.
For those who have played the first game, one of the more important features is that the grenades have been given a trigger button, so you will not have to fumble to jiggle your Sixaxis controller forwards in order to throw a grenade. Uncharted is an action/adventure game, so there are a lot of puzzles within the game that don’t require killing enemies. Some of these can also be somewhat challenging, and the developers realize that. If you spend enough time trying to look for the solution for the puzzle presented for you, the game will offer you a subtle hint which will try and point you in the right direction in how to find it. It makes you look for the solution on your own, and probably fail at least once or twice, before it offers you a hint though, which doesn’t make the game too easy on you.
The flow between cutscene and gameplay is nearly seamless, and you will quickly find yourself back in control of Mr. Drake after learning an important piece of information about where you are heading next. Another thing you will notice in both cutscene and gameplay is the excellent voice acting that they have. Each character is played by a voice actor who knows exactly what character they should be playing. During the game, you will hear your character say some sort of witty banter which really adds to the atmosphere of the game, as you are probably thinking the same thing that they say. The game, while having it’s serious side, is full of small bites of humor which blend in really well with the rest of the game.
One of the complaints with the previous Uncharted is that the AI enemies were dull and stupid when it came to their fighting ability. In Uncharted 2, you will find that the AI is very capable of holding their own. You will find that they are smart enough to know when there is a suicide situation at hand, and will find other ways of being able to kill you instead of blindly running out to get themselves killed. They will also notice bodies around them of their fallen comrades, and search in the direction that they found the body for you. One of the new weapons, if you wish to call it that, is the Riot Shield, and you will find some difficult enemies carrying these. When you defeat these enemies though, you can pick up the shield and use it for yourself, which is a new gameplay mechanic found in Uncharted 2. The shield can be used as a defense with your primary weapon, or can be used as a weapon itself if you can get close enough to your enemies.
Overall, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is a deep, engaging game, which keeps you on your toes at all times. The cutscenes are not too long, but give you plenty of story to keep the game moving, and with over 25 chapters, the game can last you for ten hours, or more. And, of course, if you want to gather all of the trophies, you will have to play the game again, and after playing it once, you probably won’t have found all of the treasures, so you can always replay the game on a harder difficulty to be able to finish off the game. Uncharted 2 is worth every penny, and is definitely a good star in the PlayStation 3 lineup.