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A Monumental Achievement for the Playstation 3

  • Oct 14, 2009
Rating:
+5
In 2007, just a year after the release of the Playstation 3, a little game called Uncharted: Drake's Fortune dropped down.  It was by far one of the best games on the PS3.  Uncharted: Drake's Fortune was a masterpiece.  Unfortunately the adventure wasn't very long.  Uncharted 2 is much better than the game which precedes it by keeping intact what worked, but keeping the action coming swiftly and even improving on areas the first game didn't do so well in.

Uncharted 2 begins in the midst of the action.  Nathan Drake returns and the moment Uncharted 2 starts off he's already in a heap of trouble.  He's been unconscious, and when he comes too he realizes that not only is he covered in a lot of blood, but that he's also on a train car that's perched on the edge of a mountain.  He just barely escapes before the train goes teetering over.  But how did he get there, exactly?  And what's going on?  This is what you're about to find out.  The game begins with you on the train but you'll quickly play through everything which lead him to his current situation.  Throughout the story you'll find yourself meeting a lot of interesting characters.  There's Harry Flynn and an old flame of Nate's named Chloe Frazier.  Together these three are interested in the secrets of Marco Polo's missing fleet.  But their only lead is an old oil lamp that supposedly holds the secrets.  So Nate, Flynn and Chloe opt to break into a museum and claim it for themselves.  Of course, it isn't that simple, and someone else is also after the treasure.  His name is Lazarus--a war criminal that can be really nasty.

I guess we might as well get this out of the way.  Uncharted 2 is absolutely gorgeous looking.  It is by far the prettiest game I've ever seen.  The environments are absorbing and incredible to behold.  Not only is the scenery breathtaking but the actions of the characters are fluid and all of the little details really stand out.  There are few games where I stop and just marvel at how extraordinary they look, but Uncharted 2 is one of them.  The first game was expertly designed as it is, but the second manages to outdo it.  It's one of the few games on the console that showcases just what the PS3 can really do.  The game knows it looks good and directs your attention to all the details.  Despite it being stunning visually, you won't find yourself getting lost much.  There's plenty to explore, but for the most part, Uncharted 2 is rather linear.  There's always a set path ahead of you and rarely anything off the beaten path.  That might be a downer for some, but the adventure in and of itself is still worth it.

Looking good doesn't matter if the gameplay isn't great to back it up, however.  Uncharted 2 plays very similarly to the first one, and that's not so bad.  You'll pick up guns and get into gun fights, of course.  And some of them are pretty challenging.  The game utilizes a cover system where you'll duck behind cover, pop up and shoot.  You don't have to do this, but the game has its way of urging.  You can only take so much damage before you die.  Hiding behind objects is important.  Some of it will be destroyed easily, but most of what you hide behind makes for good cover.  If you don't want to shoot most of your enemies you can perform melee combos.  This works much more smoothly and fluently in Uncharted 2 than it does in the first one.  It's much more fluid and precise, though melee combat can still feel like button mashing at times, but at least it isn't useless.  There's also an emphasis on stealth in some areas, and thus stealth kills are also a lot easier to pull off.  Certain aspects have also been improved.  In the first game, for example, throwing grenades used the tilting controls which felt gimmicky.  Throwing grenades is much easier.  When walking across certain ledges you also won't have to do a balancing act using the controller either.  This makes using grenades in the middle of combat much more useful than before.  Though if you adjusted to the first one really well, you can enable those motion controls for grenades.

Another aspect that Uncharted is big on is some of it's platforming elements.  As Nate, you'll be hanging from ledges and scaling walls and the like.  You'll also be jumping from certain platforms to the next.  This isn't as dangerous as you might think.  For the most part you'd have to really try to miss a jump.  The game doesn't guide you per se, it's just to say that timing isn't the most important thing.  In fact, in most cases missing a jump comes from jumping too soon rather than too late... or neglecting to take in your surroundings.  But it's pretty simple to get the hang of.  

There are also puzzle elements to the game.  Most of the puzzles aren't really challenging in the slightest, but you might find your wits tested.  If you ever actually do get stuck on a puzzle or can't seem to figure out where to go, the game has a built in hint system to help your.  The game is willing to point you in the right direction when it needs to but it won't always hold your hand.  For example it might tell you what you need to do but not necessarily how to do it.  A hint will only present itself if you seem really stuck, and if you want you can turn the option off altogether.

The pacing of the game is much better than the first.  The action and adventure hardly slows down, but most of all the twists and turns in the story don't feel so awkward.  There's a neat balance of gunplay, puzzle solving and transitioning from one part of the game to another.  The story also isn't bogged down in too many cutscenes, but they do their job.  You CAN skip the cutscenes, though, which is a big plus.  On the other hand, you might not want to.  The cutscenes are some of Uncharted 2's strong points.

Presentation in your story is everything and Uncharted 2 does this well.  The script is very well written with some crafty dialog.  Some of which will make you laugh.  Even during moments of gameplay Nate and whoever he's with might start up a conversation, throwing a couple of jokes out there that you might laugh at.  Uncharted 2 isn't a comedic genius of a game, but it hardly tries to be more clever than it actually is.  And through these moments you get to learn about the characters and those you're meeting along the way.  As with the rest of game, the cutscenes are gorgeous and fluent.  The voice acting is among some of the best you'll hear in the video game industry.  And not just that, but the music is also spot on and sets the tone rather nicely.  

Uncharted 2 has multiplayer.  You can play a standard deathmatch, a team deathmatch, matches where you'll claim territory and capture the flag.  All this is worthwhile because the multiplayer is just so damn addictive.  You don't have to be a pro to get up and go on it either.  All you need is knowledge of the game.  It's amazing just how fun the multiplayer can really be.  There's also a bit of co-op multiplayer where you can play through missions with two other allies and a horde mode as well.  For such a simple game, the multiplayer gives you a lot of things to do, and it's refreshingly addictive.

There's not much which really holds Uncharted 2 down.  One thing that might start to grate on some nerves might be that some of the gunfights can be hectic, but the other big part of that just might get on some nerves is that there are certain parts throughout the game that can feel like trial and error at times.  You might have to die before you realize what it is you're actually supposed to do.  Most times upon finding out you might slap yourself and think it's so obvious.  Some of these moments will come from being impatient, others will come because the game throws you into the action immediately after a cutscene where the goal may not actually be to kill what's there but actually to run or something like that.  You just might die in Uncharted 2 several times because at some moments you just don't know what to do.  It's hardly frustrating, but it does mean you might find yourself dying or failing certain parts of the game needlessly.  

On the other hand, it's nice as to just what Uncharted 2 does add to the experience.  Most of it is more action.  The first game was very much just you running from one gun fight to the next.  Uncharted 2 throws in some interesting bits such as a moment where you have to help an injured ally escape a tough situation while you're constantly being targeted.  Other moments include breaking into a museum and sneaking by the guards without getting caught and much more.  There's just a lot more variety to the gameplay than what you got in the first game.  As a result some moments of Uncharted 2 are just all out thrilling.  There's still the idea of progressing from one gun fight to the next, but it's nice to know there are other things being thrown at you this time around.

Uncharted 2 is impressive.  It is easily one of the best games on the PS3.  Those who enjoyed the first one just might like Uncharted 2 better because it improves upon its prequel in various ways and ups the ante.  If you enjoyed Nathan Drake's first adventure... there's not reason not to give his second a try.

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October 29, 2009
Sweet Review!  I am absolutely loving this game right now, it is so amazing! I would have to disagree about the Melee attack feeling like button mashing though.  I find it very well done and I absolutely love the amazing gunfights in the game as they feel incredibly realistic.  Can't wait to finish it and then I will finish Arkham! 
October 29, 2009
Melee combos become essential to the experience too, I noticed.  Not only is it smooth (the counterattack mechanic is wonderful) but it seems to be way more helpful than it was in the first game.  And stealth attacks?  Beautiful!  I was able to finish the game in about two days.  It was like... once I started, I couldn't stop.  The gun fights, especially, are addictive.
 
October 19, 2009
I only played the demo of the first Uncharted and it didn't really grab. But I'm definitely intrigued by your review: "It is by far the prettiest game I've ever seen". That alone may be enough to push me to pick it up.
 
October 19, 2009
just started Arkham and about to finish DEADSPACE; you and Trashie are breaking my bank...LOL
 
1
More Uncharted 2: Among Thieves reviews
review by . December 01, 2009
posted in The Gaming Hub
When the first Uncharted was released back in 2007, it was heralded as a showcase for PS3's graphical prowess, and it also received almost universal acclaim for its combination of gunplay and acrobatic actions, however, the first game never really did much for me, while I had some fun playing through the game, I wasn't too impressed and I gave the game away after I beat it.  So when Uncharted 2 was announced, I wasn't all that excited, expecting it to be more of the same, but the gaming press …
review by . February 21, 2011
posted in Siliconera Bounce
I promise to make this 100% Spoiler free, but I must say that after experiencing that which is Uncharted 2, this game is pretty solid indeed. If you enjoyed the first Uncharted then this one will be an extremely enjoyable experience. This game lasts more than 2-4 hours longer than the previous one, tops the cake for having some of the best cinematics, graphics, and sound experience offered on the PS3.      One of the features that I was a bit weary about was the multiplayer because …
review by . November 11, 2009
A Definite Game of the Year Candidate,
If there was never a poster child for the Playstation 3, there is now with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.  The hype revolving around this game was definitely something to talk about, but no one expected Uncharted 2 to be this good.  The minute that you start this game, you're thrust into a really bad situation and the action doesn't stop from that point on.  On top of that, the game plays out like a Hollywood movie.  With great voice acting from  Nolan North (Drake), Farscape …
review by . August 12, 2010
Let me just start off by saying WOW! This game is amazing in every aspect. The graphics are probably the best that I have seen so far. The game play and storyline are incredible and very realistic in every way. Naughty Dog really outdone themselves on this game and it's no wonder this game has an average 5 star rating on Amazon. I would consider this the best game to be released on the Playstation 3 so far. I was a big fan of Uncharted Drake's Fortune but this game is new and improved in …
Quick Tip by . July 19, 2010
posted in The Gaming Hub
Uncharted 2 is impressive. It is easily one of the best games on the PS3. Those who enjoyed the first one just might like Uncharted 2 better because it improves upon its prequel in various ways and ups the ante. If you enjoyed Nathan Drake's first adventure... there's not reason not to give his second a try.
Quick Tip by . October 29, 2009
So, far this is the most amazing game visually and gameplay wise I have ever played! It's like watching playing a movie!
Quick Tip by . October 24, 2009
This game looks freaking amazing! And the game plays better than the original in every way imaginable.
About the reviewer
Sean A. Rhodes ()
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I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
 is the sequel to Naughty Dog and SCEA's Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.  The game was released on October 13th 2009.

The game has gotten amazing press, getting a 10 out of 10 from Game Informer, 9.5 from IGN, 5 out of 5 from G4 and a 5 out of five from Playstation Magazine.  Currently, Uncharted 2 is up for Game of the Year.
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Details

ESRB: Teen
Number of Players: 3
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Naughty Dog
Console: Playstation 3
Genre: Action
Release Date: October 13th 2009
First to Review
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