Nathan Drake is back in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and it’s about time too! I was getting worried that they killed him off due to contract negotiations and filled his role in with Val Kilmer or Steve Buschemi. Nathan is the modern version Indiana Jones. You know, like Indy, he’s after some rare artifact traveling with his sidekick and female partners while trying to keep the bad guys from getting the goods. This time, he’s after an important artifact that will lead him along with Sully and crew to find information pertaining to Marco Polo’s fleet. Yeah, his old time backstabber friend Sully is back as well, but no sign of Elena… for now. It’s O.K. his new “hug hug, kiss kiss” is an Australian dame named Chloe. Will Uncharted 2 become our 2nd only perfectly scored review? We’ll break it down.
Camera angles are great. Using the R3 stick, you can navigate the camera to look around and not have it drift back on Drake. Free roam camera angles show off Naughty Dog’s hard work into their crisp 1080p detailed graphics. Noticing every hair follicle on Drake’s face was disturbingly accurate and attention to detail is a huge factor for my reviews. The opening scene really tests players of Uncharted 1 with your gameplay memory. Fortunately, Drake’s Fortune was so great and memorable you’ll quickly jump into the game controls instantly. For those who are new, the onscreen guide will walk you throw during your first mission. Not to spoil it but Drake always seems to find himself in a train wreck of problems. There’s a scene where you’re running towards the screen and away from an armored vehicle at the same time while trying to shoot at it. One of the first “coming at you” approaches I’ve seen in a while. Let’s say it felt intense. Maybe God of War did it too, but not THIS good!
Attention to Detail. In one of the earlier missions I tested out the scenery and gameplay by pushing Uncharted 2 within more than normal gameplay. And what I discovered is amazing detail. For example, I took Drake on a scenic route to explore the space around me. I immediately noticed snow tracks visible after Drake walks and best of all, after minutes of walking around my snow tracks were still there. The power of the Blu-ray disc and the amount of memory Uncharted 2 holds is amazing. With this minor but valuable aspect of the game we’ve turned the corner of next-generation gaming. Try to walk past some bushes in the Jungle, you’ll notice all the leaves move independently. It’s odd to say but you’ll notice the great amount of creative thinking that went into the game upon finishing the first level.
Cutscenes = Gameplay. The gameplay graphics are amazingly the same great graphics that the cutscenes were made from. The lighting, textures and depth of scenery bundled together to make Uncharted 2’s seamless transfer from cutscene to gameplay more realistic. At one point, I put the controller down to watch the scene between Drake and Harry unfold only to find that the dialogue had ended and I had to begin the objective asked of me. The jungles’ waterfalls and rivers that run through it illustrates a sheen only found in real life. I’ve always thought the original Uncharted’s water scenery was spectacular but somehow Naughty Dog outdid themselves.
Twitter inside. For those who aren’t following us, Get on It! @PerezStart. One of the most original Uncharted 2 features I discovered within “Options” was the ability to update your twitter status with various Uncharted 2 events. When earning trophies, finishing a chapter etc. your twitter account will keep those who follow your gaming progress updated. Funny, I couldn’t get my account to update. For PS3 trophy whores, you’ll want to turn on all the events to annoy, err show off your accomplishments. pfft
Only one way to hunt, Fighting! The fighting mechanics this time around have gotten much cleaner. During combat you attack with the square button for melee attacks and triangle to counter an enemies grapple. The slight slowdown during knockout blows gives you a better look at the action up close. Great touch! Stealth fighting has also received a makeover. When your behind the enemy without being seen or heard, press square for a fatal blow. Not a fan of stealth fighting aka Metal Gear Solid? Then unleash your weapons and come out shooting with items that include handguns, AK-47’s and grenades to name a few. For the defensive fighter you’ll enjoy the Police Riot shield. Uncharted already utilities the effectiveness of taking cover (pressing the O button) behind walls and statues. But with the Riot shield you can take cover and move toward your opponent while waiting for them to reload so you can take a shot at them.
Multiplayer mode thanks to Demo. I’ll admit, I was a bit skeptical for Uncharted 2’s multiplayer mode. I’m a Call of Duty FPS fan, so it just didn’t seem right to fight against others in Team Death match modes or Capture the Treasure but I was dead wrong. Uncharted 2 Multiplayer Beta showed off how great the engine was for smooth combat scenes. The 3rd person view and easy-to-manuever controls are nearly identical for fans of COD, so you’ll quickly master them. Naughty Dog has put a lot work into their Multiplayer and with masses of players still going at the demo at the time of this review, I expect it only to continue. You can play against up to 10 players in a 5 vs 5 format along with 3 player co-op.
Climbing and hanging around. If you’ve played Uncharted 1 you’ll understand most of the game involves jumping from ledge to ledge. If you haven’t played it, the onscreen instructions will guide you through. But know the free climbing is a lot of fun. You’ll swing from branches, light poles etc. and with proper timing swing your way to the next. I found the camera angles did a decent job of keeping the game honest by not panning it to the next obvious jump. Unlike Uncharted 1 did.
Attention to detail
Next-gen graphics are here
Hints (press up on d-pad)
Twisting plots (just kidding) – None
Final Thought: When people talk about Next-Gen gaming simply put Uncharted 2: Among Thieves should be the answer. Blu-ray finally shows us what the PlayStations 3 processor can hold, and it can hold a whole lot. Snow tracks… remember? (read above). The voice acting, gameplay, fighting mechanics and detailed graphics make this an instant “Game of The Year” candidate. The multiplayer is solid and incorporating stealth was a smart choice. If you didn’t read our review, then take this last line as your lazy reading synopsis. Go out and Buy This Game Now! (If this game isn’t a 10 nothing is)