Genre: Adventure Developer: Naughty Dog Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Classification: MA15+ Release Date: 15th Oct 2009 Platforms:PS3
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There's a scene, about midway through Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, where Nathan Drake jumps into a pool in the middle of an all but destroyed Asian city, laughs and says "Marco", encouraging his weary companion to jump in. It's funny for a number of reasons, but the reason I liked it so much is because it's something I would do. I'm not saying if I was in a situation where helicopter gunships were chasing me through a war-torn temple city while swarms of armed men try to kill me that I would actually do that. Firstly, my shoes would get wet, and secondly if I did find myself in the pool I'd be saying "holy ****, holy ****, gunships, holy ****", not starting a game of Marco Polo.
But when I made Drake jump into the pool in UC2 I actually thought to myself "haha, Marco" - and then seconds later he said it. The game is filled with this sort of off-key personality - stuff above and beyond what you'd expect from a title purporting itself to be a serious action adventure title. The style in which the story is told - the off beat humour, the realistic characters and the frenetically paced plot - had me thinking Alistair MacLean.
The reason a game of Marco Polo is so funny, by the way, is because Drake and company are hunting down Shangri-La - based on Marco Polo's writings about the city. The Silk Road setting for the story carries the characters across the globe trying to find the fictional city, and follows a trend of twists typical to an Alistair MacLean novel - the familiarity allows the mind to enjoy the adventure and the characters dialogue more.
The streamlined nature of the story also helps keep the pace of the game up - and the game rarely takes a breather. When Nathan isn't blasting dozens of enemies he's showing off remarkable athleticism as he leaps across buildings and dives around corners. Naturally all of his companions are just as athletic - the amount of climbing and swinging they do leaves me out of breath just watching.
It's extremely easy to become attached to Nathan and his companions. It's helped by the excellent voice acting and the great scripting - a huge improvement over the previous game. The soundtrack takes a back seat more often than not to the action on the screen, doing a great job at creating a breathtaking atmosphere on the odd occasion that the action slows and fading into the background when things inevitably pick up again.
The game falls down a little in the shooting sequences of the game - Nathan can have trouble finding cover on occasion, and he doesn't deal with being shot very well (not his fault, really). The use of contextual cover is always an iffy area for many video games - a lot of the time it doesn't work, and Uncharted 2 is one of those times. Too often Drake will snap into cover on the wrong side of a corner, leaving him standing directly in the line of fire. Towards the end of the game - when the enemies are numerous and their healthpool's massive - it's frustrating enough to make me need to take a break.
The other half of the gameplay is made up of ultra-cinematic parkour sequences - the climbing and swinging I mentioned before. Most of the time you'll find yourself pushing yourself to be as quick as possible while climbing and jumping - playing along with the pace of the game. At other times the acrobatics are needed for solving puzzles - not as many as I'd like to see/solve, but enough to engage the brain a little.
I should mention the stealth gameplay - to allay fears more than anything else. When I first saw they'd added stealth elements into the game I know I feared for the game - poor implementation can make even great games terrible. By keeping it simple - it seems like pattern based line of sight stealth at face value - they've thankfully avoided messing up the gameplay, and instead added to it. It can be helpful at times to actually take the stealthy approach, as the game will reward you by not sending quite as many enemies at you - though a single slip-up will ruin all your hard work.
Often when a game seems to draw inspiration from so many places, it can be hard for it to develop its own identity. If the game doesn't emphasise it's own qualities it will wind up being just a shadow of it's inspirations - an also ran in the genre it's chosen. Uncharted 2 avoids this fate thanks to the engaging personality the game has - through it's characters, atmosphere, gameplay and story.
Uncharted 2 is absolutely worth your time - it's almost worth picking up a PlayStation 3 for. If you are on the edge of getting the console after the price drop, Among Thieves could easily be the little extra you need. If you're already a PS3 owner, it's a no-brainer.
We won't go into details on the Multiplayer right now - it's tough to play against other people when the title isn't out yet. Check back for our take on the Multiplayer a week after the game releases on October 15, 2009.
I purchased this game as it was Game of the Year for 2009 (As per Good Game - ABC). I was expecting huge things from this game, as I had just put most of my last month of gaming time into COD-MW2. COD-MW2 was runner up to Uncharted 2 for game of the year.
I had come into this game not having played the first game & was taken back by how well the game play was.
You play the role of Drake. An Indiana Jones style character. Your mission is to find the Tree of Life. Ok, OK, I won't spoil the game to much. You come into this game like most FPS with a story line that pulls you in.
The story line isn't too far fetched. It provides you with heaps of laughs, several scary moments & action that makes you think & feel like you have accomplished something to help your character advance with his mission.
Uncharted plays like most FPS's now a days with Cut Scene's for the story line to roll on. This allows the gamer to have a breather, & take in the Awesome Graphics & Original Camera Angles the game throws at you. You hang of cliffs & sides of buildings, climb up walls & swing on ropes. These are all done with great camera angles that make you feel that you'll fall at any time or that you are on a precipice & have to take things very carefully.
The game itself mainly points you in the right direction but I have found by playing the game 3 times now (hehe - You'll love the Crushing difficulty to get your Platinum trophy ) that there's mostly several ways to accomplish things.
The game has several in game puzzles to solve (nothing to hard but stops the button bashing for 5 minutes to make you think the problem thru), it also makes you solve ways to get to things (like scaling up the side of a building & jumping to ledges) and although I said the game points you in the right direction, you still need to work things out for yourself (like stand under a ladder & giving your partner a boost).
At the end of it all, I was taken back by how well the game played. The Graphics, Camera Angles, Story Line & the fact you actually cared for your character was a huge huge Bonus for this game.
I will rate this the game of 2009....and Yes I played a heap of different games in 2009. COD was my game of the year until I played Uncharted 2. So with that I hope you can get a hold of this game & love it as much as I did.