Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Reader Review
Uncharted 2 has landed in 2009, a year pervaded by delays and fear of another game ending in 2; but in my opinion, it can stand victorious. The game starts off in a highly dramatic way, with plenty of superb platforming and wall climbing moments paving the way for some revealing cut scenes that mirror the style of movies such as Indiana Jones and National Treasure, with the presentational value of even more illustrious movies.
With Uncharted 2, above most else, you have an amazing sense of atmosphere created by the incredible attention to detail and the equally incredible collection, nay plethora of gameplay elements. The game moves at lightning pace, blending the best of every modern development in gaming seamlessly together.
The game revolves around the idea of set pieces and mammoth gun fights, perfection of the art of 3rd person gameplay and a Hollywood style story that had members of my family sitting around for the whole ten hours or so it takes to complete just to watch it all unfold; and like an exploding star of colour, gun fire and witty remarks, it did.
Following on from the beautifully woven adventure of Uncharted: Drakeís Fortune, Uncharted 2 has set the bar even higher for video game storytelling, presentation and drama. Not only will the endless, sometimes sporadic nature of the gameplay keep you playing, but the twists, turns, passion and mastery of the story will ensure youíll only return to the surface of reality for air.
Whilst it may not bring much new to the table, I donít consider that to be a hugely important factor when reviewing video games. Uncharted 2 strikes so close to perfection in every sense that itís difficult to find flaws in such a subtle game. It tops its predecessor in every conceivable way, and will surely please the fans that have already invested their money and their tears into the series.
Subtleness is a huge part of the experience. Everything from the back and forth banter of the characters, the small details in the story that later turn out to be more important than you could possibly have pre-empted to the emotion displayed through the superb use of cut scenes is perfectly subtle in its art of making the atmosphere and the experience as enjoyable as possible. Naughty Dog has shown the world how a ten hour video game should be done.
The only thing that isnít subtle is Nateís attitude towards the constant onslaught of enemy fire, enemy ambushes and everything else oppositional to his quest to save everything that begins with W. The game overplays the sense of pessimism that made me feel like some of the gun fights, especially around the middle of the game, were a little too much to handle in one seamless experience. It wears a player out, and this is something Iíd rather have seen less gameplay time in return for the exclusion of. That said, I did play the game in one mammoth go that left me both gasping for air and reeling for more.
Difficulty is an area where the game strikes on and off. Whilst it is satisfyingly challenging, the amount of difficult the beat enemies in certain sections of the game is perhaps a little too high for it to be ideally challenging, as well as enough to let the average player through without a bout of frustration.
Variety is another strong point of this game. The variety in settings allows for an incredible gameplay variety, something which keeps a player in eager anticipation for what lies around the corner; even if they know itís a wall of enemies.
None such flaws occur in the presentation of the game, both in the way of storytelling and in graphical prowess. As mentioned previously, the attention to detail is breath-taking. The snow, the damage, the ruinous environments and how the sheer variety in settings allows the game to show off its many technical marvels and many artistic merits has to be seen to be believed. No games on any console looks anywhere near as good as this game in a purely beautiful way. This is an exceptional feat, and it shows signs of things to come from Naughty Dog for fans of their other series.
The technical and artistic aspects serve to accelerate the story, enrich the characters, and bring the entire story to life; but sadly to also exacerbate the ruthless ordeals Nate has to suffer. The latter effect is really only a small niggle that doesnít affect the stunning beauty of the game, and doesnít prevent it from wearing the crown for best graphics on a console, made entirely from Buddhist gold.
The online suffers no emotional baggage, but is simply fun of a variable and highly popular kind. Itís just as easy to get lost in the flurry of fire, or the team effort feeling of the co-op game options, as it is to get lost in the marvellous singleplayer. The multiplayer is worth the price tag alone, so too is the singleplayer. Many of you may know that Iím not a huge fan of online games, but this one definitely gets my thumbs up as the best online 3rd person shooter available.
My only problem with the online is the inclusion of a system that rewards players with advantageous unlocks for being good at the game. This isnít fair on new players, and like many of the unfair things in the world, it only serves to make the good better and scare off the newcomers.
The entire game ends in such a satisfying fashion, with a less negatively difficult ending half, plenty of narrative tricks, and character emotions pouring out of the screen. You have increasingly prevalent outstanding writing, emotionally uplifting music, near perfection in gameplay, a masterpiece in video game cinematography, an experience that will last longer than just a few play throughs, many intense frenzies online and leave you with many happy memories of what is the face of modern console gaming.
10 / 10