Naughty Dog is one of my favorite game making companies of all time. Creating great game series like Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter and Uncharted, it's hard to compare them with any other game company with games like that in their arsenal.
Now Uncharted: Drakes fortune, is considered by many to be one of the best games ever released for the PlayStation 3; Often getting reviews in the 9.0's or 90's. Not only was it one of my favorite games, but also a favorite of the majority of people who reviewed it.
Fast forward to 2009, and you will see that Uncharted 2: Among Thieves not only beat its predecessor it completely destroyed it in nearly every single way. Don't get me wrong I love Uncharted: Drakes Fortune as if it's my long lost brother, but Uncharted 2 is like a soul mate... Okay that's a little over the top but you catch my drift, I love Uncharted 2 much more then the first.
In Uncharted 2 you will be dragged into a compelling storyline that will grip you until the very end with loads of great content and gameplay as you search for the lost city of Shambhala and it's treasure the Cintamani stone. You start off as the main character Nathan Drake (who you may recognize from the last game) who has a gun shot wound and is sitting in a train seat passed out.
You quickly realize that the train is actually hanging over a cliff and you must climb out of the train, meanwhile it's getting closer and closer to falling. However this is only a small taste of what's to come, as you keep getting flash backs, cutscenes that tell how you came to be there. There isn't a moment where the game slows down.
In fact there are so many twists throughout the games story that its near impossible to count them all; The treasure hunting and betrayal only gets better throughout the game. An example without giving away anything; is Chloe Frazer she is one of the characters I personally thought was suspicious all the way through the story. I never knew if she was trying to screw me over, or if she was really working with me. Which made me weary of her all the way to the end.
I had a great time playing Uncharted 2 and hearing the story; but would one say it's the absolute best storyline every made? No, one of the best perhaps but it's pretty straight forward for the most part and it's entertaining enough that I could see someone enjoying watching someone else play.
Speaking of which, after playing the game I can honestly say that the commercial where that guy's girlfriend mistakes it for a movie was probably real; so get ready to spend some quality time with both your wife or girlfriend and your console. Wow I never expected to say those two things in the same sentence.
But trust me on this Uncharted 2 is like watching a very action packed movie that has some of the best character development of all time. I would go as far to say Uncharted 2 got me attached to the characters in about half the time other companies could have.
If you are familiar with the cast from the last game then this one should also suit your fancy. The voice acting is superb once again and they went back to motion capture once more to ensure extremely accurate lip sync and movement. Just playing this game makes me wish that Ghostbusters did the same.
After playing Uncharted 2 I now feel pain every time I think of Fallout 3's voice acting. Still, the way the cutscenes mesh together and the gameplay remind me of another great PS3 title, Metal Gear Solid 4. Not many people know this but I use to say "If you like Uncharted you will love Metal gear Solid 4".
However I need a new saying so here it goes, if you love Metal gear Solid 4 you will also love Uncharted 2 almost without a doubt; not as catchy but effective. Anyone who hasn't bought either of those games should Immediately.
Graphically, this game is quite simply put, beautiful. I was quite amazed at the textures on nearly everything in the game, and when I say everything I mean everything. From the character models to the snow, everything in this game is stunning and should look great on any TV regardless of resolution.
Also I was quite impressed with the load times, and I didn't even have to install the game which made me quite happy. Although I don't quite think they are the "best graphics used in a game" which so many people call them. Personally I believe that belongs to one of either Metal Gear Solid 4, Crysis or Killzone 2.
My only real complaint is that I saw some seams in some of the levels that were not polished out, and I saw snow go through the roof of a building I was in. However I will say the art direction is some of if not the best used thus far. Places like Borneo and Tibet are perfectly represented in this game which makes it a top competitor for the "Best Visuals used in a game 2009" award, Possibly even the "Best Story" or "Best Gameplay".
Speaking of Gameplay let me just state right off the bat that it is a masterpiece. The control is fluent for starters almost nobody should have trouble getting use to the extremely easy to use controls. Not counting menus the game actually only uses 6 buttons and the two analog sticks normally; with circle and triangle only used as action buttons, L2 and L3 are not used to my knowledge as well as the sixaxis motion control (thank you Naughty Dog).
Anyway the straight forward controls are good but that real means nothing if the game sucks. People may call Uncharted 2's gameplay many things but I guarantee no one will ever say it sucks, unless their wrong in the head of course.
In uncharted 2 you can take down enemies virtually anyway you can possibly think of. If you enjoy sneaking games like Splinter Cell then you should also find this game quite enjoyable as well because there is actually a stealth killing ability. Sneaking basically requires you to run up behind a enemy and press the square button, in fact sometimes this is necessary in order to get past a few of the missions. actually the second chapter requires you to be stealthy as if anyone spots you the game is over.
Not only that but I actually think that this is my favorite way to deal with guards, if I can of course. Although in every single situation that I can remember with the exception of one I was given the option to sneak I was only ever able to take out about one hundred guys doing so.
This actually adds a bit of realism to the game because in real life I doubt anyone could be as stealth as someone like Solid Snake or Sam Fisher. Still the sneaking aspect adds a little something to the game and I don't see how they could have incorporated this any better, I mean Nathan is no super soldier.
I'm sure many of you are use to the original gameplay in Uncharted 1 and are wondering if it's as good or the same? Truth be told its a lot better then the first. To start off, in the first uncharted (with the exception of two areas I can think of off the top of my head) you could only kill in straight forward and had to follow a linear path in battles.
In Uncharted 2 however you might see a wall that you can climb and snipe enemies from above using the "Dragon Sniper" which looks like a Dragunov to me. Or perhaps you will find a way to get a jump on the enemy and lob grenades from a high up area, or even assault them with pistol and Ak-47 Fire from above. In any case, that's not the only improvement in the straight forward gun fighting.
There is much more cover in this game, but do not make a mistake and think it's safe as there are rockets and tanks that may find a way to blow right through your cover and kill you. I found it's always best to keep moving in this game as there is less of a chance of being killed by a enemy who wants to try out his brand new shotgun.
The enemies them selves leave a slight bit to be desired. We will just say they somehow notice things that no mortal I personally know could, and there are some things that they should notice that they just don't. An example would be when you have to scale a certain tower wall to open a door with Elena waiting at the bottom.
When you make your way to the top you will notice a few guards below you talking and then see one is just above you ready for a stealth kill. Now you can either throw him off the building which in real life would lead to people noticing or wait until he turns around and stealth kill him that way.
However in uncharted world everything is upside down. Throw him off and he won't scream.... Stealth kill him and someone sees his body? They instantly know where you are. This just seems pretty stupid to me, and doesn't really make sense from an A.I. Stand point.
Uncharted 2 obviously isn't all about gun fights and killing people. Although that makes up about 60% of everything you will do in this game, there are quite a few more puzzles this time around, at least more then I remember. Honestly I really don't want to touch on this subject because I fear I may accidentally spoil it for everyone, but I will only mention the absolutely vital information to those who want to know.
Yes the puzzles are much more elaborated in this game then the first, but it still has you doing the original tricks to find out how to complete them. First off the book is back (Select button), however this time it doesn't just flip you to the page you need, no you have to guess this time around which makes it just about as difficult as running ten extra feet in a race.
Though you will be doing more acrobatics in the game to complete puzzles if that's what you're wondering. But like I said I don't want to spoil any of the puzzles for anyone so I am going to stop right here and move on.
I have touched on the puzzles, guns and sneaking, how about I move on to the treasures and acrobatics. The treasure hunting is back for those of you who liked finding all sixty-one artifacts in the last game (I know it says sixty but there are actually sixty-one as the strange object doesn't technically count even though the game groups it with the other treasures) then you're in for a treat as now there are one hundred artifacts to collect (Or one hundred and one, I don't know yet).
Although I did have a good time finding the treasures in the first game I felt that the way you progress was a little too straight forward and you really couldn't take different paths to get to the same destination.
This problem was patched up a bit in Uncharted 2 but is still there none the less, you still pretty much have to stay on course throughout the entire game and it's quite annoying only having one wall to climb. Still the game play is fun and I would recommend it for anyone, the only problem you may run into is it may be too action packed.
Now that I feel the singleplayer has been justified I feel I can move on to multiplayer which will be the final and probably largest part of my review. When I first heard that Uncharted 2 was going to have multiplayer, I was skeptical to say the least. Back then I thought "Co-op yes, competitive no." but boy was I wrong. Uncharted 2 not only met my expectations for multiplayer games, it exceeded them.
Lets start off with lag. I have said in the past that Certain games were "Lag free" because the servers were new and didn't have anything weighing them down. This was true for Killzone 2 which now has some of the worst lag on any game out there. So I won't say that again to avoid confusion. However I will say that I personally was impressed with not only the gameplay online, but also what it can do.
Now personally I haven't witnessed any lag which is why I explained my self before; which is impressive because I have internet with a 2.4MPS download and 380KPS upload. But that's not all, you can actually record your games and access them later if you please. They are saved directly to your hard drive, however you can upload them to the internet if you please.. but you can watch one of your competitive games from any person's angle you please.
Yes I experienced a lag free game online while it was being recorded from every single different person's angle; quite impressive if you think about it. I haven't checked out Halo 3 and their recording feature yet; but this sounds about the same. Then we have "Boosters" as they're called.
They play a important role in keeping you alive as well as increasing your damage. These are pretty much the same as the perks from the call of duty games. A good example would be the revenge booster which is the same as the martyrdom perk from call of duty. As for the actual online gameplay, there are a few modes to choose from; they are...
Plunder, which is like capture the flag; actually it's the same exact thing. I haven't really played this most too often, but it is one of my favorite modes. It may be considered a bit harder then some of the versions of CTF you may have played; but none the less it is still very fun going after that golden statue and killing anyone who gets in your way.
My only complaint about it is that sometimes there are RPG's in the level and anyone can just pick one up and use. This only gets annoying because they are one shot kills and when someone has the treasure it can be a real pain to have a person kill you right before you make a goal.
Deathmatch, which is technically "Team Deathmatch". In this game you get put on either the heroes or villains side which represent blue and red accordingly. There really isn't much difference between the two sides, with the exceptions of where you spawn. You can't choose your weapon from the beginning; however there is a massive amount of pickups throughout the levels.
Personally, this is my third favorite competitive mode in the game. It's simple and quite easy to just pick up and play. No one has a "unfair advantage" as of yet. But if you don't buy any boosters you're going to be in trouble.
Elimination, which is completely unique and I personally haven't played any game with a mode like this. First off, the objective of the game is to take out everyone on the other team. Pretty much the same thing as deathmatch with one exception being that once you're dead, you're dead for the entire round.
This is probably my favorite online competitive mode. It's quite fun to lob grenades at your enemies and watching them scatter. However it's REALLY hard to get use to. I only managed to get a even amount of kills and deaths in the game. Still, the random weapons laying around are back; and it's quite a interesting concept that I would like to see in more online games. Since I personally haven't seen anything like this, feel free to comment below to tell me if there is another game with a mode like what you see here.
King of the hill, which is what it sounds like. There is a certain area your team must stay in order to collect points; meanwhile the enemy is trying to do the same thing. It will randomly move around the arena to avoid any advantages and give each team a chance to score. That pretty much sums it up. However I didn't really enjoy this mode. It felt a little too over played and, well cheap. You're constantly bombarded by grenades and don't have a second to breathe. Personally not for me, I find it quite annoying.
Turf war, which is a the same as base mission in other games. Actually it's the same thing as turf war on GTA IV to remain simple. You capture three predesignated bases and whoever has control of the majority for the longest is the winner. Each match I played had the score set to first to get two hundred and fifty points wins; which takes about five to ten minutes to complete. There isn't really much else to say, I thought this game mode was decent but I have played better base games.
Chain reaction, is the final mode you can play competitively. This is almost the same as turf war with few exceptions. Unlike Turf war there are five bases instead of three; and instead of points winning the game it's whoever captures all the bases first, or has the most bases when time runs out. But also you can only capture the bases in order which leads to quite a bit more challenge. Personally I like this mode better then turf war, but no one ever picks it and I was only ever able to play it once.
Well I have touched on nearly every single part of online. But now I feel it's time to mention my favorite mode Co-op. There are three different types of co-op games. Each one has it's own set of rules and challenges. But we all know there is nothing like shooting guys in the head with your buddies watching. Also note that I like all Co-op modes better then competitive. anyway here are the modes.
Co-op Story, is probably my third favorite mode online period; In this game you are set with a certain objective and you have to fight your way through enemies in order to complete your objective. I kept on jumping off into the river during a certain one of these and getting my self killed. Which means my only real complaint is my own stupidity. But none the less, if you have a few friends who want to have a good time playing games, then this is a mode you will want to check out.
Co-op Gold Rush, is my second favorite mode online without a doubt. I enjoy working together with your team to obtain the golden idol. But with it's fun style of game play comes difficulty. IT IS HARD even on easy. But again this is one to play with your buddies. I personally will continue to play this over and over until I win; actually this is my twelfth time trying to win this game and I still haven't beaten it once. Now that is tough.
Saving the best for last we have Co-op Survival, I don't think I have to mention this anymore but yes this is my favorite mode. Thee isn't much to say but it's a lot like Gold Rush. The object of the game is to survive a onslaught of enemies ranging from weak one hit kill guys to large mini-gun wielding opponents.
You must either work as a team and help each other survive through the 10 waves of enemies; or work alone and suffer your fate. Personally I have not been able to beat this mode without careful planning. But it's still very fun indeed to take on a onslaught this size. In any case get ready for some hard hitting action.
Well that pretty much raps up this review. I hope you all enjoyed the small summaries of online game types, the recommendations and understand fully what uncharted 2 is about now. As for me I am off to get my uncharted 2 platinum trophy. Thanks for reading.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, 9.8 out of 10.
Recommended for: anyone who likes over the should shooters or anyone who enjoys a great storyline.
More PlayStation 3 News...