Review: Uncharted 2 Amongst Thieves

Nathan Drake; a man without fear, a man that can take on an entire army of hired mercenaries avoiding RPG’s, grenades and big burly men with huge mini guns whilst solving puzzles made from huge stone statues by only using a book filled with his ancestors last memoirs…he’s a character that we all love like our grandmothers Sunday Roast but has the next instalment of his Indiana Jones esque adventures proved to be popular amongst the fans of the original title? Kept them on the edge of their seats waiting for the next twist in the story? I would certainly think so. In fact I know so.

This time Drake is following the trail of Marco Polo, a famous Spanish explorer who with his crew of 600 the majority being killed and 13 ships disappearing on a journey home from China in 1292. The reason being is that one Marco Polo venturing off into the world in search of the Cintamani Stone, a stone that resides in a location that only exists in rumouring whispers amongst the pages of old ruined books, the fabled location that is Shambala.

The story has more twists than…than, well than any other game I have played before to be truthful which is no surprise as his new companion named Chloe, the dark haired woman who seems to be more trouble than she’s worth, Naughty Dog have been very clever with this character, creating yet another believable persona that is to be remembered. As to be expected some familiar faces remerge into the plot albeit Sully, having a short and uninteresting appearance, which is a shame as I loved his involvement in the first game being Drakes main sidekick.

The only English character in the game Harry Flyn comes across as a cocky egotistic fool, a less of an intellect than Nathan Drake but he offers a more diverse character profile for the game which is refreshing, although he isn’t my favourite character as his dialogue tends to be tedious to listen to after dying every 10 minutes on crushing mode and I rather hit mute every time he opens his mouth if only for 2 seconds.

The game is heavily story driven and is visually well presented, so much so I am wondering if this is just an low-res version of real life as the graphics are second-to-none with rich and diverse environments that could boggle the mind of any gamer which, thankfully, coincide with the story to further enhance it and create a believable narrative that rivals the likes of Indiana Jones. I have always have been huge fan of the Indiana Jones films as a child, and I can clearly see the thick line between film and game which Naughty Dog have seamlessly meshed into one amazing product that completely captivated my imagination and made me want more from the start to the very end.

Naughty Dog have integrated new game mechanics including an all new melee counter to create a more fluid and interesting fighting system which only applies to the single player game story and run ‘n’ gunning before the one hit melee take down feels amazing when pulled off correctly. One of the best parts of gameplay are the sections which come across once or twice when huge chunks of the environment brakes away becoming dynamic and chaotic careering along whilst having to fend off various enemies.

Nathan this time around is able to yield a riot shield, taken from enemy mercenaries; however this new mechanic doesn’t act as constant moveable cover as the shield deteriorates progressively with every bullet coming into contact with it, which is for the best.

Fans from the first game will notice that the core gameplay and cover system is near enough indistinguishable apart from the inclusion of stealth and cover take-downs which can be activated when safely behind cover unseen, but at times the game requires you to use this technique maybe a little too much, but gives a greater sense of stealth, far more so than the first.

Ok enough about the game mechanics and more onto the story…eh hem. The story like I said previously can rival any Hollywood blockbuster film such as Indiana Jones but the simple fact remains that history repeats itself in an all too familiar fashion. Simply put the story ends up you having to defeat enemies similar to the first game but just a little more interesting. I won’t ruin it for the people who haven’t managed to kick themselves into buying the game yet or the people who are considering in buying the PS3 console purely on the purchase for this game, because I suggest you do it now!

Completing it on a higher difficulty level, for example Hard on the first play through automatically unlocks the trophies for Normal and Easy which is pretty cool and let me avoid having to complete it on the other difficulties over and over again. However, for the casual gamers i suggest Easy, as Uncharted 2 can be quite relentless at certain points in the game. Nearer to the end of the game you are pit against an array of snipers and RPG wielding enemies whilst other minions attempt to cross a thin bridge, although this is a non-stop action section of the game I found myself being slapped in the face by a screaming rocket which made me hate that period of the game and wiping my forehead clean of anxiety and as you can guess playing on Crushing, being the ultimate difficulty, really does live to its name.  It will crush you, mentally and physically, many times I held my joypad above my head wanting to destroy the controller that I was falsely blaming for my noobishness.

Naughty Dog has stepped up their game this year, to the point in which this game could be Game Of The Year winner let alone contender. With the addition of multiplayer which combines elements and functionality from various popular games as Call of Duty 4 with the perks or in this case ‘Boosters’ and Halo 3 which featured Theatre Mode and in the instance named, “Cinema Mode” that allows the user to watch previous online matches, but improves on the entire mode by adding the ability to control the environment effects of fog and saturation etc.  The multiplayer is solid and can provide hours of endless chaotic fun with friends taking on co-op arena (think Gears Of War Horde Mode) or co-op objective which are great additions to the game that just edges itself out over other PlayStation titles to date.

Uncharted 2: Amongst Thieves is an amazing game, a GOTY contender for sure. The story is truly epic and will keep many on the edge of their seats wanting more like a fat kid that loves cake, I only wish that there was more to complete as this could prove to one of, if not the best franchises to see the light on the Sony’s system, it’s a real shame it’s only on PS3 and not on the Xbox 360 as I am sure most of the 360 owners are wishing the same.  Seriously if you own a PS3 and you don’t have this game, go out and buy it now.

Gameplay: 10

Graphics: 10

Sound: 9

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