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Uncharted 2: Among Thieves - PS3 - Review


Posted by: jkdmedia

Review Rating 9.0 Amazing

Nathan Drake is rather forthcoming when he states that everything he touches seems to turn sour … Ok, that’s not precisely how he phrases it, but you get the drift.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is a visceral romp that takes the formula from the first highly successful game and pushes it to new heights – both figuratively and literally. There are a lot of inside jokes and some really good chuckles stemming from the dialogue and cut scenes. There are new characters and familiar ones.

The story revolves around the adventures of Marco Polo and, specifically, his return from China. When Polo left China, he had 14 ships with more than 600 passengers and crew. When he finally made his home port, only one ship remained with 18 passengers. The initial idea that intrigues Drake and draws him into the adventure is what happened to those other ships. But as is usually the case, it evolves into something much bigger – the Cintamani Stone (purported to be a fabled jewel that grants the owner great power … as in world-conquering power) is one of the items in the equation, the other is the path that leads to Shambhala. Of course, this swings Drake into full adventure mode, but one of the elements here is not knowing exactly who to trust.

(There will be no spoilers here.)

Drake’s initial adversary is a war criminal who heads a private army and is on the trail. Along the way he teams up with Chloe, who seems to have her own agenda in all this and eventually he meets Elena, and there are nasty, voracious monsters that seem to crawl out of legend and are very hard to kill.

Developer Naughty Dog has crafted a game that is somewhat linear, and has a fair amount of repetition in terms of raging gun battles and puzzles, incorporating the platform elements very well. It is simply a case of if you think there is an easy path, but look around and find that there appears to be handholds in the wall, then that is usually the way you will need to go. You kill the bad guys, pick up weapons – all of which seem to range from nice guns to RPGs. And lest you think some of those weapons are a bit extreme, wait until you go up against a tank and you will definitely see the need.

The game starts out in Borneo and moves into the Himalayas. True, some of the mechanics in the journey are similar, but the pacing seldom slows – something that Drake often comments on.

From a control standpoint, Uncharted 2 is nothing that is too difficult to learn. In fact, the control scheme is rather straightforward in design. That alone helps to put the focus on the game itself. The dialogue is often quite humorous, and even pokes fun at itself. When Chloe and Elena are first introduced, Chloe says she senses some history between Elena and Drake. Elena then introduces herself as “last year’s model” – an obvious but entertaining reference to the first Uncharted title.

The game also brings multiplayer into the mix, with some nice cooperative sessions through game maps. There are also a bevy of achievements that can be earned; you can gain achievements particular to each weapon, as well as score for the type of attack, such as headshots.

For the most part, Uncharted 2 does not reinvent the action-adventure wheel, but from a graphic standpoint, and from a pure fun stand, this game soars on the PS3. This is a lot of fun.
When you play a game that stops non-gaming members in the family dead in their tracks to watch and enjoy the way the game is playing out, that says a lot. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves did precisely that.

Review Scoring Details for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Gameplay: 9.0
The controls are easy to learn and use, the game flows well, with some cut scene interruptions. There are repetitious elements and the game does get to the point where you are not surprised by the path you have to take to get from point A to B.  

Graphics: 9.0
The eyes on Chloe and Elena are a bit glassy and not that good looking. But in spite of the problem with the eyes, there were other issues that reduced the score in this department. The code received for this review was for the PS3 debug or test unit. During one of the opening missions, when Drake is attempting to break into a museum to steal a lamp, a jump was missed and Drake ended up hanging over the railing. At the point one could see the lack of environment geometry under the stone - that vast blue void that falls away to nothing. Drake was trapped and eventually fell, into the void and to his death. The camera gets stuck far too often, not affording a view around to see what needs to be seen. The world is grand and wonderful, but the code received had problems. Reviews are based on code in hand, and for that reason, and these glitches, the graphics take a hit.

Sound: 9.3
The musical score and dialogue are terrific.  

Difficulty: Medium/Hard

Concept: 9.2
A great story, coupled with multiplayer brings this game alive.

Multiplayer: 8.8
Fun, fast, furious are all keywords in how this plays out.

Overall: 9.0
The game has some repetition, but the look of the game is wonderful and the action flows well, drawing players through the game. This is an enjoyable game that keeps players on their toes, tantalizes with stunning vistas and some cool animations and keeps the story flowing well. 

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