Video Games

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – Video Game Review

Uncharted 2Here is the moment all PS3 owners have been waiting for, The Return Of Nathan Drake! As if the anticipation wasn’t enough, this game also got a very good marketing campaign that kicked off the new “It Only Does Everything” ads for the PS3. It has been said that Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was the MAIN reason for the PS3 slim and price cut, this game was built from the ground up to be THE systems killer app.

From the opening sequence to the final battle, you will be at awe due to the graphics, these are by far the best graphics I have ever seen in a game, period. And the first game was a treat to look at as well, only this time around, the folks over at Naughty Dog unleashed there new gaming engine with this game and the graphics took a major upgrade in the process. I have never seen such perfect detail in Snow, Rain, Fire, and explosions quiet like this in a game. For Next Generation Standards, this game is in a league of its own. The opening of the game picks up where the trailer leaves off, your Nathan Drake once again and once again your knee deep in trouble. The first thing you have to do is climb up a derailed train that is dangling over a snow covered cliff.

US Box Art: http://i36.tinypic.com/2czq39e.jpg

Japanese Box Art: http://i33.tinypic.com/30htxug.jpg

As your trying to escape this disaster, boulders come flying at you as well as the trains conditions begin to crumble as the escape becomes more and more frantic. The situation is very grim as your weak from what appears to be a gun shot wound to the lower abdomen. The whole premise of the game centers around the journeys of the legendary Marco Polo, and when Nathan’s buddy Harry Flynn arrives at a local Tiki Bar to let him know of a potential money making job that involves the legendary Marco Polo, Nathan quickly refuses. Its only after Chloe’s, Harry’s Partner and Girlfriend, arrival that Nathan agrees to take part in this journey.

Nathan once again is not as good with his charming personality as he is with his ability to get out of what appears to be the impossible. The chemistry between these three characters is so fluid and so lifelike it’s astounding. You feel as if you are watching a movie, the voice acting and the character development in this game are second to none. Once you agree to take part in this mission, you suddenly wake up! As your having flashbacks of those moments after escaping that falling train! This game has the natural ability of surprising you, and believe me, you will be surprised a ton while playing this master piece from Naughty Dog. While your struggling to stay alive in the blizzard like conditions, your given a quick refresh of the games controls if you haven’t played the first game at all or in a while. Your also introduced to all the new abilities that were added to the game.

After The Train: http://i36.tinypic.com/1z2g3ec.jpg

Drake And Chloe: http://i38.tinypic.com/140x11x.jpg

The controls remain in tact from the first game, there really isn’t anything new to be had here. But thats not a bad thing by any means, it’s refreshing to play a sequel and not have to hope for good controls or have to learn a whole bunch of new control schemes. There are some new functions while playing this game, Covering has been dramatically improved from the first game. It seems to me that ever since Gears Of War came out, every game has a covering system in it. This game more then the first Uncharted heavily relies on covering since there are tons of fire fights as well as explosions as well as lots of stealth missions to be had. The game feel so solid if your a veteran or a rookie, you will find it easy to play this game as if your a born natural.

There are some issues I have with the controls. For starters, they tend to be a bit too sensitive in tight situations like evading enemy sight or escaping an incoming grenade. Also, the cameras were not really worked on from the first game so the sensitive controls added with the shaky camera can lead to lots of deaths while you play the single player as well as the multiplayer. The cameras also interfere heavily when your trying to hang from cliffs or ledges. Outside of these two issues, it’s really hard to find anything else not to like about this game. These two issues I found are more of an annoyance then a major issue, it just sucks that once again a game as great as this has these two issues that plague so many games of this genre. Another new addition to the controls is the elimination of the motion control while crossing tight ledges.

Sneaky Drake: http://i38.tinypic.com/23k7wns.jpg

Special Fortune Hunter Edition: http://i38.tinypic.com/2zqyf6x.jpg

In Drake’s Fortune, while it was a good idea, you had to tilt the controller in the direction to keep Drake from falling off the sides of the tree or ledge your crossing. Well in the end, if you fell you could catch on the sides and simply cross over them hand to hand. Yes you could get attacked while crossing this way, but you can get attacked if your using the tilt sensor so whats the point. In the new game, your no longer required to used said tilt sensor so you can move freely while crossing tight corners and the like and you can also get higher accurate shots off since you are holding the controller correctly. Also, while crossing over freely, you can better time your jumps and get to cover easier without the threat of quickly tilting to cross a platform. Also in regards to cover, as mentioned before, you can really cover behind almost anything and pull off attacks based off your angle of cover.

So if your behind a wall or ducking behind a car, you can attack enemies without being noticed by others if you pull off a stealth attack. This method makes it easier to get passed rough sections of the game and there is a section where you have to be stealth or you fail the mission. The enemies in the game work together so much better this time around then before. It’s still a shoot ’em up style game but it’s not as overwhelming. The enemies while there improved still have a tendency to be mindless. They also have a tendency to use grenades a lot so be on your guard. You can also attack them while there aiming there grenades to kill them or a group of them with there own grenade. You can also strip them of there riot shields and use it against them. The weapons in this game are great and theres a good balance of power and ammo, it’s not too overbalanced where you get loads of ammo for the weak weapons and limited amounts for the power weapons much like how Resident Evil does.

Amazing Fire Effects: http://i38.tinypic.com/281t0lu.jpg

Big Explosions: http://i37.tinypic.com/vsf9yo.jpg

The graphics need to be mentioned again as I am still blown away by the shear detail that is involved. The musical score and character development is all better portrayed due to the fantastic graphics. The snow and rain and fire effects are second to none and as you progress further through the game you will notice them in much higher detail when you get to the night portions of the game. Character Development is a key factor in deciding on if the game is going to be a classic or a dud. There are so many plot twists and betrayals throughout this game that the characters just blend into it so well and so fluidly that you cannot figure out who will do what next due to the fantastic development the characters have. Much like Gears Of War and Metal Gear Solid, there are betrayals galore throughout this game, but being that this is an adventure and discovery game rather then a War and Survival Of The Fittest game like the mentioned games above, the betrayals are more surprising in certain situations.

Unlike MGS and Gears, Uncharted 2 centers around 5 characters instead of a fleet or a government. And as you progress through the game, your reunited with characters from Uncharted and your also introduced to the maniac your really fighting against, I will not spoil it but the payoff is awesome once you encounter the true enemy of this game. The character development on the actual enemies in this game is amazing, it’s so well written that it completely gives a whole new engine and formula on how character development should be done. The humor is also well presented in this game as well. The folks over at Naughty Dog have a great sense of humor. Uncharted 2 has a Die Hard feel to it, while the events taking place are serious, your sense of humor shines through no matter what happens wether it be hanging from a train or jumping out of a collapsing building into another building to survive. That sequence in this game is simply amazing! I have never seen such an escape like that in a game ever, it’s better then the burning building sequence in Gears Of War 2.

Also much like Die Hard, there are so many instances where your escaping near death situations. Also even the enemies betray one another much like how it all went down in the Nakatomi Towers in Century City. Your Nathan Drake and he was John McClane. Your dragged into a situation accidentally only in this instance Drake is not married so his wife didn’t get him dragged into a situation against his will. There are witty catchphrases much like Die Hard throughout this game but sadly not “Yippee Kai Yay” moment, which would have been nice. Simply put, this game doesn’t need to be compared to those great movies to be great, it’s great in its own respect, but it’s hard not to see the comparisons to the two. Hey, i’m not complaining, I wish more games pulled this off just like Uncharted 2. This game is packed with action and it’s non-stop from beginning to the end with several instances of dialog and conspiracy development.

There was so much thought put into exploration throughout this game, it’s as if the folks over at Naughty Dog went on Marco Polo’s expedition to get an accurate feel on how it should be played out. Your no longer locked in one place throughout the game, your traveling all over and there are more instances of using a turret from a car or truck. These sequences show that the game’s graphics engine can handle the fast paced action. Your firing at cars all over as well as trucks and tanks and so much more. You even have to jump from car to car to escape the car your on from blowing up in your face. This is obviously from the PSP classic, Pursuit Force, where you escape certain death from jumping off your damaged car to another. You can also hang from the side of a train or truck and pull soldiers off the roof or flatbed and then get on the vehicle without being noticed. As you throw them off you can actually catch there weapons as they fall down and arm yourself before getting on board of the vehicle. Also, the graphics while escaping exploding vehicles one after another is simply stunning, and it’s capped off with a witty joke or something more intense that it makes it so worth playing over and over. You feel as if your in this game.

Unbeatable Detail: http://i33.tinypic.com/2qibnrb.jpg

The game once again introduces the hidden treasure just like the first game. Only this time around trophy support is built in so you do not have to wait for a patch for the supported trophies. There are 100 hidden treasure as well as the Strange Relic, a treasure that is unaccredited. In all there are 101 treasures to be found. The first one found you get a trophy and they each tenth treasure you find you get another trophy. You get a trophy alone for finding the Strange Relic and it is NOT required to find all 100 other treasures. But if your hunting for the platinum trophy, you must find it. Each treasure trophy is Bronze until you get closer to 100 then they become Silver, there are no Gold Trophies for finding treasures. And just like in the previous game, if you finish the game on a higher difficulty, you get the corresponding trophy as well as the lower difficulties trophy.

However, theres more to the trophies then simply having them in your profile. Each trophy you find has a corresponding amount of money that can be used in the Store to unlock many things such as character skins, weapons, developer dairies, as well as weapon upgrades. Your money is yours, and you can use it in the single player store or take into the online store to buy all sorts of upgrades for yourself in the Online Multiplayer! Uncharted 2 adds an online portion that can be used both with people and against people. The Co-Op portion is more like the Horde mode from Gears Of War 2, you do not play any of the single player portion of the game however. The competitive portion of the game bring every element of the single player mode into the online world.

You can cover, stealth attack, hang, dodge, as well as run and gun. There is lots to do here in the online portion. All of the maps and modes are decided by Matchmaking or if your the host you can decide for yourself. The modes are the basic shooter online modes like Team Death match, Capture The Flag, King Of The Hill, and Plunder (which is a mode where whomever captures the treasure the most wins, much like Multi Flag CTF). There is no single Death match mode which is nice, the locations you fight in are based on areas from the single player mode and there is a great balance of night and day and weather effects online. There are air strikes that are used for and against you.

Your online career is also contributing to your trophy collection and money. Your characters are either Heroes or Villains and there whole character set is based on XP which is Experience Points for those who don’t know what that means. The more kills and captures, your rewarded more and more. The cash you get can be used to purchase Attributes which are basically secondary attacks or skill sets that are used to change ammo count, accuracy, speed, health, as well as the Revenge Attribute which is an ability to just drop a grenade if you die so the person who took you out will go out in a blaze of glory. The more XP you gain, the more your level increases, the higher the level you get the more attributes your allowed to used. There are levels that you must achieve to unlock the ability to use certain attributes. Its got the RPG element or the Modern Warfare element if you want a better assessment on how it works.

The Online Mode is a welcome addition, it’s fun to play and fun to use. There is also Twitter support which allows your followers to see how you progress through the single player and track which trophies you unlock. The online play wasn’t just thrown in there simply to say it’s here for you to use. While it’s very basic and straightforward, it’s fun to play. There are some issues with skill balancing as well as people quitting mid game, but there is Host Migration so the game only ends if the server crashes of if your game locks up. Sadly, I have had the game lock up in several instances. There is a patch that just went up as of this writing that correct problems users are experiencing online.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is simply put: A Masterpiece! This game is the sole definition of a Next Generation game. It brings everything to the table and then some, it’s as if the first game didn’t exist thats how good this game is and you do not have to play the first game to be deeply involved in the second game. The perfect balance of great single player and fun multiplayer. The game is absolutely THE reason to own the Playstation 3. This is hands down the Best Game of this generation, it’s everything and then some. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is now available for an MSRP of $59.99. Rated T For Teen.

Hits:

-Best Playstation 3 Game Ever Made

-Best Graphics I Have Ever Seen

-Fantastic Presentation

-Excellent Character Development

-Awesome Action Sequences From Opening To Ending

-Great Controls

-Great Sense Of Humor

-Musical Score & Voice Overs Are Amazing

-Fun Multiplayer

-Twitter Support Makes The Game’s Social Community Larger

-Feels Like Your In A Movie

-Lots Of Hidden Collectable

-Amazing Cut Scenes

-Feels Like All The Die Hard Movies

-New Attacks Make The Game So Much More Fresh

-No Slow Down In Big Bang Action Scenes

-The Single Best Reason To Own Playstation 3

-Pound For Pound, Your Not Going To Find Anything Better On Another Console

Misses:

-NONE
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Official Score:

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Rating – 5 Stars Out Of 5

Editor’s Choice Award

Camel Clutch Blog’s 2009 Game Of The Year!
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Click Here to buy Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Click here to buy Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – Pre-Played from Gamefly.com.

Official Website: http://www.unchartedthegame.com/

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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