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    Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

    Game » consists of 14 releases. Released Oct 13, 2009

    Nathan Drake returns to find the lost secret of Marco Polo, in this sequel to the 2007 sleeper hit Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.

    brym's Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PlayStation 3) review

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    • 3 out of 7 Giant Bomb users found it helpful.
    • brym has written a total of 2 reviews. The last one was for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
    • This review received 10 comments

    A Dissenting View

    Game of the Year? Not for me.

    Uncharted 2 was released on the PS3 this fall and quickly became a Game of the Year contender.  It has a 97 on Metacritic, with no publication giving it a score lower than a 90.  Even though I didn't really like the first Uncharted, I couldn't resist the hype.  Even Ryan Davis, who felt like I do about Uncharted, was raving about the new sequel.  I had to give it a try.
    After finishing the game today, I am mystified.  While the game has several amazing parts, it also has some serious flaws that frequently made the game more frustrating than fun.  This review is intended to provide an honest, dissenting voice to all the universal acclaim I've seen for the game thus far.
    Lets begin, however, with what Uncharted 2 does right.  It looks fantastic, and is a strong contender for the best-looking game of this generation.  It has an unusually well-acted and interesting story (albeit with the always-necessary caveat of 'for a video game'.  Watching some people cream themselves over a story on par with National Treasure just shows how far this medium has to go.)  Uncharted 2 also has some absolutely dynamite, showpiece action sequences that make the game worth playing all by themselves.  All that needs to be said is the Train, the Tank, and the Trucks.  You'll know what I'm talking about when you get there.
     That ass alone means Uncharted looks better than 99% of the games out there
     That ass alone means Uncharted looks better than 99% of the games out there
    But like I said, there are flaws.  The first is difficulty.  On the default setting, there is a massive spike in difficulty in the final third of the game.  By my rough calculations using the in-game stats screen, I was dying once every 2.5 minutes during the combat in the final third of the game.  It was too difficult to be fun.
    Now, sometimes it's okay for a game to get really hard towards the end.  But in Uncharted 2's case, it is a serious flaw.  Uncharted is a story-driven, cinematic experience.  When the combat gets really hard, it messes up the pacing of the game's story.  Imagine if each gunfight in Raiders of the Lost Ark were replayed a half-dozen times before you moved on to the next exploration or dramatic scene.  The movie would suck.  In a game like Uncharted, you want it to be difficult enough that there's a sense of exhilaration and danger, but easy enough that actual deaths are rare.  To do otherwise interferes with the narrative experience.
    What's more, Uncharted 2's difficulty spike in the final third also wrecks the elements that made the early game so fun.  Uncharted 2 is at its best when it makes you feel like an action hero, running amongst cover, flanking enemies, and using a lot of melee.  When the game starts confronting you from all directions with heavily-armored, melee-resistant enemies who kill you in 1-3 shots, the fun tactics stop working.  You instead have to hunker down in a couple safe spots and essentially cheese the flaws in the AI.  Instead of feeling like an action hero, you feel like a dude playing a video game.
     The game is fun when it lets you run up and punch dudes
     The game is fun when it lets you run up and punch dudes

    The games other flaws are less severe, but still worth noting.  Drake's jumping controls are occasionally terrible.  The distance and direction that Drake jumps is controlled as much by the AI as by the player, which causes some terrible mishaps when the game misinterprets where the player is aiming.  This flaw is usually benign, but becomes really annoying during the game's few timed jumping sequences.  
    Similarly, the camera controls are less than fantastic.  They would probably be good enough in any other game, but Uncharted 2 puts you in several run-and-gun situations where you want to be able to quickly see what's behind you and ahead of you, and the camera makes that impossible.  It only crops up in a few situations (one of which is the final boss fight), but when it does, profanity will ensue.
     Later on, this becomes a more common experience
     Later on, this becomes a more common experience
    Finally, the game's visuals are often technically and artistically brilliant but interfere with functio nality.  The jungle scene in the early game is so visually busy that it is difficult to pick out weapons, ammo, and grabbable le dges.  A game's visuals must use contrasting colors and patterns to pick out those objects that a player can interact with, otherwise the player will try to interact with non-interactive elements and get frustrated.  Paradoxically, the subtle unrealism of those contrasting colors helps to maintain the overall suspension of disbelief because the player doesn't repeatedly run into the limits of what the game makes possible.  In parts, Uncharted 2 fails to heed this important design principle.
    Uncharted 2 is a good game overall, and is certainly worth playing.  But a game of the year contender?  Not as far as I'm concerned.  Still, I'm willing to hold out hope for Uncharted 3.

    Other reviews for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PlayStation 3)


      NATHAN DRAKE'S LATEST ADVENTURE, IS ONE OF GAMINGS FINEST.The credits began to roll down the screen, there was I seated with goosebumps and shivers of excitement rattling through my body. Knowing I had just experienced one of the finest adventures to ever grace any form of entertainment. A shining example of not just how far videogames have come, but how they have the ability to reach new levels of immersion only films could dream of. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is a very rare case, a rare case i...

      18 out of 18 found this review helpful.

      I'm sorry, do you have a plan to go along with that grenade? 0

      I loved Uncharted: Drake's Fortune- it was a fun, action packed ride filled with great characters and witty dialogue. I wasn't really expecting Nathan Drake's second outing to be much different, and in short, it isn't- but it also doesn't need to be. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves takes the sound blueprint laid by its predecessor, and tweaks a handful of small problems that needed tweaking. The result is an even better action game, and one that no fan of the genre should hesitate to play.Nathan Drak...

      10 out of 10 found this review helpful.

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