I'm sorry, do you have a plan to go along with that grenade?
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 Drake once again reprises his role as your stereotypical "leap before you look" adventurer, and is just as likable as ever. The rest of the cast back him up well, with one of my favorite parts of the game being listening to their constant banter. The dialogue is sharp and witty, and never wears thin throughout. These are characters that you'll come to love, and following their adventures is always exciting. It's perhaps even more exciting since everything looks and sounds so amazing. I have no reservations about saying that Uncharted 2 is the best looking game I have played to date. The character animations are especially impressive, and bring everyone to life in a way I never thought possible. Even past that, the constantly moving environments feel alive, and are always great to look at. Finally, in addition to the great voicework, the musical score in Uncharted 2 is fantastic. It hits all the right notes at the right times, and maintains its high quality from start to finish.
Fortunately, Uncharted 2 is no slouch on the gameplay front either. Its basic mix of cover based shooting and environmental platforming comes off really well, and lends the game a pretty smooth pacing. You'll constantly be moving from one fantastic set piece to the next, and the game manages to throw in tons of variety while it's at it. From large urban gunfights to crazy showdowns on top of moving vehicles, Uncharted 2's variety is easily one of its best aspects. And playing through these crazy spectacles is always a blast thanks to the game's tight controls. The shooting feels great, and certain things like melee attacks, throwing grenades, and stealth mechanics are much improved over the original Uncharted. The platforming also feels really fluid, and uses a lot of auto correction to make sure you don't miss a weird jump by a small margin, thus never breaking the snappy flow of the action. All of these features come together to produce an exciting, fast paced experience that always works in tandem with its storytelling. This really is as close as you're going to get to playing your way through your own blockbuster action movie.
Ultimately, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves might not do much that hasn't been done before. It simply takes a handful of tried and true mechanics from some of gaming's best, slaps them together with a heightened sense of variety and pacing, and fuels it all with stunning visuals, fantastic audio, and a great cast of endearing characters. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves has set a new benchmark for action games in just about every way, making it a game that any self respecting fan of the genre would be a fool to pass up.
For additional information on my review style and scoring system, click here.