Review by Stalolin (Steve Rosenburg)
"Being so close to death so often, has never been so fun"
Uncharted 2 once again follows the lovable hero Nathan Drake as he embarks on yet another journey of strange lands, mayhem and action packed battles and beautiful lasses. Naughty Dog shows what they're made of once again, as they showcase some of the finest graphics and gameplay ever seen not only in this generation of gaming, but in all previous ones.
The first game followed Nathan Drake chasing after the treasure first pursued by his supposed ancestor, the famous Francis Drake. In Uncharted 2, Nathan is on the trail of a treasure found by Marco Polo. A number of new characters are also introduced into the mix, however I'm not entirely sure whether or not Chloe is an entirely likable character. Even so, the story is essentially like that of the first, a story about hunting for treasure, shooting bad guys and so forth. Much like the original, although the story seems a little cliche, the crew at Naughty Dog once again pull it off well, making the experience highly enjoyable, and the story will keep you playing just to find out what happens next. Humor is also used well, as expected Nate's wise-cracks are back, though seemingly not as common as in the first game, and not as corny either (hooray!) Though the jokes are usually witty, your sides aren't in danger of bursting from the hilarity, it's more of a soft laugh, or one of those times when you laugh on the inside. Generally the dialogue is well written and develops the characters well, expanding on the characters as well.
The gameplay is action-packed, so much so that the game is full to bursting with actiony goodness. Even from the get-go you're thrown straight into the action, as the story is not told in chronological order. The action just never stops with Uncharted 2. In the first game the platforming sections tended to be slightly more peaceful, partly due to the tranquility of the surrounding environment, however this game tends to keep the platforming a little more fast-paced. Not to mention a greater level of control of the camera that has been added. The essential elements of gameplay are kept the same, taking cover, shooting, and platforming, however a different method for throwing grenades has been added. Grenades are no longer kept as a separate weapon but are thrown from the aiming position, however this tends to make you throw them too far, or inaccurately and although the white line showing the path of the grenade is still available, it still feels sloppy. Speaking of grenades, they seem to be in abundance in this game, allowing for more explosive fighting, they are also handy for taking down the new enemies equipped with riot shields (which can be picked up and used by Drake, among an assortment of other new weapons). However, taking cover can tend to be difficult at times, Drake make take cover in a place you didn't intend him to go but overall the cover system is excellent and adds a lot to the combat. Stealth plays a greater role in Uncharted 2. A number of fancy stealth kills have been including which look fantastic and add a new and interesting level of gameplay, occasionally giving you the option of trying to do it ninja style or start leaking out bullets.
If you ever find yourself stuck for a period of time, the game will provide you with a hint as to where you need to go next. Some may say that the game is babysitting you by doing this, but Uncharted 2 is never too quick to throw a hint your way, allowing you time to solve the dilemma for yourself. Also by including this hint system it allows the flow of gameplay to remain, instead of breaking it up constantly when you don't know where to go next.
Now let's get to discussing what all the buzz is about, the graphics. There is no doubt that the graphics are on an extremely high level, and are incredibly pleasing to the eye. The style has slightly changed from the first game, and I've noticed a slight blurring of the game whenever the camera is moved quickly (hopefully that's supposed to happen). Backgrounds and textures are as stunning as ever, though it seems that occasionally there will be a slight delay in loading certain textures.
Is Uncharted 2 a game worth your money? It most certainly is. Not only is the story mode fantastic, but Uncharted 2 offers a fun competitive and co-operative online mode to enjoy. The game also has some extra goodies to unlock for completing certain actions and finding treasures (unfortunately finding treasures are back). Therefore, Uncharted 2 goes beyond the experience that the original offers, bringing enough new things to the table to warrant a purchase. Happy hunting.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 10/16/09, Updated 02/18/10
Game Release: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (US, 10/13/09)
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