Review by imagine606
"Making a Great Thing Even Better"
This is just one of those games that's amazing from the time you start it until you put down the controller. I'll admit that I am a bit partial to platformers, as I tend to enjoy them more than most, but this one is with good reason. We have a game here that's a sequel to a game that was already a great game. Sequels can be anything as far as quality goes. However, it's never easy to follow up a great act, and Among Thieves does a great job at doing just this.
One of the biggest problems with Drake's Fortune was that the story got a bit...dare I say, silly at times, especially later on in the game. To really get into this with Among Thieves we need to really get a full synopsis of the story, which is impossible to totally do without spoilers, but I will go over what I can without any spoilers (I hope). Anyway, this is a story that starts off the exact opposite of innocent enough. After a short scene where you're escaping a train wreck you find yourself basically working on robbing a museum. Anyway, from there things get a bit crazy. There are a huge number of twists and turns in the story of the game. Early on you get the ones that change the story more at the base while later on you get the ones that seem to change the probably outcome more than totally changing the whole view of the game. Either way, throughout the game I never felt safe in that the game would continue to go as it has been. There were plenty of chances for plot changes and plenty of times where those chances were taken advantage of. Anyway, as the game went on, where the first Uncharted just got plain silly, with Among Thieves there was a similar change and a similar type of enemy introduced, but it was done in a way that fit in with the story much more and with an enemy that just wasn't nearly as cheesy. It was still a touch silly, but nothing that really hurt the story for the game.
I don't think there's any question that I loved the story of this game at this point. However, when it hits that point it's time to move on. How about another problem that I had with Drake's Fortune, the controls. I had two problems with the controls for Drake's Fortune, both were minor problems. The first of those was with taking cover. There were too many times where Nate would take cover behind the wrong object or when trying to change cover would not do what I was trying to get him to do. I will be honest, there is a reason I picked this first, as that hasn't been fixed. It's still a minor problem, make no mistake about that, but it's still there. The other problem that I had with the controls was the way that grenades were controlled. I think the tilting of the controller and the whole motion thing with the Sixaxis controller can be great at times, but this was not one of them with Drake's Fortune. With Among Thieves it was made much easier and just felt better using. As for the rest, it wasn't perfect, the camera would still suddenly turn at critical times, but anything else was very minor. Not that everything else was perfect, but I have yet to play a game with perfect controls.
Moving on once again, the graphics for this game are every bit as great as they were for the first, if not better. Maybe it had something to do with an extra vixen being in the game, but the character models, at least during the cut scenes were better. As a whole I thought that while I can't definitively say that the graphics are any better than in Drake's Fortune, they clearly are not any worse, and when you're saying that about a game that is considered to have some of the better graphics out there, that's saying a lot. The landscapes are still absolutely BEAUTIFUL. While the character models that I alluded to earlier still leave a bit to be desired, when you have a game that is so beautiful otherwise it's something that can be forgiven.
The music for this game takes a small step forward from the first game of the series. Drake's Fortune featured music that didn't grab your attention by any means, it fit the theme of the game and was otherwise ambient. The same can be said for Among Thieves. The music is mostly ambient for the most part, but as someone who does listen to a lot of more ambient music, I am somewhat partial to unique instruments that are used for religious purposes. This game features plenty of that. The horn blasts that you hear at times are those that monks in that region use during their ceremonies. The music again doesn't grab you by any means, but it does fit in with the game perfectly.
The gameplay as a whole for this game is spectacular. The game isn't too long or too short, and at the same time it continues to balance shooting, adventure, and platforming very well. The extra treasures that you can find in this game are more plentiful, there being 100 in this game, although it still remains mostly linear. This game features more shooting than Drake's Fortune did, but not so much that it becomes the prevalent theme in the game. While I hope that they don't try to push it with Drake's Deception when that comes out, this game shows the approximate limit to how much shooting is right for an Uncharted game.
A great balance of elements, great music, beautiful graphics, very good controls, and an amazing story. You hear those things and you know what to expect out of a game, nothing less than excellence. I can't answer questions as to if this game was overhyped or whatnot, I really am not a serious gamer, and didn't even know when this game came out. However, what I give you is an honest opinion, not trying to balance anything out or trying to make something look better or worse. The bottom line is that this is a great game, it's one of "those" games.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 05/09/11
Game Release: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (US, 10/13/09)
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