please rate this review: Uncharted 2
HIGH: Fighting enemies in a building as it is falling.
LOW: Playing through another drawn out gun fight after finishing one two minutes prior.
WTF: DRAKE!!!!! Why did you jump sideways to your death when I said jump straight.
Ever since 3-d video games were introduced around fifteen years ago, there have been many games that have tried to replicate the cinematic experience present in blockbuster movies, many of them highly successful in doing so. By combining great story telling with cinematic style cutscenes that usually feature prerendered visuals and most of their story's dialog, these games created experiences praised by many for capturing the essence of cinematic story telling. Unfortunately that cinematic experience has never truly lived past the end of the cutscenes. Developer Naughty Dog has now changed this with the release of the PS3 exclusive Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (follow up to 2007's Uncharted: Drake's Fortune). Uncharted 2 not only secedes in extending its cinematic feel past the cutscenes, but also offers an experience that rivals big-budget action/adventure movies.
Uncharted 2 follows the storyline of series protagonist Nathan Drake as he follows clues left behind by Marco Polo and embarks on a dramatic, action packed adventure to locate the lost city of Shangri-la. Accompanying Drake in this adventure is a cast of some of the best developed and voiced characters I have ever seen in a video game. Elena and Sully returned from the first game along with a few new faces, and each character was literally oozing with personality. Drake was still the witty, never thinks things through hero who always seems to have a streak of bad luck, and Sully was still the old geezer with bad taste in women and always looking for a big pay day. While Elena's role as the gotta get the story no matter what reporter was toned down, her sarcastic personality still perfectly complemented that of Drake's, and the chemistry they had with one another was so realistic and charming that I had no problem instantly falling in love with them.
While being able to generate the level of character development present in uncharted 2 is a great accomplishment on its own, the game really began to separate itself from others in the way it incorporated its action sequences into the gameplay. For starters, the game was littered with them. There were so many instances in which Drake would unexpectedly fall through floors or have to run and gun while being chased by a large vehicle that every time Drake would turn the corner I found myself wondering what was going to happen next. These examples were just crumbs at the bottom of the bag when compared to exhilarating set pieces such participating in a gun fight inside a collapsing building. What really made these set pieces so great was the fact that not a single one of them was a quick time event. Instead of occasionally pressing a button or two during these great moments, each of these set pieces happened at unexpected moments during real time gameplay.
As for the gameplay itself, there's really not much to say about it. Uncharted 2 uses the same basic gameplay mechanics as Drake's Fortune, although it has been slightly improved upon. The puzzles are a little more intricate, enemies can now be brought down with a more reasonable number of shots, and the hand to hand combat is actually quite good this time around. Not to mention there's a lot more verity. Not all has improved however, as a few sins from the past make a return. One of the things I didn't like about Drake's fortune was the fact that the gun battles were repetitive and overly drawn out. Uncharted 2 suffers from this same flaw, especially towards the end. While this is in no way game breaking,(seeing how there were less gun fights this time around) when combined with twitchy character movement and a buggy cover system, it slowed down the games other wise fast and exciting pace.
While the essential gameplay elements of Uncharted 2 were nothing new, comprised of basic platforming and shooting with a little stealth and puzzle solving thrown in, it was perfectly combined with the action set pieces, story, cinematics, and voice acting to form one gigantic twelve hour long shot of cinematic adrenaline who's potency was unmatched by any I have seen before it. Not only did the cinematic experience of Uncharted 2 surpass that of previous video games, but some of the big budget action/adventure movies in Hollywood as well.
Last edited by coyls3; 12-19-2009 at 04:15 PM.