Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Preview for PS3

On: PS3
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9Out of 10
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Uncharted 2: Among Thieves screenshot
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves screenshot

Heavy Rain, God of War 3, MAG. These are some of the high profile releases heading to PS3 in the near future. There's just one problem: none are set to arrive in stores until 2010. With such heavy hitters scheduled for the first part of next year, you might think that the PS3 would be lacking any serious triple-A releases this holiday, but you'd be wrong. There's the small matter of Naughty Dog's Uncharted 2.

We were privy to an exclusive demonstration showing off a brand-new level set in the snowy mountains of the Himalayas, chosen specifically for gamescom 2009 to highlight exploration and puzzle solving gameplay.

From the off it's clear that this is a stunning looking title, one that each and every Xbox 360 gamer (even PC gamers) will be jealous of this October. Nate is stood perilously close to the edge of a mountain face, with Naughty Dog community manager Arne Meyer unashamedly swooping the camera around to show off the stunning vistas and impressive draw distance. Eyes were tired from another late night, but this is as close to photo realism as we've seen on PS3.

Graphical chest-pounding over it was time to begin. We pick up the game with Nate in the middle of his search for a jewelled dagger, about to enter a cave in the hope of finding proof of its existence. Joining Nate is local guide Tenzin. He doesn't speak English, and Nate doesn't know if he can be fully trusted, but right now he has no other option. Meyer says this element of trust, with a double-cross always on the cards, runs throughout the game.

Almost immediately upon entering the cave it's time for the first of many switches or levers which Nate - sometimes with the assistance of Tenzin - must activate in order to successfully reach a statue he spotted moments earlier. Here, two floor pads must be activated concurrently so Nate and his Himalayan hombre each step onto a pad, resulting in a series of ledges appearing on which Nate can ascend. After a small climb it's time for another cooperative moment; Nate pulls one lever and then shouts over to Tenzin to pull another, resulting in three rotating pillars, which had previously been out of reach, being lowered to such a position that Nate can leap across to them.

After successfully traversing the rotating pillars it was on to a large rotating cog, then to a beam and then to another, even larger cog. Then came what appeared to be Nate's first real sign of danger: a huge spinning wheel which blocked the only way forward. As luck would have it a small section of the wheel was missing some spokes, so it was just a matter of correctly timing the jump in order to pass through unharmed. As we thought, the wheel proved itself a worthy foe, taking Nate's life three or four times before Meyer got his timing right - it was the first demo of the day so he can be forgiven.

What followed was a series of more rope swinging, wall climbing, lever pulling and pressure pads. The demo ended with a co-op switch activating a bridge which raised out of the water below, allowing Nate and Tenzin to sprint across to a jewel that had revealed itself. And that was it. Demo over.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves screenshot

So what's missing? We watched a 15 minute demonstration and there was no combat. It wasn't even that Meyer chose to avoid trouble; even if he'd gone looking he wouldn't have found any. It's all very Tomb Raider, with the focus entirely on exploration and puzzle solving. In fact, had the demo featured the lovely Lara Croft, rather than the ruggedly handsome Mr Drake, we would have thought the game to be the next instalment in the Tomb Raider franchise. Whether that's a good thing will likely come down to personal preference.

Action junkies, desperate for the crack of gunfire will be pleased to hear that Naughty Dog hasn't removed combat altogether; you can expect to spend around half your time in the game shooting bad men in the head, or crouched behind a pillar waiting to jump out and pop a cap in anything that moves.

There's no question that Uncharted 2 will raise the bar for in-game visuals, with this alone likely to be enough to ensure solid sales, but without some extended hands-on time it's not possible to say if Nate and co can deliver the triple-A experience PS3 gamers are seeking this holiday.

Uncharted 2: Drake's Fortune is scheduled for release in October only on PS3.

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8 Comments

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JACKNIFE_09's Avatar

JACKNIFE_09@ breedo_b

Naughty Dog have said that UC2 will be about 40% puzzle/platforming and 60% action. They said the first UC was about 30% puzzle/platforming and 70% action. So they are listening to fans, like me!! In my opinion this will be Game Of The year, but thats my opinion. I loved the first one and now this one has tons of different levels and variety, plus online co-op and an Awesome multiplayer mode!
Posted 08:50 on 25 August 2009
thompo555's Avatar

thompo555

I thought that the first game was briliant although im not so keen on the zombies at the end. Less action is a good thing for me, thats aslong as they dont end up almost removing it. I cant wait and its going to be great!
Posted 21:45 on 21 August 2009
jakeistheman's Avatar

jakeistheman

want this game so bad ,nice news about the balancing aswell.
Posted 21:28 on 21 August 2009
Ghost_Dog's Avatar

Ghost_Dog

Less combat =Count me in!
Posted 13:35 on 21 August 2009
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev

Too much combat in the first game so I'm glad to hear the balance has been adjusted a bit.

Absolutely cannot wait for this game, the first one is my favourite game this gen.
Posted 13:16 on 21 August 2009
dudester's Avatar

dudester

I for one am not bothered by more platforming etc it is what it is and it does it damn well. I don't think it needs to pigeon hole itself as one or the other.
Posted 11:40 on 21 August 2009
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Uncharted 2 sounds like its catering for both action junkies and explorers and puzzle breakers.

Drakes Fortune was more combat oriented than the platforming to say the least. I liked Drakes Fortune, so I'm not complaining. Its nice to hear there balancing it out more for gamers who like to digest a puzzle first then a mild combat section.

One to look out for this year.
Posted 11:30 on 21 August 2009
breedo_b's Avatar

breedo_b

What made Uncharted so good was how it split between action sequences and platforming. Most fans on forums want more platforming as there was plenty of combat in the original. I'm sure this will be the case in Uncharted 2 but I don't see how watching a 15 minute demo of a platforming/puzzle section can question whether this game will be triple-A? We've already seen the first demo of action which looked amazing so I think this was just to show that Uncharted 2 will stay true to its predecessor.
Posted 09:50 on 21 August 2009

Game Stats

Release Date: 16/10/2009
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: Action
No. Players: 1-10
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 1,260 12
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