Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Review for PS3

On: PS3

A new adventure said to revolve around the 13th century explorer Marco Polo and his voyages.

Review Verdict Read Review
9Out of 10
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Best looking game ever? It's a contender.
Best looking game ever? It's a contender.

Best looking game ever? It's a contender.

Don't get me wrong: I really enjoyed the original Uncharted, but the combination of cover-based third-person shooting and Tomb Raider-esque exploring didn't quite gel together as well as I'd hoped it would. The gun-play at times felt too twitchy, the cover system caused a few headaches and there were some terrible vehicle and on-rails sections - and for what was predominantly a third-person shooter, the lack of multiplayer seemed like a wasted opportunity. Well, it seems as though developer Naughty Dog had very similar feelings; the sequel, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, is a superior game in practically every way. This is the very definition of a triple-A must own title.

Once again you step into the shoes of the stubble-faced Nathan Drake, a descendent of famed explorer Sir Francis Drake. Whereas the first game saw Nate using Drake's journal to find some long lost treasure, this time he's trying to solve a mystery centred on Marco Polo and the infamous journey home from China in 1292. 13 ships disappeared and almost all of Polo's 600 men died. It seems Polo had gone on a mission to find the Cintamani Stone in the mythical kingdom of Shambhala. With the stone said to be worth billions, Nate sets off in an attempt to find the city deep within the Himalayas. Some familiar faces return, a new love interest causes trouble and plenty of double-crossing takes place throughout the adventure that will take you to some of the most stunning locations ever seen in a video game.

In keeping with the whole Indiana Jones vibe that ran throughout the original, Uncharted 2 is laced with funny one-liners, witty comebacks and a general light-hearted tone. At times it seems every bit as family friendly as Spielberg and Lucas' blockbuster movie series, but it's not all PG-rated laughs and hijinks. The story takes some incredibly dark turns, Drake and the rest of the cast really feel the strain at points, and certain events wouldn't seem out of place in a more typically gritty World War shooter. These moments work extremely well and in turn make the characters more likeable in the process, giving them a human side that had been previously hidden behind the fun and games.

On the surface the core gameplay is near identical to that found in the first game, with Nate being just as comfortable firing an AK47 as he is leaping across a chasm to a small ledge a thousand feet above the ground. It won't take too long to see how Naughty Dog has tweaked things for the better though, with the gun-play and cover system being smoother and more refined, making for an altogether more enjoyable third-person shooter. Moving from cover to cover still doesn't feel as slick as it does in Epic's Gears of War series, with Nate occasionally refusing to do what you want him to, but it's far better than in the original, and aiming no longer feels excessively twitchy.

The snowy locations are incredible

The snowy locations are incredible

Brand new to the game is the ability to pick up riot shields and move while in cover. You're limited here to a side-arm, but in the right hands you can still do some serious damage with a series of well-timed headshots. Moving and shooting while using the zoomed in over the shoulder view is slow, but you can also run and gun by holding down just the trigger button while moving. Aiming here isn't nearly as easy, but at times it's great to be able to offer some resistance while moving at greater than a snail's pace. Adding some seat-of-your-pants, no-time-to-think gameplay are a number of chase sequences that see Nate running through the environment trying to avoid incoming attacks. You're funnelled along a certain path here, but the sequences look incredible and work far better than what could easily have been another ill-advised series of Quick Time Events.

Melee combat doesn't work quite as well, with Nate's punches feeling slightly sluggish, but the simple system allows for instant take downs if you approach an enemy unseen; there's also a more bar brawl-like style if you find yourself up close and in a tricky spot. Enemies will usually take a few blows before Nate will need to counter, but the window of opportunity is fairly large and easy enough to spot for all but the most novice of gamers. It's fair to say that you're better off sticking to the plethora of weapons whenever possible. There's always a gun lying around or ammo to pick up, so you'll never feel like the game is forcing you to go into battle with just your fists.

It's somewhat of a shame that the end of the game gets a little bogged down by too many snipers and enemies with RPGs. It's nowhere near as bad as the worst sections in the original game, but it still makes for very frustrating gameplay - especially as the checkpoint placement isn't overly generous during long, drawn out firefights. It would have been far better had Naughty Dog relied on the impressive enemy AI to cause problems, and perhaps thrown in more of the hard to take down soldiers instead of overloading closed areas with missiles, grenades and laser sights.

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Highest Rated Comment

bencrosaby's Avatar

bencrosaby

Some people are hung up on hype. These types of people flock to Metacritic a few days before release, notice the reviewer has made a criticism about their beloved game and not given it a 10. They then proceed to spam the site with 'this reviewer hasn't played the game enough'/'Other rubbish games got the same score' comments having only scanned the review briefly.

Similar things have happened with the Disaster: Day of Crisis and Red Steel reviews from my memory (both of which earned themselves a deserved 4/10)

Not only will this continue to happen in hyped games' reviews, it will also happen alot more often now that VideoGamer.com is getting a hell of a lot more popular.
Posted 22:43 on 30 September 2009

User Comments

Shark82's Avatar

Shark82@ thompo555

NO, 10/10 just means it's the best of the best. That doesn't mean perfect. This is from Videogamer's own grading rubric: "A 10/10 game on VideoGamer.com does not mean the game is perfect, it simply means that the game does things its genre has never seen before, that gamers have never seen before and that we here have never seen before."

Official X-Box Magazine gives a better description, because their 10s are "Classics" while Vidogamer calls them masterpieces, which kinda contradicts the whole "not perfect" aspect. Still, a 10 is a legitimate score if the game is among the best of its kind, like Mass Effect and BioShock.

This is a quote from OXM that goes into a little more detail addressing confusion among "perfect" scores: "Don't think of 10 as perfect; think of 10 as the highest praise we can award. Olympic gold medalitsts rarely get perfect marks, but they get the highest honor. So why not just to to Olympic rankings? Because there's more gradation in what we see than marely "Good, Better, Best." Games are creative expressions that might excel in one area and fail miserably in another. It's unfair to hold games to an unattainable standard of perfection and never award the tp honor as a result of pure mathematics. We cheekily added the "11:Perfect" to our range of scores because other people began projecting their misinterpretations and assumptions onto our clearly defined scale.

So the OXM 10 is our strongest endorsement for a game that is as good as you can expect to find-realistically, since games are made by human beings and not besotted fanboys with irrational expectations. And all 10s aren't the same because all games aren't the same. High scores are awarded for different reasons-narrative, technical, emotional, historical, creative, maybe all of the above. But to find out exactly why each game earned a 10...you've gotta read the words. They're not just filler between screenshots."

In other words, some people look at the score and blow a fuse without ever actually reading the review for some reasoning. Besides, Videogamer uses a whole number scoring rubric, as in no digits like "9.2" or something. OXM goes by .5s(8.5, 9.0, 9.5, etc.). So, there's not a whole lot of room for error. IGN on the other hand goes by digits, meaning they can afford to give a game a very high score while still pointing out it's not "perfect." Bioshock, for instance, recieved a 9.7 from them, only .3 away from a 10.
Posted 14:31 on 17 October 2009
JediKnight's Avatar

JediKnight

Wonderful review. Picking this one up.
Posted 23:00 on 13 October 2009
Rolo18's Avatar

Rolo18

Yes, my love is as sweet as the candy..... ;)
Posted 19:31 on 04 October 2009
thompo555's Avatar

thompo555@ rbevanx

Yeh was a good add!
Posted 19:07 on 04 October 2009
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx

I loved the ad thinking about it


YouTube Video
Posted 18:48 on 04 October 2009
thompo555's Avatar

thompo555@ Mr_Ninjutsu

lol
Posted 18:26 on 04 October 2009
Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar

Mr_Ninjutsu@ thompo555

Well i remember asking my local corner shop bloke if he had any Rolo packets that contain more than the norm, he replied, " No! But we do have hairless babies in the back for £9.99, or mix and match 2 for £18?" i quickly left and never returned.
Posted 18:23 on 04 October 2009
thompo555's Avatar

thompo555

There is only 10/11 in a pack though...
Posted 18:19 on 04 October 2009
Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar

Mr_Ninjutsu@ Rolo18

And thats why you dont review games. Sure your entitled to your opinion on the matter, and so Tom Orry is rightfully entitled to his opinion on game, on any game to be honest. That's why their opinion on Killzone 2 is featured on the actual trailer, otherwise it wouldn't.
Posted 18:17 on 04 October 2009
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx@ Rolo18

Click for Image

Sorry Rolo18 I didn't take any of that in. I was too busy thinking about Rolo's mate.
Posted 18:09 on 04 October 2009
thompo555's Avatar

thompo555@ Rolo18

Ok so their bias? About what? Will you guys just leave it out.. the decition is final... end of
Posted 18:07 on 04 October 2009
Rolo18's Avatar

Rolo18

This score for the game is horrible. Now, I love the Videogamer.com podcast, it's the best gaming podcast, period. Every week I put that one on the side of my normal list of shows for when I'm feeling down, and after listening to it, i perk right back up.

But one thing is for sure: This site is run by Xbox fanboys that are so afraid to admit when Sony does something spectacular that they have to lower the score from the one that it truly deserves. But don't worry VG, you're not the only one, so you can hide the bias among all the other sites that do the same thing. I still love the podcast and I'm going to keep tuning in every week and laugh my buns off.
Posted 17:40 on 04 October 2009
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev@ Dark_Ninja69

LOLLY!!!!!!!"journalistic integrity" he says! ROFLicking the dirt!!!!!!
Posted 04:39 on 04 October 2009
Dark_Ninja69's Avatar

Dark_Ninja69@ El-Dev

LOL!!!!!!!! "journalistic integrity" he says! ROFL!!!!!!
Posted 04:10 on 04 October 2009
redhotchilli's Avatar

redhotchilli

this game is a 10/10 for me cant wait!!
Posted 22:49 on 02 October 2009

Game Stats

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
9
Out of 10
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
  • Multiplayer modes are great
  • Loads of incredible moments
  • Gorgeous visuals
  • Combat can frustrate towards the end
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 16/10/2009
Platform: PS3
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: Action
No. Players: 1-10
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 1,342 41
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