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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User Comments

Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar

Mr_Ninjutsu@ Karlius

ok infact this annoyed me now. Its not idiotic bumbling. You know what you...are...a...massive...PRICK!

I was saying that these reviews will help me structure my own reviews that i have to do. So it wasn't some idiotic bumbling.
Posted 07:50 on 01 October 2009
Miguel_Zorro's Avatar

Miguel_Zorro@ Mr_Ninjutsu

Let's just agree to disagree. One fact that I've noticed is that while these reviewers try to convince us that a 5-6 is an "average" game, the review scores do not reflect that. An average game gets a 7, at worse? A 10 doesn't mean a game is perfect any more than a 5 means that a game is average.

Case in point, the other review that is up right now:
http://www.videogamer.com/ps3/heroes.../review-2.html
The reviewer doesn't really like it, but still rates it a 6. RIGHT UNDERNEATH THAT 6, the word "disappointing" appears.

All I'm asking for is a clear, consistent rating scale. If the rating isn't important, then don't include it.
Posted 00:37 on 01 October 2009
Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar

Mr_Ninjutsu

I think its about time to put the ridiculous arguments to rest. Seeing as its not our job to review it but merely read it.
Posted 22:58 on 30 September 2009
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
Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar

Mr_Ninjutsu@ vrc

which was what?
Posted 21:25 on 30 September 2009
vrc's Avatar

vrc

I just find it hilarious that this originated from the misinterpretation of a post that I made.
Posted 21:25 on 30 September 2009
jakeistheman's Avatar

jakeistheman

well this is a little odd where did most of you people come from. getting back on track honestly i think it deserves a 9.5 and to all the people complaining or trying to calibrate VG s reviews shut up ok its an opinion i can go on my friends web site and give the game a 9.5 because its my opinion if you don't like it to bad its toms opinion and i don't think hes guna change it cause u said that his review is garbage its his opinion let him have it and go back to metacritic.
Posted 21:00 on 30 September 2009
thompo555's Avatar

thompo555@ rbevanx

*applauds*
+1
Posted 20:50 on 30 September 2009
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx

I think Tom Orry and Neon do great reviews. They clearly say what are the positives and negatives in a game.
And lets be fair, everygame have both.
If you don't like their reviews on the site, go to the doctors and get your head examined because there is something really wrong with you.
Posted 19:30 on 30 September 2009
Fernandobeto's Avatar

Fernandobeto

I don't know why everyone wants perfect scores. I remember a time when a perfect score was one of the most hallowed of titles, given only a few times a GENERATION, to the titles that were good enough to be spiritual experiences. I haven't play Uncharted 2 so I don't know if it is or it isn't I'm just sayin. I think what's clear is that Uncharted 2 is a stellar game that just makes the PS3 library look that much better. Which is great for PS3 owners indeed.

*link removed* ~Rogue
Posted 19:22 on 30 September 2009
Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar

Mr_Ninjutsu

I know what you are doing and your comparing games to each other when clearly Halo 3/ ODST are different styles of games compared to uncharted 2.

The fighting system, shooting system etc etc are completely different and all game should be treated as a stand-alone game and be reviewed individually. Unless of course if it is a continuation of a franchise then it can be compared. So you can see the Halo franchise progressively become better and better, its the same with Uncharted 2. Its improved massively from the first instalment by adding multiplayer and an even more epic storyline and environments to explore.

But obviously if a game came out that was generic then it would get a low score, thats why so many games are coming out with ok scores like the recent GI Joe game which is an appalling game because it brings nothing new to any genre at all.

Developers are being forced to create completely new IP's and with that new technology so they can further go transformations on how a game is played and how playable it is or appealing it is to the target consumer.

A prime example of this is Nintendo Wii, they have always been a casual to hardcore gaming system and they knew developing the same old games would be hard to sell the console and generate revenue, so they revolutionised the way we play a game and took a step back and thought, "hmmm...how can we appeal to everyone?" because the joypad isn't an easy thing to figure out for the every day person, so Nintendo created a control system that everyone can do, and so Nintendo came up with motion control. And its a great success, clearly.

The point being is that each game needs to be reviewed on what they have brought to the genre, what new exciting features have they enabled the user to have and utilize or from a graphical view. That's what makes a good review, and that is what Tom Orry has done.
Posted 17:28 on 30 September 2009
Miguel_Zorro's Avatar

Miguel_Zorro@ Mr_Ninjutsu

You guys aren't seeing my point. I'm not even disputing the 9, really. To be honest, I'm normally on the side telling the fan boys to calm down, that 9 is a pretty good score, etc. etc.

.. and I'm not questioning anyone's journalistic integrity. Perhaps it's just a matter of taste, which is fine. I just don't get how a game like Prince of Persia, which is the most monotonous, repetitive game that I've played on the PS3, can have the same score as Uncharted 2. Are you really saying that those games are equally good? Halo ODST game out this month, and it's widely panned as a cynical ploy on the part of Microsoft to milk the franchice - yet that $60 expansion pack also received a 9.

I'm just not seeing the calibration. I'm actually one of those in favour of using a 10 point scale, rather than the 6-10 range that most sites seem to rate within (unless a game is completely horrible). Maybe Uncharted 2 is a 9, but if it is, a bunch of other games that have been rated equally high should really be 6's, 7's or 8's.
Posted 17:01 on 30 September 2009
Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar

Mr_Ninjutsu@ Karlius

Yea exactly, think about it years and years ago, pong would have recieved millions of 10/10's because it was ground breaking stuff. But if a game were to be released as similar as the original Pong then it would surely receive a deserving 1/10. 1 because it has multiplayer. xD
Posted 16:24 on 30 September 2009
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman

How amusing that people take the time and effort to trawl through past reviews to see if a game scored 1 point either side of another.

Reviews are personal opinion and maybe Tom enjoyed GTA4, Gears 2 etc that tiny little bit more than he did this game hence a point different. If he gave the game 5/10 you could understand people being upset!
Posted 16:23 on 30 September 2009
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ Miguel_Zorro

At the time GTA IV was groundbreaking. Looking back games have come on a long way even since then. But at that point in time that game was a sure fire 10/10. Now i'm going to put my trust in one of the fairest reviewers I have read.
Posted 16:22 on 30 September 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: 1,531
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