Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Review

Every console has a game or series that defines it — something that stands out above the others. The Super Mario, Sonic The Hedgehog, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Halo, and Gears of War series have all filled that role in the past. Now, the PlayStation 3 has its own defining game and series thanks to Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

Nathan Drake’s latest adventure is a game that will make every PlayStation 3 owner happy. It’s a great, standout game that is definitely one of the year’s best. At the same time, it isn’t perfect. A few shortcomings and minor aggravations prevent it from a perfect score, but addictive gameplay, an immersive story, beautiful graphics, and an amazing soundtrack make this a classic.

Nathan Drake's latest adventure hangs amonst the greats

The story begins a few years after Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. Nathan Drake has seemed to have taken a break from fortune hunting after his experience with El Dorado. However an old acquaintance of Drake’s, Harry Flynn, proposes a job surrounding the mysterious disappearance of Marco Polo’s treasure fleet. This chance at uncovering such a huge historical secret is enough to get Drake back into the game.

This is arguably one of the best-told videogame stories of all time. From the opening cutscene, where a bloodied and befuddled Nathan Drake awakens inside a cliff-hanging train car, it sucks you in. The game always feels like you’re right in the middle of an action/adventure movie. The betrayal, witty wisecracks, comic relief, drama, and suspense all keep you glued to the screen. The story is very character driven and will keep players invested in everyone involved. It’s so well told that players will find a hard time pulling themselves away. You will want to know how Drake will get out of his latest mess, if any of the characters in peril will make it out alive, and when the next twist that unravels the mystery surrounding Marco Polo’s fleet will come.

Gameplay is another addictive part of the game. While it is pretty much the same as the original, the controls have been slightly improved. A fresh new melee system introduces counters, and the game does a great job of balancing duck-and-cover and run-and-gun gameplay. However, many of the same problems from the original also pop up. You will try to roll away from fire only to instead take cover facing your enemies and thus be in clear view for them to shoot you. Also, melee animations turn Drake into free target practice until the sequence ends. This can lead to some extremely frustrating moments.

Platforming in Uncharted 2 is the same as before. Most of it is pretty straightforward and easy to find, with hints being offered in case you are stuck. Unfortunately there are situations where the hints are unclear and not very helpful, telling you where you need to end up instead of where you should begin. Despite this and the gunfight shortcomings, the gameplay is still extremely addicting and will keep you engaged.

When it comes to graphics, no series seems to do it better than the Uncharted games. Drake’s Fortune was amazing when it released and Among Thieves has topped the graphics department yet again. The snow in this game is extremely realistic, gathering on characters’ clothes and making the proper footprints or path marks from dragging legs through shin-high areas. The scenery is breathtaking, especially the backgrounds. One of the most memorable scenes in the game is the train sequence. The background constantly changes and you never see the same exact background twice. Add to it the fact that the background is beautifully detailed the entire time and it becomes a bar-setting moment for gaming. Among Thieves is by far one of the best-looking games (if not the best) ever.

It takes more than a great script to tell a good story. Great vocal talent and an amazingly engaging soundtrack are also a necessity in order to hook players. Uncharted 2 delivers completely on both. All of the actors and actresses nail their lines and roles perfectly in what is the best vocal work I have ever heard in a videogame. Every character is voiced beautifully, and the game’s music is exceptional. Every piece from the score sets the perfect tone for the situation and fully immerses you in the story.

Uncharted 2

A standout feature in Uncharted 2 is undoubtedly its multiplayer. The game has several different game variants to choose from in competitive play. From deathmatch, to territories, to capture the flag, Among Thieves has a competitive gametype for just about everyone. The multiplayer also does a great job of taking the duck-and-cover of Gears of War, the run-and-gun gameplay and boost system from Modern Warfare, and gametypes from Halo and others, and bringing it all into one completely addictive package. While it may borrow a lot from other games, the combination is fresh, addictive, and unique.

On the co-op side of multiplayer, there are a few different modes: a fun survival mode, a survival/retrieval gametype called “gold rush,” and an objective mode. The goal in gold rush is to obtain treasures that spawn on the map and bring them back to a specific area while waves of enemies come at you. In the objective mode, players will work together to take down a few waves of enemies, then perform combined platforming in order to move on to the next section on their way to the treasure at the end of the level. It’s a fun way to slay baddies and work together with others while raking up cash to buy multiplayer upgrades. While it does seem odd at first that the co-op is only for three players, the feeling will go away once in the heat of battle. Rest assured, three-player co-op in Uncharted 2 works very, very well.

When it comes down to it, Uncharted 2 is the game PlayStation 3 owners have been waiting for. It comes complete with a great story, addictive gameplay, a wonderful soundtrack, and addictive co-op and competitive multiplayer. A few gameplay aggravations keep it from being perfect, but Among Thieves definitely stands tall amongst this year’s finest. This is a sure-fire Game of the Year candidate, a definite must-own for all PlayStation 3 owners, and the game that will give several non-owners serious thought into finally picking up the system. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is, without a doubt, the definitive PlayStation 3 game.


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Author: Mike Murphy View all posts by
Mike has been playing games for over two decades. His earliest memories are of shooting ducks and stomping goombas on NES, and over the years, the hobby became one of his biggest passions. Mike has worked with GamerNode as a writer and editor since 2009, giving you news, reviews, previews, a voice on the VS Node Podcast, and much more.

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