Uncharted 2 Among Thieves Review (PS3)
The thing that bothers me the most about video games today is that most of the time the parts you want to play are in the cut scenes. Sure they look good, but damn-it I want to play the game not watch it! I am tired of putting down my controller to watch a cool action scene that I have no control over whatsoever. So why am I complaining? Because Uncharted 2 gets as close to letting you play those over the top moments as any game ever has. It blends a good story with some amazing over the top action, which you actually get to play through!
The best way I can describe the Graphics in Uncharted 2 is to say…damn! This is an awesome looking game. The level of polish put into this is extraordinary. It doesn’t raise the bar in terms of detail, but it just does every graphic nuance right. The lighting is spot on, textures are great, character models are clean, and the art direction is top notch. I did run into a few issues here and there. In the last 2 chapters of the game whole buildings would disappear while I was climbing in them. It only happened a few times so hopefully this is not a common bug. Other then that there is not much you can criticize this game for when it comes to visuals. It’s bright and colorful with a brilliant art direction. Probably the best overall mix of visuals and art design since Bioshock.
When you have a game like Uncharted you must have a good story, and for the most part it delivers. The narrative is woven into the game very nicely with cinematics that are very entertaining, and don’t wear out there welcome. Too many games have over thought out movies that drag on forever while you cry out in agony…JUST LET ME PLAY THE FREAKING GAME ALREADY! Uncharted 2’s cinematics are fun and broken up so that they never feel long or winded.
While the story is nice and moves you along briskly, there are some issues I have with it. The first 3 chapters of the game are fairly boring when compared to the rest of the game. At first you might be a little disappointed because you thought this was fast paced game. Luckily there are over 20 chapters to the game, and about 90% of them are really well paced and loads of fun. The game is not very long, I finished in about 9 hours, but I guess its not that short either. It seems about the perfect length for this type of game.
If I had to nit pick I would say that there are a few moments in the game that have plot holes, but being a video game you have to suspend disbelief a little, even though it can be hard sometimes. I also thought the ending could have been better. The game does a great job of building up the story and suspense of what is going to happen, but once you get to the end I felt like it didn’t live up to the rest of the game. It was a better ending then a lot of games I have played, but I just thought such a good game deserved a great ending, but in reality we get a predictable ending with a fairly boring boss fight.
To be honest I am not much of a fan when it comes to this type of game. I have hated every Tomb Raider game which I have played, and I only played a small portion of the first Uncharted. I liked the first game, but the controls were not up to snuff so I just could not continue on. Fortunately there is no such issue when it comes to Uncharted 2. Gunplay has improved quite a bit, which now makes the fight segments much more enjoyable. There are still some issues with the cover system and overall controls, but they are not deal breakers. Just be prepared to die a few times because the controls would not let you take cover.
The one thing that shocked me was how challenging this game could be at times, even when set on Normal difficulty. The A.I. in the game really tries to kick your ass. Staying in cover for too long is never a good idea since the enemy is really adept at putting grenades at your feet. They will also flank you quite effectively if you don’t keep moving and adapting. This fast paced gameplay really makes the game much better, as in the first game I found the firefights way to easy. This time around you actually feel as if you are in real danger all the time.
The second part of the gameplay dynamic in Uncharted is the platforming. Why we love to climb ledges and overhangs is something I will never understand. But we like it, and Uncharted does it with gusto. If you played Assassins Creed then Uncharted 2 will feel very familiar. The climbing and jumping feels very similar. Uncharted 2 is not quite as smooth as AC, but it has a little more weight to it, more of a feeling of peril. The only thing that bothered me about the platforming was that it felt rather easy. In previous games similar to this there were more challenging elements to the platforming. Don’t get me wrong, it was a lot of fun, but it just lacked any kind of challenge. Overall the gameplay in Uncharted 2 is great. The cover system could have used some more work, but its still better then many other games.
The only part of Uncharted 2 that did not hook me was the Multiplayer. While the technical side of the MP is well done, I just never found myself having much fun playing it. The controls just did not lend themselves online play and there were no original game types that made me want to stay around and play more. I am sure that many people will like the online in this game, its definitely not bad by any means. I just personally found it to be boring. I would encourage another member of our writing team to do a full review of the Multiplayer component, as I just could not get into it enough.
Uncharted 2 is am amazing game no doubt. It takes a genre that I never enjoyed and nails it in almost every area. If you own a PS3 this game is a must have. Even though I found the Multiplayer to be a waste of time I still think the single player campaign is worth the price of admission alone.
Uncharted 2, Among Thieves gets 4.5 out of 5