Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

People say Uncharted 2 was the best game of the franchise. After having played them all, I’m inclined to agree for a multitude of reasons.

Among Thieves starts you hanging for dear life over a snowy cliff, from a dilapidated train car that falls apart while you climb it. For those of us scared of heights but not really rattled when you can’t see the thousands of feet you’ll fall to your death – or those of us used to platformers, it’s not really a big deal, we’ve already learned Uncharted doesn’t let us die on platforming sequences unless we make it happen, but the overall desperation of the scenario is not lost. Admittedly I died several times throughout the course of the game because I wasn’t used to PS3, not having owned a PS since the PS2, so I would hit Circle and fall to my doom on several occasions in Uncharted, and I still did it a few times in Deception. It’s a pretty cool opening sequence, though you feel like “Uh ok I feel like I’ve missed 14 or so chapters of story here.” Then you don’t really get to do much before you pass out and are treated to some cinema.

Sure wish the graphics were that good,

I have to say I found the museum sequence completely predictable, though it was entertaining and I got to add some dialogue to my favorite lines in games:

There’s a guy above you, above you!

*Shoots guy with tranquilizer, and guy falls over your head into the sea/river*

There’s a guy below you, below you!


That seriously confused me the first time and I was looking around like “What?”, before realizing it was humor. Then I guffawed quite a bit.

As far as game-play goes, the platforming is entirely easy and hardly any challenge at all – there weren’t more than maybe 20 seconds the entire game that I spent confused about where to go. The puzzles were also very easy, even with the cryptic clues, and the only time I wasn’t sure of what to do was the pressure plate puzzle. I’m not complaining, I don’t want them to be stupidly hard and non-sequitur.

One of the best things about Uncharted 2, if I had to pick one, is that the combat isn’t unnecessarily hard. In Drake’s Fortune you spent pretty much the entire game getting your shit kicked in, capable of dying at any time. At any fraction of a second, you could go from kicking ass to getting murdered and having to do it all over again. In Uncharted 2 they still have ass kicking enemies that can murder you, but even the armored guy with the mini-gun can be dispatched with the readily available RPGs. I’m a veteran of third person shooters and I have to say that Drake’s Fortune was a painful experience – I almost quit the game. Uncharted 2, even while a tank was murdering me and I was mysteriously getting insta-rocketed by enemies that couldn’t possibly have seen me, didn’t make me feel like it was trolling me for putting the disc in.

Combat mechanics were also much improved, like having three different ways to throw grenades. Honestly, one of the things that enraged me the most in Fortune was the end when you kill what’s-his-face’s lieutenant guy. He has a completely OP shotgun that fires like 30 shells before reloading and does way too much damage. Meanwhile, all his droogs shoot you and destroy the boxes you hide behind. In contrast, the boss fight in Among Thieves was entertaining, and not just a test of how many times you could shoot the same person in the head before you died. The villain himself was also much better.

The best thing, in relative terms, about Among Thieves versus the other games? It has bonus features beyond just artwork. You can cheat and get guns, infinite ammo, whatever. Now you can use whatever gun you want instead of over and over again having to make a decision which gun to stick with: Keep the AK which always has ammo or take the M4 and hope someone drops one soon? No more. This is desperately missed in Deception, we assume by design.

The graphics and overall scenery of Among Thieves are also much improved over the original. Admittedly Fortune had some cool set-pieces, like a German U-Boat in the middle of Panama, or the Fort, but that was about the entirety of them. Jungle, caves, and more jungle. Uncharted 2 takes you from some island, to the Turkish skyline, to the Borneo, then to Nepal and the Himalyas and Shan-gri-la. All the while, it’s all beautiful. The textures are much improved over the seemingly flat-shaded skins of the characters in Fortune, and over all everything looks better.

As Nathan says in Deception, everything he touches turns to shit. So unfortunately while we are treated to these environments which Naughty Dog must have poured a hell of a lot of time and soul into, we only get to see the last area for about an hour before we blow it all up. It’s a shame in my opinion but at least we got to see it, and they aren’t exactly hurting for success.

I really like Uncharted, the entire series, but I’m not going to call it what it isn’t. Let’s be honest, it’s Indiana Jones. Indiana Jones is the best Indiana Jones movie: there are more like National Treasure and The Librarian, Indie does it best. The best Indiana Jones style novels are written by Matthew Reilly, such as the “7 Deadly Wonders” trilogy.

And, sorry Lara, Eidos, Drake is the best Indiana Jones game (Yea that includes you, Lego Jones.) The games follow the Jones story frame almost to the letter. Some guy, we don’t know much about him yet, is involved in something. People want to kill him, because it turns out people don’t like him, justified or not. It turns out he’s hunting treasure/knowledge. Other people want it. Guy teams up with people and trusts them, gets betrayed. He thinks he has the knowledge that only the secret elite-monk of hidden legend bestowed, but the other guys learned it too. The enemy spends the entire always with the advantage but the good guy wins, even though some people end up dying.

Again, no complaint from me. I can’t wait for what’s next after the Last of Us. I give Uncharted 2 a 10 out of 10.


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