Uncharted 2: Among Thieves


By: Alan Bell    On: PlayStation 3
Published: Thursday 1 Oct 2009 10:30 AM
 
 
 
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The PS3 has had its fair share of defectors when it comes to exclusive titles, with some of the biggest names no longer sucking exclusively at the Sony teat. It's not all bad news for Sony, however as Uncharted, the first Nathan Drake adventure from way back in 2007, looks to have spawned something more than capable of selling PlayStation 3 systems all by itself. Naughty Dog has returned to tell another tale featuring the heroic rogue relation of Sir Francis and by gum if it ain't one of the best games ever made...

First up, a catchup for those new to the franchise: Uncharted is a third-person action adventure, in which you control one Nathan Drake in a Tomb Raider come Prince of Persia style adventure / shooter hybrid. There's platforms that need a-climbing, bad guys that need to be shot at and general excitement that must be experienced.

Drake's Fortune, the first Uncharted, still stands as one of the most cinematic game experiences of all time. Not only did it manage to feel like a movie, it never lost sight of the fact that it was a game. Always fun to play, it engaged the senses like an epic action movie the likes of which Steven Spielberg can only dream of making (these days, it seems anyway). Uncharted 2 doesn't drops the ball in this regard - it even eclipses the lofty heights scaled by the original.

The in-game cinematics are incredible to behold, with fantastic animation and texture work highlighted by a solid script, outstanding voice acting and beautifully scripted cameras. The seamless way in which the game transitions into and out of these sequences ties everything together in a way that only 'Uncharted' before it had managed to pull off. The in-engine sequences are far more impressive than most other developers can churn out pre-rendered and all with no loading.

The characters are so detailed that their every move completely fails to reveal a simple, low-polygon skeleton hiding underneath. In fact, they seem to have real-life musculature and motion-captured animation portraying even fine detailed movements in an incredibly realistic fashion. Combine that with cutting edge lighting and post-processing effects and you've got a jaw-dropping vista to behold.

In game Nathan controls very well, although his moves are occasionally a little bit stilted. After playing a lot of inFamous, you can't help but feel a little deflated when Nathan snaps to an object or twists slightly too fast, pops ever so slightly unrealistically to a ledge he really shouldn't have quite made it to. The thing about approaching perfection, it seems, is that when you do make a mistake it stands out.

Which brings us nicely to the graphics: graphically Uncharted is almost entirely phenomenal. Not just good, great or awesome but truly and utterly incredible. The metallic surfaces and the jungle stand out as being more amazing looking that actual, real things. The way they're lit and the level of depth in the objects and the environment is just indescribable. When you find yourself staring at a temple or a big gold-inlaid object, marvelling at how amazing it is and you're actually playing a videogame you know that the entire industry is on the verge of something remarkable.

This does, however, mean that when they don't get it quite right the result can be quite garish. In a few (just a few) places the environment, lighting or texture work can (by themselves or together) result in something that really doesn't sit as well with the rest of the game. In a lesser game they'd fade in and be perfectly acceptable but in something that's clearly so polished as this they're a bit like a pimple on the nose of a supermodel.

The game play in Uncharted 2 varies a lot across its ten or so hours, starting off with a Splinter Cell-style stealth mode (if you're seen, it's try again time). There's a bunch of other stuff in there which you really don't want to get ruined for you so we'll stay at a high level to avoid any spoilers. Let's just say it's high action, with lots of running, gunning and adrenaline-pumping intensity. There are several "oh my god did that just happen" moments that will definitely come up at the water cooler. If you're at all interested in this game, get it on Day One and avoid people saying "what about the bit when..." and stealing some of the game's thunder from you.

Then there's the multiplayer. New to Uncharted is the ability to participate in urban warfare with your mates (or complete strangers) online. Unfortunately there was no-one online to play with on the review copy of the game but from playing the beta, we can tell you that the experience is worth paying full price for alone. There's no noticeable lag playing in servers all over the world, the mechanics are super sound with fun twists on classic modes and the ability to clamber all over the environment (often pulling your foes from their sniper perch with a deft flick of the wrist) takes the experience into the stratosphere.

If you've been waiting for a reason to buy a PS3, this is it. If you've been hanging out to rub something in your Xbox 360 fanboy friend's face, this is it. Uncharted 2 is one of the best game experiences imaginable and the fun doesn't end as you can take it online or play through it again when you're done. No wonder all the big Christmas releases got pushed back to next year - they didn't want to go up against Drake - and who can blame them? The game of the year race probably just got won.


The Score

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
"Outstanding cinematic brilliance."
9.8
Excellent
Rating: R16   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 15 Min

 

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Comments (37)

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Srassy NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Thursday 1 Oct 2009 10:33 AM Posted by Srassy
Ouch! A 9.8! I'm going to regret not having money. :(
 
 
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Donutta
On Thursday 1 Oct 2009 10:36 AM Posted by Donutta
I don't think I've seen a review for this game that has been under 9. Usually, I'd be suspicious, but the first one still remains one of the best games of this generation and a true example of how to combine gameplay with cinematic pretence. That said, I'm going to wait to get this since it will inevitably go very cheap very quickly.
 
 
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djshinra NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Thursday 1 Oct 2009 10:48 AM Posted by djshinra
Still haven't played the first, since I missed out I'll just wait till this comes down in price and play both of them at the same time.
From all the footage I've seen the score is justified in my mind. The multiplayer beta was pretty good too :)
 
 
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Liam
On Thursday 1 Oct 2009 12:04 PM Posted by Liam
1 October 2009, 10:33 AM Reply to Srassy
Ouch! A 9.8! I'm going to regret not having money. :(
It's either regret having no money or regret having no Uncharted 2. I know which would be worse. =P
 
 
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ChiefHank
On Thursday 1 Oct 2009 12:10 PM Posted by ChiefHank
A DEFINTE for me!! I've already pre-ordered with Mighty Ape, who's offering a free Uncharted 2 tee-shirt if you pre-order. Just one among several other dynamite releases I'm looking forward to this month for the PS3.
 
 
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Soyerz
On Thursday 1 Oct 2009 12:14 PM Posted by Soyerz
Agreed with Srassy :( I guess I will live...
 
 
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nimrod76 NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
On Thursday 1 Oct 2009 12:21 PM Posted by nimrod76
Pre-ordered from Mighty Ape, 15th Oct cant come quickly enough.
 
 
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MatEPoon NZGamer.com VIP VIP
On Thursday 1 Oct 2009 1:07 PM Posted by MatEPoon
This game is getting amazing reviews everywhere.
 
 
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lexcalibur NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
On Thursday 1 Oct 2009 1:24 PM Posted by lexcalibur
Pre-ordered this today, I was gonna wait a while until the dust settled before jumping in but this game has kicked up so much dust that it could take years before the hype died down.

By all accounts this is the unparalleled hit of the PS3, I like Killzone 2 but this may be the first game that will truly deliver on the hype for the black beast.
 
 
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Gazza22 NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
On Thursday 1 Oct 2009 1:29 PM Posted by Gazza22
Nice review.
Cant wait till the 15th. Stayed away from the beta to get the full WOWness that this game will surly provide. Still need to play through the first for the 4th time to prepare.
 
 
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iTry
On Thursday 1 Oct 2009 1:56 PM Posted by iTry
Makes me wonder how GTA4 got 9.9... According to both reviews (the scoring) - The graphics are on par with each other (biggest LOL) - GTA4 graphics were nothing.
 
 
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Ron NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
On Thursday 1 Oct 2009 2:04 PM Posted by Ron
1 October 2009, 01:56 PM Reply to iTry
Makes me wonder how GTA4 got 9.9... According to both reviews (the scoring) - The graphics are on par with each other (biggest LOL) - GTA4 graphics were nothing.
I think you have to look at the context of the era, yeah it's been a small amount of time since GTAIV, but the consoles have moved on since then. Look at ODST and it's use of Halo 3 engine, when Halo 3 dropped it was a pretty polished title, but by todays standards it not that flash on face texturing. It's that whole Zelda OoT vs. any new next gen game and how that rates higher on Gamerankings.com. I'm sure we'll be looking Uncharted 2 in a year and thinking the same thing.
 
 
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Donutta
On Thursday 1 Oct 2009 3:53 PM Posted by Donutta
1 October 2009, 01:56 PM Reply to iTry
Makes me wonder how GTA4 got 9.9... According to both reviews (the scoring) - The graphics are on par with each other (biggest LOL) - GTA4 graphics were nothing.
Since I reviewed GTA IV back in the day, I thought I might actually field this one.

Firstly, I think you're being a bit unrealistic in your expectations. GTA IV presents an entire city full of life that can be accessed without any loading time whatsoever. Naturally, the polygon count per model needs to drop to accommodate for this.

Secondly, graphics scores (at least when I did them) aren't just about the number of polygons. You have to take in the artistic merits of the title too. You'll notice that I gave LocoRoco a 10 for graphics, and that was because its artistic direction still remains head and shoulders above a lot of games released today.

Lastly, you have to remember that reviews are subjective, and what one person thinks should be called good graphics is not what another person thinks should be called graphics. You'd do well to remember that.

For the record, you'll notice that I reviewed the original Uncharted and I gave it a 10 for graphics.
 
 
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The Host of Chaos NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
On Thursday 1 Oct 2009 4:03 PM Posted by The Host of Chaos
Only 9.8? Time to cancel my pre-order.
 
 
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Donutta
On Thursday 1 Oct 2009 4:07 PM Posted by Donutta
I do find the inFamous comment odd; that had some of the worst animation I'd seen in a while. :
 
 
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oilslickjim
On Thursday 1 Oct 2009 5:10 PM Posted by oilslickjim
Yo - OilSlick is definitely going to get this game. Loved the first and been hanging for the second. I laughed at the 360 fanboy comment, as I am an owner of both consoles. The PS3 kicks the 360's butt in all ways, not mention the 360 going back to Microsoft for disc drive failure and then hard drive failure within in it's short life.

Looking forward to grabbing this one as soon as its out!!
 
 
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phantom
On Thursday 1 Oct 2009 6:07 PM Posted by phantom
1 October 2009, 04:07 PM Reply to Donutta
I do find the inFamous comment odd; that had some of the worst animation I'd seen in a while. :
Whether you like the infamous animation or not, that its technically brilliant cannot be denied. Their system allows for seamless transition between unlinked objects in a way that I couldn't break. In Uncharted 2, Drake occasionally glitches between objects and never has the level of "Actually there" feel that is present in inFamous. That said, it's a very minor quibble - only picky reviewers notice this kind of crap :D
 
 
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guido NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Thursday 1 Oct 2009 6:19 PM Posted by guido
Every stellar review that comes out for this game makes the wait for it feel just that much longer?!
 
 
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Donutta
On Thursday 1 Oct 2009 6:22 PM Posted by Donutta
1 October 2009, 06:07 PM Reply to phantom
Whether you like the infamous animation or not, that its technically brilliant cannot be denied. Their system allows for seamless transition between unlinked objects in a way that I couldn't break. In Uncharted 2, Drake occasionally glitches between objects and never has the level of "Actually there" feel that is present in inFamous. That said, it's a very minor quibble - only picky reviewers notice this kind of crap :D
Ah, I get what you're on about now.
 
 
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tiamat1990
On Thursday 1 Oct 2009 9:18 PM Posted by tiamat1990
Wait what online multiplayer?! I can't believe I haven't heard about that. I'll just go back under my rock now...
 
 
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Ruptunex
On Thursday 1 Oct 2009 10:56 PM Posted by Ruptunex
Yeah i wish i had my PS3 back. I think i'll wait till the rumoured 250 gig uncharted PS3 comes to NZ.
 
 
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SpawnSeekSlay NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Friday 2 Oct 2009 10:03 AM Posted by SpawnSeekSlay
1 October 2009, 06:19 PM Reply to guido
Every stellar review that comes out for this game makes the wait for it feel just that much longer?!
Funcharted overhype? lol
*runs and hides from the guido + crowds*
 
 
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Spartangy
On Friday 2 Oct 2009 12:41 PM Posted by Spartangy
Any of you guys playing the public beta? It's so awesome!!
 
 
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Hato-kun
On Saturday 3 Oct 2009 2:47 PM Posted by Hato-kun
1 October 2009, 09:18 PM Reply to tiamat1990
Wait what online multiplayer?! I can't believe I haven't heard about that. I'll just go back under my rock now...
Yeah, get back in your hole.
 
 
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ChatterboxZombie
On Saturday 3 Oct 2009 4:18 PM Posted by ChatterboxZombie
thats the thing with blockbuster games, they're pretty and they're fun but blink and you'll miss it they're so bloody short.

replay value?
 
 
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Bank NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Sunday 4 Oct 2009 12:26 AM Posted by Bank
Saweeeeetness.
 
 
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guido NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Monday 5 Oct 2009 3:15 PM Posted by guido
2 October 2009, 10:03 AM Reply to SpawnSeekSlay
Funcharted overhype? lol
*runs and hides from the guido + crowds*
It's not over-hype when it lives up to the hype!? :-D But really, having played through the first game 3 or 4 times all I want to do is play through it again with new locations to explore, new dialogue to listen to and new treasures to find. Enter Uncharted 2. Anything else added into the mix is just going to be a bonus!
 
 
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halo15910
On Monday 5 Oct 2009 5:27 PM Posted by halo15910
I looked at the reviews for uncharted 2 and they were very good!!! The best thing about uncharted 2 for me is that it's coming out on the 15th october which is my birthday. :)
 
 
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Moneyshot
On Monday 12 Oct 2009 9:07 AM Posted by Moneyshot
Playing the Beta online over the past couple of days..its good very good. Even for a Beta and its free !!! Going to trade my over rated Fight night 4 in on it.
 
 
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Illmatic
On Monday 12 Oct 2009 2:22 PM Posted by Illmatic
Well...ehum...it looks like this game is, off-the-charts! lolz! Get it!? Uncharted --> off the char... egh. -_-'

/lameness

Day 1.
 
 
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tom_nz NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Wednesday 14 Oct 2009 12:17 PM Posted by tom_nz
Wow nzgamer! Just because Sony is obviously giving you money for being part of its treasure hunt doesn't mean you have to be a suck up. 9.8 is a pretty ridiculous score. It does look pretty amazing, but 9.8 amazing is yet to be seen.
 
 
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Ron NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
On Wednesday 14 Oct 2009 12:21 PM Posted by Ron
14 October 2009, 12:17 PM Reply to tom_nz
Wow nzgamer! Just because Sony is obviously giving you money for being part of its treasure hunt doesn't mean you have to be a suck up. 9.8 is a pretty ridiculous score. It does look pretty amazing, but 9.8 amazing is yet to be seen.
Have a play and let us know your thoughts!
 
 
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Illmatic
On Wednesday 14 Oct 2009 1:54 PM Posted by Illmatic
14 October 2009, 12:17 PM Reply to tom_nz
Wow nzgamer! Just because Sony is obviously giving you money for being part of its treasure hunt doesn't mean you have to be a suck up. 9.8 is a pretty ridiculous score. It does look pretty amazing, but 9.8 amazing is yet to be seen.
Well after 57 other reviews the average is 9.7/10, sooo...

http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/ps3/uncharted2amongthieves?q=uncharted%202%20among%20thieves
 
 
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tom_nz NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Saturday 17 Oct 2009 7:36 PM Posted by tom_nz
14 October 2009, 12:21 PM Reply to Ron
Have a play and let us know your thoughts!
If I'm one of the lucky ones who wins it I definitely will.
 
 
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tnzk
On Saturday 24 Oct 2009 1:59 AM Posted by tnzk
Yeah, the single player is rather amazing. I have a funny feeling it's not going to be a very replayable feature though. Lucky there's multiplayer there?

Then again, I don't think the multiplayer is all too hot. I'll have a reader review up within a week or two.
 
 
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tnzk
On Friday 30 Oct 2009 3:46 AM Posted by tnzk
I just saw the Steven Spielberg quip. You can't say that mate!
 
 
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p2p2r7
On Monday 16 Nov 2009 3:14 PM Posted by p2p2r7
looks like a good game,might get it for xmas
 
 
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