Uncharted 2 has been acclaimed as one of the best games in 2009 receiving nothing but praise amongst the gaming community. It has won numerous Game of the Year awards with it's addictive gameplay, unique story telling and jaw dropping graphics. It shows off what the Playstation 3 is capable of and unleashed one of the best games this generation. Some may say it's one of the best game of all time.
Once again you assume the role of Nathan Drake--treasure hunter extraordinaire--who has been presented an enticing offer. It seems as if Drake was looking to take a break from his expeditions since he was "hard to find" but an old friend is able to track him down. Harry Flynn tells Drake about the travels of Marco Polo and a plan to steal a lamp that may reveal the location of treasure from his lost fleet. Drake accepts and off he goes. The job sounds easy but things take a turn for the worse as Drake needs to learn to choose his friends more wisely.
Three months into the future is when the opening scene takes place as Drake is passed out, bleeding, and teetering off a snow covered cliff in a train car. The only thing saving him from falling to his death is the other half of the train car is balancing it out. In between those 3 months you learn many things and the master mind behind this whole operation and his quest for a valuable piece of treasure.
Uncharted 2's story telling is much better this time around as it stays interesting from start to finish. It does have some similarities to the first but it does enough in the first hour or so to suck you in. It throws you a curveballs early on to always keep you guessing...something the first game didn't do and ended up becoming predictable and eventually loses steam. Uncharted 2 packs a great deal of memorable moments that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Mechanics this time around feels much tighter as you will notice the difference from the opening scene. Physics seem life like and less "arcady" as you can feel the difficulty in Drake's jumps.
A few complaints about Uncharted 1's gameplay was the placement of the camera when zooming in the aim. That problem has been addressed as goes over the shoulder and makes shooting more natural. Another was going into cover and dodging as both feel a lot better. It can still be clunky at times since dodging and cover is mapped on the same button but it's now tolerable.
Couple new additions to gameplay are some cinematic fight scenes when engaging an enemy in a fist fight. He can counter your hits but you have the option to counter his counter for a split second. Sometimes his counter will counter your counter and then you counter his counter and send him home crying to Mommy!
It also has some awesome chasing scenes. Uncharted 1 had one but is much more frequent in Uncharted 2. You will be chased by tanks, a convoy of cars, an armored truck, a train, and even a helicopter. It feels like a movie but you are always in control.
The only major complaint I have with Uncharted 2 is that the amount of puzzles--or lack there of. Although the puzzles in Uncharted 1 were anything but challenging, they were fun to complete and gave you another element to the game. Puzzles are few and far between in this game and I feel it would have benefited if it did.
The game spans over 26 chapters and takes 8-9 hours to complete. It has tons of replay value due to friendly tweaks the developers give to the players. Like in the previous Uncharted game you can change how the game plays for a different experience. You can change character skins, purchase weapons or have the wonderful ability to destroy your enemy in 1 shot. Completing in game challenges gives you cash and the cash is used to unlock these bonuses.
Online: The game does have online capabilities but I will not go into details.
The game is touted as having the best graphics on any console. It was by far the best looking game in 2009 and even 2 years after it's release, it's still graphically superior than many of the games today. Uncharted 1 suffered from some plastic looking character models but that is no longer an issue. Just by looking at drakes face you can see that it is smoother and has a life like appearance.
Models are toner and detailed and the same could be said for the animations. Drake's necklace moves as he runs and even the shoes bend according to the landscape. The first game also had some screen tearing but I have not noticed anything in the sequel.
You visit many places and are not subjected to see only Jungles and Caves. You visit Cities, Museums, Temples and Towns. From Jungle environments to snow covered plains, they all have a great unique appearance. Richness is color jumps out at you and the amount of detail to the levels compliments the gorgeous visuals. The snow has some pretty cool effects and you tend to be ankle deep in it leaving a trail behind you. The snow piles on your hair and clothes and gives you a frosty look.
The game sounds great too. Uncharted 1 had an exploration theme to it but Uncharted 2 mixes it up and picks up the pace when needed to compliment the action. It also has some awesome Temple/Religious, Tribal and Middle Eastern sounding tracks (There's probably a better word to describe it). The opening scene tells you all you need to know about how good the audio design will be. It's slower and serious but Uncharted 2 branches out and brings all sorts of sounds to set the mood.
Voice Acting is just as wittier than the first game. Uncharted's charm probably comes from how the characters interact with each other--even if everyone seems to have that sarcastic humor. Script and Dialog seems to be made for a more mature audience as it will throw out some sexual innuendo's.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves makes a Nathan Drake like jump and greatly improves over it's predecessor. The game is much more polished as it shows through it's visuals, audio, gameplay and story telling. It might end up having the cliche "Save the world" story but everything that happens in between makes Uncharted 2 stand out. The game deserves all the praise it gets as it still stands up as one of the best games this generation.
It's not too late to get into the series and the Dual Pack has great value. If you haven't played the first 2 games you are doing a disservice to yourself.