Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009)

I didn’t have time to catch a movie today so I decided I should review a game. I haven’t played this particular game in some time now so I hope I can remember it well enough to say something about it. The game I’m referring to, as you’ve probably seen in the title and picture to the right, is Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, from developer Naughty Dog.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is the story of Nathan “Nate” Drake, a sarcastic but loveable treasure hunter and descendant of explorer Sir Francis Drake (like if Indiana Jones and Lara Croft got buck nasty and had a kid). The game begins in the middle, finding Nate waking up on a train covered in blood. When a bag flies past him, he realizes the train is also perpendicular to the ground and hanging off a cliff. While making his way back to more sturdy footing, we catch glimpses (through flashbacks) of how he got into his current predicament. An old friend of his, Harry Flynn, and an ex girlfriend/femme fetale Chloe Frazer come to Nate and talk him into stealing a Mongolian lamp from a museum, which Nate only agrees to because it may lead to Marco Polo’s lost fleet. By stealthily making their way through the museum, they find the lamp with a map and some blue rocks in them whose light allows the map to be seen. Then Flynn betrays Nate and he gets arrested.

Chloe and Drake’s friend Victor “Sully” Sullivan pay his bail and get him released. Nate is then informed that Flynn is working for a crazy war criminal name Zoran Lazarevic, and are currently looking for a tomb in order to find a mythical rock called the Cintamani Stone, said to reside in Shambhala. They reach the tomb first, find a Tibetan phurba (like the dagger from The Shadow) and beat cheeks to escape Zoran, but Sully gets captured. Now in Nepal, they are all looking for a temple that shows the location for Shambhala and Nate and Chloe come across Nate’s previous girlfriend and costar of Uncharted 1, reporter Elena Fisher, and her cameraman. AWKWARD! The rest of the game has Nate, Chloe, and Elana racing against Zoran and Flynn to be the first to reach Shambhala and the Cintamani Stone.

If I could review this game in only one word, it would be “yes”. Oh wait, that doesn’t really make sense. This game is freakin’ fantastico to the mucho. The game is a mixture of third-person shooter with platforming action-adventure and a little bit of hand-to-hand fighting game mixed in there. There is no part of this game that isn’t awesome as far as I’m concerned. In fact, I have been overheard calling this game quite possibly my favorite game of all time, but hands down the best game of 2009. The story is gripping and involving, the controls are well executed (though on occasion the wall crawling could get frustrating, if memory serves), the characters are all rich with personality and back story as well as being spectacularly performed in both voice and animation, and the way the CGI movies flow right in to the player-controlled action is seamless and refuses to take the player out of the action for long. I love this game so much, I actually beat it 4 times and was never bored. If not for the fact that the 3rd one comes out in a matter of months, I would say it is likely I would beat it again.

I would say (if for nothing more than the back story of Nate and Elena) the first Uncharted should be played before hopping into this one, though it’s probably not necessary. Uncharted 2 is leaps and bounds from Uncharted 1, and Uncharted 1 was a solid outing in itself. And since both of these games are Greatest Hits titles on the PS3, I don’t feel like you really have any reason NOT to get them both beyond “I already have/had them” and “I don’t own a PS3”.

There is multiplayer in this game as well, but I can’t talk much about it as I only played it for about an hour, and that was about a year ago. My roommate, however, loves it and still plays it to this day. From what I can tell, it’s mainly just a third-person, team based deathmatch for the most part, with a couple of mission-based co-op options to it as well. I’ve also seen a good deal of great character skins in the multiplayer, the only ones coming to mind are Cole and Zeke from Infamous. So I’ve been informed by a reliable source that it’s worth playing the multiplayer, but I’m more of a single player person myself. And who cares about the multiplayer? The single player is worth it by itself.

I can only hope that, by this point in the review, I wouldn’t really need to give a number rating or something for this game. I give Uncharted 2 a “Why the hell haven’t you played this yet?” out of 126,633, which is 120% if you don’t know how to turn words and unrelated numbers into a percentage.