It took me a bit longer to get through this game, due to various other things going on in my life, but finally, I’ve finished Uncharted 2, and I’m just going to say up top that it’s a heck of a lot better than the first entry.
RELEASED: October 13th 2009
DEVELOPED BY: Naughty Dog
PUBLISHED BY: Sony Computer Entertainment
I had heard the claims that fans wanted Nathan Fillion to play Nathan Drake in an Uncharted movie, and while I saw some similarities in Drake’s Fortune, it wasn’t until the opening of this game that I really was struck by how similar they look. It’s uncanny, at times. But Tom Holland will be playing him now so I suppose that’s a moot point.
Anyway, Uncharted: Among Thieves picks up with Nathan Drake stranded in an icy tundra, wounded and close to death. From there, he recalls what lead him to this situation; reuniting with questionable former associates Harry Flynn and Chloe Frazer, as they pull him into a quest for the mythical kingdom of Shambhala – where they seek the Cintāmaṇi stone, a gem of great power that is being hunted by the brutal Serbian war criminal Zoran Lazarević. His journey takes him to Istanbul, Borneo and Nepal, bringing in old friends such as Sully and Elena Fisher along the way.
Straight out the gate, this game plays so much better than the first Uncharted. The controls are much more fluid, and the playstyles more varied, meaning that even when you’re running into waves and waves of gun fights, the different ways you can take them out feels more interesting.
On top of that, the settings are also more varied. The game jumps between snowstorms, city brawls and jungle treks, switching things up before any one location is in danger of growing stale. The missions in these various locations range from robbing a museum, to navigating a speeding train, and even fighting a helicopter.
Everything just feels so much more fresh, and makes them game easy to fall in love with.
This also extends to the characters. I said in my review of the first game that while Drake and Elena were likeable enough, generally, their characters didn’t have much to them. They feel so much more fleshed out this time around, and similarly, new characters, even if they are just sticking to certain archetypes, also feel more real. This in turn makes the general banter between characters on levels so much richer and a lot more amusing. Unlike the first entry, I actually want to see more of them having finished this game, and am excited to see where their stories go (so it’s fortunate that I’ve still got Uncharted 3, Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy yet to play through, although I’m starting to regret getting Mad Max in a 3 for 2 deal over Lost Legacy).
Another thing I really loved in comparison to the first entry, and perhaps one of the reasons this game is able to keep things more alive from the get go, is that the supernatural elements are introduced much earlier on in the game. Whereas in Drake’s Fortune, ‘nazi zombies’ were introduced near the end and then that’s pretty much all you faced off against for several levels, making them as tiring as the normal soldiers, this game sees yeti’s come in every now and then, but spread evenly throughout the game, so they’re not overwhelming or repetitive. There is a narrative decision towards the end that involves said yetis that I wasn’t overly fond of, but that’s more down to my personal preferences, and isn’t really a knock against the quality of the game.
All-in-all, for the solid writing, character work, excellent design and a ton of excitement, I give this a: