Player(s): 1-10 (online)
Developer(s): Naughty Dog
Publisher(s): Sony Computer Entertainment
Nathan Drake is a talented man, a jack of all trades, if you will. He's an expert with firearms, he can solve even the most devious of puzzles, he's got charm that the ladies love, razor wit, and he can navigate through the environment like a freaking spider monkey. He also has the unfortunate talent of getting in way over his head. Uncharted 2 does everything better than the first with better gun-play, stealth elements, platforming segments, and a better story. And, as if the well crafted single player experience wasn't enough, it also throws in some well done and fun multiplayer to keep you coming back for more.
If you're familiar with the first Uncharted then you already have a good idea of what to expect from Uncharted 2. Chapters are normally divided by sections. You'll go through parts of platforming to get from point A to point B and sections of action packed gun fights that will have you ducking for cover. Drake does indeed climb like a monkey as he makes leaping over huge gaps look easy. The platforming parts of Uncharted 2 are almost puzzles in themselves as sometimes the clearest path to your goal isn't always laid out in gold for you. You're forced to stop and take a look around before you jump.
Taking on waves of soldiers is almost always a white knuckle ordeal. Enemies are smarter this time around as they'll move from cover to cover, keeping their heads down. They also don't hesitate to flush you out of cover with a well thrown grenade. You will always be out numbered and out gunned. Naughty Dog didn't wait long in the game to start tossing some very well armed bad guys your way either. You'll find enemy soldiers ranging from the simple to the walking tank. You'll pump round after round into them before they'll even become vulnerable.
Naughty Dog did a fantastic job in combining elements of the game together. Sometimes chapters aren't totally broken up between action and navigation. You'll spend a fair amount of time hanging from ledges, using them for cover, while firing at soldiers above or below you. At one point, you're actually stranded on a street sign while soldiers swarm the area forcing you to jump from one side of the sign to the other for cover while trying to fend them off. Another section, and my personal favorite, has you storming a moving train. You'll fight off a small army and a helicopter all while jumping from car to car, dodging missiles, bullets, and rail road signs. The gameplay is diverse enough to stay interesting throughout the whole experience.
Uncharted 2 is also easily the best looking game on the PS3 at this time. It's not one thing that makes it that way either but rather a combination of many factors. It's the little details like Drake's clothing staying wet for awhile after getting into water, or just the bottom of his pants legs if he walks through a shallow puddle that really adds a lot to the visuals. Tracks made in the snow, wind, waterfalls, every little thing is detailed. At first, you may not pay much attention to it but in between all the frantic adventuring you'll begin to really take notice. It's a gorgeous game that doesn't suffer from any noticeable graphical issues. The cut scenes are just another way to showcase how pretty and well animated everything really is. Characters move so naturally, they really pull you in with their body language.
Backing the breath taking visuals is a sweeping soundtrack that would be right at home in some action adventure movie. Every area has a fitting score that really adds a lot to the feeling. Gun fights are often backed up by a pulse pounding beat, while peaceful waterfalls roar to the sounds of music that would be right at home on a relaxation album. But it isn't the music that steals the show here, it's the voice acting. Every line spoken is delivered with just the right amount of that something special. You can tell the voice actors really got their characters. They put a lot of feeling into every joke, line, and serious moment. Without the quality voice talent, I firmly believe that Uncharted 2 wouldn't be the same great quality title that it is.
Once the story is over and the credits roll you can then go back to whatever chapter you would like in order to find all the hidden treasures and, more importantly, multiplayer is there to keep you busy. Old standards like team deathmatch and capture the flag are there but you'll also have the option to tackle chapters with a friend if you'd like. Other modes have you fighting off wave after wave of increasingly difficult soldiers or reaching a goal unseen by patrolling goons. Doing well gets you more experience and allows you to level up. This gives you access to boosters you can purchase to give your character different abilities like carrying more ammo or being more accurate with your favorite weapon type. Everything is balanced very well and you stand a great chance of taking someone down just as easily with a pistol as you would with another weapon given the right upgrades.
What few problems Uncharted 2 has, they're very minor and you may or may not even think of them as problems at all. Like the first Uncharted, later in the game you'll find enemies that make taking cover almost pointless. Now, you've spent the entire game making use of the fantastic cover system Naughty Dog put in place only to have it rendered almost entirely useless. Unlike the first title, these "zombies" are not easy to kill. As a matter of fact, they're incredibly hard to bring down and they attack in groups. Just two of them are enough to give you some serious problems. They not only charge right at you, but they also carry golden crossbows that do insane amounts of damage. The other issue I had is that jumps between platforms are not always the most clearly laid out affairs. There were many times that I died several times on the same section because I didn't know where I was supposed to jump from and to. I suppose this shows how good the environments are, but it does get a little old having to replay a section more than once just because you leap to your death. Checkpoints are placed almost constantly though so you'll probably be able to try the same jump again almost right away.
Uncharted 2 is the total package. It's got a little bit of everything for everyone. White knuckle action full of breath taking moments, clever puzzles, very talented voice acting, near perfect visuals, and a story that would be right at home in an Indiana Jones movie. Well balanced, addictive, and fun multiplayer adds replay value and will keep you coming back day after day. It comes so close to being perfect that you have to TRY to find flaws with it just to have something bad to say about it. From the opening moments to the last credit, Uncharted 2 is a masterpiece.
What You Should Know:
+ Best looking PS3 title to date
+ The voice actors should get awards
+ Fun and balanced multiplayer
+ Plenty of white knuckle moments
- You'll probably die on the same jump more than once
- Later enemies are incredibly hard to kill and render the cover system pointless
Rent or Buy?
If you don't plan on playing multiplayer very much and are more interested in a great single player experience then you're probably better off giving Uncharted 2 a very lengthy rental unless you want a title in your library that really shows what the PS3 can do.
SCORE: 9.5 read