Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009/2015) Video Game Review

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2 years after the beautiful-looking, beautiful-sounding, fun-full playing, but slightly shallow-in-story introduction known as Drake’s Fortune came Among Thieves, a follow-up in story, and an opportunity to give us more of our favourite characters.  So…Among Thieves

Our story begi- best opening to a video game ever!!…or at least 1 of them.  It literally starts off with a bang, to the point that I’m not even going to mention it.  Play it and see what I mean.  So anyway, our story revolves around our hero, Nathan Drake, being given a new project to work on from old associate, Harry Flynn (Wise-cracking Australian thief), and his driver/girlfriend Chloe Frazier (Basically a naughty raven-haired Lara Croft with Lauren Bacall speaking in an Australian accent and goods that are very hot to handle).  What is the Project?  To steal a Mongolian Oil Lamp (which was once in possession of Marco Polo) from a Turkish museum, which contains information on the whereabouts of Shambhala, the legendary city mentioned in Tibetian Buddhist and Hindu texts.  After retrieving the lamp and finding the secret, in an obvious fashion, Nathan experiences a swerve, not by both of his partners, just Flynn.  After spending months in a turkish prison, Sully makes his return to the game to bail him out, and along with Chloe, go on an adventure to Borneo, to look for Marco Polo’s fleet and therefore get back on the road to finding Shambhala before Flynn does with his boss, the terrifying (and presumed dead) Serbian War Criminal known as Zoran Lazarević.

The Graphics, even today, look beautiful.  The scenes that feature the Tibet landscapes are legendary, and the chapters in the game where Drake was on a train…You would almost forget about fighting because you begin to realise “They have actually animated a train journey into a game’s level, and it’s unlike any approach that’s ever been done before!”  In the past,train levels would have been presented at certain angles with some movement in the background to save space on the disc, usually from a side-scrolling point of view…but this…this game took that to a whole new dimension!  The most detailed aspects of Final Fantasy VIII’s train scene was a cut scene, but this was in the actual gameplay!  That’s how amazing this was.

The Art Design direction took what Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune did well, and blew it out of the water…then it expanded further than that again, by providing scenarios that go beyond the Jungle, including cities, rural villages and the mountains in Tibet.

The Voice Acting sees the protagonists return to full form from where they left off, as well as feature a lot of new voices that perfectly match their respective character designs.

The Characters are awesome.  The protagonists are even better now than they were  in Drake’s Fortune, as they’ve developed a lot since then and the voice actors bounce dialogue off each other like they were some cinematic superhero clique.  The addition of Chloe Frazier to the protagonists added a little extra flavour to the dialogue, and the villains…compared to the villains in Drake’s Fortune, Among Thieves is so much better!  Unlike Gabriel Roman, Atoq Navarro and Eddy Raja, who are simply doing it for the money and without a care for the consequences of El Dorado’s power – Zoran Lazarević’s heroes include Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot…so you know what this guy’s like already (Plus, you wouldn’t want to meet him in real life in any situation.  Even watching him play tea party with a daughter would be unnerving).  Also, Harry Flynn’s a funny guy – you might hate him, but at least he’s actually charismatic in a snaky way.

The Story…oh the story.  If you thought the opening to Drake’s Fortune was good, then wait until you see the opening of Among Thieves.  Then wait until you see the journey you’re taken on.  By the time you’re finished, you’ll have done so much and seen so much, that a 2nd play through feels oddly fresh, as it becomes like returning to a faraway place for a holiday.

The Music is once again done by Firefly composer Greg Edmondson.  Five stars.  Next.

The Gameplay of Uncharted 2 not only does everything that made its prequel great, but they’ve also added even more depth to it (Think Arkham City to Arkham Asylum).  At times, I experienced a small jump glitch, but they were very rare and not an inconvience.  At the same time, even on easier difficulties, the Enemy AI is oddly quite intelligent, which adds a lot to the game. Also, there is no lives feature, so feel free, much like in Drake’s Fortune, to try and try again until you get it right.

The camera work is perfect, and the cinematic choices used in the cutscenes were perfect.

Would I recommend Uncharted 2: Among Thieves?  YES!  Absolutely!  Even though it’s a sequel, the story is strong enough and written in such a way that it is capable of being a standalone game.  The story is a vast improvement over Drake’s Fortune, the villains (a problem in Drake’s Fortune) are ten times better and more interesting, the locations are not only of a greater variety, but their presentation is just awe-inspiring, the gameplay is a step-up in quality yet again, the music and atmosphere are perfect, the voice acting is perfect and the camera work is also perfect.  They didn’t call this the tied 3rd best game on the Playstation 3 (along with Batman: Arkham City and below GTA 4 and 5) for nothing, and even today, it deserves its place as a masterpiece in media, let alone video games.

Graphics: ****1/2 (***** in 2009)

Art Design: *****

Voice Acting: *****

Characters: *****

Story: *****

Music: *****

Gameplay: ****3/4

Camera: *****

Overall: *****

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