I’ve always wanted to be a treasure hunter & the thought of doing so just sounds easy. For Nathan Drake, it’s just a lifestyle while proving all the while things are a lot easier said than done. Among Thieves brings in new aspects that enhance gameplay & provide more depth to the series. The journey now leads us out of the jungle & into the snowy peaks of the Himalayas where Drake’s adventure only becomes more perilous as things evolve. So is this trip a journey you’d get on board for or would it have been better just to stay home?
The plot centers around Marco Polo’s journey to China & after he had spent 20 years under the Emperor Kublai Khan, Marco left China with 14 ships & over 600 passengers but once he arrived in Persia a year and a half later he was only with 1 ship & 18 passengers. The game begins with in media res where Drake is found on a destroyed train dangling above a snowy cliff in the Himalayas. Nathan awakens to the wreckage as he finds himself bleeding, he makes it safely off & begins to pass out from time to time while being revealed through flashbacks how did everything happen. You soon find that an associate of Nathan, Harry Finn & old girlfriend Chloe Frazer, when they approach Nathan with a job to enter an old museum to obtain a Mongolian oil lamp because that’s supposedly where Marco Polo had left a clue to find out what had happened to him & his voyage.
Every moment is exciting and adventurous. Feels like we’re not even playing games but taking part in interactive films.
As the story progresses you eventually find out that you’re going up against a war criminal who tortures and kills many people & is on the search for the very same thing as Nathan, the entrance to Shambala to find the Tree of Life. It’s the characters themselves that bring the series to life. Witty humor, amazing voice acting & personality thrive through each protagonist. The small dialogue they have between each other or Nathans thoughts improve the communication with the player. It’s detail like that which helps build emotion towards the gamer, you build a bond with the characters & begin to worry about them. A game that emits emotion is one that gives you the feels & when it’s done right, it’s nice. There is violence & some small amounts of blood, there’s no gore. There is a lot of sexual references or dialogues.
Drake possesses the ability to climb on any surface or material. The games mechanics heavily evolve and are based on this concept. The terrain & progression are all planted out in a linear path, the player wont get lost since the objectives are straight forward but the environments also present some nonlinear gameplay. If the player gets lost, the supporting characters will provide clues or hints on what to do next by simple expressing their thoughts. The game also provides a hint system to help the lost. Areas will show small icons of the TRIANGLE which would be able to interact with your surrounds as well as with the CIRCLE button.
There are many intense scenes where Drake will have to battle his way through hoards of enemies on moving terrain.
Each level basically starts off with a cut scene with dialogue depicting the events occurring, a smooth transition to gameplay where the player will have a shootout or explore the area by plat forming across obstacles & vice versa. The interface is simple & provides all the necessary information without contaminating the heads up display with too many icons. The game wants you to focus on the scenery & to try to captivate the surrounding environment. You will have the opportunity to complete levels with various characters as your partner. They’ll help you to complete obstacles & there will be scenes in which you will be separated and must go own your own with the two reunited once accomplished. There is no campaign co–op because the games main experience is supposed to be enjoyed by one person & Nathan is the only one able to complete the majority of obstacles.
Uncharted 2 is by far one of the most attractive games on any console to date. Every object is detailed with textures & movements. The terrain is destructible up to a certain point & can be used for covering. Water is remarkable to enjoy. Once Nathan submerges into water, his clothes being to soak and provide more depth than what most games do these days. Being able to walk around slowly in the environment & gaze at how the skyline’s rays of light give feeling to the setting, how glares of the sun & the overall illumination of certain areas gives a new sensation every step of the way.
Objects such as plants & flags blow in the wind makes the setting bloom vibrantly. The colors on everything is amazing, every tone provides a certain impression for all the areas that the player will be able to experience. From the jungles in Borneo, to the artistically & architectural structure of buildings, monuments, the sense of vertigo from the top of hotels to mountains, to effects from explosions, gunshots, climbing, running, swimming, conversation & overall fluidity of each scenery is immersive. You can notice how detailed every environment is.
Some chapters have you just walking around getting to notice all the NPC’s living out their lives to hear memorable dialogue
Drake has feeling in his movement & in his actions. He’s intelligent, witty & not to mention lucky but he has his faults as a character that make him a more believable hero. When he walks across sand, jumps from ledge to ledge or how he stumbles in his movements while running it makes you sense that he’s just any ordinary guy, he’s no superhero, but he’s a realistic one. Nathan is acrobatic, he’s a monkey man. You’ll guide him through an assortment of obstacles to get to the destination & every time a puzzle appears, they’re always something interesting. By pressing ‘select’ the player will be able to take out his Nate’s Journal. The journal contains clues & answers through illustrations to solve puzzles & problems whenever you encounter one. You get to learn a little more background story from the journal as well, revealing other aspects to details.
Guns are simple, with the most iconic firearms that are presented in the majority of shooters. The shooting is accelerating, an assortment of weapons are available ranging in many styles for lots of opportunities to experiment like being able to shoot while hanging onto a ledge. The cover system is still present & can now be used to flip over objects to use as protection. The environments are destructible so it’s never wise to stay in the same place camping, keep moving around, the ways to attack enemies are abundant. Stealth has been added to the game, you’ll be able to sneak around and take down enemies without causing noise or attracting attention. Melee combat has been improved adding more ways to fight & tackle your enemies. In some parts, they don’t look too realistic. You’re also able to complete challenges, certain objectives & collecting relics. Once done, you’ll receive money which you can spend them on the main menu to unlock additional content such as concept art, developer videos & character skins.
I wonder what’s on the other side of that light…
Uncharted 2 is amazingly good, the game speaks for itself. Trust the hype. The story, graphics, gameplay & the adrenaline from playing is incredible. You’ll play the game & always come back for added content. Detail is a very important aspect to Uncharted & Naughty Dog has done extremely well in providing depth towards it. Nathan’s second journey improves on every aspect we saw in the first & creates a new opportunity for other game developers to take example from.