Developer Naughty Dog helped create the Crash Bandicoot series and the hit Jak and Daxter series. It seems that Naughty Dog would never be able to get out from the “cartoony kiddy platformer” developing, as it was a niche they had created for themselves. If you played Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, then you know how wrong this thought is, and this statement shines through even more with the second installment in the Uncharted series: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves continues the same gameplay as its predecessor Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune — a mixture of third-person action shooter and platforming. It may seem like an unusual mixture, but I assure that it works perfectly. There will be times when you’re on the edge of your seat while making quick reactive decisions as you navigate Drake through perils that are presented like extended movie sequences.
For the gamers who have played Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, you can expect much of the same gameplay with the addition of tuned gameplay mechanics. For instance, one of the biggest things they fixed is the grenade mechanic. No longer will you be trying to awkwardly angle the arc of the grenade path with the six axis controller; it has now been refined to just the buttons and control stick.
If you know Naughty Dog games, you know that they are big on humor. This shines in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves as well — even from the most subtle of things as Trophy names and how to acquire them. Without giving anything away, you will see a perfect example of what I mean on the roof of a hotel that has a pool on it. Nathan Drake just has a way of delivering humorous one liners and continues to roll them out no matter the situation. I can definitely say that the humor in this series is a great addition that only adds to the overall gameplay.
The animation in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves can only speak for itself. It is truly amazing what Naughty Dog pulled off and how much it actually acts like a movie at times. From jumping out of collapsing buildings and barely hanging onto speeding trains while a helicopter shoots at you, it all looks amazing, beautifully rendered with total immersion that you may actually forget that you are actually in control of Nathan Drake at that time, thinking it was a cutscene and die. But with animation that amazing, would that really be so bad to see again? This reviewer thinks not, that’s for sure.
Unfortunately, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves suffers a little bit with enemy AI. There were a couple times when I would be in cover against a ledge with an enemy standing right next to me and he still somehow didn’t know I was there. Another complaint I had was with the controls. Sometimes Nathan would do things I didn’t want or mean him to do. For instance, toward the end of the game, there was an area where I was trying to get into cover behind a wall but instead dropped down to hang off the ledge, exposing Nathan to enemy fire from below.
The camera system has had a lot of work done to it. It follows you seamlessly, showing exactly what needs to be viewed for crucial decision-making. Only on a few occasions did I notice any camera glitching, (passing through geometry or awkward positioning; for instance, in one occasion I was trying to free climb my way through a puzzle and kept going in the wrong direction because the camera was not panned high enough to show me the next spot to get to), but they were so few and far between that it wasn’t bothersome to my gaming experience.
Overall, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is great. I had a ton of fun, a lot of laughs, several close calls and a lot of excitement from one game. Naughty Dog has done an amazing job. The developers have also done a wonderful job bridging the gap between movies and videogames. As for what Naughty Dog has in store for Nathan Drake in the future ... it is yet to be seen, but hopefully, we don’t have to wait too long to find out. Naughty Dog topped Drake’s Fortune with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and I hope that the trend becomes the standard. I am looking forward to the next installment and being blown away all over again!