|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Naughty Dog||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 13, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-10||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matthew Walker
January 23, 2009 - If you are a PS3 owner, then more than likely you have checked out Naughty Dogs action adventure Uncharted: Drakes Fortune. If you havent, then I highly recommend you do so. It gave an early glimpse at some of the potential of the PS3, and the game itself was extremely fun to play. It also helped that the protagonist was a bit of an everyman in his attitude and the real way he approached situations. In fact, it was due to his attitude and overall view of things that a few friends of mine picked up the first title in the first place.
At the end of the first game, everyone was hungry and eager for more adventures with Nathan Drake. Naughty Dog has finally revealed that there will be another adventure for the character, called Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. This time around, the story may be a little darker than what some were expecting. As one might be able to guess, since the title has the word Thieves in it, Nate has not always been on the straight and narrow when it comes to his globetrotting adventures. Even though he has tried to leave that all behind him, some things never stayed buried. The basic storyline for this installment is that Nate discovers a mysterious artifact that leads him into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a ruthless fugitive war criminal, as they search for the legendary 13 ships of Marco Polo.
For those unaware, Marco Polo had spent more than a dozen years in the lavish exotic court of Kublai Khan. He left with the company of 600 sailors, gold, and riches aboard 14 vessels. When he finally arrived home in Italy two years later, he only had one ship and 18 men remaining. For centuries, historians have wondered what happened to those other 13 ships. Whether it was scurvy, cholera, pirates, or something more unexplainable, no one has ever really discovered the truth.
Of course, Nate is on the trail to discover the truth in the same fashion he did with Sir Francis Drake in the first Uncharted. Its because of these real world mysteries with plausible and feasible discovery methods that I truly enjoyed Uncharted and look forward to Uncharted 2. Though these are not the only reasons why I am eager to check it out.
One of these new elements will be the pacing. If you thought the story moved along with near break-neck speed in the first Uncharted, you are in for a treat this time around. After spending time studying Hollywood screenplay techniques, the team at Naughty Dog has discovered how to improve upon the already impressive storytelling capabilities they had in the first Uncharted. The biggest thing that will aid in the pacing of the game will be the no loading times. Its a big claim, but if it can be done, Uncharted 2 could set the bar a little higher for every game in the industry.
The graphics of the game are also looking to set new levels for future game developers to reach. All of the footage we have seen is reported as real-time, which may not shock many considering the real-time graphics in the first Uncharted, but this time around things appear to be amped up even more for that realistic flair. One such example is how the shader they used for the water in the first is going to be used in order to display snow and ice in the game. However, aside from the technical feats this Uncharted looks to set, there is one other aspect that truly deserves mentioning: character interaction. Instead of looking and playing like the characters are separate from the physical world around them, everything will feel grounded and the objects in the world will be very much real in the game world. For example, Drake will move how you expect him to move in the real world. His move sets will change depending on the situation he is in.
The platforming and shooting aspects of the game will be returning as well, and Naughty Dog is not faltering in polishing these areas either. Introducing the new free climb feature, they have allowed Nate to scramble along monkey bars and leap from poles to reach his destination. One of the hindrances of the first was the use of the Sixaxis controller for the balance beam parts of the game. This element has been removed in order to provide a more precise and fast experiences for the player.
Nate wont be alone in his adventure this time either. However, Naughty Dog has kept quiet about characters Sully and Elena returning in this title to help Drake out. Confirmed to be joining him this time will be Chloe Frazer, an equally seedy individual wrapped in the depths of the treasure hunting underworld. Nolan North returns to voice Nate and Claudia Black from Stargate SG-1 and Farscape will be providing the voice of Chloe. Instead of traditional motion capturing, Naughty Dog had the actors perform the scenes in their entirety in order to capture the chemistry between them.
There are a lot of hopes for this upcoming sequel both from Naughty Dog and fans. With an interactive storyline that will draw you in, compelling voice over work, stunning graphics, and gameplay that will be familiar and new at the same time, theres no doubt they will be able to deliver. This one will make this holiday season feel like a summer action movie.
CCC Project Coordinator