|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|
Unblemished, the game's sounds are perfect. For starters, the musical score (also found in the original) is as emblematic and epic as any theme found in a Hollywood production. Ambient sound effects such as sloshing through puddles, grunts of exertion, the moving of stone, and the cacophony of firearm rapport all come through crystal clear. Lastly, the voice over work is unparalleled. Not only are the actors well casted, their artistic interpretation is spot-on - they really understand and love their characters and it comes shining through. Supporting the acting, the lip-sync work is often uncanny, making for an experience that is never jarring.
Controls in Uncharted 2 are quite good. Whether you are hopping from the tops of walls or blasting your way through a section of bad guys, the third-person withdrawn/over-the-shoulder perspective (during platforming or combat, respectively) and tight, adjustable, well-mapped commands are very competent. The action on-screen is easily navigated through by virtue of the solid controls. The only hiccups encountered concern cover and climbing. Ducking into cover is done with the Circle button. However, getting out of cover quickly and advancing to the next patch of protection can be trying and often inefficient - frequently you'll get stuck and/or will not be able to get to the desired cover point. This is exacerbated by the fact that the dodge/roll function is mapped to the very same button - often your stealthy or well-protected approach will be betrayed by an untimely, diving roll. Likewise, climbing during platforming is a bit slow and feels quite sticky. It is regularly a challenge to get from climbing sections to platforms ably.
Though the 10+ hour single-player experience is well worth the $60, Naughty Dog has also included compelling cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes. In fact, there are ten game types to choose from, including Deathmatch, Elimination, Plunder, Turf War, King of the Hill, Chain Reaction, Survival, Gold Rush, Co-Op, and Machinima. While most of these are conventional multiplayer offerings, the fact that they are tinged with Uncharted 2's platforming character makes the beautifully rendered, open-world environments come alive with positional strategy. Moreover, the two-player Co-Op portion of the game, which offers alternative, combat-heavy segments of chapters found in the single-player campaign, is a challenging way to further enjoy the title. Naughty Dog's approach to multiplayer in Uncharted 2 is a lot more than just a feature-set entry; it's a fully-fledged and engaging experience. Though multiplayer can't quite compete with the likes of series such as Call of Duty, Halo, and Killzone, it is far more engaging than nearly all other titles with multiplayer components out there - it really extends gameplay significantly for the shooter-inclined.
For those of you who are just in it for the single-player story, there's a good bit of replayability to be found for you too. For starters, strewn throughout each chapter are ancient relics. Finding all of these will keep you very busy, as some are exceedingly difficult to find. Thankfully, going back and treasure hunting is as easy as selecting a specific chapter and scavenging it for the goods - you won't have to go back through the title in its entirety just to find the trinkets. However, like a good movie, you might want to go back through the game a few times just to soak up all of the quality. Moreover, raising the difficulty level will keep things challenging. Additionally, there are tons of great, achievable Trophies to be unlocked. Doing so and completing plot points will award you with in-game cash. If you have Trophies accumulated in Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, the game will recognize that and give you a cash bonus. These funds can then be used in the in-game store to unlock player skins, purchase new graphical render modes, open up weapons for multiplayer, and even used for applying specific gameplay "Tweaks" (cheat functions such as fast or slow motion, mirror and flip modes, one-shot kills, unlimited ammo, zero gravity, etc.). All of this really helps to extend the life of the single-player experience.
Without a doubt, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is a solid candidate for game of the year. It does everything well, and some things it does without equal. It is so finely developed and produced that it will likely be looked at in the future as a seminal entry in video gaming. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is a game that transcends the conventions of the medium, lending even more clout to an already robust industry, closely nipping at the heels of filmmaking, ushering in the era of interactive cinema.
CCC Editor / News Director