Friday, November 6, 2009

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (P)Review

I didn't technically finish Uncharted 2 yet. You see, Dragon Age Origins came out, and I've lost any interest in anything else. I'm at the second to last chapter, though, and I wanted to write something about the game for you guys. You can probably take this review as definitive, unless something happens during the last chapter to make me change my mind. But I doubt I'll get back to it until I'm done with Dragon Age.

I my little home theater setup, I use my PlayStation 3 a lot... as a media player. I play DivX files on it all the time, I use it as my main DVD player, I use it when I want to listen to music on the big speakers, and it's my only Blu-ray player. But when it comes to games, I'm rarely using it. It seems like the Xbox 360 gets more better exclusives (Project Gotham, Forza, Mass Effect, Ace Combat 5, etc), or when games come out for both consoles the PS3 version gets the short end of the stick (Fallout 3 not getting the DLC until later, Bioshock not coming out on the PS3 until later, games like Ghostbusters and Bayonetta looking like shit on the PS3 compared to the Xbox 360 version, etc). For people thinking about the PS3 as a game machine, especially if they already own a 360, it can be a hard sell. Sure, it's got some exclusives, and some of them are even pretty good. But I think the PS3 has been lacking that one killer exclusive that single-handedly justifies purchasing the console. I figured that exclusive wouldn't come until God of War III comes out next year.

Turns out, I was off by a few months. If you're on the fence about getting a PS3 and the recent price drop/redesign hasn't swayed you, Uncharted 2 is all the justification you need.

The original Uncharted was a good game. It was very impressive graphically (for a console game), and it had very human characters with believable dialogue and top-notch voice acting. Uncharted 2 becomes a great game by taking all that was good about the first one and taking it up a notch. The game's plot, which is sort of like Indiana Jones with a touch of James Bond, blurs the line between a cinematic movie experience and a game. On the game side, you're looking at a mix of platforming, puzzles, and gunplay that makes you think, "This game is like Tomb Raider, if Tomb Raider stopped sucking and became awesome!"

The game opens with our hero, Nathan Drake, hanging from the end of a train that's falling off a cliff in the Himalayas. You have to climb up the train (often as it's falling), grab a gun, and fight your way to a cliff... before the game goes back to the beginning of the story to explain how Drake got there. Without giving too much away, it starts with Drake being hired to help steal something from a Turkish museum and winds up with him fighting some guy who could have been a Die Hard villian.

As good as the game is, it's not perfect. Fortunately, my complaints are few. For starters, a lot of the game is starting at point A and trying to figure out how to get to point B. This is usually done by climbing and jumping around the environment. The problem here is that the game's graphics are so good that it's not always obvious what you're supposed to be climbing on. Which brings me to my second complaint. While the controls feel tighter than the original's, they can still be imprecise at times. I can't count how many times I've died because when I jumped Drake went a little to the left and missed his ledge, or how many times I've fallen off a roof trying to line up a jump. My last complaint, and this one might seem a bit odd, is that the game is a little too long. For the majority of it, it's an absolute blast, but near the end you start to feel like, "Ok, another area where I have to climb and jump on shit. Oh, and another enemy ambush at the end. Haven't I beaten this game yet?"

Minor complaints aside, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is the single best exclusive games on the PlayStation 3, and one of the best games of 2009.

(Maybe) Final Score: A


Rick said...

I am pleased to see you like it. I, of course, absolutely positively love it. The only game I like better on PS3 is MGS4, which of course I loved. Uncharted was one of my favorite games of the console generation as well though, so I'm not surprised I like it as much as I do. As I estimated back in like March, U2 gets my vote for game of the year '09, yes even beating out Dragon Age, which is of course amazing.

Mike said...

All must bow before the alter of Dragon Age. Even Nathan Drake.

Rick said...

naw negative. Despite Dragon Age's greatness, I dont even think it's Bioware's best game, I still prefer Mass Effect, and Mass Effect 2 looks even better. DA is still in the upper echelon regardless. Have you read the DA books yet? I'm interested in them, apparently the stolen throne is the story about Maric and Loghain which is alluded to in DA:O.