Friday, December 4, 2015

Game Review - Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

So Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was originally released back in 2009, but I was too busy playing WoW (probably) to notice or care. I gave the the first Uncharted a shot not too long ago, and ultimately ended up rating it 3 out of 5 stars, feeling it had potential but just didn't do enough of what was good to make the game great. I asked my friend Ken (who I've been borrowing these games from) why he even bothered giving me the 1st Uncharted to play and his response was this:
"Yeah, the first one wasn't that good. But the 2nd one was awesome!"

Now, after my first experience, I'd originally had no intention of picking up Uncharted 2. However, I decided to trust my friend and give the game a try. Let's just say I'm glad I did.
Uncharted 2 improves upon every aspect of the game.The melee is more fluid, the guns are more varied, combat in general feels more tactical and strategic, there are varied enemy strengths and weakness rather than just a hail of bullets flying down upon you. Not to mention a ​significant ​improvement was made on the jumping/climbing aspect. All of it seems to have been seamlessly integrated, too. Let me explain.
In the 1st Uncharted, the game felt like it was divided in 3's. There was the puzzle aspect, the shooter aspect, and the acrobat aspect. They all felt different and distinct, one never overlapping upon the other. "Now I'm shooting. And now I'm jumping." Never "Now I'm shooting and jumping." Basically, I didn't like that, and Uncharted 2 fixed this by seamlessly integrating the acrobatics and the combat into one, so Drake is shooting, leaping, and diving all at once. It seems such a simple fix, but ​damn ​did it pull this game together. The world was immersive, real, and alive. I didn't feel like I was on a stage like in the 1st game, moving from one scene to the next in a cliche way. With Uncharted, from shooting to climbing I constantly felt in the moment. Amazing work.
And the story! Such a great story, and characters, and settings! Such a huge improvement. Uncharted 1 always felt like the story and setting were simply lip service, where as Uncharted 2 felt like the story was given just as much attention as the game mechanics, and it really paid off! Drake felt like a real, likable guy that I enjoyed playing. His enemies and allies brought out emotions and intrigue in me when I saw how they interacted. I actually worried and cared who was going to make it out alive!
Essentially, I can see here how this company went on to make a game like The Last of Us. I can see how they cut their teeth and learned the skills of storytelling with this game, Uncharted 2. Naughty Dog is very much deserving of the praise they received for making this masterpiece, and I'm glad I didn't let my lackluster experience with Uncharted 1 prevent me from giving Uncharted 2 a shot.
So yeah, 5 out of 5 stars. Easily.

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