Uncharted 2 is one of those games that avid gamers simply have to experience for themselves. This is one of those games that I am truly sad that Xbox owners won’t get to experience, it’s just that good. As you play it, you feel like you are apart of the story and become emotionally attached to the characters. When I heard that they were going to make Uncharted 2, my first feeling believe it or not wasn’t excitement but rather concern. The first game was so good that I wasn’t sure that even the awesome team at Naughty Dog could top it but thankfully I was wrong.
The game starts out mid-story and while we never really learn why that was done it was an awesome introduction to the Uncharted 2. A few years have passed since we last saw our favorite treasure chasing protagonist, Nathan Drake, but we quickly find out that some things never change as once of Nathan’s old “friend” Flynn stops by and makes you an offer that you can’t refuse. According to Flynn, he may know how to find Shambhala, more commonly known as Shangri-La, and more importantly the Cintamani Stone. And that my friends is where one of the greatest video game journey’s you may ever take begins.
The game itself is gorgeous, so much attention to detail. If ever there was ever a video game that captured that big budget Hollywood feel better, I haven’t seen it. Uncharted 2 takes us to some beautiful locals that we will inevitably charge through while raining down a can of you know what on Nate’s enemies. The characters are memorable, everybody from Nathan himself to Lazoveric who proves to be an eerily realistic villain. Uncharted 2 takes that core gameplay style that made the first game so popular and refined it while addressing a lot of the fans criticisms of the original. The last game was lauded for its excellent cover system which returns this time around, but a lot of gamers had an issue where you would get pinned behind cover with no smart way to advance without getting shot to pieces. This time around Naughty Dog addressed that by allowing you to use the Riot Shield which you have “separate” from its owner before you can use it, but this allows you to press forward in a lot of situations that would have been impossible in the first game.
I think that Naughty Dog put a lot of effort into listening to the feedback of the fans and doing something about it. Another issue that some gamer’s had were the puzzles in the game, some people thought they were too hard or more accurately there just wasn’t any indication of when you were doing something right. This caused the recurring problem of where you could have something in the right place and because you didn’t know you changed it and it ultimately took longer to complete than it needed to. This time around there are verbal and visual cues that let the player know when they do something right, so they don’t find themselves going in circles.
While most gamers thought that the first game was brilliant, there were a lot of them that wanted to see the original have a multiplayer component and Naughty Dog once again answered the call. When I heard they were putting multiplayer in I was again a little wary. There have been times when a developer has added a multiplayer and probably spent a little too much time there which in the end took away from the actual single player story, but again not Naughty. The multiplayer which gamers have been playing for months now is awesome, it is pretty much all the best parts of the single player mode thrown into something where you can go head to head with your friends and other gamers from all over the world. The multiplayer is also well done, almost on par with the Modern Warfare experience, ALMOST :).
But alas for all the gushing I am doing on this one, there were a few issues. The game actually froze on me two or three times during gameplay, it even did it once right near the end of the game which freaked me out for a while. Then there were the issue with frame rates and actually getting stuck inside an invisible box that you couldn’t get out of so you saw the action going on around you but you couldn’t interact with it. That particular issue reared its head about 4 times during the course of gameplay. The only other problem I had was the inconsistency as it relates to weapon’s damage and some enemies. There is a very powerful class of enemy in the game called Guardians that unless you have a specific weapon are very, very hard to kill, for YOU that is. However, there is a scene where the game’s main antagonist drops two of them with one shot and it to me just created an inconsistency as too how much it takes to drop one of them. Then once the true origins of the Guardians are revealed there was no attempt to really explain how they were able to do what they were doing, not a huge problem but I would have appreciated a little more backstory.
Naughty Dog has to get a lot of applause for this, not only for creating such an awesome game but for creating a character that will probably transcend the gaming genre to someday become a household name. I have said it before and I will say it again, Nathan Drake may turn out to be this generations Indiana Jones though I think that there is something very subtle about Nathan that would be hard to transfer to the big screen. Besides the few issues I mentioned, there is really not a lot at all you can hate on about Uncharted 2. Naughty Dog addressed all the major issues from the original without losing what made the game so great, they didn’t go to over the top and it came out just right. From a sales standpoint, I don’t know if this one will do as well as the original, it should but its out in a much tougher market, both financially and in relation to the quality of games it competing with. I know developers don’t care about release timing like that but if this game had come out in December, I think the numbers would have been twice as good. This time around its competing with FIFA 10 and Brutal Legend not to mention those gamers that are waiting to buy Uncharted 2 because of Modern Warfare 2 and Assassin’s Creed 2.
In any case, Uncharted 2 is a good buy any time of the year and by staying true to game’s core values they delivered a classic that was better than the last classic and that’s hard to do. For that we give Uncharted 2 by Naughty Dog the only score you can give a classic, 10 out of 10.