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Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Member Review for the PS3

Master_Craig By:
GENRE Action 
DEVELOPER Naughty Dog 
T Contains Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, released at the end of 2007 exclusively for the PS3 was one hell of a game. Sure, like other future titles such as Dead Space, Drake's Fortune borrowed a lot of ideas from other games but made them all work. Not perfectly but it was damn good anyway. While a bit on the short side it was one hell of a ride, it felt like an incredible interactive film, a film that has more passion and impact than many actual films made today.

Developer Naughty Dog finally gives us its sequel, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, allowing players to step into the shoes of explorer and thief Nathan Drake, on yet another adventure of epic proportions. Does Among Thieves have what it takes to surpass the Fortune, or is this fortune one not worth finding?

Among Thieves starts with our main man Nathan "Nate" Drake inside a train, heavily wounded. The carriage he's in, near destroyed and is about to fall off a cliff and it's up to an injured Drake to simply put, get the hell out of there. Once he's out, the game begins to retell the story in the form of a flash back leading up to the events of the train, with Drake in search of what's called the Cintamani Stone. Similar to the first title, Drake's once again up against a big bad foreign bad guy with an evil sounding accent, racing against him to get to the treasure first.

Among Thieves plays similar to the first game but with some improvements. Once again, players are able to take cover in a Gears of War fashion but this time can quickly switch from cover spot to cover spot. Blind firing from cover is now also somewhat easier with the introduction of an aiming reticle when blind firing and even when performing the classic "run and gun" moments. Exactly the same as the previous game, there are a lot of weapons for Drake to find however he may only carry one side arm and one rifle, as well as up to four grenades. Speaking of grenades, grenades have also been changed. Now the usage of the SIXAXIS motion control scheme is gone, grenades can be easier aimed and thrown at enemies... it's a lot better than before.

Sometimes however, the cover system seems a little off. You'll want to take cover behind a certain object but you won't, instead Drake will jump to a nearby object that you do not want to be behind. It's as if some objects and locations in the game just can't have Drake hiding behind it. In Drake's Fortune, it seemed like almost any object or wall could have Drake hiding behind it.

The melee system has also been changed slightly. In the previous title of Drake's Fortune, players could use quick weak attacks using square and strong attacks with triangle. Strong attacks however had to be carefully timed to pull off correctly. In Among Thieves however, players only attack using the square button. However, when an enemy grabs Drake, the player has the opportunity to counter their grapple using triangle, allowing for more devastating attacks. Among Thieves also has a lot more one hit knock out melee attacks which can be performed in certain cases in regards to the environment (e.g running down or up a set of stairs and attacking an enemy).

A new stealth system has been implemented into Among Thieves and when the player enters an area that encourages stealth, it's quite obvious. Drake automatically ducks down into a crouch like position and is able to take out a certain number of enemies silently, from pulling them down ledges, snapping necks from behind, bashing heads into objects etc. There are also a few forms of silent weapons, such as a tranquilizer gun or a crossbow. Unfortunately once you have been seen the stealth segment is essentially over and sometimes the enemy A.I can prove quite stupid in these segments.

What is cool though is that the developers have implemented peripheral vision to the enemies. This means that when enemies are shooting at you it is possible to try and stay out of sight and relocate to another area, allowing you to get a better spot and try and flank enemies from different directions, all while they continue to attack the same spot they think you are in. This seems quite similar to the upcoming Splinter Cell: Conviction and one of it's game mechanics.

The Prince of Persia style platforming has once again returned and it's involved heavily in regards to exploration. Originally it was rumoured that the climbing and jumping would be similar to Assassin's Creed however it's almost exactly the same as before, being used heavily for proceeding through the game and for problem solving.

There are a lot of puzzles to be solved in Among Thieves, some of which are quite easy and some of which can be a little tricky. Luckily, Drake guides the player by talking to himself and usually having clues in his journal which can be accessed via the select button.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is by no means a perfect game but it's nearly a perfect game. It's biggest flaw is how linear single player is, forcing the player to constantly follow a road leading from point A to point B. Luckily, the adventure is nearly twice as long as the original, the pace of the game is perfect and there's loads and action to be had, as well as plenty to unlock. Once you're done with single player though, you could always move onto the multiplayer component of the game...

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves supports online multiplayer, with co-op as well as death match and other variations of up to ten players. As players play with or against one another, you receive money and experience points after every match, allowing you to upgrade your character with an assortment of bonuses and add ons, as well as new skins to play as in multiplayer.

There isn't much to say about multiplayer but it really is that good. Unfortunately however, multiplayer is only available online and there is no split screen or offline mode available.

Despite the lack of offline play and how linear the single player campaign is, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, like Drake's Fortune before it, is one hell of a ride with excellent pacing from start to finish. An exclusive to the PS3, if you don't have this game, do yourself a favour and buy it.

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