First Impressions: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

October 17, 2009

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So far, I’m believing the hype. After a raft of glowing reviews, and an average of 96/100 from respected review-aggregating site Metacritic, there was every reason to be excited about this. Add in the fact that I had completed the original only a few hours before, and it’s safe to say that I was expecting Uncharted 2: Among Thieves to deliver. At the moment, ten chapters in, it’s delivering in spades.

Uncharted 2 redefines what the word ‘spectacle’ means in a videogame. Perhaps spectacle suggests something a little passive, a noun used to describe a particularly epic action movies. But Among Thieves manages to pack in spectacle whilst still giving you full control of the action. From the very start, the game crams drama down your throat and forces you to swallow. I won’t spoil it for anyone thinking of buying the game, but suffice to say, it’s the most amazing way to start a game that I’ve ever come across.

From there, Uncharted 2 unfolds in largely the same way as it’s predecessor. Granted, it was only a few hours before that I was finishing off the first game, but for those who are returning to control Nathan Drake after an extended absence will find the game instantly familiar. The controls and HUD are identical with the exceptions of minor, but welcome, improvements to the way grenades are handled. Lush vegetation and dingy catacombs seem to be the order of the game again, threatening to deliver essentially the same game.

But then the story takes you to war-torn Nepal, and a crumbling city that makes your jaw drop. I spent many many minutes simply wandering around drinking in the incidental details of the place – smashed tiles, a desolate launderette, rusted street signs – instead of pressing on with my objective. If Naughty Dog’s environment artists aren’t the best in the business, I couldn’t tell you who is. There is no game that is as polished as Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. None.

I could go on, but I can predict that I’ll be waxing lyrical in my review of the game once I’ve beaten it, so I’ll save my hyperbole for then. I’m half-expecting the game to drop in quality, to dampen the sense of wonder that the game has cast on me for every minute that I’ve held the controller so far. Only one way to find out I guess. I’m off to boot up the PS3 again. But, Xbox 360 owners – it might be time to start weeping now.

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