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Uncharted 2 from a lot of critical reviews have noted the games excellent graphics, gameplay and longevity. On purchasing the game I remained skeptical about how good it would actually be regarding the fact that whilst I thought the first game was good, it was overrated and I saw it as nothing more than a playstation fanboy's boast due to its exclusivity to the playstation three. However, my cautions about the game were quickly blown out of the water within the first few minutes of gameplay. I can not remember the last time I was so engaged with a game, perhaps going back to my early teens when all I ever did was play games.
My friend suggested the game to me after he said he'd been playing the first game and was really impressed with it. I had played the demo of the first game and whilst I understood that it was a decent game I never bought it and never gave it the time of day. However, I'd been reading great things about the game including Official Playstation Magazine's review placing it as number one PS3 game and praising its graphics and gameplay.
In Uncharted 2 the player takes control of Nathan Drake, a decendant of Francis Drake, an Indiana Jones like adventurer who values historical artifacts. The character is likeable and the game features a twisting plot line. The game centres around Drake going up against a Russian git searching for a place called Shambala. Drake is plunged into an adventure which at times he doesn't think he can continue with. The game focuses heavily on the plot and really pulls you into its depths.
Graphics and Sound
The first thing I really noticed about Uncharted 2 was the excellent presentation, realistic graphics, animation, interactivity and voice acting. At the very start of the game you assume as Drake waking up wounded on a train hanging off the side of a cliff. It is the players responsibility to help Drake get out of this mess. The graphics are very realistic and whilst you are climbing up the train there is a level of detail and interactivity which I have not seen in a game yet. As Drake reaches the snow you will notice it clinging onto his clothing realistically, water effects are excellent as well as explosions. Drake moves realistically and animation is smooth, climbing obstacles recalls Assassins Creed, Prince of Persia and Tomb Raider.
Drake is voiced by Nolan North who appears in many other video games and he fills his role perfectly. The voice acting is all round superb as is the music and sound effects. The music fits in perfectly with the game's setting shifting from action to epic to eerie with a cultural influence. The script of the game engages the player almost as if it was a movie with Drake's cheeky comments every now and again fitting in perfectly with the plot or situation.
Besides from Drake the game features two prime enemies and two female side kicks. At the begining of the game we are introduced to Flynn and Chloe who appear to be the good guys but not all is what it seems. Flynn ends up stabbing Drake in the back and turns out to be working for the Russian guy, Lazarevic. Lazarevic is one bad dude and we see him kill one of his own men ruthlessly and apathetically. You probably won't like him too much either. Chloe shifts sides throughout the game and is occasionally seen as Drake's love interest. We're also introduced to Elena who makes an appearance in the first game as well. Drake also fancies her abit (ooh, scandal!) She turns up with her camera man friend who we get to meet briefly before he is shot in the face by guess who...
Uncharted 2 starts off excellently and it turns out that it has started as it means to go on. The gameplay shifts between exploration and action, recalling the best bits of Prince of Persia, Tomb Raider and Metal Gear Solid (yes, there are sneaky bits too, but this is dependent on the players preference). The player has the option of having hints from the game about where to go next, this is where the main criticism lies. The path through the game leads Drake on a nearly entirely linear adventure not having much choice over the path that is taken. However, this doesn't really seem to matter as the game moves at such a fast pace and the level design is so excellently realised that you can not really fault it. Puzzles are also crafted with care using an ingenious and innovative method of a journal where Drake keeps his findings.
Fighting and Gunplay
Fighting and Gunplay on Uncharted 2, whilst not a huge focus as apparent with the first game is brilliantly paced with an easy to use duck-and-cover system and varied hand-to-hand combat animations which sometimes slow down to make you look extra cool taking out a bad guy in the middle of a gun fight. Weapons are very varied, as you'd expect, ranging from mini guns to crossbows to rocket launchers, focusing on long-range weapons (no sword fights here thank you, this isn't Assassins Creed!). There are stealth kills to keep Drake safe from entering fights which he can not win. When Drake is wounded the screen fades to grey and it is up to the player to keep him out of harms way until the screen goes back to colour.
I picked up Uncharted 2 second hand at an excellent price of £25 on Amazon, considering it is still a new game. There is really no excuse to miss this game if you have a PS3. The game is appealing to anyone over 15, the games age certificate which I think is a relevant classification due to its violence and swearing. Since Naughty Dog originally made child-friendly games such as Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter, this may come as a shock to parents who may have bought the games for their children before. In my opinion, the game is suitable for both genders considering its appeal lies in its adventure rather than any machismo reliance. This isn't Rambo or Die Hard, this is more like Indiana Jones meets Lara Croft with an added sense of humour. This may not sound like an amazing idea for a game but it takes the best things about other games, blends them together and overall makes the PS3's most likeable, engrossing, graphically stunning game yet. This is true next generation gaming, go grab yourself a copy, you will not be disapointed!