Who is Naughty Dog trying to kid? Back in 2007 they released the original Uncharted and pitched protagonist Nathan Drake as an ordinary, everyday, average type of guy. But don’t be fooled, if every guy was like Nathan Drake, we’d all be blowing up helicopters while aboard speeding trains, collapsing ancient monuments with a pull of the trigger, or taking out mercenaries with a beautiful woman (or two) by our side. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is finally here and Naughty Dog has put Drake in his most exciting adventure yet, with the end result being a game that will not only be the crowning achievement of the PS3, but also for action adventure games of this console generation.
Uncharted 2 picks up with Drake in a bad way. He’s beaten, bloodied, and regains his consciousness inside a train that’s about to fall off a cliff thousands of feet high. He has little time to think as he can hear the moans and screams of the machinery about to break loose. Climbing out of the train with the utmost caution, he cheats death from falling boulders and pipes that break away as he moves around. It is at this moment, within the first five minutes of the game, one realizes just how special Uncharted 2 is. Among Thieves is the quintessential example of how to perfect production values in a game. The graphics are amazing, the sound is impeccable, and the cut-scenes and voice acting is so top notch that it is near impossible to not become emotionally attached to the on-screen protagonists.
Aside from the aesthetics, Naughty Dog delivers on one of the most epic adventures that has ever appeared in a videogame. The player is tasked with stopping Zoran Lazarevic, a Siberian war criminal who will stop at nothing to obtain the Cintamani stone -- a stone that’s rumored to grant its finder with extraordinary powers. Throughout the journey, one will visit the jungles of Borneo, the alleyways of Nepal, and trek all the way to the snow-capped mountains of Tibet. But they won’t do it alone. Rarely will one find themselves going solo in Uncharted 2. Whether it's infiltrating museums with A heist buddy, Flynn; mending a relationship gone sour with Elena; or getting a bit intimate with new and provocative character, Chloe (quite possibly the hottest videogame vixen ever to be pixilated); Drake almost always has someone by his side.
Gameplay-wise, having NPC’s by one's side is rarely a recipe for success. Often a lesson in aggravation and quick deaths, developers have been getting the partner act wrong for years. Once again, Uncharted 2 succeeds where others have failed. Not once in multiple play throughs will one find that Drake's partners get in the way or cause him to die. While their well-aimed shots more often acted as stun mechanisms than fatal blows, one learns to appreciate their assistance, as partner cover fire is crucial in helping the player regain health while behind cover, especially on the more brutal difficulty levels.