Uncharted 2 Among Thieves
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is the second game in the Uncharted franchise and is generally tied for best in the series alongside the 4th title. This game is everything a sequel should be as it has taken everything good from the first game and for the most part vastly improved on it and even proved it by winning multiple game of the year awards in its year of release.
The story of this game follows a similar formula to all of the first trilogy of the Uncharted games which basically is as follows:
• Nate and Co want to find a treasure
• Bad guys want the same treasure but for more sinister reasons
• Both sides fight throughout the game maybe with some in-fighting amongst the team of protagonists
• Protagonists realise that the treasure has some sinister purpose and that's why the bad guys want it
• We experience a little of what the treasure is capable of
• Boss battle, the treasure is lost and ending.
Or, in other words, it's a little cliché and I think the team over at Naughty Dog realised this and embraced it as the game kind of feels a bit like a playable movie with a betrayal, a warlord like villain, a love triangle and many set pieces feeling like something you'd see in a Fast and Furious movie. A lot of this could be seen as flaws but in all honesty, the game doubles down on this 'over the top' style and it honestly works for them.
The story is much better this time around with a ruthless villain who you really enjoy the thought of beating by the end who also surprisingly brings about some deep ideologies which were more than I expected from him. You also get a side villain who betrays you at the start of the game in Harry Flynn but in all honesty, I never really liked him as a character, I'm pretty sure he's meant to personify what Drake would have become if he went down a different path but this never really worked for me. One of the main pulls in terms of story and characters is the introduction of Chloe Frazer who made such an impact in this game that she would later get her own spin-off title in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. She's a badass flirtatious character who, hidden behind her own self-interests, has a good heart and that's why she works so well aside Nate as he's a very similar character. The only really bad thing about this story is the fact that fan favourite character Sully is criminally underused and after the games opening act doesn't appear till the ending cut scene, Sully is such an iconic character for this series and to more importantly to Nate so to let him off with the 'I don't have your luck, I'm too old for this' seems a little odd considering he seems to be doing just fine in Uncharted 3 and even 4.
The gameplay again has some solid improvements over the first game with more enemy variety including 3 different types of juggernauts and riot shield enemies which makes you think a lot more about when to be on the move and when to stay in cover etc. Climbing and jumping feel much smoother in comparison to the first game making puzzles and most non-combat sections feel a lot less of a drag. We also get a couple of big action set pieces that further build on the 'action movie' style I feel like this game was going for. You get to go one on one with a helicopter using grenade launchers to bring it down, a convoy chase which has you jumping from vehicle to vehicle (which would actually become a series staple) and then a sequence where you fight you're way to the front of a moving train which is infamously known for being one of the best but most challenging parts of the game. Unfortunately, gunplay hasn't really improved from the first, it's not by any means bad but it's still just really basic. Aside from a small selection all the guns are either the same or reskin of weapons from the first game I suppose the excuse here would be that they were focusing more on the story and other gameplay sections which as previously said are great but since you do end up in situations where you're where you are shooting at bad guys for half the game I have to say the lack of improvement is disappointing. The same can be said for the introduction of stealth mechanics as in most sections you can start off being stealthy but the game is scripted for you to be seen so I never really used these mechanics as you can't get the satisfaction of beating an entire wave of enemies without being seen if the game pushed this style more I'd feel less bad about the gunplay not being improved as there would be less emphasis on it but there is not and I am left underwhelmed.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is known for being one of if not the best in the series and in all honesty I just can't see it. The game significantly improves on the first game and is an incredibly fun experience however even though the game has improved from the first game it hasn't evolved enough and I feel that this is where the third and fourth game shine a lot more as they really do change almost everything for the better even further than this game has done. There are a couple of things I haven't talked about such as the inclusion of multiplayer on the original PS3 version or continuous speed run mode in the PS4 remaster this is due to the fact that the PS3 servers have been shut down and I already discussed the continuous speed run in my Uncharted 1 review.
Overall Uncharted 2 is a brilliant game but it truly is not the best.