Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (single player)

In the last decade, video games have become more like the movie industry. And if the video game industry mirrored the movie industry any more than it already does, you would think that Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer had a hand in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before: as far as video games go, Uncharted doesn’t break new ground in terms of game play, graphics, or even style. Sure, the game plays well, is stunningly gorgeous, and is a hell of a lot of fun until the very end! But, the game won’t win any awards for innovation. Much like a Michael Bay movie, Uncharted 2 strives to blow you away by taking what you have done before, and making it look and feel really effing great. Never before has a game done such a good job of bridging the ever fading gap between movies and video games.

From start to finish, Uncharted 2 treats itself like a high budget, fast paced, and intense summer blockbuster. In fact, Uncharted 2’s movie-style directing is so good, that you may even forget you are playing a game. However, as good as U2:AT is at blurring the line between game and film, it doesn’t do so without sacrifice. The camera angles used to produce such a high octane visual experience often hinder the game play. There are times when you simply cannot see the next jump, a thug sneaking up on you, or even where to go next! Why? Because the camera is pointed in a direction that is not ideal for playing the game. While this is obviously done for the dramatic effect and feel of the game, it can make Uncharted frustratingly difficult, despite the fairly easy skill level.

U2:AT’s camera is easily its greatest weakness, but it also provides one of its greatest strengths: the fun factor. Because it does such a good job of inserting you into the beautifully crafted world, lush environments, and thrilling action sequences, it enhances the otherwise pedestrian game play. Deep down, U2:AT’s platform jumping, vine swinging, gun play, and climbing engines are no more than the giant sized offspring of Pitfall and Tomb Raider with a sprinkle of Splinter Cell and a dash of Gears of War for good measure. But you forget all of that because you’re often times too busy trying to keep up with the game. The heart of this game is the action, and the blood is always pumping. You’ll go from climbing a train while hanging off the side of a cliff, to shooting it out with an armored thug wielding a chain gun, all before climbing walls inside of some gorgeous lost ruins in a ten minute span. This game truly is fast paced, while still providing hours of play!

Drake is once again voiced by Nolan North (who also provides the voice of Desmond in Assassin’s Creed, and the Prince in the more recent Prince of Persia title). North really brings the character to life and while U2:AT’s visual presentation are nothing to shake a stick at, North’s voice acting is key to providing Drake with his great action hero personality. The entire cast from the first game returns, and the new characters, while not incredibly devoid of action movie stereotyping, are all superb. While the game primarily focuses on the visual stimuli, the voice acting allows the characters to really shine through.

As stated before, Uncharted 2 won’t win any awards for originality. It’s the video game equivalent to a pop-corn movie. A summer blockbuster that’s full of cliche’s, cheap thrills, and intense action. It has lovable characters, a bastard villain, lots of explosions, and the obligatory double-cross. Uncharted will never let you down, unless you count on a steady camera and reliable controls. But, if you’re looking for a great game to play on the PS3, it’s a great one to pick up.

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