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Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

If lost civilizations hadn’t spent so much time building impossibly complex temples, then many wouldn’t be quite so lost, and that’s a fact. The hauntingly dumb-looking statues on Easter Island, for example, still stare out to the Pacific while the people who built them are long dead. Why? Because they cut down trees to make rollers to shift the stone, and without the trees, the island’s animal habitat was destroyed and the food chain was broken. Next time you enter an abandoned ancient religious site, step on a pressure plate that uses counterweighted boulders and bags of sand to raise hefty gates and swing open bridges, then you’ll know why you also find only skeletons and treasure and the occasional angry mercenary. It’s because the locals spent too much time building stone funhouses of awe when they really should have been concentrating on sustainable agriculture.

Uncharted 2 will be the second Sony game to use part of the old proverb “there’s no honor among thieves” for its title, the other being the third escapade for a burglar raccoon in Sly 3, released in 2006 for the PS2. If the latest Nathan Drake Saturday morning serial seems to have a slightly short subtitle, then now you know it’s because the raccoon got there first – but a lack of originality isn’t something that should ever be leveled at Naughty Dog’s Jak & Daxter meets Lara Croft with balls.

Even Indiana Jones harkened back to the adventure series of the Thirties, and without him there’d be no Tomb Raider, most probably no Prince of Persia, and certainly no Michael Douglas in Romancing the Stone. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was such a complete piece of rip-roaring, wise-cracking, genre-tapping gaming personality in the sunshine (and tropical rain), that an hour after beginning play, you’d probably be hoping that it would be part of a trilogy. And if you didn’t, you’re not going to get much from the sequel. Shame, because from what we’ve seen, Uncharted 2 may be the most charismatic, atmospheric, and charming game of the year - we’ve been hungry for it since we entered that German submarine on the side of a mountain two Christmases ago.

Playing with similar slickness and style as the original, Among Thieves’ single-player story campaign takes what has been proven to work so beautifully with the original and amplifies it by a staggering amount of awesome. If you thought that Drake’s Fortune rode the bleeding edge of what is possible with the PS3's hardware, then just consider that Naughty Dog reckons that it only managed to harness around 30% of the console’s power, and since its release it has mined deeper into the architecture to create environments with more Technicolor detail, and enemies with a better awareness of their surroundings. Baddies will detect your presence even if you step briefly into the very periphery of their vision, and they have been programmed so that they will know exactly what to do when they catch a glimpse. Drake’s rock climbing techniques have been boosted to near Assassin’s Creed levels of swift scaling, and so have the skills of the henchmen who want to hunt him down and wipe that cock-sure smile off his face. Still, our hero can now knock over objects like tables, and use them as cover.

Of course, Naughty Dog knows how to handle platforms and leaping – it built its reputation with the Crash Bandicoot series of marsupial Mario clones and the Jak & Daxter franchise. Uncharted 2’s platforming marks a further refinement of the genre, and expands itself with cliff-hanger gunfights through shanty towns, nausea-inducing collapsing buildings and, yes, trips into the sort of lost cities and temples that make you wonder what happened to a people smart enough to make convoluted mechanical traps and gateways that would baffle modern engineers.

Previously, you’d have a combat chapter followed by one that involved you navigating around cliffs and ruins followed by a straight shootout where Drake exclaims “Oh boy!” every time an enemy lobs a grenade. While there are still sections that will require you to climb separated from ones in which you have to shoot, there are also those in which both activities are fused with luminous artistry.

27 comments

  • meg127 - September 14, 2009 3:34 p.m.

    i preordered the game yesterday, can't wait!
  • RaIdEn - August 28, 2009 7:32 p.m.

    this is almost too exiting, i need a paper bag! also, xbox and ps3 graphics are pretty much the same. certain games look better on certain systems but not all of them
  • thuyget - August 26, 2009 7:42 a.m.

    gay. Y on ps3? not xbox360?
  • DawnOfWar2 - August 25, 2009 9:53 p.m.

    @xboxrulez did you put your text through a translator? looking forward to this game though, i'll finally have a reason to play my ps3 obsessively!
  • derbyt - August 25, 2009 7:37 p.m.

    I know this may sound bad, but my eyes watered at the E3 demo. I will walk the 3 miles to the nearest new-game store just to get this game. (Theres a game store closer but it only has 1 month old games)The U.S. gov should make these types of games to make up for deficit. Oh, and the PS3 will always surpass the XBox360 in graphics and fluidity from my experience.
  • loonyman978 - August 25, 2009 5:27 p.m.

    @xboxrulez do you really have nothing better to do than create accounts on any games website you can find, just so you can spam any page not mentioning your prefered console. i feel sorry for you
  • FreekinIdiot - August 25, 2009 3:25 p.m.

    @ xboxrulez It's great you're such a super dooper, mega fan of the xbox but is your spelling really that bad? I just have this vision that you're so excited to get your view across you don't even look at the keyboard while you furiously mash the buttons like an epileptic gibbon? I hope it's the latter, I really do, otherwise your education makes me want to cry. Or am i just being a massive grammar nazi? I just don't know anymore
  • Conman93 - August 25, 2009 10:42 a.m.

    Looks great but in a choice between this and the new ratchet, I would pick ratchet because I have been playing that series forever WOOOOOO!! A sly cooper reference
  • iKOemos - August 25, 2009 4:16 a.m.

    My gut is wrenched in anticipation. I am getting this day 1. Hopefully Uncharted 3 will come along in the next 2 years...
  • gutlessVADER - August 25, 2009 2:06 a.m.

    it does that EVERY time and please no triple posting. this game should be ridiculously awesome and make every other explosion ever look like a plastic lighter at walmart
  • barrage7667 - August 25, 2009 1:41 a.m.

    oh they just fixed i nvm
  • barrage7667 - August 25, 2009 1:41 a.m.

    wtf i wrote tht 30 seconds ago but i says 11 months 30 days ago??? LOL!!
  • neek95 - August 24, 2009 8:02 p.m.

    oh never mind i thought i was first.
  • barrage7667 - August 24, 2009 7:26 p.m.

    im so excited for this game to come out it looks so freaking good first btw
  • adadadad - August 27, 2009 5:56 p.m.

    helo, baby, may back. got the temporeriy restriction from the mood :( sadface. may felt so cold and alone. but broothers, sisters, do no /cry for may. may learnt the leasson. may not use caps. may not cuss ps-3 (although, fingre aches!). may drinkee the phyenix down, and may ok. may love yous. ax
  • 2muchGuitarHero - August 25, 2009 11:13 p.m.

    the wait for this game is unbearable >< Hopefully they won't ruin the story like the first one with that 'zombie' twist
  • CH3BURASHKA - August 25, 2009 6:13 p.m.

    Lol, way to break down the fall of many a society with the explanation of Easter Island. Can't wait to see this one, you know, after I get a PS3.
  • FreekinIdiot - August 25, 2009 1:53 p.m.

    Mucho jealous of ps3 owners. I wish I had one to play this game :(
  • CoD_22 - August 25, 2009 11:25 a.m.

    my favourite quote so far: chloe: " ok, sensing some tension here" elena: "elena fisher, last year's model."
  • barrage7667 - August 25, 2009 1:39 a.m.

    lol neek u werent first by over an hour and by aying not going to say first you are saying first

Showing 1-20 of 27 comments

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