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Elena’s back. That’s really all you need to know. The feisty heroine had a love/hate affair with fans of the first game, but Uncharted minus Elena somehow wouldn’t be the same. She’s the undeniable Lois to Drake’s unkempt Clark. It would be a gloomy world without these two together.
The reason Elena is back on Drake’s case is quite a clever bit of storytelling. She’s not with hero Nathan Drake - the pair parted company before the action of Among Thieves begins. But they do share a common interest. Drake is searching for the priceless and somewhat mystical Cintamani Stone and so is a war criminal called Lazarevic. Elena is following Lazarevic with a cameraman named Jeff to get the scoop on the villain’s story, as he’s supposed to be dead. The Cintamani Stone, for Elena, is neither here nor there. Go figure.
The narrative ensures the pair crosses paths more than once and there’s sure to be tension between Drake’s past and his future, as Elena and new Aussie girl Chloe meet up. Drake and Chloe are searching for Shangri-La, the final resting place of the Cintamani Stone. They find a clue in a temple in Nepal, just outside the city as seen in a few previous demos.
The atmosphere had changed from the sun-soaked streets of the Nepalese city we previously scurried around, to a darker, rain-soaked tone. As Drake made his way out of the temple, his flashlight cast real-time shadows as he shot enemies out of his path – this was more the Uncharted we’d come to love from the first game. The greenery of the original has been replaced by a more real-look jungle setting – it’s dark and brown and muddy.
As Drake emerged from the temple, Chloe in tow, Elena and her cameraman were under fire. It’s here that the new post-processing took hold. We needed to clear the area of Lazarevic’s henchmen, using coverfire and zooming over Drake’s shoulder as in Uncharted. However, the depth of field has been improved. There are multiple enemies, but the game zooms in on the one you’re targeting, blurring the others out and enabling you to focus your fire.
Once we reached the trapped Elena, the pace of the level shifted from all-out gunplay to an escort mission of sorts. Jeff, the cameraman, had been shot and Drake refused to leave him behind, instead throwing an arm over his shoulder and dragging Jeff to safety. Interestingly, Chloe wanted to leave the wounded man behind, suggesting a split in motives – is there another Sully-styled plot-twist in the making?