Uncharted 2: Among Thieves or That’s it? Really?

Finally, Rabidgames decided to take a closer look at the Uncharted series. He started with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves simply because it was convenient. And the first thing Rabidgames realised while playing Uncharted 2 was that the title “Among Thieves” fits perfectly: Nathan Drake must be the bastard child of Indiana Jones and Lara Croft. Or maybe Markus Fenix was his father, who knows …

First, let’s give credit where it is due: The graphics of Uncharted 2 are simply amazing – and proof what the PS3 is really capable of! Jungles, cities and especially snowy landscapes – Naughty Dog made it look almost perfect. Or think about the amazing train level (although it is a big loop). Great job. The sound is also alright. No problems here.

However, Uncharted 2 has some technical issues – 3 freezes right before the final boss and while fighting him are way too much. How could that have happened? You could argue that the game ran perfectly fine until then, yes – but take better care of your flagship next time, Sony!

So what does Rabidgames mean when he accuses Uncharted 2 of stealing?

Well, let’s start with the obvious: Nathan Drake is an Indiana Jones rip-off who jumps and runs like Lara Croft. The story is also ripped out of the brain of another, not yet released Indiana Jones movie: Evil guy searches precious treasure. Treasure turns out to be ancient device to conquer and control the entire world – in a pretty bloody way, of course. Want more stereotypes? Alright, Nathan is a young idiotic fighting machine who happens to be lucky all the time. You have one female sidekick who is a egoistic thief, another one who is a naive journalist who wants to help everybody and save the world on her way. More? Throw in a smart-ass mentor and a betraying bastard who also is an old mate of our dear protagonist. Somehow, the writers managed to incorporate all those stereotypes and still be fun. As far as the story goes at least.

Gameplay-wise, Uncharted 2 is a thief as well. Climbing and jumping reminded Rabidgames of Tomb Raider and also of the Assassin’s Creed games. Unfortunately, the climbing is boring. Most of the time, you automatically jump to your next dedicated spot after looking around and pressing the jump button. The climbing is also slow and feels cumbersome. Compared to Ezio, Nathan seems to be an arthritic old gaffer.

The shooting in Uncharted 2 is also bland: You take cover, shoot enemy A, wait for enemy B to leave his cover, shoot him, you wait for wave 2, rinse and repeat. Alternatively, you can throw grenades. Sometimes, the enemies try to flank you, but mostly they don’t. You A.I. friend is dumb by the way. Really dumb. Late in Uncharted 2, you’ll meet a new, annoying kind of enemy which takes dozens of rounds from your normal weapon – but is vulnerable to one shot of his own gun. Balancing, anyone?

There is one aspect where Uncharted 2 fails miserably – melee fights. Each and every goddamn fight is basically the same: Punch, punch, block, punch. And all accompanied with obvious QTE events. And there is no logic in having to defeat a boss with your bare hands when you could shoot him to pieces. That said, the stealth kills are cool at least. Rabidgames recommends to try stealth kills whenever you can. It’s fun and makes you almost feel like Solid Nate. Unfortunately, you can’t most of the time. Shame.

The pizzles of Uncharted 2 are ok. They’re nothing special but in today’s gaming world it’s great to see puzzles which involve more than “find Key A and bring it to Door B” or our very favourite “Where’s the fucking switch?”. Sadly, there are only a handful of proper puzzles to be found and solved throughout the entire game.

Another shortcoming of Uncharted 2 is its predictability: As soon as you start a level, you know what awaits you in the blink of an eye: Lots of walls mean shoot-outs, a gaping hole means climbing. And then you start doing one of the above actions for 5 minutes at least. You proceed to the next area, and then, you know it … rinse and repeat. There are a couple of levels though where you have to climb and fight enemies vertically at the same time – those were great fun.

All single gameplay aspects are good but nor great. The story is pretty cool but not original, same goes for the characters. Put all pieces together and you get an enjoyable game called Uncharted 2, that’s true. Yes, it works if you steal from all kinds of games and movies. But that’s about it. It feels like all the movies you’ve seen before and all the games you’ve played before. Hell, it even copies its predecessor, doesn’ it? Maybe Uncharted 2 is one of the prototypes of Hollywood popcorn gaming. Short (it took Rabidgames 12 hours to beat Uncharted 2 on easy – with lots of sightseeing), simple, enjoyable fun with no depth in gameplay. Another examples for this kind of fun would be the Transformers movies or the Call of Duty series.

Rabidgames says: Many people say Uncharted 2: Among Thieves  is a masterpiece – Rabidgames simply wonders why. The game seems like a graphically stunning experience with some meagre meat beneath its shiny shell. Yes, the graphics are amazing, yes, it is fun to explore some levels, and the fire fights are sometimes fun. But each gameplay part has been done before – and mostly better. So what makes this series unique? Again, can anybody explain to Rabidgames what the fuss is all about? Please!

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One Response to “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves or That’s it? Really?”

  1. […] be his first purchase of a Tomb Raider game. Now, if you remember, Rabidgames did not exactly fancy Uncharted 2 – too linear, too constrained, nothing more but an enjoyable yet shallow […]

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