Pin It

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves 

A lavish, adrenaline-fueled fighting and exploration game with the style and setting of a first-class Hollywood blockbuster

click to enlarge art14300.jpg

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves begins with a dramatic letdown. Nate Drake, a young treasure-hunting adventurer (sort of Indiana Jones with hair gel), awakens bleeding on a red velvet seat in an old passenger train that is dangling off the edge of a cliff in the Himalayas. Suddenly Drake’s seat falls, taking him with it. Tumbling out of the train car’s back door, Drake manages to grab onto a rail, leaving him hanging above an icy gray abyss. While the train creaks and moans overhead, it’s my job to quickly guide him upwards to safety.

It’s a superb scene. It’s so good that the whole thing is repeated partway through Uncharted 2. Between those two sections, the game flashes back to explain how Drake found himself in pursuit of a legendary treasure that was apparently hidden away by an ancient tribe of extreme rock climbers. During its relatively short duration (10-plus hours), Uncharted 2 tells an unabashedly cinematic story of antique hunting, artifact stealing, romantic double dealing and climbing, climbing, climbing across a large chunk of the ancient world.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Rated Teen; PlayStation 3

Tibet, Turkey, Nepal and Borneo are all on Drake’s itinerary.

While the exotic locales of the first Uncharted game had the look of a theme park, the environments in the sequel have a naturalistic sprawl even as they open into ever more unreal vistas: temples, snowy mountains, hidden cities. When accompanied by Greg Edmonson’s musical score, which progresses from movie theater strings to singing bowls and Tuvan throat singing, Uncharted 2 creates a setting that blends the richest elements of both fact and fantasy.

As though inspired by the dramatic surrounding, the designers have interspersed Drake’s climbs with outsized action sequences. Chief among them is an emotionally exhilarating battle that moves freely from the rooftops to the sides to the insides of a moving train. By the time the game ends, a tank has torn through a Nepalese village, a mountaintop monastery has been toppled by RPGs, and the Uncharted franchise has been set on a course that will probably see Drake ascending many more sequels.

THE GOOD: No matter how visually dazzling they are, climbing puzzles get old. Uncharted 2 tries to break the monotony with a variety of other types of gameplay. While some of it is uninspired videogame fare such as “align the mirrors” and “spell the password” puzzles, the game’s combat is filled with intelligent enemies to shoot at and be shot by. Simple foot soldiers advance recklessly towards me, while better-armed commandos stage their attacks with cunning and coordination, keeping me adjusting my position and generally making myself more vulnerable.

THE BAD: With a story full of double crosses, love triangles and uncertain loyalties, it would have been nice to negotiate my own path, like a sophisticated Chose Your Own Adventure. Instead Uncharted 2 proceeds like a movie where it’s my job to move the protagonist between plot points. I’m in charge of the killing and the climbing, but the only meaningful choices I make for Drake are the guns he gets to hold.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is a lavish, adrenaline-fueled fighting and exploration game with the style and setting of a first-class Hollywood blockbuster.

Something tells me I’m in for an arm-arranging puzzle.


  • Pin It

Latest in Film

  • Origin-al Sins
  • Origin-al Sins

    Whatever Pan is supposed to provide a backstory for, it's not Peter Pan.
    • Oct 8, 2015
  • Helping Hand
  • Helping Hand

    Rosenwald reintroduces us to a great American hero
    • Oct 8, 2015
  • Drug Warriors
  • Drug Warriors

    Sicario is a tough, brutal film — and one of the year's best
    • Oct 1, 2015
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
Bartfest feat. Angel Olsen, Lionlimb, Loch Lomond, Perenne

Bartfest feat. Angel Olsen, Lionlimb, Loch Lomond, Perenne @ The Bartlett

Fri., Oct. 9, 6:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks


More by Marty Demarest

  • The Cowboy's Cowboy
  • The Cowboy's Cowboy

    A Canadian sings about the life —  not just the lifestyle — of the new West
    • May 15, 2013
  • Completing the Trilogy
  • Completing the Trilogy

    Mass Effect has finally arrived
    • May 23, 2012
  • Minecraft
  • Minecraft

    Adventure and survival too often give way to mindless crafts in this building-block simulator.
    • Feb 8, 2012
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Matt Damon vs. Outer Space

    The Martian is the optimistic sci-fi movie that Christopher Nolan failed to deliver
    • Oct 1, 2015
  • Rocker Soccer '83

    A busload of baby-faced rockers and a mysterious soccer match — trying to piece together an epic August day from long, long ago
    • Sep 24, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation