Continuing to work my way through The Nathan Drake Collection, and I just got finished with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The original game released on PS3 back in October 2009, but again, part of the Nathan Drake Collection, hit PS4 in October 2015.
Uncharted 2’s story starts off right in the midst of mystery, as Drake is hanging off the end of a train in a snow story. Instantly the story gripped me, and I had to know what had happened to get him there. Half of the actual game takes place in the past, prior to the run up to this event which is a manner that doesn’t always sit right with me, as you already know a portion of the outcome, like Drake isn’t going to die because you just saw him already, so I was a little let down by that side of things. But the story which unfolds is very much like the first Uncharted. You meet some new characters to the series, Harry Flynn, and Chloe Frazer. They convince you to try break into a Turkish Museum to steal a Mongolian oil lamp, which they believe holds the key to finding the location of Marco Polos lost ships and well known treasure. I’m not going to go into detail about the plot here, as a lot of it would be spoilers, but the story is great. You get to continue building a relationship with Drake, whilst some faces from the previous game also make an appearance too.
You don’t need to have played the first game, but it definitely will add to the context of some scenes, allowing you fully understand what is happening, but as a whole the game can be played as a standalone to the series.
The Nathan Drake Collection version of Uncharted 2, uses the same graphical engine as the first game from the collection, so graphics are much improved compared to the original game. Environments look absolutely amazing, with bright, and vibrant backdrops seen throughout the game. The later stages of the game really show off some simply gorgeous level designs which might make you take a step back and just awe in all it’s glory.
I did run into a couple of bugs though. When jumping around, I somehow managed to get my self stuck in an endless “falling” animation on some walls or objects. Eventually the game will just bug out and Drake will die, but this happened on more than one occasion and having looked online I am certainly not the only one to experience this issue.
The same voice actors return for Uncharted 2, continuing the great work from the first game. The character’s relationships really shine through with the voice acting, and everyone does a stand up job of portraying the character’s emotion too.
Uncharted 2 is a little bit longer than the first, with 26 chapters for you to play through. It took me a little under 20 hours to finish the game on easy mode. I know, I know….. Higher difficulties are there for those wanting more of a challenge, but I was happy with just seeing the story!
The action packed chapters are separated by slower paced, puzzle and jumping puzzle chapters. My favourite gaming mechanic returns, and as you will have seen from my Uncharted 1 review, I absolutely hate jumping puzzles. Uncharted 2 is no different, but there might be just slightly less of them for you to deal with.
The actual logic puzzles did seem a bit more frequent though, which is something I did want to see more of in the first game. There are a few which combine the logic with jumping, but thankfully the quality and challenge the puzzles offered allowed me to overlook that issue.
In terms of the gun gameplay, I thought it would have been the same as Uncharted 1, but it was ever so slightly different. Being a bit of a newb when it comes to aiming on a controller, I relied on the assisted aim quite a bit in the first game, but something seemed a little off with it in Uncharted 2. The aim never seemed to stick to enemies very well, and I found myself more often than not, just aiming at a wall and having to readjust manually. I think if I had played on a higher difficulty I would have really been made to pay for my lack of skills with aiming on a controller, but thankfully the casual easy mode was more forgiving. Infact, I don’t think I died more than 5 times in Uncharted 1, but there were a couple of fights in Uncharted 2 which resulted in me dying. The most prominent one, is the end boss. Uncharted 1 ended with a disappointing quick time event. Uncharted 2 definitely restored some faith with a much more difficult encounter, perhaps the hardest I have experienced on my console journey thus far.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is definitely an improved version of the previous game in my books. Whilst it uses the same graphic engine, and gameplay mechanics, it is clear to see that the writing is much improved, improved frequency of puzzles and challenging gameplay.