Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

The first sequel to a video game series is the most critical of whether a series will survive or be laid to rest. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune saw success when it was released in 2007, but when Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was released in 2009 for the PlayStation 3 it blew away the original. Developed by Naughty Dog and published by Song Computer Entertainment, Uncharted 2 improved upon everything the original Uncharted set forth to do making a push for best series on the PlayStation 3.

Story:
Last time we saw our hero Nathan Drake, he was fighting off mercenaries and sending the cursed El Dorado coffin into the ocean and riding off with his love interest Elena and old pal Sully. Uncharted 2 picks up two years after the first game with Drake teaming up with an old associate named Harry Flynn and his girlfriend Chloe to steal an oil lamp that is connected to Marco Polo. Flynn betrays Nate as the two steal the lamp and Drake is arrested. Three months later, Chloe frees him from prison with the help of Sully. It’s clear that Drake and Chloe have been hooking up before the heist so where is Elena? Well, more on that later.

Chloe reveals that Flynn and his boss, Zoran are after the Cintamani Stone which is a massive sapphire from the mythical city of Shambhala. Drake and Chloe travel to Nepal where they encounter Elena! Awkward! A quick shootout results in Chloe running away and Elena teaming up with Drake again to get out of the mess.

Drake tracks down Flynn who is traveling on a train that Drake hitches a ride on. A wild shootout occurs causing the train to derail and leaves Drake for dead until a Tibetan man finds him and heals him in his village. Drake and Elena are reunited where they learn that Zoran can obtain great power from the Cintamani Stone and set off to stop him at all costs. With Chloe back in the picture, the three of them try and stop Zoran but fail and are rescued by Shambhala guardians. The Cintamani Stone is revealed to be not sapphire but amber fused with the sap from the Tree of Life. If someone can drink the sap it would make them immortal which is exactly what Zoran wants to achieve.

Drake sets off by himself to stop Zoran where he is able to defeat him by shooting explosive resin around Shambhala. In the aftermath, Chloe ditches Drake and tells him to get back with Elena which is exactly what he does.

Gameplay:
I noticed right away that the graphics immensely improved from the first Uncharted. If the first Uncharted was a B action movie, then Uncharted 2 is a blockbuster. Everything in Uncharted 2 feels epic starting with the insane sequence of climbing up the derailed train in the blizzard at the beginning of the game. You knew you were in for a treat after that.

The firefights in Uncharted 2 are similar to the original. You’ll have various weapons to choose from with pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, and grenades. What improved wasn’t the gunplay but the fistfights. Drake can now pull off combos and special QTE moments to finish off big thugs and bullies. If you prefer a more Solid Snake approach, Drake can sneak up behind enemies and take them out silently which I preferred as it helped avoid alarms and waves of enemies. Again, it’s amazing that Drake kills a thousand guys on his way to “saving” the world potentially but as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Puzzles return but you should be able to figure them out if you’re older than ten. Most puzzles require Drake to look in his journal for hints or color cues and have him pushing levers to get large statues or platforms to move. Remember the small treasures you collected in the first Uncharted? That returns as you can collect over 100 treasures that shine or sparkle as you make your way through the level. It’s tough to pass them up if you see them sparkling in the corner of your eye.

The acting improves and Drake, Elena, Chloe, and Sully are superbly voiced. After having a game under their belt, Drake, Elena, and Sully have their personalities down and the story feels real. It was interesting to see that Drake and Elena had broken up since the first game, and made their relationship more realistic with the difficulties of dating someone like Drake.

Memories:
I was much more impressed with Drake’s second outing as just about everything improved. My friend that I worked with wouldn’t shut up about the second game so I finally played it and was pleased with how well it turned out. I remember thinking Drake might pull off a little threesome action between Elena and Chloe, or maybe that was just a fantasy. Either way, Drake knows how to pull the ladies in.

Everyone always talks about the train sequence as it sets the tone for the game and it’s true, it was epic, and not many games can open up like that but there’s much more to Uncharted 2 than the train. I’ve played through Uncharted 2 a few times and it never disappoints.

Overall:
Uncharted 2 is what a sequel should be improving on every facet of the first game. Characters, firefights, gameplay elements, and graphics all are upgraded to showcase one of the best games on the PlayStation 3. In my opinion, it’s the best game of the Uncharted series.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves scores a 9.5 out of 10.

Do you remember when Uncharted 2 first came out? Do you think it’s the best in the series? Who is hotter, Chloe or Elena? (Chloe, duh) What did you think of the story? Let me know your memories and thoughts, I’d love to read the comments!

If you’d like to own a copy of Uncharted 2, you can purchase a used copy of it for PlayStation 3 from eBay for around $5-$10.

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