Uncharted 2 Review
By Josh Vance

Pure Gaming Nirvana
First off, let me say that I’m sorry for getting to this review so late.  Still, it is one that I wouldn’t dream of missing the opportunity to praise.  Uncharted 2 is a spectacular and amazing thrill ride throughout every step of its jaw-droppingly gorgeous experience.  If you thought the first Uncharted was awesome, prepare to be blown away.  The first thing I’d like to note is that this game holds the best graphics that I have seen in a video game to date.  The amount of detail put into the level design and the crisp, vibrant environments are absolutely stunning.  The voice acting is among the best in the industry and the excellently rendered cutscenes flow so seamlessly between storytelling and gameplay that you will still feel the need to control Drake’s actions moments after the cutscene has begun.  The cinematics and storytelling shown in Uncharted 2 are definitely some of the best that has ever graced the video game industry.  The characters really come alive and either make you love or hate them depending on their actions.

The gameplay has been honed quite expertly from the game’s predecessor.  Rolling and taking cover is far more fluid and comfortable this time around.  The jumping and climbing is displayed as excellent platforming sequences, and it feels absolutely superb in this game.  Naughty Dog also decided to make a drastic improvement to the grenades system when they opted out on the sixaxis method of aiming your grenade’s arc.  Now you control it with the thumb stick or simply look in the direction you want to toss your grenade and throw it—which is now mapped to a button and not picked from your weapon selection.  This feels so nice and is an outstanding improvement.  The melee combat system also received a massive overhaul.  Fist fights evolve into a nice interactive experience that includes a timed button sequence for evasive maneuvers.  However, it doesn’t work exactly the same for the online component but the brawls are still exciting there too.  There is a strong emphasis on stealth this time around also.  It isn’t something that you necessarily have to use other than in one or two missions, but the game rewards you for being furtive and ninja-like with bonus ammo and grenade pickups for stealth kills.  This also works as a great way of conserving ammo for when you really need it.  The stealth kills are worth the effort and it is always satisfying to jump on your enemy’s back and break his neck or smash him into a nearby wall.  This is done by simply walking up behind your enemy and pressing the square button.  Drake will then perform one of the many silent attacks in his arsenal.

There really isn’t a whole lot of difference in the way the weapons feel or in Drake’s arsenal aside from a few new weapons, but in defense of this there wasn’t anything wrong with it in the first place.  Taking aim is extremely smooth and intuitive.  The blindfire system from cover works as a secure way of dispatching your enemies, though you give up a lot of accuracy in the attempt.   The length of this campaign is just about perfect for an action adventure game.  It generally takes about 12 to 15 hours to complete and every step of the way is filled with some of the biggest and awe inspiring action sets I have ever played through.  Thankfully Naughty Dog didn’t succumb to the trend of games with campaign runtimes of less than 8 hours (ahem, MW2).  After you’ve climbed, gunned and lived your way through this game you will immediately want to play it again.

Another new and fantastic addition to the Uncharted lineup is the inclusion of a multiplayer this time around.  The online menus work smoothly and I never have a bit of trouble finding a game and jumping right in the fun.  Most of the normal shooter play modes are here, such as deathmatch, king of the hill and so on.  A new twist on an old classic that I really enjoy is capture the treasure.  It is essentially Uncharted’s version of capture the flag except that the two teams are hunting a single treasure; the difference is that you can toss the treasure ahead to yourself, or one of your teammates.  This is so fun when it comes to some of the levels that have a multi-tiered design.  The multiplayer comes with a system of perks not unlike those found in Call of Duty, but the improvement on this is that they never feel overpowered.  I never find myself cursing and complaining because someone killed me with some add on or that they had some ridiculous perk that made them near invincible to those without the same.

The online community is for the most part fun and mature here—which is such a nice departure from the juvenile antics found in the online fields of Halo and COD.  Naughty Dog periodically holds double cash weekends where you earn double the money for all your kills and game achievements.  Also they pick two offbeat character skins that all the players must be; fat Drake made me laugh nearly the whole first game I played as him.  Also noteworthy is that they released a new map already, free of charge.  Unlike others who hunger for all your hard earned dollars, Naughty Dog seems to just generally care about their online community and they try to please them in every way that they can with this game.

Lastly I’ll touch on the co-op mode.  This is a series of missions that you can fight alongside your buddies in and they’re usually tailored towards needing your whole crew to complete.  You can’t play the entire game like this though, instead you’ll choose between a handful of selected missions that Naughty Dog reworked from the single player.  This is a nice addition to the franchise as well and will keep you and your friends shooting a wealth of baddies for many hours to come.  So in short, I want to say that this title is a rare gem in the vast mountains of video games.  With industry defining graphics, ultimately engaging storytelling, and some of the best acting and gameplay mechanics ever put to a disc, Uncharted 2 should NOT be missed by anyone who calls themselves a gamer.

Graphics: 10
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 9
Story: 10

Multiplayer: 9.5
Presentation: 9.5
Replay Value: 9

Chucky's Second Opinion

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune was a great game.  Uncharted 2 surpasses it in every way.  The graphics are utterly amazing, the story is better than most recent hollywood films and the pacing is perfect.  The controls are silky smooth and the AI is intelligent without feeling cheap.  The multiplayer is extremely fun, borrowing great elements from other games while adding a few of its own.  Naughty Dog has come closer to actually making a perfect game than anybody else has.  This title must not be missed by anybody.  10/10

TheReviewDudes Overall Score - 10