So I skipped out on work today to play straight through UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves. I mean, I was dedicated enough to help put together a site devoted to the thing, might as well go all out! Before I get to the impressions of U2 so far, let me give you guys a little insight into how I do things, as opposed to how Chris does them.
Chris is a technical person, and as such, he’s better suited at assessing the technical side of things than I am. So I’ll be focusing purely on the visual aspects of the game, as well as the acting, sound, score, gameplay, etc. And I won’t get too technical doing it!
Now, with that said, let’s get down to it: Among Thieves is my “Game of the Year.” There’s no doubt in my mind about this, and I will stand by it until someone forces me to do otherwise. The most important thing to me, when evaluating a game’s quality, is how well it tells its story, how good the voice acting (if any) is, how it looks, how it plays, and how these come together to create an experience. Those are my favorite kinds of games, the games that really draw you in, and are the sum of all their parts.
That’s what UNCHARTED 2 is. It’s an experience. An incredibly enjoyable experience that builds on the original by leaps and bounds. And I loved the original. Since I have to highlight something first, I’ll go with the voice-acting. It really is, to me, the highest quality legitimate voice acting in any video game I’ve ever heard. Nolan North and Co. turn in some ridiculously heartfelt and realistic performances, that probably won’t be matched until UNCHARTED 3 hits in a couple of years. Props to the actors – your hard work is evident!
The next facet you notice is how truly beautiful this game is. According to various Sony/Naughty Dog spokespeople, the original UNCHARTED utilized something like 33% of the PS3’s power, and still managed to be a beautiful game- which is what makes the statistics surrounding U2 so astounding. According to Naughty Dog, Among Thieves utilizes closer to 99% of the PS3’s power, and it shows. Long gone are the days that every game must shine like the sun, and instead we’ve gotten down to painstaking, meticulous detail. Everything looks great, all the way down to the rubble you jump over while evading Russian operatives.
As for the gameplay, this series has really evolved. While the basic fundamentals remain intact, certain key changes have changed to make combat MUCH more satisfying than UNCHARTED: Drake’s Fortune. For instance, all that nonsense with using the Sixaxis to aim grenades or balance on walkways is gone, replaced by much more fluid mechanics. Gunplay is an improved, and way more exciting experience now. The only problem during fighting is the cover system. As a friend pointed out to me, it can take sometimes a few seconds to attach to the cover you want. On hard mode, a few seconds means death. However, it is an obstacle that is easy to forgive, and doesn’t detract from the overall experience.
Finally, UNCHARTED 2 features a truly exquisite soundtrack. While Drake’s Fortune coined the memorable theme that is now synonymous with the franchise, it wasn’t really anything extraordinary. That’s not to say it was bad, as Greg Edmonson is an incredibly talented composer, as proven in his famous role as composer on the short lived Firefly television series. Just not amazing. That all changes with Among Thieves. The soundtrack is driving, inspiring, and spine tingling. Yes, that may be a bit much, but I actually thought I was listening to a new Indiana Jones soundtrack. It just fits so perfectly.
Sure, I could go on for hours and hours about how impressive this title is, but this is just an “first impressions” piece, not a full review; that full review will appear sometime soon. I just wanted to update you guys about what my thoughts were so far. Who knows, after I beat the game, I could despise it. That’s doubtful, but you never know!
After 10 hours in at ‘Normal’ difficulty: 9.5/10