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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developed By: Naughty Dog Software
Genre: Adventure
Players: 1-10
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: October 13, 2009
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

2007 brought about several phenomenal titles across a multitude of consoles. We were treated to the likes of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, Super Mario Galaxy and Mass Effect... just to name a few. 2007 also brought about Naughty Dog's first next generation release for the PlayStation 3 console, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. While elements within Drake's Fortune were seen in other titles released beforehand, Naughty Dog was able to perfect these same techniques in order to create a refreshing action adventures experience that's still referenced to this day. And now, two years later, Naughty Dog is back with the sequel, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. New locales, fresh faces and insane battle sequences put Uncharted 2 ahead of its predecessor and all other titles within the same genre.

Usually when I write reviews, I speak on the gameplay mechanics of the game, however with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, I have to speak on the visuals first. Before Among Thieves was released, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and Metal Gear Solid 4 were looked upon as two of the best visual appealing games for the PlayStation 3 console. With Among Thieves, Naughty Dog went far beyond anything anyone could have imagined. All character models, whether it is Nathan Drake himself or the diverse cast of characters, are highly detailed. Some would say they mimic the body movements and language of their human counterparts, which is due to the extensive motion capture work that was done by Naughty Dog. Emotions are carried across perfectly through individual actions and through the characters eyes; the gateway to the soul. The environments are very lush and full of detail. When traversing the rooftops of Nepal, you can see buildings and mountains in the far distances, all of which are beautifully rendered. Weather effects are top notch as well, whether you are traversing through several feet of snow or rain, or simply looking up at the sky and watch clouds move.

The audio with Among Thieves is also very well done. The dialog at times can be a bit cheesy, however it's all done in fun and as a mother extension to help set the mood. Just like the first game, there is a lot of bantering back and forth between the cast of characters; both familiar and welcome additions. The musical soundtrack is once again another shining light within this title. Whether traversing the jungles in order to reach a hidden base camp or in a hectic shootout with your enemies, the music keeps you grounded in the onscreen action while also keeping a feeling of pending danger within your bones. Special effects are portrayed very realistically. From fiery explosions to the glowing blue flame from burning resin, these elements help to enhance the visual presentation, while also providing a differing experience. Naughty Dog set out to advance the gaming experience through detail visuals and superb audio, which is evident within Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

The tale of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves picks up a few years after the events that unfolded within Drake's Fortune. It seems that Drake has gotten himself into some deep trouble with his life hanging in the balance. The opening sequence has Nathan Drake waking up on a wrecked train covered in his own blood. After a few things fall towards him, he soon realized that he's hanging off a cliff and that the danger is far from over. This opening scene is the first sign that Naughty Dog had and executed bigger and better plans for Nathan Drake’s latest conquest. Within Drake’s Fortune, Nathan was portrayed as a thrill seeker looking to uncover the mysteries surrounding Sir Francis Drake adventures and El Dorado. Within Among Thieves, you will bare witness to a different side of Drake; more dark and gritty, while also being able to showcase his softer side for the ones he cares about.

Throughout the single-player campaign, Nathan Drake is assisted by several people, some of which were within Drake’s Fortune, while others are new to the series. Two of the new characters include Chloe -- a sassy and deadly woman from Drake’s past -- and Flint -- an old pal of Drake’s whose out to make a name for himself at whatever the cost – both of which bring out unique qualities and memorable moments from Drake. Alongside the diverse cast of characters is a enhance combat system, which also has been improved for this latest chapter. When engaging in hand-to-hand combat with enemies, Drake has several new surprises which aid him in getting the drop of his foes. Or hero can deliver devastating drop kicks, spin kicks, uppercuts, push enemies off moving vehicles and high places, incapacitate them permanently… just to name a few. The a weapon in hand, our fearsome hero is practically unstoppable, so long as you don’t get shot in the head or up close and personal. You can also pick up canisters of gasoline with one hand a toss them towards and enemy, shooting it in air and killing everything nearby.

The duck and cover mechanic from Dark’s Fortune has returned with a few tweaks. Now Drake can flip desks over and even run and side into cover to keep himself alive. He also has use of riot shields, which he can take from enemies, allowing you to get up closer to armored-cover enemies for a cleaner headshot. Unlike the first game, utilizing cover and knowing when to sneak up on enemies to incapacitate them quietly, are key to surviving entice battles in Among Thieves. And if all fails, sprinting and leaping gaps can buy you time until you can get to some protective cover. Just be mindful, the computer A.I. is a lot smarter than in Drake’s Fortune and the crate, desk, box you are hiding behind can and will be blown away via a hail of bullets or a well placed grenade.

The single-player experience will set you back 12-15 hours depending on if you are simply playing through the game or trying to collect all the treasures in one go around. But once that experience is over, it’s time to hop into the MULTIPLAYER experience Naughty Dog is providing this time around with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. You have the choice between playing co-op missions with up two 3 players’ total and jumping strait into some 5-on-5 action. Within the Co-op mode, you will be revisiting several of the sites that are within the single-player campaign; however you will be tasked with completing varying objectives in order to progress to the next level. Within the regular multiplayer mode, you have your choice of ten different game types, which will certainly keep the action fun, intense and you coming back for more. This is one of the few online multiplayer experiences on the PS3 were you can actually lose yourself within the game for hours on end and even realize you were playing that long.

Though this level of quality has come to be expected from Naughty Dog, actually seeing it up close and personal makes you realize that the cinematic experience for console videogames is very much alive and kicking. While there were some tiny issues scattered throughout the game, none of them are really noticeable and frankly, when playing this title, if you do see them, you don’t really care that they are there. At the end of the day, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves provides a solid visual, audible and gameplay experience that we look forward to seeing in future Naughty Dog titles for years to come. NOW WHERE IS MY UNCHARTED MOVIE!!!


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