Like its predecessor, Uncharted 2 is painfully linear and while that's not a bad thing it might have been nice to have some branching in the game. There is one short section towards the middle of the game where you get the opportunity to explore a village on your own but even that has a fairly straight A to B feel to it. This isn't necessarily a bad thing as it allows Naughty Dog to craft a perfect experience but it's something that some gamers may feel constrained by.
The controls in Uncharted 2 have been tightened significantly since the first game. Gone are the SIXAXIS controls for throwing grenades and walking across spans which felt tacked on in the first game (you can use the SIXAXIS controls to throw grenades if you're a glutton for punishment but it's not required any more). The rest of the controls are what you would expect in terms of aiming, shooting, and climbing around the environment. The cover system has been tweaked a bit as well but there were more than a few times where Nathan grabbed the wrong wall. It's still a solid system but there were times when I couldn't get the game to do what I wanted. Something I didn't learn until nearly the end of the game was that for most of the climbing sections of the game you didn't need to constantly press the jumping button as Drake will intuitively move in the right direction using just the thumbstick to move around.
I did have a few areas where I got stuck and couldn't figure out where to go next. This situations were usually the result of me not seeing a climbable area or realizing that Drake could make a jump. The game does have a help feature to help get you through these areas although it's a bit more helpful than I would like. You can turn it off if you're so inclined though and I'd recommend it if you want to figure everything out yourself.
The first Uncharted set the high bar for graphics in a game with lush jungles and fantastic water and clothing effects. Uncharted 2 raises that bar with snowy hinterlands and dense city scapes to the mix. The level of detail is amazing as the worn torn city levels feel like you're watching news footage and trudging through snow never looked this good. Uncharted 2 is also one of the few games to trigger my fear of heights in some of the levels. The primary example an icy cavern you discover about two thirds of the way through the game. You're forced to slowly work your way down a fifty to sixty foot area by jumping from one mechanical area to the next which caused me all kinds of problems. I'm normally immune to this kind of thing in a game but for whatever reason Uncharted 2 actually got to me.
The audio in the game is likewise perfect. The game retains the excellent score from the first game and I will admit to lingering on the title screen for a few minutes just to listen to the fantastic orchestral score. Voice work is also exemplary which isn't that surprising given how good it was in the first game. The characters just feel so much better because of the quality of the voice work and the addition of Claudia Black to the mix as Chloe doesn't disrupt the chemistry of the existing actors.
New to the series is a full load of multiplayer modes. The game comes with the standard deathmatch modes as well as a few co-operative modes in case you want to make friends instead of killing them. As you play through the multiplayer modes you'll earn cash which you can spend on boosters, skins, and taunts. Money is also earned playing through the single player side as well so playing the single player side of the game is a good warm-up to the multiplayer portion of the game. I played through a few online matches after spending more time with the multiplayer beta than I care to admit and I had a lot of fun with it. I do hope we get some more of the co-op modes but there's hours and hours of entertainment for when you've finished the single player side of the game.
It's hard to find imperfections in Uncharted 2 as the level of polish is near perfect. I did hit one clipping error and had the game lock up on me once but the overall experience that Naughty Dog has put together is the best out there on any platform. It would be easy to knock the game for not really doing anything innovative but instead of innovating on the gameplay side the developers have innovated on the quality and polish side of the house and the end result is pure gaming bliss. If you have a PS3 this title needs to be in your library. Period.
Conclusion: A must have for any Playstation 3 owner and the game has raised the bar for every other game developer out there. While it lacks in innovating any new gameplay the game does innovate on the quality and polish side of things.
A must have for any Playstation 3 owner and the game has raised the bar for every other game developer out there. While it lacks in innovating any new gameplay the game does innovate on the quality and polish side of things.
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