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Uncharted 2: Among Thieves | The Best Action Adventure?

I played and beat Uncharted 2: Among Thieves upon release, and have beat it plenty times since then. This particular playthrough was on the Nathan Drake Collection on PS4.


Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is a perfect sequel in a lot of ways. It's bigger, louder, and packs more of a punch than the first entry. Unfortunately, by today's standards, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune just isn't a fun experience, so I'd recommend anyone looking into the series to start with Uncharted 2.

The game moves fast, rarely slowing its pace. As an action-adventure title, there's plenty of gunplay. While the enemies can be quite bullet-spongey, the shooting and cover-based gameplay feels good, particularly thanks to the vertical element in play. It's worth exploring not just left and right, but up and down as well for the best vantage point to take the goons out from.

Nate, Sully, and Elena all return and are joined by newcomers Chloe, Flynn, and Lazarevic. While there's not many surprises story-wise, there's some heartfelt moments particularly near the end that achieve what I believe the writers wanted to portray well enough, even if the story is really just window dressing for the set pieces. What helps things here are the committed performances by the voice cast, which elevate a typical action blockbuster-esque story and helps sell the believability.

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There are fewer puzzles than I remember, and I didn't need to look any of them up which is always nice.

Similarly, the platforming works well enough. While you're always restricted more or less in the path you can take (it's generally point A to point B with a little variation) the climbing feels well enough.

But what is Uncharted really about? The set pieces, and Uncharted 2 packs both a moving train level that still feels impressive today, and a level where you're pursued through a burning village by an actual tank. Both are memorable, both had me on the edge of my seat just like I was in 2009, and both highlight an incredible game.

It's Uncharted, so there's some weird stuff thrown in for good measure. This time it's Yetis that turn out to be humans doped up on resin. The series gets a lot of flack for these "supernatural" elements but I don't mind them. It mixes the plot up.

I do prefer the first half of the game to the second. While I love romping around the mountains with Tenzin and finally discovering Shambhala, they just don't quite match the heights of the Nepal segment or the aforementioned train sequence IMO.

The game looks well enough in 2021. The Nathan Drake Collection runs at 1080p, 60 FPS, and in particular both Nate and Lazarevic's face models still look amazing.

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As for complaints, I don't have many. I played on hard and felt like there were a few cheap deaths, but I pressed onwards. By the end I was a teensy bit tired of all the shooting, particularly because of how many rounds you have to pump into the guardians and the heavy enemies. But the next cutscene always made things worth it, and these games are nothing if not turn-your-brain-off-fun with a witty lead, a charming story with some emotional beats that hit, and set pieces that bring the whole thing together.

Go back and check it out. It might just (re)steal your heart.

4.5/5

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