Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Look Back - Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

I know it's a bit early to be referring to Uncharted 2 as in the past by referring to it in a "A Look Back" article, but the game was released in October of 2009.  That's like an eternity in gaming years, especially with the year I've had.  Since the basis of "A Look Back" posts is remembering a game fondly after 'enough' time has passed, well, I believe Uncharted 2 qualifies.

It's kind of funny; the only reason I brought it up tonight was because, at a gathering we had today, I was talking with my oldest nephew about games and he posed to me the question, "What company do you think makes the best graphics?  Rockstar?  Activision?"  And with a knowing little smirk, I shook my head and said, "No, no.  You don't know good graphics until you've seen the latest Naughty Dog games."  He seemed a little confused, "The Crash Bandicoot guys?  What are they working on."  And it was then that I resolved to show him the pinnacle of gaming graphics and Cinematography so far:  Uncharted 2.

....I'm sure you can guess as to how it went.

My nephew doesn't really show a lot of what he's thinking; he doesn't really react outwardly to things, so a subdued response to things is the most you can ever expect, outside of laughter.  So when he watched the opening scene with the train, I could tell he was a little impressed at how it looked.  "You know I'm actually playing it right now, right?"  He looked over at me and said, "Really?  Oh, wow.  Yeah, you are, aren't you?" when he saw that I was, indeed, moving Drake amongst the shattered parts of the hanging train that served as your climbing tutorial.

"That's really cool."

Yes.  Yes it was.

And it's funny; he wasn't the only person to be surprised by the game.  Even though I've played it at least six times through, and I remember everything about the game, it seemed fresh, regardless.  There was a pure joy from playing, even though I more or less remember every line, the cadence with which the lines are said, and how every scene plays out, simply because it's just that good.  Dare I say that it seems timeless?  I dare.  I dare indeed.

We both marveled at the way the game controlled; him because of how responsive it looked and how a headshot actually is a one-hit kill, unlike some other games, and myself at how relevant the gameplay still manages to be, despite everything I've played since, especially inFamous 2.  It's tight, it does what you want/need it to do, and it looks damn good while you do it.  I did stop a few times to point out things to him, like the dynamic water stuff; how Drake's clothes get wet and dry depending on where he's submerged and for how long as well as how varied the combat manages to be.  And the starting scenes make that perfectly easy to do, if I do say so myself.  Going from stealth to melee to actual gunplay (despite only with tranquilizer guns at first, then real ones) allows for a lot of variation and makes an impressive showing of all your options.

My one regret is that I completely forgot to show him the Iron Fist technique - shooting from the hip while you run up on a guy and finishing him with a solid punch.  And wouldn't it figure, as soon as I remembered the move (Long after my nephew had gone) and did it, Drake yelled out "Kitty Got Wet!" which if you remember back when, was a thing.  I could have explained the whole thing about it too; about how it was a thing Nolan North's son said and he just decided it sounded cool, so he decided to use it.  And it is kind of cool.  It's fun to say at least; I'll have to remember it better this time.

A part of me regrets not having played in the Uncharted 3 MP beta, as Uncharted 2's MP was surprisingly fun even if I was usually on the losing end of things because of my terrible internet.  But I think I made the right choice; that just means when I play the game for myself I'll have that much more to be blown away by.  As always with games that I speak fondly of, I would heartily recommend it to anyone looking for a good game, and folks in PAL-Land do have that Uncharted Twin-Pack coming up soon that includes both Among Thieves and the first game, Drake's Fortune.  (I checked, but I don't know if it's actually coming out in NA.)  Sounds like a perfect chance to get in on it if you haven't so far.

Then again, if you haven't, what the hell is wrong with you.


  1. Yeah, Uncharted 2 was one of those big-grin-on-your-face-the-whole-way-through games. I remember playing the beta for it and I ended up getting into a co-op game with a kid who had only ever played Gears of War, in terms of third-person shooters.

    He was freaking out.

  2. Hahaha. That must have been a fun experience.

  3. It was a nice bit of perspective. Between Uncharted and inFamous, I was entirely comfortable with playing a character who could climb on the environment and shoot mans at the same time, but to this kid it was like someone had taken off the blinders through which he viewed the world - and the truth was blinding.