Thursday, March 8, 2012

Uncharted 2

+++ Improves on virtually everything in the first game
+++ Outstanding environmental variety
+++ Once the game starts being exciting it doesn’t stop, for 10 hours
+++ Excellent characters
++ Satisifying melee/weapon system
+ Stealth is possible and quite viable
+ Decent cliché storyline
+ One of the best looking PS3 games
-- Moderately Easy

Uncharted 2 was my first wonderful experience with the PS3. Once I started playing I simply could not stop for 20 some odd hours. I beat the game on normal, then I instantly started playing on Hard. I didn’t do Crushing for a while but I did keep playing online for quite some time. The characters and the level design are simply too compelling to ever put down. As completely linear games go this is pretty much the ideal situation, you never feel trapped in a scripted railshooter like Call of Duty.

Phenomenal graphics aside this game is just so damn fun to play start to finish, even in Uncharted 3 the co-op is generally more fun than the single player because it reminds you of this game. “Oh what should I do with these guys, perhaps 5 steel fists in a row, or 5 stealth kills, or I’ll approach from this completely different angle;” It never stops feeling fresh and I sort of feel like a little kid again, able to play the same thing over and over without much complaint.

Unlike the sequel you still have those oh so satisfying medals for dispatching enemies in any way imaginable, to go alongside tweaks like flip world or the amusing next gen filter (triple the bloom, suddenly everything’s brown and post-apocalyptic). All of this adds to the replay value tremendously. While I “only” put 50 or so hours into Uncharted 2 I think that’s damn impressive for a 10-12 hour game.

And now for an ode to the Train. Smack in the middle of the most exciting campaign ever is the best section. You’re placed on a 40+ car train with the goal of reaching the front while it’s moving, along the way you go though a jungle, a massive bridge, a tunnel, and a snowy mountain; sure the environments make no sense but they are absolutely amazing. For almost every car there is something like a 10 minute loop of background so it is nearly imperceptible when the game is doing so, every little detail holds up so damn well. I could literally just sit there on the train and watch the backgrounds go past and find myself entertained. “Don’t you assholes see the helicopter?”

Uncharted 2 is the best 3rd person shooter of the modern console era, it’s not quite as good as Resident Evil 4 but being the 2nd best shooter of all time is hardly a bad bar to set. Nolan North and his Russian antagonist hold the screen like no others as you punch, shoot, explode, and luck your way to the finish. Fortunately there’s no undercurrent of racism to bring it down a tad like the first game, but even if there was this would be a masterpiece.

Final Score: 10/10