Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is everything that a sequel hopes to be: bigger and better. While Drake’s Fortune eased players into the exciting world of gunfire, booby traps, and Nathan’s bravado, Among Thieves kicks it off with a bang. Set in media res, the opening sequence of Nathan climbing up a run-down train, hanging over a cliff edge in Tibet is painstakingly suspenseful and iconic.
Better still, however, is the story. Although it often hits many of the same beats that players can expect from the genre – power-crazed, Eastern European mercenary group included – there are enough twists and turns (and yetis) to keep you guessing along the way. All in all, maintaining the mystery is the most important element with mystical McGuffin plots, and Uncharted 2 pulls it off spectacularly.
Few games before Among Thieves had characters that were anywhere near as compelling, particularly in its female cast.
My favourite thing about Uncharted 2 though is the characters. Few games before Among Thieves had characters that were anywhere near as compelling, particularly in its female cast. Nathan Drake continues to charm in his sequel, with constant cursing in the face of danger and his flirtatious gambits, but its Elena and Chloe that steal the spotlight this time.
Chloe Frazer is introduced as a fellow treasure hunter and immediately evokes a similar coolness to Drake, which continues to be a refreshing change from the love interest having to grow into competence, and her popularity leading to her own spin-off game should speak volumes. Likewise, the revelation that Elena continues to take her job to the heart of war-torn cities is a wonderful reminder that she is still Nathan Drake’s equal ten years later.
Whilst the other writers who are celebrating this decade old game are coming at it from the perspective of people who experienced this marvel back in its hay day, I am providing the viewpoint of someone who annoyingly missed out, only embarking on this gem’s marvelous adventure for the first time this year.
What’s truly incredible about that, however, is that Uncharted 2 has stood the test of time and laughed in the face of others who have fallen from grace. Even a decade later, you can slide the disc in (or just hit play, if you’re a cool modern digital kid who don’t need no physical copies) and still be blown away by the awe-inspiring scenery and world that Naughty Dog so carefully crafted.
It truly feels as though you are in an adventure-filled film like the old Indiana Jones movies
It’s a beautiful experience and the gameplay is incredible too. It truly feels as though you are in an adventure-filled film like the old Indiana Jones movies through the thrilling chases, action-packed gun fights and stunningly risky parkour. The gunplay might feel a little light compared to their later work with The Last of Us but its engaging, nonetheless.
With a stellar cast, a grandiose and over-the-top story, a beautiful and seamless adventure and some stand-out gameplay, you can’t not love this wondrous entry into one of the best series in all of gaming.
If you haven’t tried Uncharted 2 yet (I can’t say anything, so I won’t), then grab the remastered trilogy for the PS4, boot it up and embark on one of the best adventures you can experience.
The years from 2006 to 2013 were pivotal years for gaming; narrative began to gain a greater focus and gradually became better integrated with gameplay. I stuck with the Nintendo Wii during this much of this time, but it wasn’t until my late arrival to the PlayStation 3 that I discovered what I’d been missing.
Perhaps the best encapsulation of that development can be seen in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, which acts as a landmark title for this era.
The cinematic nature of Uncharted 2 is really what sells the experience, with superb performances from the cast. Their performances run along an adventure that itself continues unbroken through the entire game. You see every step of their journey, ensuring a sense of camaraderie with the characters beyond what the excellent cutscenes provide.
Uncharted 2 ignited my adoration for the studio of Naughty Dog and for narrative-driven gaming experiences as a whole.
Uncharted 2 ignited my adoration for the studio of Naughty Dog and for narrative-driven gaming experiences as a whole. While I consider The Last of Us to be the pinnacle of blending gameplay with narrative, Uncharted 2 laid much of the groundwork for this to take place. Tracing those pieces back just makes the puzzle of game development all the more remarkable.
A technical showpiece, Uncharted 2 feels timeless in retrospect. Truly, we should look back on games like this - the industry seems intent on moving away from story-based single player experiences in favour of the supposedly more profitable ‘live service’ model. Studios like Naughty Dog act as the last bastions for quality, self-contained stories worth remembering.