Imagine you are sitting in a train. Now, imagine you have a bullet lodged in your gut, and you’re bleeding like crazy. It doesn’t stop there. Now the train you are one is hanging over a cliff. Now, since the situation is not dangerous enough, you are thrown out of the train, and you must climb up it to safety. That is exactly what happens to Nathan Drake when you start Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.
The first thing you will notice when you start Among Thieves is just how gorgeous the game looks. Naughty Dog has always been the ones to push Sony’s consoles in terms of graphical output, and it shows with each entry in the Uncharted series. It’s a testament to Naughty Dog that a game released in 2009 can be considered one of the best looking games this gen. Everything from the character movements to the way the environment looks, Among Thieves is a graphical tour de force. Even the little things, like how the snow sticks to you when rolling, and how your clothes stay wet when swimming is greatly appreciated.
The gameplay is a major step up from Drake’s Fortune in every major aspect. Hand-to-hand combat has been tuned, and aiming your gun is far smoother. You also don’t have the problem of your enemies being bullet sponges. Sticking to cover and platforming is still a simple and satisfying experience. Overall, Among Thieves improved everything that people complained about in Drake’s Fortune, and provided the foundation for Drake’s Deception.
Naughty Dog also upped the amount of intense set pieces in Among Thieves. You will be jumping from a falling train, running from a helicopter trying to gun you down, escaping a falling building, and many others. I really don’t want to spoil any other set pieces for you. These moments are the ones that set Uncharted apart from the many other franchise out there.
The soundtrack in Among Thieves is fantastic. Composer Greg Edmonson has composed the soundtrack for every game in the Uncharted series, and he has done a fantastic job. His soundtrack fits every moment in Among Thieves, whether it’s intensifying the action or just setting the mood when wondering in the Tibetan village. The voice acting should be praised as well. Nolan North did a fantastic job as Nathan Drake, which is expected. Claudia Black also does an excellent job voicing Chloe Frazer.
The story of Among Thieves is based around the legend that Marco Polo discovered the fabled city of Shambhala, which houses the Tree of Life. Drake is brought back into the seedy world of treasure hunting when old friends Chloe Frazer and Harry Flynn convince him that this is an opportunity of a life time. Little does Drake know that his employer is Zoran Lazarevic, a war criminal hell bent on achieving immortality and ruling the world. Throughout the story, Drake will travel to Borneo, Nepal, Tibet, and other locations.
Zoran Lazarevic is definitely a step up from the main villains of Drake’s Fortune, but he is still a major cliche. In fact, the entire story of Among Thieves is cliched, especially if you have seen a certain movie franchise. However, that is not a knock on Among Thieves, because I am a sucker for a great adventure story.
New characters Chloe Frazer and Harry Flynn are welcomed additions to the Uncharted universe. The way they interact with Drake feels natural, you can definitely sense that they have done more than a few jobs with each other. Drake’s Fortune gave suggestions that Drake was more than just an everyday adventure, and Among Thieves shows it.
Naughty Dog introduced multiplayer with Among Thieves, and it was more than just a fun little distraction. There was a dedicated fan base there, and many of them have moved onto Drake’s Deception. You might be able to find a few matches here and there, but stick with Drake’s Deception if you have the need to kill your fellow adventurers.
I do have two minor complaints with Among Thieves, and the first complaint has to do with the random difficulty spikes. There will be times where you will blaze through several gun fights, and then find yourself replaying a segment a few times. There is one particular gun fight that frustrated me towards the end of the game. Nothing too major though, you might just have to rely on the good ol’ Nathan Drake luck skills a few times. The second minor complaint has to do with the puzzles, I found them too easy, but that is just my preference, and not a knock on the game.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is beyond a fantastic game. This game is such a huge improvement over Drake’s Fortune, Naughty Dog has really shown people how to make an excellent sequel. There is no doubt in my mind that Among Thieves deserves the perfect score that I am giving it. Personally, this is my favorite game in the whole series, but Drake’s Deception is a very close number and worthy of its perfect score as well.