That Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is a thrilling interactive experience should come as no surprise. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune was one of the best of the PS3's early releases, impressing with the quality of its visuals, gameplay, and storyline. Among Thieves is the epitome of what every gamer wants in a sequel, building on an already strong foundation to create something fantastic and unforgettable.
Continuing the story of treasure hunter/thief Nathan Drake, the plot doesn't strike any unexpected chords. Playing out like an interactive summer blockbuster, just about every turn, twist and betrayal is predictable from the get go. That said, the game's successful integration of story into gameplay is probably the best of this generation. Things flow almost seamlessly from start to finish, and to the relief of many, the game manages to keep its cutscenes short and to the point. Among Thieves tells a story without smothering you with it. Additionally, the dialogue in Among Thieves is the best I've ever seen in a game, managing not just to convey information for the player, but also for endearing you to the characters. The banter between the good guys in idle moments, the jokes, even the more serious moments are all pulled off to perfection.
A game is only as good as its gameplay, however, and Among Thieves has some of the best. Rather than totally revamping the controls of the first outing, Naughty Focused more on tweaking some of its weaker elements. It's now much easier to use grenades or blind fire from behind cover, while melee and stealth attacks are far more useful. The truest success of the gameplay, however, is just how much it lets you do. It runs deeper then just an excellent combination of third person shooting, platforming, and puzzle solving. Among Thieves pulls off some of the best set pieces ever seen in a game. Each level just builds and builds into a brilliant climax that will leave you laughing from sheer adrenaline. Seen at one point in the E3 09 gameplay footage, Nate and new character Cleo narrowly escape from a collapsing building while under attack by a helicopter and fighting mercenaries. After they make it out, Nate laughs breathlessly, “We were almost in that!” You'll feel the same way while playing Among Thieves.
If the frenetic fragging of your average FPS just isn't your cup of tea, Among Thieves might have the multiplayer you're looking for. The game's focus on cover allows more room to breathe, while its impressive array of weapons give many options for letting your violence loose. If you're more of a teamwork kind of person, the game's online cooperative modes are great fun, allowing you to fight your way through hordes of mercenary thugs with a few friends I tow. Graphically, the game is a work of art. Earlier this year, Killzone 2 demonstrated a mastery of the drab. Among Thieves is all about color. Everything is lush and rife with detail, from the dense jungles to thick snowy environments. Sometimes you'll just want to stop and stare: it looks that good. The audio too is excellent. The music always suits what you're doing, thumping away during firefights while creating a more peaceful ambiance for puzzle solving and platforming. The voice acting is also top notch. It's almost sad to think of an Uncharted movie. The performances here are so good it would be hard to imagine Hollywood living up to them.
There are a few quibbles. The cover system can be a bit wonky. It's easy to move between cover points, but sometimes when you want to disengage from cover you'll just find yourself bouncing back and forth between positions. Among Thieves pacing is near perfect, but there are a few sections where the platforming can be a bit too drawn out. It can also be hard to figure out where to jump to next sometimes. If you take too long the game will give you hints to help you along, but it would have been nice if these hadn't been necessary.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is essentially the game that gamers go to bed dreaming of each night. This praise may sound over the top, but trust me when I say it isn't any exaggeration. Among Thieves takes all those elements we hope and pray for; good gameplay, good story, good graphics and sound, and brings them as close to perfect as we've ever seen. Outclassing all the competition, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is a triumph of gaming.