Monday, 26 October 2009

Uncharted 2: A new era of gaming

The Critical Alien

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

I've never actually said this before about a game. Uncharted 2 has blurred the line for me between film and game. Finally, after years of gaming highs and lows, a game hits that does pretty much every single thing right. There isn't any issue with the game. There isn't any blemish that erodes its greatness. This, my friends, is as good as gaming gets.

Whenever I play Uncharted 2, which I've completed twice now, my reaction is always the same. It plays like a movie. Ever since the first 3d titles, games have attempted to mimic and recreate film. Set pieces have always been an attempt to portray cinematic moments. As far as I'm concerned, gaming has, since its infancy, been on a journey of catch up with film as a narrative medium.

I guess Half Life 2 was perhaps the first example of this boundary dissolution between the two. In that, characters were lifelike and there was never a differentiation between cut scene and game. Steven Spielberg, the CoD4 whore, even commented on this and believed this was where games needed to be heading in order to reach the next level. Uncharted 2 is surely the first game ever to cross this boundary. Personally, I think GTA IV was close but didn't quite make that jump.

Beyond the characters and dialogue Uncharted 2 is simply an excellent game. The level design is homed and never overly fleshed out. The action is tight too. The cover system is perfect, and works online, as is the cool melee system and climbing mechanic. Even the enemy A.I seems flawless. They make an effort to flank you, use cover effectively, hurl grenades, and even retreat.

I honestly have tried to find flaws here. If I was being picky, I'd say that perhaps the last level lacked the sheer wow factor of mid-game stages. This is such a straw man though. Perhaps the only thing that can be said about Uncharted 2 is that it could do with even more co-op levels. The co-op isn't linked to the single player, a good thing, but with only three levels to play through with mates you soon plough through it. However, more are likely on the way in the form of DLC.

The multiplayer is generally excellent. Matchmaking is here but works well for this sort of game (not for stuff like... oh MW2 on PC). There are also other co-op modes for up to three players such as a fun and unique gold rush mode and standard survival. This game has also opened up the Playstation Network to new great things that Xbox Live users have grown accustomed to. Now all we need is cross game chat ;)

I don't want to go on about Uncharted 2 too much for fear of coming across like a fanboy. I don't care what console this game is on, nor do I care if it could or couldn't potentially run on an Xbox 360. All I know is that Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is one of the best games I've ever played on any format.

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