A tale of many cities
A couple of years after the events of Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, treasure hunter Nathan Drake returns in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves for an adventure which once again places him right in the middle of life threatening danger, exotic locations and heroic rescue missions.
This time the charismatic Drake delves into the secrets of Marco Polo's doomed voyage and the legendary Himalayan valley of Shambhala, which propels him into the path of some old faces and new adversaries, including a deadly fugitive war criminal. There are double and triple crosses, twists and turns and a quest which will take you to places never before seen..
Uncharted 2's presentation is the first thing which will capture your attention and imagination. Its luscious and well-defined visuals convincingly place you firmly within the varied environments which range from snowy landscapes and jungles, to war-torn cityscapes and ancient temples. Complementing the settings are a wealth of elemental effects that interact with the characters - snow piles up and sticks to clothing, while water adds a wet sheen to shirts and trousers.
The animation deserves a special mention, with Drake reacting to his environment as an actor would on a movie set. He shields his face from the heat of fire, skids in the dirt and dust, flips tables over for cover, and staggers, stumbles and wheezes if he's hurt or running for his life. This nicely adds to the dynamic camera angles which provide an extra sense of visual energy as well as offering clues to what you should do next.
The music score also creates a thrilling atmosphere, building drama during the action scenes and subtle emotion for the game's quieter and more considered moments, aided by high quality voice acting. Everything sounds natural and believable, whether it's the quick-witted quips of the cast, the sound stage of a tense gunfight or even Drake's panicked cries when a grenade lands nearby.
Taking you cliffhanging
From its exciting opening with Drake's daring escape from a derailed train which precariously dangles from a cliff edge, Uncharted 2 throws you straight into the fray. Teaching you the basics of how to control the acrobatic Drake, you begin his journey through a number of flashbacks showing how the treasure hunter ended up in such a deadly situation.
This means putting you in the centre of some fun and fiendish puzzles, daring gunplay and vertigo inducing platforming. Drake's increased agility let's him clamber up sheer surfaces, across monkey bars, ladders, ropes, and even shoot from a hanging position. Sometimes you'll be joined in these exploits by a number of partners to offer hints and help you out in the intense fights - although you're always the star of the treasure hunting escapades as only your actions can progress the story.
The jewel in Uncharted 2's glittering gameplay crown is its dazzling use of set pieces, which thrusts you into memorable and breathtaking scenarios. You'll be involved in a rooftop battle with an attack chopper, running and gunning through a tight alleyway with a flaming truck bearing down on you, fighting on a high speed train and more. These are the moments that maintain the high pace of the finely honed gameplay, making sure there's always a fresh and exhilarating challenge around the corner.
A tribe called quest
As well as an epic single player quest, Uncharted 2 also features several multiplayer modes for competitive and co-operative play. The former throws you into adapted levels from the single player story and creates gameplay templates such as Plunder (capture the flag) and team Deathmatch, where you have various objectives to complete while taking out your rivals in battles for up to ten players.
Co-operative multiplayer throws up to three players together into a survival scenario, where you must complete tasks and go against hordes of enemies using teamwork to help increase your score and achieve the goals.
Both modes have the same glossy look and gameplay mechanics as the single player, meaning your characters are just as agile and deadly with weapons, with the added bonus of being able to customise your combatant and even watch recorded replays of your matches.