Uncharted Collection First Impressions: Part 2 - Among Thieves

NOTE: This is not a review! These are my impressions from Uncharted 2: Among Thieves at about 50% through the campaign. A review will follow shortly.

Coming straight off the back of the first Uncharted, this - the sequel and Naughty Dog's second foray into Nathan Drake's world - harbours noticeable improvements. Bluepoint's excellent job of remastering shines through yet again, but, in addition to this, so does the fact that Naughty Dog have learnt from their mistakes.

In my last Uncharted First Impressions post (which you can view here), I commented on how the first game was made in a time before Naughty Dog became the highly regarded developer that we know today. I think learning from the mistakes made in the first game (which I'll detail properly when I review it in early November) started the barrel rolling, and thus began Naughty Dog's ride to stardom.

Before starting Uncharted 2, my expectations were set incredibly high. With over 200 Game Of The Year Awards, 96 on Metacritic and several other awards and accolades to its name, Among Thieves has proven itself to be a formidable game. And, as well as the "official" decorations, the game also boasts a huge amount of fan support.

For me, however - at least so far - the game isn't quite living up to the hype. Sure it's fun: sure the gun-play is a whole lot better and the characters, story and world are a whole lot better realised but, for me, things don't quite fit together yet.

I think this is mainly down to the fact that the camera is still a rather large issue, and this makes a large part of the game - the platforming - occasionally really hard to execute. Sometimes things are fine and the jumping from place-to-place can be over with quickly, and remain fun, but other - less favourable times - take forever thanks to the constant stream of missing a jump and then dying.

But, that isn't where my complaints end and - yet again - it falls under the platforming bracket. On occasion, Drake - and thus the player - is tasked with traversing a beautiful, huge and terrifying cavern via some heinous route that requires a small amount of puzzle solving. Often these moments, which require some thinking, present a ledge or jump that isn't immediately obvious.

On it's own this sounds fine, right? The problem comes when the answer to this traversal related puzzle isn't as obvious to the player as it (obviously) was to the designer and it takes a guide to point out the correct way to go. Similar instances occur elsewhere in the game; for example, when the only way to defeat a larger enemy (ie. a helicopter or tank) requires a very small amount of puzzle solving and the way to progress is incredibly obscure. This, again, can be incredibly frustrating.

And that's where Uncharted 2 is - so far - loosing its magic for me. In moments where I get frustrated with the game or - in actual fact - with myself and I leave the world that it should be creating (and Among Thieves does that incredibly well). But, aside from that, I understand where the love for this game comes from, or - at least - I'm beginning to understand. Here's hoping the 100% comes and that understanding is fully there. 


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