Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
The cover of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.
Developer Naughty Dog[1]
Publisher Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform PlayStation 3
Release Dates NA October 13, 2009[2]
JP October 15, 2009[2]
AUS October 15, 2009[2]
EU October 16, 2009[2]
Preceded by Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
Succeeded by Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is the second game in the Uncharted series.

The game follows Nathan "Nate" Drake and his companions Elena Fisher, Chloe Frazer and Victor "Sully" Sullivan as they search for the lost city of Shambhala, said to be home of the mythical Cintamani Stone. However, they are not the only ones searching for Shambhala, and they must contend with the ruthless Serbian war criminal Zoran Lazarević.

The game was released by Sony Computer Entertainment throughout October, 2009, and serves as the sequel to Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. Developed by Naughty Dog, the game received universal acclaim upon its release, being dubbed "Game of the Year" by numerous critics and outlets. The huge success of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves would lead to a third game in the Uncharted series; Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is due to be released in November, 2011.


[edit] Development

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was developed by Naughty Dog, who also developed Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.[1]

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves logo.

The game was first revealed in December 2008,[1] with the teaser trailer showing lead character Nathan "Nate" Drake stumbling wounded through a winter setting and collecting a golden artefact.[3] A full trailer would later be shown at the 2008 Spike Video Game Awards.[1]

More details about the game would surface when Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was featured in the January 2009 edition of Game Informer magazine.[1]

Furthermore, information released by Naughty Dog discussed parts of the plot, bringing attention to Marco Polo and the mystery of his Lost Fleet,[4] as well as revealing information on a character new to the Uncharted series: the reckless Australian explorer Chloe Frazer.[4]

On a more technical level, details about the game engine in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves - known as Naughty Dog Engine 2.0 - were revealed, such as a more complex A.I. system, an overhaul of the game's lighting and shadowing presentation, and an improvement in the engine's polygon modelling system.[4]

[edit] Gameplay

Like its predecessor, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is a third-person action-adventure game. Within the game, special attention is paid to the platforming and shooting aspects of this genre. Furthermore, the advancement of the story in certain situations requires the solving of in-game puzzles, another aspect drawn from Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. Building on what was established in Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves also introduced new features such as the ability to engage in combat transversing between levels, as well as expanding on the stealth combat that was included in Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.[4]

[edit] Multiplayer

Main article: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves multiplayer

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves introduces an online multiplayer gameplay mode to the Uncharted series.

Multiplayer action in The Village.

The first beta phase included the multiplayer maps The Village and The Plaza, along with the Team Deathmatch and Plunder gameplay modes and the Nepal Warzone chapter of Co-op Objective mode.[5] This beta phase took place during June, 2009,[6] and was available to those who purchased the inFamous video game.[7]

In September, 2009, a multiplayer demo was given a wider release. This demo contained the same content as the beta mode, but with the addition of two new maps: The Ice Cave and The Temple. Furthermore, the game also included two new games modes: Elimination and Chain Reaction, as well as a number of multiplayer skins and Boosters. This demo also introduced Uncharted 2: Among Thieves multiplayer's Cinema Mode.[6][8]

Ultimately, the multiplayer would go on to contain six gameplay modes. These were Team Deathmatch, Plunder, Elimination, Turf War, King of the Hill and Chain Reaction. There were also a number of maps included in the final edition of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, along with a full selection of Boosters, skins and an extended competitive co-operative campaign.[9]

The multiplayer mode of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves received a largely positive reaction, being praised on its longevity with the plethora of games modes available, and the incentive of Boosters to keep players wanting to play in order increase their playing level.[10] IGN also described the new gameplay mode as "a killer online component", citing it as one of the reasons for the longevity of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.[11]

[edit] Plot

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves picks up with the main protagonist of the Uncharted series, explorer Nathan "Nate" Drake, hanging over the side of a cliff in a train car. It is revealed through flashbacks that Nate was previously approached by old acquaintances Harry Flynn and Chloe Frazer with an offer of a heist. The trio infiltrated a Turkish museum with the intention of retrieving an ancient lamp said to contain clues pointing to the direction of Marco Polo's Lost Fleet, a convoy of 13 ships and 300 sailors lost at sea in mysterious circumstances. However, as Nate and Flynn retrieve the lamp, Flynn turns on Nate and leaves Nate to be arrested by the authorities and placed in a Turkish prison.[12]

Nate, Sully and Chloe in Borneo.

Sometime later, Victor "Sully" Sullivan, returning from Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and Chloe arrive at the prison to bail Nate out. Now out of prison, Nate hatches a plan of revenge with Sully and Chloe in order to trump Flynn and find Marco Polo's Lost Fleet before Flynn and his client, now revealed to be Serbian war criminal Zoran Lazarević, can find it. As part of plan, Chloe integrates herself back into Lazarević and Flynn's camp in Borneo as a double-agent. By setting up explosive charges, Chloe is able to cause a distraction that allows Nate and Sully to sneak into the camp undetected, where they find information regarding the Lost Fleet. From these notes, Nate is able to conclude that the Fleet is high up in the mountains, washed up there by a huge tsunami. When the trio investigate this high ground, they discover that the Lost Fleet actually had information on the mythical land of Shambhala, said to house the legendary Cintamani Stone, with clues suggesting that Nepal somehow features in the mystery. Soon after this discovery, Flynn and a group of Lazarević's soldiers appear. Chloe is forced to turn her gun on Nate and Sully to protect her cover, but the two are able to escape with her help. After the harrowing series of events in Borneo, Sully decides he has had enough of this adventure, leaving Nate and Chloe to head to Nepal and find Shambhala on their own.[12]

In Nepal, Nate and Chloe must fight their way through a number of Lazarević's soldiers, as well as avoiding the conflict that has engulfed the war-torn city. On their journey, Nate and Chloe come across journalist Elena Fisher, last seen in Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. Elena and her cameraman Jeff also happen to be on the trail of Lazarević, which leads to all four characters banding together for this common cause. Nate and Chloe believe that they have located the temple where the next clue to the location of Shambhala to be, so the group heads there. Inside the temple, Nate and Chloe discover that the location of Shambhala lies somewhere in the Himalayan Mountains. However, any celebration is short-lived; Elena and Jeff, left outside the temple on sentry duty, have been attacked by one of Lazarević's patrols, with Jeff being shot and seriously wounded. Chloe insists that they must leave Jeff behind, but Elena disagrees. Nate attempts to carry Jeff through the city to safety, but this slows the group down too much and they are caught up to by Lazarević's entourage. Again, Chloe is forced to pull her gun on Nate and his companions to protect her cover, whilst Lazarević mercilessly executes Jeff. Nate and Elena are able to escape, and when they regroup they make the decision to save Chloe and then go on to find Shambhala in the Himalayas.[12]

Nate and Elena in Nepal.

This plan means that Nate has to board Lazarević's train, which is now en-route to the Himalayas. On the train, Nate must fight his way through waves of Lazarević's soldiers, before coming into contact with Lieutenant Draza, Lazarević's main henchman. After defeating Draza in an exhausting battle, Flynn then re-appears with a group of Lazarević's soldiers. In an effort to save himself, Nate fires at a Propane Tank, blowing up the section of the train he is on and sending it over the edge of a cliff; explaining how Nate finds himself in this particular predicament at the start of the game.[12]

Nate passes out after safely escaping the train before it falls down the cliff-face, and when he awakens he finds himself in a Tibetan village. Elena is there, along with the former Nazi Karl Schäfer and Tibetan villager Tenzin. Schäfer sends a now-recovered Nate into the Tibetan mountains with Tenzin in order to find the remains of Schäfer's Nazi expedition to find the Cintamani Stone. Finding the remains of the expedition, Nate discovers the awesome power it possesses; a power that forced Schäfer to kill the rest of expedition so that the stone could not be unleashed into the world. Returning to the village, Nate and Tenzin find it under siege by Lazarević's soldiers. The Tibetan villagers band together and are able to repel the attack, but Lazarević is still able to snatch Schäfer and the Phurba dagger - the apparent key to Shambhala.[12]

Nate and Elena give chase to Lazarević's convoy and find themselves at Lazarević's camp, a monastery high up in the Himalayan Mountains. Fighting their way through waves of Lazarević's soldiers, Nate and Elena are able to infiltrate the monastery, where they come across a severely-injured Schäfer. Schäfer dies in Nate's arms, but not before telling Nate that he has to stop Lazarević. Nate and Elena make the decision to split up in the hopes of increasing their chances of finding the entrance to Shambhala, which leads to Nate finding Chloe, who is now in control of the Phurba dagger. Nate retrieves the Phurba off Chloe and uses it in solving a puzzle that directs him to the entrance of Shambhala. Leaving Chloe behind, Nate meets up with Elena and the two begin their journey down the road to Shambhala. However, they don't get far before Lazarević's entourage again catches up with them. With both Elena and Chloe held at gunpoint by Lazarević's soldiers, Nate is forced to work with Flynn to open the gates of Shambhala.[12]

Nate, Elena and Chloe find the Stone.

Once the gates are open, the entourage moves into Shambhala. However, they are quickly attacked by a large group of Shambhala Guardians. This attack distracts Lazarević and his men and gives Nate, Elena and Chloe the chance to escape. Fighting their way through the lost city, the trio must fight off attacks from Lazarević's men and Guardians. During this time, the trio also come to the realisation that the Cintamani Stone is not a gem worth millions of dollars, but rather an amber stone of resin embedded in the Tree of Life. Shortly after this revelation, a wounded Flynn appears with a grenade. In an effort to kill Nate, Elena and Chloe, Flynn pulls the pin on the grenade. However, Flynn dies in vain as the grenade only succeeds in injuring Elena.[12]

Nate orders Chloe to carry Elena out of Shambhala to safety and she agrees, albeit reluctantly. Nate then heads off to confront Lazarević, who has drunk from the Tree of Life and now harbours almost superhuman strength. After a prolonged battle, Nate takes the upper-hand. However, he resists the urge to kill Lazarević in cold blood and instead leaves Lazarević at the mercy of the Guardians. Leaving the Tree of Life, Nate finds Shambhala crumbling around him and must dash to the exit, only making it with the help of Chloe.[12]

The final cutscene of the game picks up sometime later, in the Tibetan village. Elena has recovered from the injuries she sustained at the hands of Flynn, and as a returning Sully aids her, Nate tells Chloe that it is Elena who he loves. Chloe accepts this fact and leaves, leaving Nate and Elena alone.[12]

[edit] Characters

Main Article: List of characters in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

  • Nathan "Nate" Drake, voiced by Nolan North[13] returns from Uncharted: Drake's Fortune as the game's main protagonist. An explorer and treasure-hunter said to be a descendant of Sir Francis Drake, Nate is on the trail of the legendary Cintamani Stone, said to be housed in the mythical city of Shambhala.
    Zoran Lazarević, the game's antagonist.
  • Elena Fisher also returns from Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. Voiced by Emily Rose,[13] Nate and Elena cross paths as they have a mutual goal - tracking down Serbian war criminal Zoran Lazarević, the game's primary antagonist.
  • Chloe Frazer makes her first appearance in the Uncharted series. Voiced by Claudia Black,[13] Chloe is a reckless Australian explorer previously acquainted with Nate, who debuts by serving as Nate's partner for large portions of the game.[4]
  • Victor "Sully" Sullivan makes his second appearance in the Uncharted series. The antique-dealing, treasure-hunting Sully serves as Nate's primary partner for the opening chapters of the game. Richard McGonagle returns to voice Sully.[13]
  • Zoran Lazarević is the game's main antagonist. A character new to the Uncharted series, Lazarević is a ruthless Serbian war criminal who is also searching for Shambhala and the Cintamani Stone.[14] Lazarević is voiced by Graham McTavish.[13]
  • Harry Flynn, voiced by Steve Valentine,[13] serves as the game's secondary antagonist. Previously a treasure-hunting acquaintance of Nate, Flynn turns on him and becomes Lazarević's right-hand man, aiding the Serbian war criminal in his search for Shambhala.

[edit] Reception

Nate was praised for being "likeable".

Upon its release, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves received universal critical acclaim. British newspaper The Telegraph gave the game a 10/10 rating, praising the game's fluidity, action-packed plot and overall simplicity. The Telegraph also praised the game's characters, calling the main protagonist Nathan "Nate" Drake "likeable", the main antagonist Zoran Lazarević "a suitably nasty piece of work", and citing the love triangle between Nate, Elena Fisher and Chloe Frazer as one of the most convincing romances in the genre. However, the same review also pointed out that the game did have its flaws, notably the slightly unrealistic turn the game takes with the introduction of the Cintamani Stone's power.[10]

In an extended review, IGN rated the game 9.5/10, which categorises it as "Amazing". The review especially praised the game's visual effects, calling them "the best of the best". Furthermore, the review went on to praise the presentation, gameplay and lasting appeal - citing the multiplayer component as one reason that players would continue playing the game.[11]

GamesRadar rated Uncharted 2: Among Thieves "A+",[15] while Eurogamer rated the game 10/10.[16] MetaCritic reports that based on 105 reviews, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves receives an aggregate score of 96/100, suggesting "universal acclaim".[17]

[edit] Awards

With the overwhelmingly positive reception to Uncharted 2: Among Thieves came a number of awards for the game. A notable occurrence came when Uncharted 2: Among Thieves picked up 10 awards at the Annual Interactive Achievement (AIA) Awards, including "Game of the Year" and "Adventure Game of the Year".[18]

At the Game Critics Awards, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves won "Best Action/Adventure Game" and "Best Console Game",[19] the latter of which it was also awarded at the 2009 gamescom fair in Europe.[19] Furthermore, the game also received awards from gaming websites IGN and Gamespot. IGN awarded it a number of awards, including "Best Action Game" and "PlayStation 3 Game of the Show",[19] while Gamespot awarded it "Best PS3 Game".[19]

One of the game's biggest achievements was its performance at the 2009 Spike Video Game Awards, where the game won "Best Graphics", "Best PlayStation 3 Game" and "Game of the Year".[20]

[edit] Sequel

After the huge success of Uncharted 2: Amongst Thieves, it was widely speculated that a third Uncharted game would be released. This was later confirmed, as Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception was announced. The game follows Nathan "Nate" Drake and Victor "Sully" Sullivan as they search for a lost city in the Arabian Peninsula.[21] Furthermore, the game also sees the introduction of Katherine Marlowe, the head of 400-year-old British society. Marlowe, the game's primary antagonist, will feature in a dispute with Nate over ownership of Sir Francis Drake's ring.[22]

[edit] References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Revealed" on PlayStation.Blog
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Releases" on Giant Bomb
  3. "Uncharted 2 Announcement Teaser HD" on GameTrailers
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – New Details and Coverage Roundup" on PlayStation Blog
  5. "Uncharted 2 Multiplayer Beta - Hands On" on Eurogamer
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Uncharted 2: Multiplayer Demo Details" on IGN
  7. "inFamous Grants Uncharted 2 Beta Access" on IGN
  8. "Uncharted 2 Multiplayer Demo open to all today" on PlayStation Blog
  9. "Uncharted 2: Multiplayer - Hands On" on Eurogamer
  10. 10.0 10.1 Uncharted 2: Among Thieves review on The Telegraph online
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Review" on IGN
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 12.7 12.8 Hennig, Amy (dir.), Naughty Dog (2009). Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Sony Computer Entertainment.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 "Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Tech Info" on GameSpot
  14. "GC 2009: Hands-on with Uncharted 2 Single-Player" on IGN
  15. "Uncharted 2: Among Thieves review" on GamesRadar
  16. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves review on Eurogamer
  17. "Uncharted 2: Among Thieves" on MetaCritic
  18. "Uncharted 2 wins 10 awards" on The Guardian online
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 "More awards for Uncharted 2" on PlayStation Blog
  20. "Uncharted 2 Wins Top Award at Spike VGAs" on 1UP
  21. "Uncharted exclusive: Your first look at 2011's must-play videogame Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception" on Entertainment Weekly
  22. "Meet the villain of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception" on USA Today

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
A Rock and a Hard PlaceBreaking and EnteringBorneoThe DigUrban Warfare
Desperate TimesThey're Coming With UsThe City's SecretPath of LightOnly One Way Out
Keep MovingA Train to CatchLocomotionTunnel VisionTrain-wreckedWhere Am I?
MountaineeringHeart of IceSiegeCat and MouseConvoyThe MonasteryReunion
The Road to ShambhalaBroken ParadiseTree of Life

CharactersMultiplayerTreasuresTrophiesVoice ActorsWeapons

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