It doesn’t feel like long ago at all I was talking of Uncharted, speaking of its high qualities and hoping it would be the start of a long and beautiful series. I really liked that game – not spectacularly original, but well implemented across the board, nicely plotted and bursting with charm. It seems like about a week later, and here’s the sequel, and man, it’s really, really good. Everyone’s saying that – finally a reason to own a PS3 and yada, yada.
But it really is good. Really good.
There’s the same mixture of exploration and rapid-fire gunplay, of mystery and quality voice acting, but this time around the game is literally packed out with special moments – with collapsing bridges and exploding jeeps, with crawls across speeding trains and climbs up dangling railway carriages. There’s constantly stuff going on. The level of detail on characters and environments throughout is breathtaking, I don’t think I’ve seen anything as good graphically, but you’re not bludgeoned with it, it’s used cleverly to enhance the experience. The interplay between the characters – the cheeky one liners and the humourous asides as you play, are a joy. It’s a thrill ride and a half, and the fusion between storytelling and gameplay, the feeling of flow and involvement, is a cut above anything I’ve ever played before.
One could make criticisms if one was feeling mean (and I usually am). The plot was a bit more of a mess than last time around, and it didn’t feel quite so bursting with personality, perhaps because there were more characters involved. The villain was a bit by-the-yardy bullet-headed balkan mercenary from bullet-headed balkan mercenaries-r-us and it all wrapped up rather quickly, with a final boss fight that would probably have been satisfying enough on another game but felt a tad pedestrian after all the amazing sequences packed into the rest of this one. But overall, where the first Uncharted felt like stuff you’d mostly seen before, just very cleverly polished and implemented, this feels like a true leap forward.