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Monday, November 9, 2009

NanoGeekTech presents: Uncharted 2 Review

Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Designer: Amy Hennig (Creative Director)
Composer: Greg Edmonson¨
Series: Uncharted
Engine: Naughty Dog Engine 2.0
Havok: (game physics)
Native resolution: 720p
Version: 1.01
Platform: PlayStation 3
Release date: NA October 13, 2009
JP October 15, 2009
AUS October 15, 2009
EU October 16, 2009
Genre: Action-adventure, Third-person shooter
Mode: Single-player, Online multiplayer, Online co-op
Rating: BBFC: 15
OFLC: R16+
PEGI: 16
Media: Blu-ray Disc
Input methods: Gamepad

With Sony's release of Uncharted 2 for PS3 Sony's may have finally capture Hollywood in it's Slim black box.

Uncharted from Naughty Dog debut as one of PS3 flagship titles acquiring acclaim reviews with Sony's "cell processor" pumping out cutting edge eyegasim graphics while at the same time spinning a very captivating story. That day a new star and icon was born, Fortune Hunter Nathan Drake--a very formidable adversary to the Infamous Laura Croft.

After playing the first Uncharted, I became an instant fan of this new lush intense and colorful universe--wanting and craving more. The best way to put it playing Uncharted is pure euphoria. But with the introduction of trophy support for Uncharted 1 and a bigger, badder Uncharted 2 my addiction has now officially relapse.

Uncharted 2 stars Nathan Drake a fortune hunter with a shady past, questionable reputation, a thirst for adventure and women of course. This time around Drake, is lured back into a treacherous world in search for the truth behind the legendary lost fleet of Marco Polo.

If it's broke don't fix it, Naughty Dog does a splendid job of delivering a strong cast of characters. Almost everyone with more than two lines of dialogue has an interesting reason for doing what they're doing. Everyone's emotions in Uncharted 2 was conveyed in a Hollywood type fashion--without feeling forced upon you.

The story itself twists and turns throughout the course of the game, as you might expect, and for the most part it's a solid tale. Nate and his pals go through a lot, so it does a good job of reeling you in and keeping you hooked until the end.

The overall story is slightly better than most games but falls flat when compared to the first Uncharted. While most of the story has solid footing in real-world lore and legend it kinda went side ways on me personally. The lead up the the last chapters could off been handled much better. The use of the incredible cut scenes and top notch Hollywood acting helps push Uncharted 2 story along and also helps to subdue the short comings of the overall plot.

As for the gameplay itself, Uncharted 2 -- like the original Drake's Fortune -- tasks you with gunfights, environmental navigation or puzzle solving. While a lot of the mechanics are identical to the first title, everything has been molded together slightly better, especially the combat/stealth and navigation.

Stealth play's a smoother and more prominent element in Uncharted 2 and it's actually a very useful tactic to take advantage of when you approach any situation. If an enemy doesn't see you and you attack him, you'll perform a silent stealth takedown. In the early parts of Uncharted 2 will have you hone your stealth skills. During this exercise in Sam Fisherism, you get a great feel and scope of your newly tweak abilities to take down a foe. As you proceed in the earlier chapters in stealth mode, you would not be able to use your weapons--but don't worry soon after you will be able to bust a cap in someone's ass.

Combat in Uncharted 2 remains intense and very visceral with the ability to shoot from ledges, ropes, on the run and from any hanging object. One of my complaints, for some strange reason the A.I in Uncharted 2 feels like they are not part of the "cell processing technology". What I mean by this is Uncharted 2 enemies do the very basics to stay alive but other than that they fail. It's like shooting ducks out a barrel, sometimes they may hide being cover, flush you out with a grenade or two but Killzone 2 seems to have a sightly more highly intelligent bunch of killer. Playing on "Hard" in Uncharted 2, does not really feel "hard" until the last boss but once you figure out what to do it's relativity easy. Now playing on "Crushing" plays the same way, the only different being that you die, if you take three or four shots. I really hate when games do this, if you increase the difficulty level, bullets and any physical damage should take more energy, I have no problem with this. Do not let it be two shot kills or two punch deaths--Call of Duty I'm looking at you. Why can't the A.I increase as the difficulty do. Why can't the A.I path differs, the intensity of the hunt increase, why can't my foes get smarter as I increase the difficulty?

Uncharted 2 also features both competitive and co-operative multiplayer. The co-op multiplayer allows a maximum of three players to take the roles of Nathan and two other 'hero' companions and features missions involving gunfights, platforming, and teamwork-based objectives. Players can also assist their comrades should they become critically injured or be grabbed by an enemy.

The competitive multiplayer allows a maximum of ten players to play against each other. Four competitive modes are featured: 'Deathmatch', 'Plunder', 'Elimination' and 'Chain Reaction'. Deathmatch is your typical Deathmatch, two teams trying to eliminate each other for points. Plunder takes the Uncharted universe to heart, where you have two teams trying to capture treasure and return it back to your base, very much like capture the flag. Elimination say's it all. And finally Chain Reaction has the player capturing flags, but the player must do them in a specific order - one team works out from their base needing to capture 1 through 5 while the other team starts out from their home and needs to snag 5 through 1.

'Gold Rush' is a cooperative mode of play where 2-3 players must team up to get a treasure, randomly spawned on the map, and take it back to their base much like Plunder. However, AI enemies try to stop the players from returning the treasure. If a player goes down and is not revived before the timer goes out, they will not come back until the next round. In each consecutive round the enemies become tougher to defeat.

The additional of MP co-op and competitive modes adds legs to Uncharted 2. Being that single player campaign will only last about 15hrs or so, MP is a great addition. My first initial thoughts about the implementation of any MP aspects was one of befuddlement. But after experiencing the online beta and now the full fledged offering I am very impress. Online in uncharted 2 can probably be debated as the best aspect of the game. One minor complaint about NP is there is no map. having no maps does add to the overall tension to Uncharted 2 MP competitive modes, running around trying to figure where your enemies are can be very nerve racking, this is not a bad thing at all, only if you have a nervous problem.

Uncharted 2 is not a perfect game there is no such thing but it does come very close to a perfect experience. Uncharted 2 has some of the best graphics on any console by far this generation. You bring the death angel in some of the most lush jungle set pieces on console to date. Now Uncharted 2 does not only have you trekking around in the an endless rain forest. Snow is introduced and by god it's some of the best damn snow I've seen in a video game. As you limp or run through the snow for your life, it leave's a very convincing trail, your clothes get covered in snow and the way the snow moves to accumulate around your ankles is very impressive. Many people grip that graphics do not make a game, I'm still on the fence with that--what if 'The Matrix" had the worst special effects known to man, would it have been the theatrical experience it became. In short "no". The graphics in Uncharted 2 helps makes this game one hell of an epic ride.

The sound in Uncharted 2 does a fantastic job to compliment the gorgeous graphics. If you have the privilege of owning an Digital Surround system your ears will be in for a treat. The explosions are wall shaking and the dialogue is top notch, doing an amazing job of capturing the emotions of your adventures.

Overall Uncharted 2 is a great gaming experience that every Sony PS3 owner should have the opportunity to be part of. With the additional of multiplayer Uncharted 2 will out live it's single player campaign for many months to come. The story may not be as strong as the first Uncharted but the top notch acting makes the story flow in a positive and seamless manner. If you have a sweet tooth for eye candy and a epic Hollywood experience Uncharted 2 is approved by the American Dental Association and Micheal Bay certified

Graphics: A++
Uncharted 2 is one the best looking games so far this generation, giving Killzone 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4 for a run for the money. Uncharted 2 does snow better than any other game in the industry. If you are a sucker for eye candy and audio bliss Uncharted 2 fulfills Sony's desire to bring Hollywood to the PS3.

Sound: A+
Sporting the some of the best 7.1 HD audio in the business, Uncharted 2 epic score, thunderous explosions and piercing gun play helps enhance the battle for survival and the search for Marco Polo's secrets.

Replay Value: A+
Online MP in Uncharted 2 will keep you playing for months or until Uncharted 3 comes out. With the addition of Co-op and Competitive online modes, this adds legs to an already engaging and epic adventure. I debated how can Uncharted 2 MP can be any good, but Naughty Dog shut me up with with a polished and addictive online experience.

Control: A
If it's broke don't fix just try to make it slightly better. Uncharted 2 remains mostly unchanged for the previous incarnation. Stealth has been retouched adding a little more depth to overall gameplay. You have the option to use sixaxis for launching your grenades. You also have to ability to shoot or throw your grenades from any ledge, any sign or anything Drake can hang on.

Fun Factor: A +
From the single player campaign to online, Uncharted 2 is a fun, addicting and extremely visceral experience. A great game provides a great experience and Uncharted 2 delivers without a doubt.With some of the best set pieces, Naughty Dog's Uncharted 2 provides a truly jaw dropping, nail biting diversion.

NanoGeekTech Overall Score: A+
The hype is for real, Uncharted 2 is an extremely great ride that every PS3 owner should experience. Leading the way with superior graphics,ear melting sound track while
pushing the boundaries of what to expect form an epic experience.

Should you buy it or rent. Both, if you cannot afford to purchase Uncharted 2 than go out and rent it at your local Blockbuster/Gamefly, if you can afford it, Uncharted 2 is a worth while title to add to your PS3 library.
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