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    Jan 24th, 2010 at 15:39:58     -    Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3)

    The game's conflict is generated by a flawless implementation of a classic adventure/shooter. The game opens with a dramatic scene from the middle of the game. The protagonist is injured and hanging over an icy chasm on a derailed train. You have to climb the train as it falls completely over the edge. You continue a little ways into one of the most intense scenes in the game and then flash back to the start of the story. This is a classic technique, but it is very well done. The dialogue and animation give you interest in the story and characters. Then of course you have to run, hide, fight, shoot your way through a increasingly complex and difficult series of challenges. The game tries to alternate between platforming, sneaking, and then throws in a some simple puzzles. These puzzles are not frequent enough to be tiring, considering how often these little puzzles have been presented in other games. Uncharted 2 handles these puzzles in nicely. Even though the puzzles are simple, they generally require you to look into your notebook, where the solutions are hidden in the images and glyphs shown on several 'pages'. The player is required to interpret the symbols in the environment and map them to solutions in the notebook. These puzzles are not very challenging, but they require a part of the brain that is not normally used in these games, so are more rewarding to complete than usual.

    The reward system is nice, since it gives a point value for each trophy you complete, which you can then use to upgrade your character for online PVP if you want. Separate from the trophy's, the game also hides treasures around the environments. Since your character is treasure hunter, and the objects sparkle in a compelling way, you don't mind picking them up. When you do, you can look a well rendered small 3D model of the 'artifact'. While there is no gameplay benefit to finding treasure, it adds overall experience of the game.

    The game offers a variety of online boards in addition to the substantial single player campaign. This is a nice bonus, but probably the only aspect of the game I didn't really like. While in the single player aspect you can pick up whatever weapons you have found along the way, the online area's always start you with the same weapons as all the other players. The starting weapons vary from zone to zone so you do get to use a variety of weapons, but if you don't like your starting weapons you will have trouble living long enough to find new ones. Though the games mechanics are the same, the strategies used by players make you play the game like other shooters where ducking around cover and sneaking around are not really useful. These elements are what made the single player combat fun, so if you liked the single player part, you won't find anything similar in the online aspect. The online portion is just an extra playground for people who want to do some more traditional first-person shooting.

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    Jan 24th, 2010 at 14:55:33     -    Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3)

    Uncharted 2 is an excellent game. It combines several mechanics that have been seen in other popular games, but instead of simply emulating what has been done before, this game polished the best elements of its ancestors. In a nutshell, this game is a perfect blend of a Prince of Persia style 3D platforming and Metal Gear Solid style sneaky gun-fighting. The mechanics are presented in a flawless 3D environment with movie quality voice acting and motion capture. The storyline is present with in game scripts and high quality cut-screens. The writing and direction make the game more appealing to watch then most movies.

    The innovate elements of this game are mostly technical, relating to the scope and detail of the environment which is frequently destroyed/altered in real time. Most notable are the train and car chase scenes, where the character moves through a massive environment at a reasonable approximation of vehicle speed.

    The mechanics it uses for gameplay are exceptional in their elegance. Many different moves/animations are available from each button, since the result depends on a variety of game states, such as the position of the character (standing, hanging, hiding) and the position of the target. It does not require any memorization, since the mappings follow a logical structure (the melee attack button always tries to do some kind of melee attack, the jump button will do some kind of jump, etc...)

    The level's are masterpieces of 3D design. The environments do not lack any obvious details. Jungle area's are filled with grasses, ferns, flowers, birds and detailed lighting effects. The cities, temples, trains, caves, ruins are all incredibly detailed. A picture is worth a thousand words, and this game is fairly long with a wide variety environments, so you could probably write a book trying to describe all the details present in the game.

    The games plot, detailed environment, and elegant controls produce a very compelling world. I certainly experienced 'flow' and if you do try this game, don't expect to do anything else for a while.

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