Columns & Blogs

‘Uncharted 2’ may be best game of ’09

The first “Uncharted” game was one of the first major exclusive games for the then-new PlayStation 3.

“Drake’s Fortune” wasn’t great by any means, but it was an entertaining and fun game that was sort of like “Tomb Raider” — when the series was good — with a male protagonist or Indiana Jones placed into a video game with a fresh story.

Its sequel, however, is unmistakably great.

“Uncharted 2: Among Thieves,” which is available Tuesday exclusively for PlayStation 3, is the best game released so far on Sony’s most recent console.

“Uncharted 2” takes everything that the original did well and makes it better. It erases everything the first game did poorly. And the developer Naughty Dog added the best combination of a campaign and online mode of any game ever released.

In the sequel, adventurer Nathan Drake is searching for the lost fleet of Marco Polo. The search sends him across the globe, including to two visually stunning locales that I won’t spoil.

The game features many of the same elements from the first game. It combines elements of a shooter, a platformer and a puzzle-solving game, as you must navigate the blend of all three to get through the game.

I think the ability to climb has factored in more prominently in this game. Drake had to climb quite a bit in the first game, but it now feels like the ability to climb is used as both a means to cross a level and as a strategic tool to use during battles. Drake can climb around for advantageous positioning during fights. It just seems as though the climbing mechanic is much more fleshed out in the sequel. There is also a need to use stealth in the game, which is a nice addition.

While the game is ridiculously fun and addicting, the most impressive aspect to “Uncharted 2” is the visuals.

The environments are downright amazing. The lighting throughout the game is spot on. Many games will feature beautiful scenes that easily put the rest of the playable visuals to shame. But the gameplay environments of “Uncharted 2” are just as impressive.

If the game was just a solo campaign mode, “Uncharted 2” would already be well worth buying. but the developers included a multiplayer game as well. There are a number of different modes that you can play online, the best being the co-op mode, which offer mini-missions for you and a friend to tackle. It really is like getting two games in one.

“Uncharted 2” is the best game I’ve played so far this year, and it’s a strong contender for game of the year.