Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Remastered starts you in media res aboard a dangling train off the edge of a plateau in the Himalayans, and you having to climb Nathan Drake up and around the carriage to reach safety. It’s an exciting and almost nail biting sequence and these sorts of set pieces are the bread and butter of Uncharted 2.
The plot of Nathan Drake’s second adventure uses some familiar beats and has some inconsistency, especially in how the supernatural aspect of the plot is handled. But in essence it has a familiar goal: you are looking for an ancient and powerful relic called the Cintamani Stone which takes you all the way from the green jungles of Borneo, to the midst of a war zone in Nepal, through ancient temples and up the Himalayas aboard the train in one of gaming’s most impressive sequences that transitions wonderfully and seamlessly from jungle to tunnel to snowy mountains and to the famed Shangri-La Climbing around and fighting your way through this train is simply incredible.
The antagonist, Lazarevic doesn’t make for a particularly compelling villain, given his propensity for being an underwritten caricature of Nietzschean philosophy (which you will only really pick up on towards the end) but his appearance is suitably menacing and imposing. Whilst the plot isn’t terribly deep, our core cast of Nathan Drake, old flame Elena Fisher and the sultry Chloe Fraser that is somewhat reminiscent of classic Lara Croft (maybe because of her accent) form the emotional core of the narrative and with excellent vocal performances and animation that keep the game from becoming barely held together set pieces, so it is very enjoyable in an Indiana Jones kind of way. There’s much more detail in Drake’s journal this time around too, which flipping through provides some extra characterisation and humour that is a nice touch.
As for the mechanics of the game, it doesn’t not stray too far off from the first game, which is still centred mostly around mass killing (the statistics counter had me at almost 1000 kills by the end of the game) with cover based shooting, except for some slight changes to the melee. Everything feels much more smooth and responsive and the cover system did not put me in as much trouble as it did in Drake’s Fortune. Same with the platforming. Failures in combat and platforming actually felt like genuine screw ups on my part and a need to git gud as opposed to the game being temperamental on me. There were however some glitches and a situation or two in which I rolled into a corner with enemy in pursuit and there was no way out, and a visual glitch or two, but these are few and far between. Puzzles are also pretty simplistic and few and far between, but act as a nice change of pace.
In terms of graphics, this game is a real stunner and had I not known otherwise, I would swear that this wasn’t a seven year old game. At full 1080p, 60fps, it is a magnificent sight to behold and that’s with the makeover being much less drastic than it’s predecessor.
One thing that is missing here is the multiplayer, which is an understandable omission but I don’t think it’s enough to be a deal breaker.
Naughty Dog have made an incredible game with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, which is the entry in which the series hit it’s stride and Bluepoint Games have done an incredible job remastering the game that it remains just as thrilling to play and beautiful to look at as it was when I first played it six years ago.