You don’t always need to be so loud when you take out enemies though. Stealth is back and better in Uncharted 2, as the game is much more vocal about the fact that you can sneak up behind someone and snap their neck without making a sound. There are many levels in the game where stealth may be preferred, as more difficult enemies will appear if you make a noise at the wrong time or are spotted. This is especially true late in the game, and you don’t want to start making dudes with mini-gun and rocket launchers upset, now do you?

Honestly, if the game was just a single-player experience (and a longer one than the original) it would still be worthy of the attention and raving it has received, but now you can also play the game multiplayer. There are modes aplenty, with at least one for every kind of multiplayer lover. Love killing strangers online? Deathmatch has you covered, as do Plunder, Elimination and Chain Reaction. Deathmatch sets you up as heroes or villains on two teams of five. Deathmatch in a lot of shooters is pretty standard fare, but thanks to Uncharted’s best-on-the-market cover system and the platforming–you can climb over walls, buildings and the like in multiplayer just like in single player–it has a different and satisfying feel here.

Playing often has its perks–you can buy new skins for heroes and villains with money you earn from kills and victories, as well as upgrades that you can equip before a match. Two of these boosts can be equipped at a time, and include things like increased accuracy with ranged weapons, improved blindfire accuracy, etc. These are very helpful, especially since you can boost the stats of things you’re deficient in or just go over the top with something you’re already awesome at. I’m a pretty good shot with a pistol in Uncharted 2, but maybe I want to be a better shot with one since a human opponent is better than AI in many instances–now I can have that option if I want it. You level up, which allows you to unlock new upgrades, so you can’t just pick the best ones from the start.

If you don’t want competitive multiplayer, but would like to lengthen your Uncharted 2 experience, there’s always co-op. Co-op missions have you playing as a few of the heroes, like Sully, Chloe, and Elena, and fighting through hordes of enemies as you attempt to reach the treasure stored at the end of the map. Teamwork is a must here–enemies will latch on to your buddies, and you will need to free them, or you need to revive someone who has been downed before they die. There are also plenty of times where you will be attacked from all sides at once, meaning the three of you (yes, three, not two) need to work together to fight off the incoming waves of baddies before they overwhelm you.

Don’t think you are going to be outleveled, outgunned and outclassed when you start up multiplayer–for each Trophy, and for many in-game Trophy-like achievements that you hit, you will earn cash. This cash transfers over from single-player to multiplayer, meaning that you can still pick up all the cool perks the people who have been living in a multiplayer universe have been earning. With multiple difficulty levels, you may even want to replay through the single player a few times, which would earn you even more cash for some of the harder to reach goals–I beat it on Normal for review purposes, but I’m already 3/4 of the way through Hard, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t planning on playing through on Crushing difficulty once it’s unlocked. If you’ve got the Trophies from Drake’s Fortune, you can import them for some additional cash. It feels good to be paid for a day you’ve already worked after the fact.

Uncharted 2 isn’t a perfect game, but the flaws are so subtle that you will most likely brush them off. Enemy deaths are well animated, but when Drake dies, he turns into a ragdoll–it looks like the puppet master dropped his strings. This is especially true if Nate falls from a high ledge–he doesn’t bounce off of cliff faces and ledges further down like you would expect, but kind of just slides down until the allotted time for a death scene is over. Also, it’s amazing that the bad guy you’re facing has as many mercenaries as he does, given he only let in people with three or four faces. If you didn’t look like one of these guys on sign-up day, then you couldn’t be an anonymous guard who would eventually die at Drake’s hands. Can we please get some additional faces for enemies in the next installment? I feel like I know these guys personally at this point.

Last, there are some cheap death moments–non-ledges that look like ledges and the like, but the checkpoint system is well done, so you don’t have to repeat long stretches of gameplay. Also, mercifully, you don’t hear long cutscenes or intros immediately after a checkpoint–sure, you may hear a line from Nate as he goes for the jump for the second or third time in a row, but you don’t hear tons of chatter like you would in say, Gears of War 2. This keeps things from feeling too repetitive if you get stuck on a particularly nasty climb or jump.

Blast Factor: Uncharted 2 is up there with the very best games released this year. It’s a true Game of the Year candidate, just one more reason to own a Playstation 3, and a wonderfully written and acted experience as well. The fact that multiplayer is here–and works so well–is just a huge bonus, and kudos to Naughty Dog for not just matching the first game’s story and gameplay, but exceeding it.

Uncharted 2 is available exclusively on the Playstation 3, and retails for $59.99. A copy of this game was given to us by the publisher for reviewing purposes.

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About The Author

Marc Normandin was gaming editor of Blast from 2008 to mid-2010. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter @Marc_Normandin

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