Taking place an indiscriminate amount of time after the first game, Uncharted 2 changes the feel of gameplay entirely, and its completely for the better.
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Uncharted 2 continues the story of Nathan Drake, an energetic, highly skilled, and highly intelligent treasure hunter trying to find relics of lost civilizations in an attempt to make big bucks. The first Uncharted was fundamentally flawed gameplay-wise, but showed great promise for the series and it’s developer Naughty Dog.
My main gripe with the first Uncharted game was the abysmal gunplay and how shooting scenes felt more like a trudge through mud than fun action sequences. For the most part, this is eliminated in Uncharted 2 thanks to a reworking of the shooting mechanics. While the game still plays the same, it feels much more fluid and skill is much more important than it was in the first game.
The writing is still a great experience which reminds you of other famous fictional spelunkers like Indiana Jones or Lara Croft. There is however a drastic addition to Nathan Drake’s character which could be easily missed during a playthrough of the game.
In the first Uncharted game, Drake’s character was a dashing young man with the intent to continue his ancestor’s legacy, and make it big by doing so. He had more of an adventurous demeanor and was in it for the money and fame. He was more of a rascal with good intentions than a hero trying to save the day and stop the bad guy.
Now in Uncharted 2, Drake has taken on the role of the hero, with the sole intention of stopping the bad guy. In the first Uncharted Drake was suggested to be a ladies man. This was only joked about in the first game and wasn’t really a theme of his character. Uncharted 2 throws that vagueness out the window hard. Drake’s relationships are mentioned on many occasions, boner jokes are made, and Drake outright has sex with a women at the start of the game.
While both versions of Drake work better (and the boner joke is funny regardless of it being unnecessary) the version of Drake from the first Uncharted is a much more compelling character.
Rather than running around saving the day and boning literally every female character in the game, Uncharted 1’s version of drake was like a less sophisticated Lara Croft: In it for the money, but still wants to do the right thing.
The gameplay has take a turn for the better, making the game playable, but not perfect. Your aim truly matters, unlike the first Uncharted. Uncharted 1 had gunplay which was near unplayable because no matter what weapon you used, nearly every weapon was more inaccurate than a paintball gun. Uncharted 2 works on this by making the accuracy and recoil much more manageable.
One problem still remains however, where every weapon feels like a peashooter. Pistols still do more damage per shot than rifles do, and are just as accurate.
Better level design helps with the unnecessarily tough and long gunfights which were common in the first Uncharted.
But despite all this, I learned the best way to play the game:
Play it on easy mode.
The game is unbelievably hard for reasons that are no fault of the player, and thats only on the normal difficulty. Playing on easy or very easy mode makes the game ludicrously easier, and just a ton more fun. It took me until the end of the second game to realize that, and has made my playtime with Uncharted 3 so far a lot better.
As a whole, Uncharted 2 is a much more enjoyable game than its predecessor, but still shows great potential for the series future.
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