Bytallpete33TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 30 August 2010
If Uncharted: Drake's Fortune was a rough diamond then this is the finished article, cut and polished to within an inch of perfection and displayed in a Bond Street jeweller's window. Excellent gameplay, a great story, brilliant characters and epic landscapes make this one of the best games I have played.
Opening with a battered and bloody Nathan Drake hanging on for dear life off a train that itself is hanging over the edge of a cliff, this is a roller coaster and globe-trotting ride from the opening. Teaming up with an old buddy (Flynn) and the sultry Chloe, our hero is soon off to Turkey to relieve a museum of one of its artefacts containing clues to the location of Shangri-La and the secret it hides. This one didn't go to plan and the not-so mighty Flynn leaves the unfortunate Drake to rot in jail before he is liberated by old pal Sully and the worldwide hunt for bad guys and treasure begins in earnest.
Fans of the first game will be pleased to see the re-union with Eleena (she's the game's Jennifer Aniston to Chloe's Angelina Jolie in this) part way through and it is the characterisation and script coupled with the often jaw-dropping scenery that make this such a great game. A stand-out moment for me was when Drake woke almost from the dead in a mountain village and just slowly walked through the beautifully rendered scenery, taking it all in. You could almost taste the mountain air. No gunplay, no jumping off trains - just a casual and immensely enjoyable stroll; a welcome relief from the intense action either side of it. The train ride (that shows how he arrived at the opening scene) is epic, ditto the assault on the monastery though I will admit I did have ruined-temple fatigue towards the end.
Comparisons with Tomb Raider are still valid with classic Lara locations such as Borneo and the Himalayas "borrowed" for this but Naughty Dog has raised the bar massively with this offering. TR still rules as far as the quality of puzzles go and Ms Croft's moves are sleeker, better controlled and more athletic but Drake win's the combat scenes hands down with some great stealth and intense set pieces. Ditto the cut scenes and humour. My only slight criticism is the sound, his guns "clicking" rather than booming.
Overall, this is a great gaming experience, not ground-breaking but definitely one of the best of the action-adventure genre.