October 18, 2009

"Uncharted 2" Best Video Game Ever?

I've been waiting for the release of new video game Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, essentially from the moment I completed the first entry, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, but the anticipation hit a fever pitch back in July when PlayStation flew me down to Los Angeles to attend a sneak-peek presentation of the game. The wait was over last week when I was notified that I would be sent my review copy, but because I'd already booked the Friday off, the game arrived on my desk while I was at home lounging. (That's what I do on days off now that golf season is over, I lounge. Highly recommended.) The vultures quickly circled and soon I was received a curious email telling me the game was there - from a co-worker who happens to own a PS3. With the extended Thanksgiving weekend upon us, it would be four long days before I would get my hands on it, so I reluctantly passed it over to him so at least someone would be able to enjoy it. It's not like me to be so unselfish, so I hope this means I get hooked up in the afterlife. And when I say hooked up, I mean that I want a harem of virgins, and not virgins that had no say in the matter, I mean virgins that were the head cheerleader and spent most Friday nights fighting off pawing dudes because they were "saving it for someone special."

While I've only just begun the game, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves may well be the best video game I've ever played. I can't over state how good this games looks. It looks like nothing I've ever seen before and the game is about as close to "playing a movie" as you can get. This game sends a clear message to XBox 360, and that message is, it's over. Enjoy the head start you had by releasing your console before the PlayStation 3, because now it's not about catching up, it's about the end game. The Xbox, quite simply, can't make a game that looks and plays as good as this. Without the expanded space of a Blu-Ray disc, you literally couldn't fit this game on a disc for the 360, nor could that system render a game this delicious. It feels like I'm playing PlayStation 4, I've gone next level on the next gen and I'm not going back.

The story is essentially in the vein of Indiana Jones. You play Nathan Drake, a globe trotting adventurer who's handy with a pistol, climbs like a monkey, is catnip to the ladies and collects priceless artifacts while dodging machine gun fire, explosions and the occasional crumbling building. The game is incredibly well written, with believable dialogue, and an interesting plot (the sequel has Drake looking for Marco Polo's lost fleet) and actual characters that are fully developed and help move the story forward. Even more pleasing is the fact that the game is well directed, too, something often not found in these games. Usually cut scenes in games that advance the plot are something to be endured while waiting to pick up the controller again. In this game, they are beautiful to watch and totally engaging. With the PlayStation 3 recently dropping in price down to a more manageable $299, I think this game will go a long way toward to selling hardware. It's simply that good.

If you've been waiting for the prices to drop before buying a next-gen system, or are thinking about grabbing a Blu-Ray player and dig playing the occasional game; now is the time. This game is that good.

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