Uncharted 2: Among Thieves - PS3 - First Look
Due out in October, Uncharted 2 is the follow-up to the hugely successful action romp on the PS3. We managed to get a hands-off with one of the levels of the game to see whether or not you should start to get excited.
We say hands-off because we weren't actually allowed to grab the controller from the game's assistant producer Caley Roberts as he walked us through the new game. But that didn't stop as asking plenty of questions, seeing the new moves and features up close (it was a big TV) and basically getting a good feel for the game, enough to give you our First Look impressions here.
If, and we say if, the game lives up to what we saw for our 30 minute run through, the game looks likely to appease Uncharted fans and newcomers alike.
You're back, just like Indiana Jones, for another installment of treasure hunting, bad guys and cheeky comments to your female sidekick. Sully and Elena from the first outing are still present, but this time are more sideline characters. Instead you get another chick, called Chloe, that isn't really that important as you can't play her in the single player levels anyway.
As before it's all about the treasure and it is set in the Far East searching for some lost treasure of Marco Polo's while the lead bad guy gets his goons in on the action in an attempt to get there first.
If it sounds familiar that's because it is. The first Uncharted featured a female sidekick and a lead bad guy with a bunch of goons that see you racing to get to lost treasure as though you are Lara Croft.
So what have you got to do? Evade the goons, find the treasure and, well, probably kiss the girl.
Get past the storyline, which to be honest we weren't able to experience as much as we would have liked, (were told there are plenty of twists and turns, but no aliens or crystal skulls though), and it's the gameplay that's been the main focus for the new release.
Jumping is still the main focus, however it has been improved. Drake can now climb up ladders for example without having to pretend to leap to every one as if his life depends on it.
There is also a greater emphasis on puzzle solving with the puzzles being notably harder and less of a call to action when you enter a room with a puzzle in it. You can still access the book to help you out, but it won't open automatically when you enter a room that requires any thought.
Get past the jumping and the puzzle solving and the fighting and shooting modes have been improved as well. Grenade throwing is no longer on the Sixaxis with assistant producer Roberts telling us that feedback from the first Uncharted suggested it was too confusing. "We did it because we could," he explained. In Uncharted 2 there isn't any Sixaxis support with grenades going to one of the shoulder buttons.
In our walkthrough we noticed Roberts was clearly a fan of the new button location: those bad guys didn't know what hit them.
But grenades aren't going to cut it in the long haul - we always seemed to run out in the first version anyway - so in a move that follows the brilliant Bourne Ultimatium, melee moves have now been increased. It's not as intense or as in-depth as the Bourne game, but you can swashbuckle your way out of trouble countering the odd fist you come into rather than having to result in whipping out your weapon every time.
It's a welcomed addition and one that fits in nicely with another new feature: stealth mode. Yep, Splinter Cell has come to the world of tomb raiding and there are levels that you can complete without getting out your gun at all. There is more than one way to complete a level here.
With around 12-15 hours of gameplay for the single player levels this isn't, like Uncharted, likely to last you that long, enjoyable as it probably will be.
So as a backup there are a number of multiplayer and co-op options available including the ability to play a three man co-op game online with your mates.
The co-op levels aren't just a rehash of the single player levels with more baddies, and that gives us hope in getting greater longevity out of any online mode.
There is of course the usual capture the flag, five on five multiplayer stuff as well.
VerdictFrom what we've seen of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, it looks to be very much the same as Uncharted but with improved gameplay.
We enjoyed the first outing very much, with half of the Pocket-lint team playing it through to the end, so the notion of more jumping, more puzzle solving, more fending off goons sounds appealing. Very appealing.
If though, you tried the first one and weren't impressed, the follow up isn't likely to do it for you either.
Still, we look forward to getting a full hands-on with the new title when it hits the PS3 in October.