Thursday 20 June 2013

My PS3 Highlights #1: Uncharted 2 - Among Thieves

"I did not tell half of what I saw, for I knew I would not be believed" - Marco Polo

With the fourth incarnation of the PlayStation due to hit stores this holiday season, I thought it was a good time to reflect upon some of my own most cherished and memorable gaming experiences with the PlayStation 3. 

Each entry into this brand new column will give you my thoughts on some of my favourite PS3 games and the enjoyable and grabbing gaming experiences they have brought me. 

First up in this new series is a game that every PlayStation owner should be more than familiar with; the brilliant, gorgeous and action-packed, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. 

Alongside other highly-acclaimed exclusive franchises such as Resistance, Infamous, Killzone, LittleBigPlanet and MotorStorm, the Uncharted series has been something of a 'poster boy' for the PlayStation 3. And whilst the first entry into the franchise, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (2007) was a good starting point, it wasn't until 2009 that Naughty Dog hit the bullseye with Among Thieves.

Returning to central character Nathan Drake, a cocky and adventurous treasure hunter, Uncharted 2 was one of the first PlayStation 3 games I truly fell in love with. Combining fluid platforming levels with third-person shooting sequences and stunning movie-like cut-scenes, playing Among Thieves was like playing out an Indiana Jones movie on your PS3.

My personal favourite sequence from Among Thieves is working your way up the train whilst being shot at by the massive Hind helicopter. Well, I say favourite. I both love and detest that level. Those signals that knock you off the train are a massive bitch.

With a storyline that saw Drake whiz his was across Turkey, Borneo and Nepal in pursuit of the Cintamani Stone and the ancient city of Shangri-La, Among Thieves was a globe-trotting affair akin to some of the best action-adventure films ever made. The game is pretty much seamless from start to finish - there's no 'loading' screens between levels adding to the illusion of being in a big-budget movie. It's all here; Nazis, supernatural yetis, maniacal warlords. What more do you need?

The best aspect about Among Thieves is without a doubt the incredible voice acting and motion capture. Each character feels rounded and interesting. Among Thieves made you really care about the characters and their relationships. Drake, Sully, Elena, Chloe, Tenzin; the player is made to care for their fate thanks to the immersive motion capture technology.

For me, every character is brilliant but I can't get past how brilliantly villainous Lazarevic is. I mean, everyone loves a good villain right? He's got it all; a mean accent, a huge-ass scar on his face, an army of cronies at his disposal and he gets some of the best lines. What's not to love?

Either that or Chloe. She's pretty hot. And Elena, she's nice too. Aarrghh, I can't ever choose.

There are some pretty tricky puzzles to solve along the way too. I'm not much of a puzzle solver when it comes to video games, they tend to boggle my brain and are known to be the cause of controller flinging. However, the way in which the game integrates sketches and scrawlings from Nate's journal into the puzzle solving sections makes it pretty easy for anyone of any level.

Whilst Among Thieves is the kind of game that is constantly at break-neck speed, it doesn't feel like it ends too quickly. The narrative is well-paced and doesn't drag, unlike Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception which really starts to grate once you reach the ship graveyard. The ending scene where the gang part ways and Drake and Elena gaze out onto the sunset is one of my favourite scenes from anything, let alone video games.

An absolute essential for any PlayStation owner, I can't emphasise enough the 'wow' factor I took away from playing Among Thieves. It is without a doubt one of the most memorable and entertaining games to have ever graced my PlayStation 3. You're seriously missing out if you pass this one by.

What are your thoughts on Among Theives? What are some of your most memorable Playstation 3 experiences? Leave me a comment below! Next up in PS3 Highlights, L.A. Noire. 

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