More Among a Crowd of Crazy Gamers Really

We had a short but sweet hands-on session with Uncharted 2's single player campaign at Germany's GamesCom. Here's how it felt.
Author: Parjanya C. Holtz
Published: August 31, 2009
Uncharted 2 has always been at the very top of my personal most anticipated titles of the year list, and that list is a long one this year. After having spent something around fifteen minutes with the game's single-player campaign (and what felt like another sixty looking over a dude's shoulder, waiting for him to finally put down the controller) I can't tell you much more than what you probably already know: It looks amazing, it feels in a very familiar way even better than Drake's Fortune, and the only reason we haven't yet tried to break into the Naughty Dog offices to steal a copy early is because Batman is keeping us busy; for now.

Yes Uncharted 2 is fantastic. But having actually played its single-player campaign reminded us of just what an amazing job Naughty Dog did in terms of refining the gameplay mechanics. Running, shooting, climbing, punching: every action you do makes you forget that you are actually playing a game. The textures are incredibly detailed and astonishingly high-res and having actually seen the helicopter from the E3 demo pull up right next to Drake standing on some city ruin's roofs (the demo took place in the same war torn, urban environment as the co-op part in the multiplayer beta did.) made me almost scream in ecstatic joy (and I wasn't alone).

Most of what the demo consisted of was nothing really new. We had to run, jump and climb through a quite linear, yet astonishingly beautiful level that had a few bad guys patrolling the area. The demo started off with Nate driving a jeep through aforementioned urban environment. Out of nowhere a gigantic truck attacks him forcing Nate's jeep off the road. After experiencing a few seconds of interactive cut-scene-like action (we had to control Nate flee while being chased from aforementioned truck through a tight back alley) the classic gameplay returned. However, what we did notice is that Naughty Dog seems to be encouraging players to toy around with different play styles. Parts of the level were especially inviting to try out some of Nate's sneaking tactics. No, he is no Solid Snake, but breaking an enemy's neck from behind is still an extremely satisfying thing to do. Here is hoping that at least a couple of sneaking opportunities will make it into the final game as Nate's first adventure lacked that for the most part.

The open firefights itself were just as amazing as ever with the AI working in very clever and efficient ways to flank from all sides or even flush Drake out of his safe hiding place with a grenade or two. Overall it seems like a lot of time has been invested into polishing and fine tuning the already amazing visuals and gameplay that we have come to expect since their epic Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. The demo ended with some really tough guys in armor and with shields trying to make our life miserable in a huge firefight. Astonishingly the great AI did manage to end our life a few times but after having finally beaten the surprisingly tough part, another great cut-scene ended the demo. That's about all the hands-on impressions we have right now. In short; it feels great, looks great (I think I've mentioned that like a billion times) and we can't wait to play more of it. You can expect a full review to be up when the game hits US stores on October the 13th, that's just six weeks from now, and I for my part have already started counting the days.