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June 3 2009
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
15/10/2009SonySonyNaughty Dog
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
12-10$109.95
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Nathan Drake returns in Uncharted 2.
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Uncharted 2 has many new locations.

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Nathan's new partner, and love interest, Chloe.
There have been a lot of great games on the PS3 to date. When people ask us though which are the best one title we always name is Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. Released a year after the console launched in America it set new benchmarks for gameplay and technical achievement, a standout title at the time, and one which remains to this very day.

Now two years later Naughty Dog are putting the finishing touches on this sequel which again stars Nathan Drake. With a release scheduled for late 2009 it was about time we had a look at what to expect, especially after the big multi-player mode announcement, and a spectacular showing at E3 2009 this week.

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Preparing to take a few punches.
Down on his luck, fortune hunter Nathan Drake is lured back into the treacherous world of thieves and mercenary treasure-seekers he had sought to leave behind. When a mysterious artifact propels Drake on an expedition to find the legendary Himalayan valley of Shambhala, he finds himself embroiled in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse against a fugitive war criminal who's after more than just the fabled riches of the lost city. Caught in a web of deception and plunged into an increasingly deadly pursuit that tests the limits of his endurance, Drake will be forced to risk everything but has his luck finally run out?

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Hand-to-hand combat is key in Uncharted 2.
Based around the mystery surrounding Marco Polo and his lost fleet, Uncharted 2 plays in much the same way as the first game - a third person action adventure game. Nathan Drake is this time joined by a new female companion Chloe Frazer who happens to be an Australian (let's hope they get the accent right unlike that used on The Simpsons!). The developers have also changed the focus of the game from all-out action, to also introduce a stealth mode which allows you to sneak up and take out enemies in silence. It is now also possible to use your weapons while climbing buildings, swinging on a rope, hanging from a ledge or sign. Of course you can again use objects as cover against enemy gunfire; walls, cars, buildings, and signs are just some of the objects that can be used as cover.

One aspect of this game that hasn't been announced as yet is the ability to jump in and use vehicles. Many of you would remember the boat section from the first game - we can only hope there's more in this sequel to break up the relentless action.

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Uncharted 2's multi-player mode.
One of the coolest new features in this sequel is the ability to grab a propane tank, run around the level with it and then throw it towards enemies and shoot it to make it explode. Of course as you run around the level with the propane tank you do become a bit of a target for the opposition. Still, this will be available in the single and multi-player modes. What's that? Multi-player? Hell yes...

Certainly one of the biggest additions to this sequel lies in the online multi-player. While the original Uncharted was devoid of any multi-player - online or offline - Naughty Dog are ensuring that this sequel is fully featured.

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Another multi-player screen from Uncharted 2.
First of all the game includes several missions built around 3-player co-op gameplay. In this mode one person plays as Drake, another as Chloe and the third as Sullivan. When developing the co-op mode the developers didn't want to mess with the single player game, but have taken the same levels, re-worked them to enhance the multi-player experience and put them in as a separate set of missions. Players will have to work together to complete these missions - you may have to help your friends reach ledges higher up, or enemies that require two or three gamers working together to defeat.

If co-op isn't your thing then you'll be pleased to know that the game will include support for 10-player competitive modes (such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Plunder which runs like a Capture the Flag game but sees you trying to capture treasure instead).

Gamers will also be pleased to know that Naughty Dog will be releasing some downloadable content - details of which still remain under wraps. Naturally the game will support trophies.

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There will be plenty of cut-scenes.
Visually the developers have promised a lot for this game - including a major jump in the number of polygons being pushed which allows for more objects, or more detail, an overhaul of the lighting and shadowing engines which allows for snow shaders (the developers are promising some of the best snow ever seen in a video game), subsurface scattering, fur shading and much more. From what we've seen of the game, and in particular the playable demo at the E3 show, it seems like Naughty Dog have succeeded too. Of course proof will be in the pudding as they say, but Naughty Dog have never failed in the past and they are unlikely to disappoint this time either.

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Nathan hiding from the guards.
In terms of environments we all know that the original game was primarily focused on lush jungle environments. To date the developers have only shown off a rather barren snow covered level, and a war-torn town which is filled with objects and small details. We do know though that there will be some more jungle styled environments in Uncharted 2 so overall there is a lot more variety of levels in this second game.

Audio is also another key component of any video game and the developers are using the same composer, Greg Edmonson, that did the music for the original game. Naturally we expect the game to include some impressive audio effects, and a tonne of dialogue.

With a release set for October 15 2009 there's a little more time until we see this game in our system, but five months out it already looks fantastic and people have been blown away by the showing at the 2009 E3 show. Add this one to your shopping list for Christmas 2009.

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Incredible scenes in the Himalayas.
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Detail impresses as Nathan hangs around.