Have you ever gone to the movies to see something exciting?  You're sitting through the movie enjoying every action scene and cliff hanger when all of a sudden something is thrown your way that utterly and completely offends you?  You don't want to condemn the movie completely, after all, you're enjoying it thoroughly, but why did they have to add that part in?  It might even seem forced as if someone in Hollywood had an agenda.  When I started playing through the thrill ride that is Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, something just like that happened.

Gameplay/Presentation

It's hard to find anything wrong with the gameplay in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.  Playing this game is like watching an Indiana Jones movie for the first time.  It's exciting, fantastical in its scope, and littered with a sense of exploration, mystery and danger.  Also, unlike most games out there, it plays like a movie.  Between parts where you're playing the game, cut scenes explain the back story, plot and mysterious puzzle unfolding before you.

But wait a second, that's normally annoying right?  Having a game cut your playtime by minutes over some lame story is generally loathed, but Uncharted 2's story (I assure you) is not lame, nor does it waste your time.  Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is a mad dash through the pages of Marco Polo's journal.  Some crazy Russian who wants to takeover the world is dead set on finding some artifact he thinks will aide him in doing so.  Your character, not knowing if the legends are true or not, decides to do whatever he can to stop this maniac.  Along the way, old flames are reunited, new romances discovered, friends betrayed and adventures had.  I haven't had this much fun playing a video game in some time.

During scenes of elevating action, the camera may turn so that at times you're facing the action and at times the camera is facing you while you're running from something behind you.  After this happens the first time, you get used to it and I must say that it adds some really memorable moments.  Let me clarify… the camera doesn't just turn willy-nilly.  It's set for the entire scene, but it's not always directly behind your character.

The majority of the game is you climbing buildings or mountains, sneaking through hidden passages or by guards, and shooting just about everything with various types of weapons.  The controls are fantastic, as are the beautiful graphics.  To appreciate the graphics of this game fully, one must play it on an appropriate HD television.

Appropriateness

This is where we get to the bad news.  This is also where the game developers really let me down.  I had already run into one, maybe two curse words over a few hours of playing, so I made mental note of them but shrugged them off as I continued my journey through Nepal and on to Tibet.  My wife was even enjoying the game to the point where she had stopped whatever it was she was doing just to watch me play.  Then during one of the cut scenes, one of the characters used the "G-D" word.  It threw me for a loop, not because I hadn't heard it in a video game before (unfortunately I have), but because it was completely unnecessary.  I know what you're thinking, "it's never necessary" and you're right… but this was on a whole new level of unnecessary.  And then it began… every cut scene started to include several curse words.  Over and over again I was shocked by the pure abundance of profanity in such an enjoyable game.  Was I going to have to mute the game just to play it?   I guess so.  Compared to games like Killzone 2, there was very little use of profanity, but that doesn't make it okay.  And honestly, I would have ignored most of it if they had just left "G-D" out of it.  I don't think taking the Lord's name in vain to be a laughing matter whatsoever.

There is violence in this game, but no more than in any other game similar to it in scope.  The action is very fast paced with little emphasis on bullet holes or gore.  In fact, the blood that is shown in the game is almost always part of a cut scene to help tell the story, not something spraying from the guy you just shot.  Oh, and you play the part of a thief stealing relics.

The overall plot line includes finding ancient relics in Hindu temples, mythical lands, etc.  There's talk of some of these objects granting great power to those who hold them.  But in the end, it plays out much like an Indiana Jones scenario.  If you are offended by the non-Christian, occult-like references in Indiana Jones movies (think Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, you will be offended by this game.

Conclusion

Over all, I wouldn't bother buying this game unless they released some sort of update that let me turn the profanity off. Rent it for the gameplay definitely, but I don't suggest buying it unless the use of "G-D" doesn't bother you so much.  Aside from that, Uncharted 2 is a fantastic example of what a game in this genre can be.  While it has a multiplayer option where you can do battle with your friends online, the true joyride is in its first-person experience.

Posted December 10, 2009.

Rated T for Teen | Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence. Available on Playstation.