Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Impressions

GamesCom saw the unveiling of a brand-new level from Naughty Dog's upcoming action adventure game.

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Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
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Hot on the heels of winning GameSpot's Best PlayStation 3 Game award at the 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo, Uncharted 2 made its next major showing at GamesCom today. Naughty Dog's community manager, Arne Meyer, was on hand to show off a new level from the game, which, in contrast to what we've seen of the game so far, took place atop a remote snowy enclave. Don't fret, though, because Drake is accompanied on this expedition by Tenzin, a Tibetan villager who agrees to help Drake on his quest to find a sacred dagger.

The GamesCom demo opens in spectacular fashion, and the puzzles and set pieces only get bigger from there. Playing as Drake, Meyer shot down a crate from the top of an icy ledge, which provided a rope for him to grab so he could wall-run to the next section. In these outdoor sections, Drake slowly became covered in snow, and his movement was hampered whenever he was deep in the powder.

It wasn't long before Drake came across a huge man-made cave, which contained many different puzzles and tests of agility. Standing on different switches, Drake and Tenzin (who is controlled by some smart computer AI) were able to lower three huge bells to within jumping distance. After circumnavigating the outer shells, Meyer then made it onto a huge cog system, and he had to time his jumps accurately to make it across the various wheels in his path.

It was a section that seemed to test Meyer, who died frequently and at many different points. To be fair to the Naughty Dog rep, he was playing in front of an audience, but the demo was full of tricky sections, with gears moving in opposite directions that demanded precise movements, and fast-moving obstacles that demanded perfect timing. Thankfully, the checkpoints are frequent, so he was always placed right back at the spot before he died.

Once Meyer had made it past the bells and cogs, he and Tenzin were able to raise bridges, only to see them destroyed by the bells as they came loose from their sockets and plummeted to the ground. This meant more climbing for the two explorers and an opportunity to see the impressive scale of the game's caves and to hear the beautiful incidental music that accompanies the action.

The GamesCom demo showed off just how much grander Naughty Dog has made Uncharted 2 over its predecessor. Since most of the videos of the game have shown city environments, this huge deserted mountain was a nice counterpoint, and a strong hint that the final game will offer plenty of variation. The full game will be out on the PlayStation 3 in the fourth quarter of 2009, and we'll be sure to bring you more info on the game the next time we see it.

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