The camera can be cruel in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (Naughty Dog, PS3, $60). It lingers over the lips of frost-riddled escarpments, oscillates perversely below your vertigo-unbalanced frame, and wordlessly taunts you like a sadistic documentarian. It knows the best angles to roil your gut and make you flinch; and though it never lets you down–it’s always precisely where you need it to be–don’t expect a lot of handholding as you dangle from cadmium pipes, ancient Tibetan statuary, and rime-glazed rocks.
If you dislike golden-era adventure fare, you’ll scoff at Uncharted 2’s pulp narrative. But then you probably also loathe movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Kim, Tarzan and the Leopard Woman, The Thief of Baghdad, and Gunga Din.
For the rest of us, it doesn’t get better than the gonzo leaping, clambering, over-the-shoulder shooting, and occasionally ad-libbed smart-alecking in Uncharted 2. It’s what the Tomb Raider games should have been, coupled with the picaresque élan of an H. Rider Haggard yarn.
Pros: Best action-adventure flick you’ve ever played; expansive multiplayer modes with distinctive experience-point-based ability system.
Cons: Too easy on ‘hard’ difficulty setting; players must complete the game once (on ‘hard’) to unlock the more satisfying ‘crushing’ difficulty setting.