It had to be, didn’t it?
It’s not often that a game is this clearly my game of the year, and it’s usually not this obvious as soon as I play it, but Uncharted 2 is just so far ahead of everything else that any attempt to be controversial and give the nod to something else becomes impossible. Obviously there’s the visuals, which are simply staggering, but then there’s the seemingly never-ending list of the voice acting, the performances, the animation, the much-improved gunplay, the massive scale, the set pieces…
Naughty Dog moved the goalposts, showing how to make a game cinematic without trying to be a film. People who think that Metal Gear Solid 4 did that need to take a long look at this, because Uncharted 2 tells a story and renders some truly epic action scenes while letting you, you know, play them.
Take something like the train sequence, the helicopter attack in Nepal, the tank attack, the Pursuit Force-style truck chase – you get the idea – and it would fit in as a finale or banner set piece in any other game, but Uncharted 2 has almost one per level, and it still finds time to slow things down for the walk through a Tibetan village or fairly straightforward puzzle sequence. Lessons had clearly been learnt from the original’s shortcomings because this one neatly sidesteps most of them. The tightened-up shooting and lack of zombies is enough to more or less wipe out my complaints.
Uncharted 2 was absolutely incredible and a huge step beyond what any other company did this year. Bow down to Naughty Dog, because the ball’s firmly back in everyone else’s court. Good luck with that.