Uncharted 2 Review – Remastered Edition

Years ago, I wrote a review of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves for my college newspaper. I thought it was a fairly solid game. I may have been caught up in the moment, but I had a tremendous amount of fun playing through the campaign.

That was back in 2009. We’re now in 2015, a whole 6 years later. Does Uncharted 2 still remain fantastic? Thanks to the release of the Nathan Drake Collection, we can now take a look at this past gem once again. I mean, I guess I could have booted it up on my PS3, but spending more money and looking at it on new hardware is the only plausible way to really play a “classic” game.

As the game starts, I’m reminded of the excellent pacing that NaughtyDog employed with the script. That nostalgia leads to an immediate disappoint. Why did NaughtyDog and this remasters developer, BluePoint Games, not make the pace better? I’ve changed in the last 6 years, so shouldn’t Uncharted 2 have as well?

Regardless, instead of being able to blitz through the opening act, I merely settle on running through it. I guess I’ll have to pretend to be seeing all of this for the first time. Then a cutscene triggers and I get sucked out of the game.

Why, after all this time, are we still getting taken to pre-rendered cinematics? Can’t these scenes have been adapted into gameplay segments? Wouldn’t it just be grand to take Drake and smack Flynn in the face and move on? Tell him, “Shut up, I got the picture!” and finish the mission without him?

Shut the hell up, Flynn!

Making choices isn’t what you do in Uncharted 2, despite this remaster existing as a means to fix the game. I don’t want to play the game I know and love; I want the game I know and love to be better! How is that hard to understand?

So then the game moves into the first stealth section and I cringe. I never even liked that back in the day, why am I going to enjoy it now? Can’t they just give me a fully automatic and let me plow through this? The hell with careful plotting and dramatic tension. The remaster should let me live out all my twisted fantasies.

After being firmly let down that I’ve remembered everything as it was, I wait to see if anything had been enhanced for the epic train mission in the middle of the game. Sadly, there are actually some effects removed from the game. How am I supposed to enjoy this without motion blur?

It doesn’t matter that chapter 13 is intense, fun and filled with glorious lunacy; the removal of a small graphical filter makes the level feel less inspired. I thought remasters were supposed to improve in every way, not make concessions for hardware the game wasn’t originally built on.

It’s just not the same…despite being the same…

I guess I can take solace in the fact that the PS4 edition runs at a really smooth 60 frames per second. That shouldn’t matter, but going back to the PS3 versions makes everything seem like slow motion. Now the remaster really is tarnishing my vision of the past.

Overall, I can’t believe how disappointed I am with the Nathan Drake Collection. Instead of evolving with the times and giving us what feels like a new game, we’re just granted the ability to play our favorite adventures on a new platform.

Humans learn and grow with the times; is it to much to ask that my video games do the same? I know they are a sequence of 1’s and 0’s that, once compiled, cannot change, but come on! This is on PS4, for god’s sake!

In that regard, wasn’t the CPU of the PS3 based on the Cell processor, which used an EMOTION engine? Emotion is a skill that humans possess, not computers. The PS3 was ahead of the times, so it’s games should have grown older.

Instead, getting the Nathan Drake Collection is more like buying admittance to a museum and laughing at the failures of the past. How dare cavemen not realize that electricity would have helped them flourish.

Jackasses.

With a heavy heart, I have to give Uncharted 2 a 2/10. 6 years ago, I could easily see myself giving this a 9. Games have changed, though, and only for the better. It doesn’t matter that this was made for an audience in 2009 or that nothing has changed with it, just my perception of what I want.

Apparently the Dreamcast Sucks…

I hate video game reviews. I truly do. With this week’s release of Jet Set Radio HD, I’m just reminded of how deep my hatred for what game reviewing has become. How can a website rightfully justify giving a classic a 4.5 when they previously rated it a 9?

Now, I understand that tastes change and people move away from the things they used to love, but how does a quintessential Dreamcast title suddenly become something broken and unpolished? For that matter, was the Dreamcast ever worth owning? All I’ve been seeing from the re-releases of its “classics” are reviews that top off at 6 out of 10.

It just boggles my mind to try and figure out how a game becomes so awful over the course of a decade. I haven’t played a single title from my youth in recent years that hasn’t held up to some degree. Sometimes awkward dialog or story progression rear their ugly heads, but level design and controls have always been a constant for me.

If I disliked the way the camera moved or the way combos were executed back in the day, I clearly remember all of that and expect it in the future. Hell, sometimes games I disliked back in the day are actually better with age, so what gives with “Jet Set Radio?”

I’m also getting really tired of reviewers claiming that titles are antiquated or feel old and that is their reason for being bad. Well, why do new games like “Castle Crashers” and “Scott Pilgrim” come out and get high marks for being old-school and retro? The contradiction doesn’t make sense to me. You can’t praise one thing for the same reason you hate another!

For that matter, old games don’t suddenly become bad over the years. I understand that the philosophy behind developing anything should be to improve on the predecessors, but I still enjoy “Super Mario World” and “Street Fighter II,” despite the fact that their sequels may have improved in certain regards.

Not that film or music can even really compare to video games, but you don’t see Roger Ebert going back and claiming “Hotel Rwanda” actually sucks. When he states that his opinion of a movie is positive, he always sticks to it. Just because things have changed in cinema or methods or production doesn’t mean that Rwanda is no longer worth it.

Sorry, I can’t control this properly anymore!

If I go and ask my friend if she still likes the older Dave Matthews albums, she’s not going to say no! I don’t dislike old Tool albums or Daft Punk, either, despite their styles changing and evolving over the years. When something is good, it is good!

My only real understanding of this situation comes with my old passion for Slipknot. I used to love their direct and dirty style of metal, but as I grew older and broadened my range of music, I drifted away from them. I no longer listen to them and I don’t really have the desire to.

I still recognize their greatness, though. Nothing is wrong with the band and their music will always be a shining example of power/hard metal done right. Hell, their live album is fucking insanely good!
In fact, I went and re-beat “Super Mario Land” last night just for fun. That game is still good. I have lots of nostalgia for it (it was my second Gameboy game ever), but the title is a quick, quirky, fun little game and is well worth playing through. Hell, it’s even better now because of how similar newer Mario games are becoming.

Maybe I just hold video games closer to my heart? I really can’t make up an excuse or claim my passion is stronger, though. That’s very selfish. I’m just finding it hard to understand how “Jet Set Radio” is now considered a waste of time when it was once proclaimed to be a revelation.

I suppose my friend Corey sums it up the best, though.