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Forums > Submission Feedback > zigfried's Uncharted 2: Among Thieves review

This thread is in response to a review for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves on the PlayStation 3. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: October 17, 2009 (02:41 PM)
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Sweet review, as usual, and the timeliness pleases me greatly. ;-) You definitely make it sound like a game worth playing, and since none of the issues you raised sound like they would get in the way of my enjoyment in the slightest, I hope someday to add this my collection. I know that I was interested in seeing where the franchise went after the promising first game, and this sequel sounds like it at least maintains everything that made the first game worthwhile. Specific examples aside, much of what you wrote here falls in line with what I wrote about the first game... but maybe even prettier. Nice!


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: October 17, 2009 (03:20 PM)
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You really should pick it up, Jace. It's definitely one of the best games I've ever played. Convincing, is the word Zig uses, and it's perfectly apropos.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: Suskie
Posted: October 17, 2009 (10:29 PM)
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I am very, very skeptical of this game, as I am of any game that receives astronomical praise but in which none of the reviews can explain what exactly makes the title so much better than everything else on the market. I've learned my lesson from BioShock.

I'll withhold judgments on the game until I can get around to playing it but as of now Zig is the only critic on the internet who doesn't sound like Naughty Dog stuffed a wad of cash down his pocket.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: Probester
Posted: October 18, 2009 (12:11 AM)
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I;m generally pretty cynical about "popular" games. Bioshock didn't seem that good to me, and I wasn't too surprised when it turned out to be mediocre. That said, while there might be a slight bit of sugar coating going on with Uncharted, I don't think people are exaggerating with high scores. But how much you like a game is still based on personal taste, the never ending problem with reading peer reviews.


Zombie Survivor Journal: On hiatus, site nonsense scrapped


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Author: Lewis
Posted: October 18, 2009 (04:11 AM)
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One of the first sensible, measured and explanatory reviews I've read of this. See also Crispy Gamer for bringing everyone back down to Earth.

I've not played the game. But so far, from what I've read and been told, I have hundreds of people in one ear saying "OMG IT'S JUST SO GOOD!" and then two people in the other explaining, carefully, why it's quite good.


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Author: mugatu101286
Posted: October 20, 2009 (03:06 PM)
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congrats honestgamers! u are officially the only idiots to give uncharted 2 an 8/10 on gamerankings when this game clearly deserves a 9 and above. awesome job to the moron who reviewed this one.the emotion cant be as good with marco polo because he wasnt related to him like drake was u winner!


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Author: Lewis
Posted: October 20, 2009 (03:17 PM)
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I'd be interested to hear your opinions of why it's clearly worth a nine or above. Is there something quantifiable that exists across every publication's scoring systems that means the game automatically sits on the same number for everyone?

This isn't me being arsey, either. I'm genuinely curious.


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: October 20, 2009 (03:26 PM)
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dude its because uncharted 2 is so fucking awesome do you even know how to play video games? my name is raynier benitez so look me up on gay porn sites if you want an experts opinion and not some honest gamers winners dumb words.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: October 20, 2009 (03:28 PM)
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Can someone decode that post for me, please? I don't speak gibberish.


For us. For them. For you.


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Author: Lewis
Posted: October 20, 2009 (03:35 PM)
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Congrats honestgamers! u are officially the only idiots to give uncharted 2 an 8/10 on gamerankings when this game clearly deserves a 9 and above. awesome job to the moron who reviewed this one.the emotion cant be as good with marco polo because he wasnt related to him like drake was u winner!

Congratulations, HonestGamers. You are officially the only publication aggregated by GameRankings to give Uncharted 2 an 8 out of 10 score, when I believe the game warrants a 9 or above on the arbitrary scoring scale I've just invented. Awesome job to the writer who reviewed this game. The emotion can't be as good with Marco Polo because he ????????????????????


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: October 20, 2009 (03:51 PM)
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I think that's a reference to spoilers from the first game, Lewis. Drake is related to the famous Sir Francis Drake, but is not related to Marco Polo so theoretically the emotion in the first game (which I don't recall existing all that strongly) can't be replicated in this sequel. Therefore, it's not fair to bash the game for not having ambitious storytelling. I think that's the theory, anyway.

I also think that someone has been playing around with cookies and other things, so it's probably best not to pay attention to anthing else I happen to post in this thread.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: October 20, 2009 (04:17 PM)
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XD This is hilarious. I bet he's just a stupid carry over from N4G or wherever his hypocritcal ass dwells.

What's going on with cookies, Jason? Nothing's seemed unusual here... accept for the influx of morons we'll probably be seeing in the next few days.


What espiga does in his free time
[Eating EmP's brain] probably isn't a good idea. I mean... He's British, which means his brain's wired for PAL and your eyes are NTSC. - Will


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Author: MoreHonestGamer
Posted: October 20, 2009 (04:24 PM)
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I think a few posts in the thread linked below help to address how this review might be deemed slightly jaded and perhaps intentionally overly critical? Unfairly so perhaps. The poster uses the term "trollish" but think of it what you will. Some valid points are brought up which I think the editors would do well to take note of, since these kinds of things are what dent the reputations of sites such as these.

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=375555&page=274


Here are some quotes.


----

"Has anyone brought up Honestgamers.com's troll review of Uncharted yet? There's one every time, made to bring down the aggregate score and bring attention to a site. This one's pretty funny though.

http://www.honestgamers.com/systems/...+Among+Thieves

My personal favorite:

"Some graphical touches are nice (such as enemies dropping grenades when you shoot them after they've pulled the pin), while others betray a lack of attention (such as snow hovering in mid-air as my feet dangle, or piles of snow not moving at all when I walk right through them). Plenty of games look better on the surface — I'll throw Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 out there as an example — but Uncharted 2 more than makes up for this with the characters' behavior and motion."

I wrote a similar troll review of the PSP when it came out, you gotta admire good craftsmanship.

He successfully intertwines his mostly unfair/exaggerated complaints with enough faint praise along with a high enough score to have plausible deniability in denying what he actually set out to do, and to that I must tip my hat to the author."


---


"Well, I've never seen snow float in the game (if it did, it was probably a one off glitch and not worth bringing up in the review), and snow (70% of the time) does move when your feet trudge through it (usually it only doesn't when it isn't soft snow), and then there's comparing it to Sigma (lol). So yea...something isn't quite right about that paragraph....

Funnily enough, Game Daily(?) said the same thing about snow not moving/leaving footprints, but the moment I started a new game, and my feet hit the snow, low and behold it had realistic deformation and footprints...

In-fact....here's a few screens of it."


---


"The review follows a pattern: Anytime he uses a positive adjective it's immediately followed by a backhanded compliment. Take for instance where he compliments the acting and motion capture but right after matter of factly adds that it's weird because the characters look plastic.

If you actually look at the whole review it definitely doesn't read like an 8/10, now does it? He complains at length of boredom with the platforming sections and even says the gunplay is unexceptional."

---


--- Avid honest gaming fan ---


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: October 20, 2009 (04:35 PM)
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WQ, take a look at this post:

"dude its because uncharted 2 is so fucking awesome do you even know how to play video games? my name is raynier benitez so look me up on gay porn sites if you want an experts opinion and not some honest gamers winners dumb words."

I didn't post that, even as a joke (which is how most people probably took it, knowing me as you do). Someone found a way to post it and attach my name, which used to be possible by modifying files on a local system. I have just gone through and made some more changes to the site's source code that should prevent that from continuing in the future, and I've already fixed loopholes that allowed people to access content by modifying local cookies. There may be some leaks remaining, though, and sometimes people so passionately hate a review that they'll spend hours or days finding ways to break sites. If really odd stuff starts going down, you'll know that zigfried's review really touched a PS3 fan's nerve somewhere.

Of course the people who do that sort of hacking could better use their time writing quality reviews expressing their own viewpoints, or by leaving ratings on the games. The site is built around that very thing, but productivity isn't always what people have in mind when they get mad at a review.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: October 20, 2009 (05:06 PM)
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Oh. Haha. Yeah; I took that post as a joke. I thought you were just mocking the fanboys. I'm glad you fixed it, though!

Haha. Well, looks like someone actually said something halfway intelligent. He's wrong, but still; at least it's not base fanboyism bordering on trolling.

The review in question was not meant to be a troll review. Nor the reviewer a troller. People are entitled to their own opinions of games, even if they fall "below the majority". What is especially confusing, albeit hilarious, about this situation is that these people are arguing over and EIGHT out of ten. EIGHT. Eight is still a really good score! Come on! Bahaha. Honestly...


What espiga does in his free time
[Eating EmP's brain] probably isn't a good idea. I mean... He's British, which means his brain's wired for PAL and your eyes are NTSC. - Will


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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: October 20, 2009 (05:10 PM)
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Thank you for the comments, Morehonestgamer. I feel I should address a few of them.

Funnily enough, Game Daily(?) said the same thing about snow not moving/leaving footprints, but the moment I started a new game, and my feet hit the snow, low and behold it had realistic deformation and footprints...

I didn't mention footprints, and I think my statement about snow piles has been taken to the extreme. I too saw footprints and realistic deformation. However, I also saw little blobs of snow dangling in mid-air as I hung off the side of a cliff (because the "blobs of snow around your feet" animation had kicked in by mistake). There were also some piles of snow that were part of the unchanging "background", but you could physically walk through them, which is still pretty common in games.

Those things are minor details, which is why they only received a passing mention. In a game that relies on being pretty and convincing -- and will receive heavy graphical scrutiny for reasons that should be obvious -- I believe it's important to set peoples' expectations realistically. There are some awesome details, and there are some quirky details. It would be a mistake to neglect the whole picture, but it would also be a mistake to assume I docked a point because of such things.

"Plenty of games look better on the surface — I'll throw Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 out there as an example — but Uncharted 2 more than makes up for this with the characters' behavior and motion."

I wrote a similar troll review of the PSP when it came out, you gotta admire good craftsmanship.


I don't see how it's trolling to say that another game looks better until you take behavior and motion into account. NGSigma2 was pretty damn gorgeous, even though the characters don't move as expressively or convincingly as Uncharted 2's characters.

I also don't see how it's trolling to say that characters look plastic and have creepy eyes, but the game still managed to make me care. In my book, that's a pretty clear compliment to the acting and animation directors.

If you actually look at the whole review it definitely doesn't read like an 8/10, now does it? He complains at length of boredom with the platforming sections and even says the gunplay is unexceptional.

Whether or not it reads like an 8/10 is in the eye of the beholder. Uncharted 2 is more about being an "experience" than about being a platformer or gun game. People who focus on the platforming and gunplay will likely be disappointed. Look at the whole picture, and Uncharted 2 is a convincing and thrilling treasure-hunting experience that loses something in the second play. I think that first play is excellent enough to deserve an 8.

Readers are intelligent enough to know what they care about in a game. It's my job to make sure their decision is an informed one.

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: C__________________C
Posted: October 20, 2009 (06:07 PM)
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Wow!


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: October 20, 2009 (06:08 PM)
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Fucking hell, this thread gives my eyes whiplash.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: MoreHonestGamer
Posted: October 21, 2009 (11:48 AM)
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Thanks for responding Zig,

I think the point about the snow was, bringing up the thing about floating snow at all seems a tad anal no? It was clearly a one off glitch (glitches occur in all games, sometimes by the plenty) yet it somehow made it in to the final review as if it may be something many people experience, when in actual fact you are the first person I have read to experience it.

When you look at the screens posted in the link above, or anywhere really, I think complaining about one of floating snow given how incredible the snow in general, and the snow effects are make the comment appear a bit drawing for short straws like.


Then there's another point touched upon, that every masked positive is immediately met with a negative or vice versa. As if the positive was only to appear fair/credible to counter balance the more alternative/unconventional negative opinions in the first place. Examples..Negative counter balance comment starts after the ***** or the other way around.



---

"I would not say that Uncharted 2 is the second-greatest game of its kind. It's a thoroughly competent product, and certainly a pretty one, ***** but fails to demonstrate daring ambition or conceptual innovation. "

---

"Thanks to some incredible animation and voice-acting, Nathan Drake is a likable and believable character, ***** but still a typical hero"

---

"Gameplay predominantly relies on long stretches of wall-climbing and straightforward shooting, ***** but Uncharted 2 excels at neither."

---

"Also, the pacing is a bit misguided; I love watching heroes explore ancient ruins at the end of an enchanting summer flick, but the concept of large, empty spaces with no enemies and frequent climbing across rocks, climbing across gears, and climbing over statues does not translate to an exciting video endgame (although the grand finale itself is satisfying).

If I've dashed your expectations a bit, ***** rest assured the game is still quite excellent."

---

"After you climb to the top of a broken-down hotel*, the gorgeous skyline awaits. When you're done taking in the breathtaking view, there's a swimming pool on the roof. Nathan leaps in to play the Marco Polo kids' game . . . and he actually gets his ladyfriend to begrudgingly play along. This is random but clever stuff.

***** If you're tired of reading about climbing, imagine how I felt actually doing it!"

---

"Some graphical touches are nice (such as enemies dropping grenades when you shoot them after they've pulled the pin), ***** while others betray a lack of attention (such as snow hovering in mid-air as my feet dangle, or piles of snow not moving at all when I walk right through them). Plenty of games look better on the surface — I'll throw Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 out there as an example — but Uncharted 2 more than makes up for this with the characters' behavior and motion."

---

"I was impressed early on when I saw the way Chloe chuckled at rival treasure hunter Flynn's goofy joke. I know it sounds stupid to be impressed by "chuckling", but it was the most natural and convincing laughter I've ever heard — and seen — in a game. ***** Which is odd, considering the characters still look like plastic-skinned dolls with creepy glass eyes."

---

"Through elaborate scripted events, the quest manages to be linear without feeling linear. The high-speed convoy scene in particular was jaw-dropping . . . until my second playthrough, ***** when I realized I was basically playing Dragon's Lair."

----

"Watching Nathan jump from speeding truck to speeding truck in the snowy mountains is gorgeous, ***** but the proper path is so pre-determined and the jump controls so forgiving that the scene is closer to an old-time FMV adventure than to the ball-busting, truck-hopping scene from Sega's Nightshade."

---

"Combat is pretty straightforward: guns put holes in peoples' heads, a streamlined melee system shows off Nathan's martial arts, and a competent "cover" system ***** has been yanked from Gears of War." (GoW was not the first to use it)

---

"The insanity almost felt like a high-budget Power Stone, although I know that feeling will fade once everyone becomes more familiar with the maps. Money earned during multiplayer can be spent on single-player tweaks such as unlimited ammo; ***** I just wish I could play locally with a friend (Uncharted 2's multiplayer is online only)."

---

"Even though the characters look like dolls with creepy glass eyes, ***** I was glad when the love interest proved her sincerity to the hero."

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"Even though the jungle's lighting is unconvincing, ***** I was still itching to see the massive explosion after setting a half-dozen detonation charges. . . and I was pissed that the game didn't let me see the result of my effort."

---

The outstanding helicopter scene at the hotel, a scene that I shall not spoil, more than made up for the ***** disappointing jungle. "

---

"A derivative adventure can still be pretty thrilling when it's derived from ***** stellar source material."

---




To me, the review reads quite jaded, as if you had a pre-conceived opinion or slant and were trying your hardest to get it out amongst the sea of positive critical acclaim whilst trying to still seem credible. Hence why there's a lot of back and forth masked compliments thrown together with underhanded negatives (constantly). Even if at times, these negatives were petty one's (not being able to see the jungle blow up, floating one off snow glitch etc).


--- Avid honest gaming fan ---


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Author: Lewis
Posted: October 21, 2009 (12:23 PM)
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MoreHonestGamer:

Since you've come here and eloquently argued your case, you might be able to help me out here, because I'm really baffled by the constant assumption, with publications around the globe, that a below- or above-average review must have been written with an ulterior motive.

I assume there are some bands that are pretty much universally acclaimed, but that just don't appeal to you, right? Or you just can't get into them, for your own reasons, despite other people telling you they're great.

Why does this so often not apply to games? Why is there an assumption that everyone's opinions must align with the norm? Which, y'know, this one kind of does. We're talking about a one-tenth difference in scores. How come giving something an 8 out of 10 instead of a 9 out of 10 causes such uproarious fury?

And why is there so often an assumption that, just because one guy didn't like the game as much as other people, it must be either A) his fault, or B) his dark ulterior motive with which he entered the review?

Not being snarky or anything; am genuinely intrigued.


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: October 21, 2009 (01:06 PM)
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Look, UC2 is great, but it's got its issues. When I write my review of it later this week, I'll be covering some more serious breaches of gameplay than just snow piling up around the feet.

So get ready to spam me.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: October 21, 2009 (03:45 PM)
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Morehonestgamer, the purpose in pointing out such details as the snow was to say exactly that: Uncharted 2, like any other game, does have its quirks. I have no way to know which quirks are commonly experienced and which ones are not. All I know of are the quirks that I experienced.

Look at it another way: suppose I had said "While Uncharted 2 was very pretty and loaded with nice details, I also encountered a number of graphical flaws." People would naturally want to know what flaws I'm talking about (especially people who have heard that Uncharted 2 is flawless). By providing an example, I answer their natural question. "Anal" would have been for me to list every single quirk I encountered. I chose to only list a couple.

Then there's another point touched upon, that every masked positive is immediately met with a negative or vice versa. As if the positive was only to appear fair/credible to counter balance the more alternative/unconventional negative opinions in the first place.

Another way to look at it is that I was providing a complete picture of my experience. If you want reviewers to hide information from readers, then I'm not really sure how to respond to that.

I find it interesting that you use the phrase "counter balance". That phrase implies that the positive and equal traits bear equal weight, which is a determination in the eyes of the reader. Anyone who believes the positives and negatives in my review are counter balanced either:
1) would be EXTREMELY disappointed by the game, or
2) is fictionalizing an ulterior motive behind my words

I will hardly address every quote, but I will address four:

"Thanks to some incredible animation and voice-acting, Nathan Drake is a likable and believable character, ***** but still a typical hero"

Do you honestly feel as though being likable and believable is balanced by being a typical hero? Especially after I've already put the game's storyline on a pedestal above everything but Raiders of the Lost Ark? If so, then that is your own negativity towards the game, not mine. This thought process applies to many of the examples you listed.

Gameplay predominantly relies on long stretches of wall-climbing and straightforward shooting, ***** but Uncharted 2 excels at neither

This is not an example of counterbalance. This is me saying that Uncharted 2 is not notable for its gameplay. If you take the review as a holistic picture, it is clear that Uncharted 2 is notable for the overall experience it creates. This is not trolling; this is precision. Identifying the aspects of a game that excel, versus the aspects that do not excel, is sound reviewing philosophy.

"Combat is pretty straightforward: guns put holes in peoples' heads, a streamlined melee system shows off Nathan's martial arts, and a competent "cover" system ***** has been yanked from Gears of War."

I do not see the negative here. Is it a bad thing for games to take inspiration from others? Or is it only bad when the game in question was published on the Xbox 360? You also mention that Gears of War was not the first game with a cover system. I chose Gears of War as the example because it did come out before Uncharted, because it is an extremely famous game that popularized the "cover" concept, and because there are other similarities between the combat of Uncharted 2 and Gears of War. The comparison felt natural to me. There is no negativity in this statement.

"The insanity almost felt like a high-budget Power Stone, although I know that feeling will fade once everyone becomes more familiar with the maps. Money earned during multiplayer can be spent on single-player tweaks such as unlimited ammo; ***** I just wish I could play locally with a friend (Uncharted 2's multiplayer is online only)."

Would you prefer that I not mention the lack of local play? Wouldn't that be potentially misleading? Or should I have perhaps pretended to be HAPPY about the lack of local play?

Haven't you ever read a review, played the game, and then thought "Gee, I wish the reviews had mentioned XXX or YYY"? I am not telling people to avoid the game, nor am I imposing my beliefs on others. I am highly recommending the game, but with a realistic set of expectations. I find it odd that some consumers would support the suppression of information when $60 are at stake.

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: October 21, 2009 (04:54 PM)
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Zig, stop responding to trolls and instead get back to reading my FF review! It's short and sweet and is awaiting your soft touch in the production room.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: Probester
Posted: October 21, 2009 (05:40 PM)
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There are admittedly some glitches (mostly with textures and the cover system), although they didn't occur enough to make it significantly more apparent in this game than others. Usually I'm the the cynic questioning why mindless shooter titles deserve 9s, but if any certain game does, I'd say its this one. I'm a sucker for details and character development, except when it's Japanese, socially awkward, and anime-enhanced, which is why I skip over most Japanese RPGs. That's part of the reason why I like UC2 so much. Questioning why someone gave it an 8 instead of the 9 that everyone else is giving it is like asking someone why they prefer strawberry over vanilla ice cream.


Zombie Survivor Journal: On hiatus, site nonsense scrapped


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Author: Lewis
Posted: October 22, 2009 (01:21 AM)
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Over on Resolution recently, we had someone questioning a score to two decimal places.

I can't help but feel we have Game Informer to thank for this.

Of course, if we strip away scoring systems entirely, I can't see how Zig's review isn't A) clear and B) obviously a reasoned, honest and professional evaluation of the game. The tone of the review is hugely positive, but with a sense of restraint that's been sorely lacking from much of Uncharted 2's coverage. It takes a hell of a lot of skill to be able to step outside of your own expectations and look at a game from a removed and critical (in the proper sense of the word) perspective, but Zig did so masterfully.

But the key is that he still came away saying, essentially, "it's a flawed, but still brilliant, game."

What if he'd written the same review but given an 9? What if we used Crispy Gamer's system? How would it translate to that? Over there, Tom Chick gave it a Try out of Buy. People complained there too. Yet I can't imagine any of them read the review, which was largely positive. It wasn't placed in the highest band, because their highest band signifies an essential purchase, which Chick didn't believe it to be. Is that trolling? Hit-chasing? Is it really?

I'm really curious to hear MoreHonestGamer's answers, so I do hope he returns. This is an area I'm really interested in: why do people assume an ulterior motive from their reviews, even from publications who are obviously fiercely independent?


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