Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Content review for this game:
Pertaining to the ESRB rating.

Content sum up: Like the first, while overall violence—in terms of realism—is relatively subdued, this time around, blood effects are negligible, and the main casts' nonchalant take on their plight keeps things light; with the introduction of the flirtatious Chloe, the suggestive, low brow humor, along with now frequent language—with fifty-two uses of sh*t alone—have been considerably amped up, not to mention the cold, merciless anagonist's presence, the appearance of the freakish, hostile creatures, and the fact that Nate is in intense, near-death peril at a constant rate. So, I recommend this game for ages 14+.

Blood: The blood effects spurt in negligible, dark red clouds when enemy mercenaries are shot or after finishing melee blows to their face; blood does not splatter on walls, floors or linger. Dispatched (unbloodied) mercenary bodies do linger, and you will see skeletal remains scattered throughout. There is no option to turn blood off.

Specific scenes of blood (& mild gore):

(The ESRB didn't mention that there is mild gore)

  • The opening shows as Nate—protagonist—awakens to discover that he is sitting sideways in a ruined train car hanging off a snowy cliffside. A close shot shows his face with three bloodied abrasions, and cuts to a wider shot showing Nate's blood-caked hands, arms and soaked clothes. He clutches the wound at his side and lifts his hands to inspect the substance, realizing it's a heavy amount of his blood laced on his palms—Nate is in this shape throughout the playable intro.
  • While Nate, Chloe (a main female character) and Sully (a main male character) explore a ruin, they use a resin torch (turning all light to a blue shade) to follow a trail of long dried blood (which also appears blue) among piles of skeletons.
  • After a group of city resistance fighters crash into mercenaries with a huge bus, the remaining hostiles shoot the fighters down—several more of them are seen being shot by the mercs throughout this area; all causes light blood splatter.
  • As Nate and Chloe rejoin Elena—female protagonist—they find her cameraman, Jeff, with a bullet wound to his side. It cuts to a closer shot as Nate inspects the wound, showing Jeff's blood soaked clothes and a bloodied hole in his jacket. As Nate drags him to safety, you can see the bloodied exit wound from the back.
  • Elena punches Harry Flynn (a main antagonist) in the nose—visibly bloodying it.
  • After Nate retrieves a key artifact from a downed mercenary and begins walking to the exit, the mercenary abruptly gets up, puts his hands around Nate's throat and pushes him up against the edge of the moving train's open window; right as Nate is about to be finished, the already cut and bloodied offender is shot in the head from off-screen, as he collapses to the ground (full impact is not seen).
  • When Nate finds Chloe on the train and tells her he has come to rescue her, she makes it clear this isn't what she wanted him to do. They start to argue, but are interrupted as a shot is fired from off-screen; presumably by Chloe, but cuts to Flynn holding the gun. It hits Nate's side, which he slowly grasps in shock as his blood soaks the area—Flynn tries to shoot him again, but Chloe lets Nate run.
  • As Nate and his guide Tenzin explore the ice caves, they find a decomposed but cold-preserved corpse, and a later corpse has a bullet hole in its forehead—this zombie-like "Dead Explorer" skin can be unlocked to wear for both single-player and multi-player; there is a dried blood trail running down its wound and as you run around, you can see directly through the gaping hole in its forehead.
  • While Nate and Tenzin continue into the ice caves, wolves are heard whining in the distance. When you reach them, you find several wolves newly slaughtered, with moderate amounts of blood splatter on their fur and the surrounding ice.
  • As they try to save (side character) Schäfer from Lazarevic (the heavily scared main villain), Nate and Elena find Schäfer in a ruined room moderately bloodied and injured, propped on wreckage—Schäfer strains as he talks, and then dies.
  • After Nate grabs a mercenary and holds him at gunpoint for leverage, Lazarevic shoots his own man in the head with no hesitation, causing mild blood splatter.
  • After Nate, Chloe, Elena and a few mercenaries take a ride on a broken, sliding platform, the three find an (unbloodied) enemy impaled on a tree's branch.
  • When Nate, Chloe and Elena are close to catching up to Lazarevic and his men, Flynn stumbles out from behind a large pillar; half-dead, bloodied and clutching a blood-soaked bullet wound to his side. He slowly slides down onto the pillar in pain and rests there, as Elena slowly edges closer to check his condition. Flynn then pulls out a grenade and lets it detonate, killing him (which isn't seen), and throwing back the other three. In its aftermath, Nate and Chloe have a few mild bloody scrapes on their face and body, but since Elena was near the point-blank range, she bore the brunt. And as such, she is heavily bloodied all over; mostly from a wound on her side and left arm, both of which are fully blood-soaked.
  • When he finally confronts Lazarevic, Nate shoots him several times in the torso, causing Lazarevic to stagger back and spurt light blood. But since Lazarevic has already found Shambhala's secret, he can partially regenerate; though this does not stop him from getting bloody and cut as Nate fights him.

Language: There is over four dozen uses of sh*t, over three dozen uses of hell, over a dozen uses of God, under a dozen uses of d*mn, a**, SoB, a**hole, God d*mn and Jesus, and three or under uses of b*tch, p*ss, bastard and Christ. Other than the main script, Nate infrequently spouts, "Hell yeah!", D*mn!", "Oh sh*t!", "See yah, jacka**!" and, "For the love of God!" during gunfights; both Flynn and Chloe use the mildly rude British slang term "bloody" several times throughout; and in Nate's journal, there are four uses of God d*mn and one use of sh*t and a**hole in text—Nate also has "WTF" written on one drawing. Lastly, all of the above characters will infrequently utter hell, sh*t and d*mn during brief cutscenes as you traverse the online multi-player mode's, "Co-op Objective" maps. There is no option to turn language off.

Suggestive themes:

  • A fairly-sized list of women's names and their adjoining phone numbers take up two pages in Nate's journal—his journal is made viewable at any time early in.
  • Chloe has a well-sized bust, wears a form-fitting top—showing a mild amount of her midriff—and tight, low-cut jeans, displaying her shapely hips and behind.
  • Nate hears a knock on his room door and answers; it's Chloe. Nate quickly pulls her onto the room in a panic—the currently allied Flynn doesn't know they have a history—prompting her to state, "Well, so much for foreplay." As he talks with Chloe about her seemingly not so platonic relationship with Flynn in a somewhat irritated manner, Chloe playfully pushes Nate to the bed, and then straddles him (both fully clothed) as they continue to talk; when she unabashedly confirms her non-platonic relationship with Flynn, he drops flat on the bed in exasperation of this fact. Chloe continues to straddle him, leans closer, then suggestively places each of Nate's hands on either side of her lower thighs—it goes to a brief, close- up shot of her backside as he lightly pats her thigh, distractedly. They continue to converse as Chloe runs her hands down his chest, resting them around Nate's waist, and while she tells him how just the two of them will run away once they find the artifact—embellishing her point by using spidery movements to run her fingers up his chest—Chloe pushes Nate down; they kiss, as it slowly pans up to a painting over the bed, then fades to black—suggesting they sleep together.
  • As Nate, Chloe and Sully discuss their plans to infiltrate Lazarevic's camp, Nate makes it clear that he will need a five minute distraction, but that it must be an inside job—Chloe works for Lazarevic—as Chloe remarks, "Really, five minutes? Well that's great. I won't even have to get my top off." Perplexed, Nate corrects her with this simple reply, "Chloe, I was thinking of more like an explosion."
  • As they run through the jungle on the way to Lazarevic's camp, Sully tells Nate that "I'm sweatin' like a hooker in church," prompting Nate to ask, "You brought a hooker to church?" After a very slight pause, Sully simply says, "Why not?"
  • When Sully spots a supply hose to the enemy camp he states, "What do you bet we follow the hose - we find the camp? Nate says, "You always follow the hose. Just like in Montreal huh?" (perhaps in reference to his regular womanizing).
  • As Nate boosts Sully up to an out-of-reach ladder, he playfully quips, "You got a great a** Sully." Sully plainly—and almost sincerely—replies with, "Thanks."
  • After saving Nate from an enemy turret, Chloe jumps on his body, wrapping her legs around his lower torso. Once "mounted," she asks in playful surprise, "Oh, is that an ancient ritual Tibetan dagger in your pocket?" He answers with, "Well, maybe I'm just happy to see you." She then pulls the dagger from Nate's jean's crotch area, as he nervously shouts, "Hello!" And as they talk about finding tall buildings to get a better view of the surrounding area, Chloe suggests the hotel, prompting Nate to say in—pleasantly surprised—exasperation, "(laughs) Chloe, now's not the time." She then explains her suggestion was for the view only.
  • As he boosts Chloe up to an out-of-reach ladder, Nate quips, "Boy, it's a shame you have to sit on something that pretty." Referring to, of course, her behind.
  • As they try to solve a puzzle, you—the player—can direct Nate into a small pool in the middle of the room, prompting Nate to tell her, "Come on in, the water's fine!" She swiftly retorts with, "No way! You just want to see my t-shirt wet."
  • Nate and Chloe lean to kiss after a successful discovery, but are interrupted by the sound of enemies above, prompting Chloe to state, "That kills the mood."
  • As Elena climbs the rocks above him, Nate looks out onto the snowy mountains and says, "Nice view." Elena—thinking he meant her—then says in light disgust, "Men!" Nate clarifies with, "No no, I was talkin' about the mountains. Really."
  • As Chloe says her goodbyes, and then walks away, she turns towards Nate and says, "Admit it, you're gonna miss this a**." And after Sully makes his, he asks what direction Chloe went; Nate yells out, "You're a dirty old man Sullivan!"
  • Nate and Elena are seen having a light, brief kiss at the very end of the game.
  • After you reach a very high level of 53 in multi-player and have $500,000 in the game's Currency to spend, you can unlock and equip the last multi-player Taunt "Pump." This will have your character (both male/female) repeatedly perform a pelvic thrust that is used to flaunt your victory over rival players' bodies.

Mild crude humor: (The ESRB did not mention this in their rating, although it is mild) As Flynn goes to pick a lock, he quips to Nate, "I pick more than my nose my friend"; Chloe and Sully go to bail Nate out of jail: as they enter his cell, she sniffs in disgust, causing Nate to state in annoyance, "Oh look, it's not that bad, I have my own bucket! Last cell I was in, eight of us had to share"; and later on, an enemy is seen relieving himself off the side of a cliff; at a distance—no details are seen.

Use of alcohol and tobacco: (The ESRB did not mention this in their rating) An early scene shows Nate take a swig from a bottle of beer while he sits at a bar—its shelves lined with the substance—he continues to hold the bottle and take several more swigs through the scene's remainder; and Sully is seen clenching cigars in his mouth and/or holding them throughout—he's never actually seen smoking them.

Violence: Close to two years after his adventures on the hostile island, Nathan Drake takes a vacation at a more friendly setting, when he's approached by an old "friend," Harry Flynn, and Flynn's partner, Chloe, one of Nate's old flames. They then give Nate a proposition to help them break into a museum and lift an artifact that they and their client thinks holds the secret to Marco Polo's lost fleet. After Nate and Flynn infiltrate the museum and successfully retrieve the artifact, they find a map pointing directly to Marco Polo's fleet, with information on what they were carrying; the Cintamani Stone, thought to be a giant, precious jewel. Flynn then betrays Nate and escapes, as Nate is caught and imprisoned. After the irritated Nate is bailed out by Chloe and Sullivan, he discovers that Chloe, unlike Flynn, is pretending to work for their client, war criminal Zoran Lazarevic, and that she'll help them reach the next clue. After they arrive, they discover a tomb holding the bodies of Marco Polo's men, a map to the Stone's location and a golden dagger said to be a passport—now that Nate has the key, he just needs to find the door, that is, while trying his best to avoid Lazarevic...

The game opens as Nate awakens injured in a train, which is hanging off a mountain's snowy cliff; once you climb out, it flashes back to the heist—after you lift the artifact, and then find the dagger, you'll set out for the Stone's locale. And the base gameplay consists of navigating the environments with Nate's traversal (pull levers, switches or turn cranks to enable objects and open doors; boost allies up to ladders; push objects to reach higher hold, squeeze through tight places, etc.) and platforming skills (hurdle over gaps, shimmy on ledges, climb from hold to hold, scale up ladders and rope—or swing from rope—etc.), as you combat enemies (take cover and replenish ammo with downed enemy weapons while using Nate's varied arsenal, stealth and melee moves), evade and counter larger scale affronts (destroy helicopters and a tank with weightier weapons or turrets, etc.) and consult Nate's journal in puzzle-solving (rotate objects in correct direction, direct mirrors, place the correct objects on pressure plates, etc.) in order to make your way past the environments' blockages and closer to the Cintamani Stone's resting place; the ancient, fabled city of Shambhala.

Your enemy is Lazarevic's fully armored mercenaries—and their many types: the gray armored grunts; more resilient, black armored (often helmeted) mercs; more heavily armored mini-boss-like mercs with Kevlar from head to toe (they take dozens of hits to down), and the even more heavily armored mercs equipped with the giant GAU 19 gatling-gun (taking dozens upon dozens of hits to down)—along with later hulking, yet agile yeti-like creatures and the (blue, ape-like) Shambhalan Guardians (both of which take nearly hundreds of hit to down). You'll be combating the above enemies with the Tranquilizer Dart Gun (used in an early heist), 92FS 9mm pistol, P08 9mm pistol, .45 Defender pistol, Pistole (shotgun pistol), 9mm fully auto pistol (or Uzi), Desert 5 (one- shot) pistol, Wes 44 Revolver, Moss 12 Shotgun (good), SAS 12 Shotgun (better), AK- 47 Assault Rifle (mid-range), FAL Assault Rifle (long-range), (best overall) M4 Assault Rifle, MP40 Submachine Gun, Dragon Sniper, M32 Hammer—grenade launcher, RPG 7, GAU 19 (gatling-gun), Crossbow, and Mk-NDI Grenades.

An early heist sequence has Nate take security guards out non-lethally with knocks to the head, chokes and trank darts, but from there, you'll solely be fighting (and killing) the armed and hostile enemy mercs. The combat system itself is chaotic and intense (furthered by semi-destructable environments), and consists of using the above listed arsenal (or in several spots, turrets) to shoot away at the enemy and their cover (like wooden walls and crates, which splinter and break away under heavy fire); grenades, explosive objects, M32 Hammer, RPG 7 and propane tanks (that you can carry, throw, and then detonate in mid-air) to kill multiple enemies at once (as they, clouds of dust and random objects fly); Nate's melee moves to attack them in close quarters (hooks, kicks to the crotch, headbutts, etc); and sneak attacks to pull the enemy from ledges, from behind cover (as he kicks their crotch, pulls them down and snaps their neck, or pulls them on their backs, and then uses a press of his elbow to crush their windpipe) or a simple break of the neck from behind with an audible *snap.*

When shot, enemies stumble, stagger and flail to the floor as they lightly grunt/moan, and while combat can be tense, gunfights still retain a staged, theatrical feel—they're more subdued than most in its genre. The enemy attacks and frequently spawns from nowhere and from every side, as they take cover, surround, and then overwhelm you in the wide-open areas, making it easier for them to flank you and difficult for you to gauge where each of them are. It just steps up further in, as they become armed with more powerful, one-hit kill laser-pointed snipers, M32s, RPG 7s (at a few points, they man turrets, or pull up in turret-mounted trucks), and riot shields that block all direct fire. The more heavily armored enemies mix with the others, as they slowly advance on your position with little worry of your fire, along with the later creatures that leap from wall-to-wall (making it hard to get a lock), continuously charge and swipe at you (killing you in a couple of hits), and then either pin you down (forcing you to perform a button QTE to get unpinned) or grab you by the throat and lift you in the air (forcing you to repeatedly shoot them until you're released)...

And on the very last stretch, the nearly impervious, hulking-suited mercs armed with deadly gatling-guns make an appearance, as well as the equally resilient Shambhalan warriors that behave like the above creatures, but fire deadly arrows from crossbows (that kill in less than three hits) and fling bolo grenades; the odds are always stacked against you. Even environments are your enemy, and right from the start, you'll have to scale a hanging train—injured—as rocks tumble down, break your holds and objects crumble from under you—platforming continues this precarious trend, with holds that fall away, or timed platforms that abruptly retract when time's up. Nate is in constant peril, from escaping a truck (that tries to run you down in a narrow ally); disabling a spiked-ceiling trap before being crushed; slowly dragging an injured ally while fending off mercs and evading turrets; advancing to the front of a moving train while dodging overhead objects, fighting mercs and evading a helicopter as it destroys each car you jump from; fleeing a tank as it breaks through whole walls and blows you from cover, all the while on-foot mercs fire with RPGs—and it just goes on...

Nate can only take a few hits, and if you don't take adequate cover, the edges of the screen will smear red and sap of color, as his heartbeat increases and ears ring from explosions—there is no room for error. The cutscenes contain many large explosions; huge train and helicopter crashes; (all the below is bloodless) Lazarevic stabs his own man for stealing a trinket, and later shoots an injured man dead; Tenzin rescues Nate by leaping on a creature's back and stabbing at it; and the Shambhala warriors shoot a merc in the back and another in the forehead with arrows. As for age, like the first, although overall violence (in terms of realism) is relatively subdued, this time around, blood effects are negligible, and the main casts' nonchalant take on their plight keeps things light; with the introduction of a very flirtatious Chloe, the suggestive, low brow humor, along with now frequent language (there is fifty-two uses of sh*t alone) have been considerably amped up, not to mention the cold, merciless anagonist's presence, the appearance of the freakish, hostile creatures, and the fact that Nate is in intense, near-death peril at a constant rate—it's just more suited to mid-teens.

Content review posted: 10/27/09

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