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)
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.
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.
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