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Video Game / Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

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Due to its nature as a sequel, spoilers for Uncharted: Drake's Fortune will be left unmarked. You Have Been Warned!

"I did not tell half of what I saw, for I knew I would not be believed..."
Marco Polo on his deathbed, 1324 (opening quote)

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is the second game in Naughty Dog's Uncharted series. It was originally released on October 13, 2009 for the PlayStation 3.

Nathan Drake is visited by an old pair of former associates, the smooth Harry Flynn, and Flynn girlfriend Chloe Frazer, who recruit him to help them steal an artifact originating from the lost voyage of Marco Polo, which contains a clue to the whereabouts of a legendary treasure, known as the Chintamani Stone, in the fabled city of Shambhala.

Unfortunately, the Stone is also sought by Zoran Lazarević, an infamous war criminal and leader of an mercenary company. Along the way, Drake's friend and mentor, Sully, and his old flame Elena also finds themselves embroiled in the hunt for the Stone.

The game is followed by Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception.

This game provides examples of:

  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: Drake and Flynn infiltrate the museum by going through the sewer system, which has many corridors and large structures which the two men have to climb.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: The "Where Am I?" chapter, with no enemies and nothing to do but walk around, interact with the villagers, and pet the yak.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: When Lazarevic's army assaults the Tibetan village, they bring a tank with them. At the start of the battle, Nathan has no anti-tank weaponry, forcing the player to flee from the tank for a while until he gets to a spot where Nate encounters enemy soldiers armed with Rocket-Propelled-Grenades. At that point, the player can kill the enemy soldiers and use their weapons to destroy the tank.
  • All for Nothing:
    • There is a section of the game where you have to escort a badly injured Jeff to safety inside a building. When you finally make it, he ends up getting killed by Lazarevic, who actually points out your prior effort was wasted right before shooting him.
    • Nate infiltrates a train and fights off an army to save Chloe; but once he reaches her, she chews him out because his previous efforts to save Jeff nearly cost their lives, and tells him she doesn't want to be rescued. The train is derailed by an explosion and he's nearly killed as a result. The only real good that came out of it is that he got the phurba back.
    • At the end of the game, Nate succeeds in preventing Lazarevic from getting the powers of the sap, but returns home essentially empty handed, with virtually nothing tangible to show for his efforts. On the bright side, he and Elena become a couple at the end of the story.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism:
    • Nate and Elena are awfully skeptical of the idea that the Cintamani stone is supernatural / Forgotten Phlebotinum after the stuff they came across in Drake's Fortune.
    • Chloe gets this when they're in Shambala, despite the stuff she came across in the Hollow Earth. Nate and Elena point out how arbitrary that is.
  • Artistic License Physics: During the train chase.
    • A train car gets blown off the track and starts rolling sideways down the track. In spite of crashing through several large boulders near the track, it somehow picks up speed.
    • The train can climb slopes far steeper than is possible in real life.
  • Automatic Crossbows: The crossbows have an insanely fast firing rate for such a low-tech weapon.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: After Lazarevic is defeated, he demands Nate kill him. Nate abstains, because the Guardians are more than happy to kill Lazarevic themselves.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In the final cutscene before the credits, Elena collapses from her wounds and Drake desperately begs her to stay alive. The camera zooms into her body, which fades away as the scene transitions to Nathan and Tenzin praying in front of a tombstone. Mere seconds later, the two are joined by Elena herself, who jokes about her near-death experience and reveals that the tombstone is actually Schäfer's.
  • Balkan Bastard: Lazarevic is introduced as a Serbian war criminal, and repeatedly proves himself to be extremely evil. He's introduced knifing one of his own men for stealing a trinket from his camp, and when he first meets Nate, it's after invading and slaughtering his way through countless Nepalese to loot several temples.
  • Beat: During the opening to Chapter 3, Sully says he is sweating like a hooker in church. After a brief silence, a baffled Nate asks him if he has brought a hooker to a church before.
  • Bedouin Rescue Service: Tibetan villagers rescue Nate from the mountain trainwreck.
  • Betty and Veronica: "Good girl" Elena Fisher vs. "bad girl" Chloe Frazer, roughly representing the side of Nate that's a hero and the side that's a thief. Elena is idealistic, a Girl Next Door, and puts herself into extraordinary danger to tail Lazarevic and document his crimes so that NATO can intervene against him. Chloe is cynical, a sexpot, a thief after the next big score, and looks out for herself first and foremost. Elena urges Nate to stop Lazarevic, but Chloe wants him to save his own skin while he can. Ultimately, they both turn out to be heroes, but the fact that Nate chooses Elena over Chloe in the end symbolizes that he wants out of the life of a thief, a theme that's expanded in the next two games.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: Among Thieves has its own take on the Yeti legend, in that they're actually just residents of Shambhala dressed up in giant fur suits to act as scarecrows.
  • Bizarrchitecture: One of the junction boxes for an alarm in the museum is placed so that Nate is the only person who can access it - right in the middle of a wall, with no walkways close enough for a guard to reach it.
  • Bookends: Several elements from the beginning of the game are echoed near the end, such as Drake climbing up something as it falls off a snowy cliff (a train and then a bridge) and a segment where Drake and Flynn partner up.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Lazarevic captures Nate and his companions numerous times, but somehow squanders the opportunity to kill them in each instance. The most notable one is the first time, when he captures Nate's crew in a building. Instead of killing all of them immediately, he only kills Jeff, a presumably untrained, severely injured civilian, before leaving the room with everyone else alive and just assuming his troops will be able to handle them (the same troops who have been getting slaughtered by them en mass up until now).
  • Bottomless Magazines: During both encounters with the Guardians and in the final interactive scene, when a Guardian attempts to drag Chloe down with him, Drake has some sort of gun that automatically restocks itself after reloading. The latter event doesn't even give your 92FS an ammo counter.
  • Call-Back: At one point, Chloe gets trapped in an elevator and Drake has to go alone to reactivate it in order to get her out, bringing to mind a similar scene from Drake's Fortune where Elena wound up trapped in a bunker and Drake was forced to fight the descendants while trying to restore the power.
    Drake: Great, power's out, and a girl's trapped. I swear to God, if there's a zombie around the next corner...
  • Call-Forward: At the end of this game Nate tells Chloe she makes a good hero and should do it more often. Chloe scoffs at the idea, but come The Lost Legacy that exactly what she decides to do.
  • Captain Obvious: Nate calls Flynn "Captain Obvious" when the latter observes that they're getting closer to the tower in the museum.
  • Car Chase Shoot-Out: Drake and Elena once again, this time in a stolen jeep following after Lazarvic's convoy to rescue an ally that's been taken. Unlike the last one, Drake jumps from vehicle to vehicle, both shooting and engaging in hand to hand with some of the mooks.
  • Central Theme: As the title suggests, is there honor among thieves?
  • Chekhov's Armory: Lazarevic's train is loaded with trucks and a tank.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The resin that Nate regularly found throughout the game is actually more important than simply as a source of ultraviolet light to reveal ancient markings.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: After Chloe realizes how strong Nate's feelings are for Elena, she gives up on pursuing him and after she leaves, Sully decides to follow after her.
  • Complete-the-Quote Title: This installment is largely about honor.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Enemies using crossbows can burst-fire them incredibly quickly, while you are forced to reload them after every shot, even if it's the same crossbow that an enemy was just burst-firing at you.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Nate's notebook includes a page with the Scare-O-Meter once you encounter the Guardians (placing the 'demon Sasquatch' on top, with 'slippery naked guy' (a Descendant from Drake's Fortune) one rung below), and a sketch of a decorative statue head with an incredibly unhappy expression. The head is labeled "Angry Eddy," with the quote "I KILL YOU DRAKE!" next to it and "RIP" below it.
    • Chloe also picks up Francis Drake's journal when she meets Nate in his hotel room at the beginning of the game. You can even see the bullet hole in it.
    • Elena punches out Flynn with a right hook. In the original game, she did the same to Drake which causes him to tell Sully that she has "a mean right hook."
  • Cosmic Plaything: Rather prevalent in the opening mission, where the higher powers make EVERYTHING on the wrecked train try to impede/kill Nate.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Drake is somehow unwilling to shoot Lazarevic before he drinks from the Applied Phlebotinum, despite shooting dozens of bad guys at similar range.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max:
    • Flynn delivers Game Breaking Injuries to both Nate with his pistol and Elena with a suicide grenade, which by themselves would not kill them in gameplay.
    • The Guardians are Immune to Bullets until the last couple of chapters, and even then, only the most powerful weapons you can get work against them. However, Lazarevic insta-kills three of them with his shotgun at the gates to Shambhala.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: The "Look" button from the first game (L2) now became the "throw grenade" button.
  • Descending Ceiling: You can deactivate it by shooting the teeth off the gears on the wall, causing it to go in reverse.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • At one point you can stealthily pull a guard down into the water below. This is cited by many of the game's detractors as a seemingly sociopathic part on Drake, as it's a very long fall that would be very possibly lethal in real life. Look down, and you'll see him swimming.
    • During the Light and Mirrors Puzzle you can shine the light right at Chloe, causing her to cover her eyes, and complain. You can also do this with the flashlight in Drake's Deception, but Sully, Chloe and Cutter will only cover their eyes and not comment on it.
    • During the mission where you are escorted by Flynn at gunpoint, Nathan has no access to a gun, but he can still punch. Attacking Flynn will have him throw you to the ground and warn you not to do that again. Ignore his warning, and he shoots you.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Everyone but the feral Shambhala Guardians are terrified of Lazarevic's cruelty, even his own men.
    • Drake sketches a "Scare-o-meter" in his journal and places the Shambhala Guardians at the top of his list, above the Descendants from the previous game. Lazarevic's Mooks share this sentiment, and can be seen fleeing from them in a panic during the game's final chapters.
  • Escort Mission: There is a section of the game where you have to escort a badly injured Jeff to safety inside a building, during which you are severely slowed down and limited to using a pistol because you are helping him walk. Later in the game you have to escort Chloe as she helps Elena walk after Elena is injured by a grenade.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The last levels are filled with Lazarevic's troops fighting the Guardians.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The title is shortened version of "No Honor Among Thieves". Unsurprisingly, much of the game revolves around who you can and can't trust.
  • Fake Difficulty: At times your weaponry resets to the basic AK-47 and 92FS for no good reason, even though Drake basically just walked down a hill. This was fixed to a degree in the HD Remaster.
  • Fisticuffs Boss: Draza can only be defeated by engaging him in hand-to-hand combat. Shooting him just makes him charge at Nate.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Everytime Nate sees iconography depicting a tree in stonework or artifacts related to the Cintamani Stone, he's struck by the incongruity of it. When he finds the Cintamani Stone and realizes its just a big piece of amber, he understands what it really means.
    • Elena tells Nate that Lazarevic is most likely not trying to find the Cintamani Stone for its value since he is already very resourceful. It turns out she is right as he is trying to find the resin from the Tree of Life to empower his army.
  • The Four Gods: The Tibetan gods. But there's still a puzzle that utilizes a set of four animal gods associated with colors, elements, cardinal directions, and symbols.
  • Funeral Cut: After the final boss fight, Nathan returns to Chloe and Elena, the latter of whom is severely injured and apparently dying. Nathan begs for her to get up, but she doesn't respond. We cut to a week later and a funeral. Then subverted when it turns out the funeral is for Schafer and Elena survived.
  • Game Lobby: The game tries to locate the maximum number of players on its own before starting a match, either competitive (10 players) or cooperative (3 players). If it can't find the appropriate number of players in time, it'll start the match without a few.
  • Giant Mook:
    • You end up fighting Lazarevic's soldiers armed with miniguns who are tough enough to take multiple grenade launcher shots to the face. Similar enemies appear in Drake's Deception.
    • There's also the Guardians, or as Nate calls them "mutants". Notably, you can't kill the first three that you meet. Not directly, anyway: the third one is killed indirectly.
  • Going for the Big Scoop: Elena and her cameraman Jeff pursue Lazarevic into a war zone by themselves. Granted, Elena was armed and fairly skilled with a gun, but bringing some cops or security guards with them probably would have been a good idea.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: The scene where Nate wakes up on the train includes an instance of second-hand Gravitational Cognizance. At first, as he looks groggily around, everything seems normal, but then he looks out the window and realizes the train car is hanging vertically — and it is at this point that things start falling past him, having apparently waited until he was aware of the new direction for "down".
  • Guest Fighter: Zeke, Cole McGrath (in both good and evil variations), Nathan Hale, a Chimera Hybrid, Sev and a Helghast Soldier are all available as DLC for the game's multiplayer mode.
  • Hair-Trigger Explosive: Shambhala has walls covered in the sappy resin that Drake has been encountering for much of the game. They will detonate with a single gunshot, and have the power of at least a grenade. Blowing them up near Lazarevic is the only way to damage him in the Final Boss fight.
  • Heroic BSoD: After Nate's near-fatal misadventure on the train, he almost gives up on his quest before Elena and Schafer convince him otherwise.
    Nate: Y'know, people are always telling me how lucky I am. But the truth is, everything I touch turns to shit!
  • High-Dive Escape: Nate and Sully do this while they are running from Flynn and his men.
    Sully: "See you in hell, kid. Woohooooo!"
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Drake's first three encounters with the Guardians force the player to flee, as they cannot be killed. After that, it's possible and necessary to kill them.
  • How We Got Here: The first half of the game explains how Nate got gut shot in that derailed train in the Himalayas in the beginning.
  • Hope Spot: After Jeff is wounded in a gunfight, you control Nate carrying Jeff through a fire fight and finally get into a hiding spot to take care of him. Then Lazarevic and Flynn catch up, and Lazarevic shoots him dead. ("You carried him all the way from the temple? Shame.")
  • Immune to Bullets: Guardians cannot be killed by conventional weapons. They get downgraded to almost invulnerable when you finally make it to Shangri-La.
  • Indy Ploy:
    Elena: "So how do you plan on getting her off that speeding train?"
    Drake: "I haven't thought that far ahead."
    • Later...
    Elena: "Why didn't you just let me drive in the first place?"
    Drake: "I didn't think that far ahead."
    • And then...
    Elena: "So, where do we go from here, huh?"
    Drake: "I don't know... I haven't thought that far ahead."
  • In Medias Res: The game opens with a wounded Nathan climbing his way out of a derailed train. The first 15 chapters detail how he got there in the first place.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Elena's cameraman, manages to make in through the onslaught after he has been shot in the stomach. It looks like he's going to live...until Lazarevic comes in and kills him instantly by shooting him in the head.
  • Invisible Writing: Drake encounters writing that can only be read by the light of a special burning resin at several points. The resin is the congealed sap of a tree that grants great physical prowess and immortality, the true form of the Stone.
  • Ironic Echo: When Nate is forced to work with Flynn in Chapter 24, Flynn repeats a lot of dialogue from when they actually worked together back in Chapter 2. Lines like "You should have more faith in me, chum" and "Just like the good old days" take on an entirely different meaning.
  • Just Train Wrong: The steam engine pulling the train appears to be a 4-6-6-4 Challengernote . No Nepalese railroad has ever used locomotives of this type, which in fact were (and still are) used exclusively in the United States.
  • Large Ham: Lazarevic loves Milking the Giant Cow and screaming a lot when he's enraged.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Zigzagged with Elena's "last years model" line. She's the previous Girl of the Week and it's a nod to her being a video game character, but the previous game was released two years before and the art book specifically mentions how they redid her model for the sequel.
    • The dagger used as a key to solve puzzles and open doors is triangle shaped, as are the keyholes it goes into, just like the button on the PlayStation controller that the player has to press to activate most of these switches. The chamber under the monastery makes this the most explicit, with the entire room at one point lighting up with green Tron Lines that outline one of these keyholes, making it look exactly like the button.
  • Light and Mirrors Puzzle: One puzzle has Nathan and Chloe repositioning mirrors to reflect sunlight into statues. Doing so opens their mouths so Nate can trigger a switch inside, allowing the two to progress further into the temple.
  • Literary Allusion Title:
    • Chapter 18, "Heart of Ice," involves finding an expedition that ended badly. This is a Shout-Out to Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.
    • Drake mentions Shangri-La a couple of times, a Shambhala-esque lost world originated in Lost Horizon.
    • "Tunnel Vision" (the level of the train that starts in the tunnel) doesn't sound like a big deal. But at PAX East 2010, Naughty Dog revealed that it was the alternate title. The original? "Drake's On A Train".
  • Locomotive Level: Chapters 13 and 14 take place in a train, where Nathan must mow down Lazarevic's army as he tries to get to the first cart and rescue Chloe.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Toucans in Borneo.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Lazaravich could have easily won the battle at the Tibet village, since his army included a tank and no one defending the village had any anti-tank weapons. However, Lazaravich idiotically armed some of his troops with Rocket-Propelled Grenade launchers, which Nate kills and uses their weapons to destroy the tank. There was absolutely no reason to bring any RPGs to this battle, since the village defenders did not have any armored vehicles, which are literally the only things RPGs are designed to be used against.
  • Non Standard Game Over: During the endgame, an unarmed Nate is forced to cooperate with Flynn to open the gate to Shamballa. The player can try to punch Flynn, but he'll easily No-Sell Drake and mock him. Try it twice and he'll get pissed and shoot Drake dead.
  • No One Could Survive That!: One of the guards says this after he shoots Nate's and Elena's truck with an RPG and it falls off the cliff. Of course, though, they got out just in time.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Lazarevic tries it on Nate. Problem with that line of thinking is that Nate kills in self-defense, while Lazarevic is seen attacking two different civilian populations just to clear a path, to make no mention of his past.
    Lazarevic: You think I am a monster. But you're no different from me, Drake. How many men have you killed? How many, just today?
  • Old Save Bonus: If you have game data from Drake's Fortune installed on your PS3, you can get $20,000 to spend in the store and $80,000 more if you've beat the game at least once.
  • Please Wake Up: Nathan, to Elena after the latter nearly gets blown up with a grenade.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Harry Flynn is a high-ranking member of Lazarevic's forces, yet is an incompetent treasure hunter. He struggles with puzzles that Drake can solve in a matter of seconds, and only accomplishes his missions by stealing information the hero had acquired before him.
  • Savage Wolves: Inverted. The first clue to the presence of the Guardians is when Nate and Tenzin come across three dead wolves in the mountain.
  • Say My Name: Lazarevic screams Nate's name a lot during the final encounter.
    Lazarevic: DRAAAAKKKEE!
  • Scars are Forever: Subverted. Lazarevic's go away after he drinks the sap from the Tree of Life.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: The monstrous-looking Guardians are actually super-strong, super-tough, and super-agile dudes in costumes.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: In the opening flashback, Chloe comes to Nate's hotel room to explain a scheme. The camera pans to a nearby picture just as they embrace in bed.
  • The Shangri-La: Drake mentions it twice, identifying it with Shambhala. It's also the name of the hotel Drake and Chloe climb in Nepal.
  • Shoot Him, He Has a Wallet!: Subverted. Nate reaches for something and everyone aims at him, but he shows them it's just a container.
  • Shoot the Hostage: Lazarevic shoots one of his own men when Nate tries taking him hostage.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: One of the locations Drake explores late in the game is an icy cave.
  • Spikes of Doom: A puzzle forces the player to figure out a way to stop a descending ceiling of spikes.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: Drake and Flynn have no weapons during the museum level. They have to sneak behind the guards and silently knock them out in order to progress. Being spotted by an enemy triggers a Game Over.
  • Surrounded by Idiots:
  • This Is Reality:
    Flynn: Sorry, love. This isn't a movie, and you're not the plucky girl who reforms the villain and saves the day. It's just not done like that.
  • Title Drop: Elena quotes the full proverb: "Honor among thieves".
  • Traintop Battle: In Chapter 14, Nathan has to traverse the top of a train while a helicopter opens fire on him. Once the player reaches a gatling gun, they must use it to shoot the chopper down, while also destroying incoming missiles.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: When Nate finds Lazarevic at the Tree of Life, he waits until Lazarevic has drunken the sap and become Nigh-Invulnerable to open fire.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Nate recovers remarkably fast after being shot and nearly freezing to death following the train level.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: Inverted; the plot, in a nutshell, is Nate looking for stuff and Lazarevic stealing it from him.
  • Voodoo Shark: The Nepali army isn't around to stop Lazarevic from destroying Kathmandu because they're fighting guerillas he riled up. And the entire Nepali army thinks fighting guerillas is more important than saving their capital city because...?
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Drake's exact words in the flashback scene at the start. Cut to him waking up covered in his own blood, in the middle of a burning trainwreck, dangling over the edge of a cliff, lost hopelessly in the Himalayas.
  • Why Won't You Die?: Nate yells this word-for-word at Lazarevic during the Final Boss fight.
  • You All Look Familiar: All of the guards in the museum have the same character model, and Lazarevic's men only have four or five skins between them.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Lazarevic kills a mook when Drake tries to hold him hostage. Later he shoots Harry Flynn in the chest after finding the path to the Tree of Life.
  • Your Mom: Harry and Nate found the time to have this kind of banter while at the gates to Shambhala.

Alternative Title(s): Uncharted 2, Among Thieves