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Video Game / Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

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"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.


This game provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The sewers Drake and Flynn use to enter the museum.
  • 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.
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    • The train section is certainty this as Nate did it to save Chloe. He reaches her..and she chews him out just because he tries to save the aforementioned Jeff over her reservations and now doesn't want to be rescued. The train ends up derailing due to 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. Well unless you don't count him and Elena fully becoming an item 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.
    • Then 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 low tech crossbows.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Beat: During the opening to Chapter 3, there's this exchange between Nate and Sully.
    Sully: Ugh, I'm sweating like a hooker in church.
    Nate: You brought a hooker to church?
    Sully: Why not?
  • Bedouin Rescue Service: Tibetan villagers rescue Nate from the mountain trainwreck
  • Betty and Veronica: "Good girl" Elena Fisher vs. "bad girl" Chloe Frazer.
  • 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.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Completely averted with Drake and Tenzin. Tenzin doesn't speak English, and while Nate might be a Cunning Linguist, he doesn't speak Tibetan until the very end of the game where he learns enough to hold a basic conversation. The two men communicate mostly through universally recognized body language and desperate attempts to get the other to understand something in each others' language.
  • 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-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: Used by name when Flynn observes that they're getting closer to the tower in the museum.
  • Chekhov's Armory: Lazarvic'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.
  • 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.
  • 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 and Elena with a suicide grenade, which by themselves would not kill them in gameplay. Subverted when Lazarevic takes down a Guardian with one shot; he's actually wielding the SAS-12, which is one of only two weapons that can one-hit-kill Guardians.
  • 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.
  • Developers' 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.
  • The Dragon: Lieutenant Draza.
  • 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 vs. 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.
  • 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.
  • Game Lobby: The game does this, and 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.
  • Hermit Guru: Schäfer.
  • High-Dive Escape: Nate and Sully do this while they are running from Flynn and his men.
    Sully: "See you in hell, kid. Woo hooooo!"
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Drake's first three encounters with the Guardians in Among Thieves. After that, it's possible and necessary to kill them.
  • 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.")
  • Ice World: Among Thieves has some of the most beautiful levels ever seen, and the snow cave is no exception.
  • Immune to Bullets: Guardians when you first meet them. They get downgraded to almost invulnerable when you finally make it to Shangri-La. Fridge Brilliance means this makes sense, since they survive on the warped healing power of the Tree of Life's sap, and the first few times you fight them, it's with starkly inferior weaponry (pistols). Lazarevic also gets this just in time for the Boss Battle, as he's also drunk from the sap by that time.
  • 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: Doubles as a variation of How We Got Here.
  • 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 of Among Thieves, 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.
  • 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. Yes, she's the previous Girl of the Week and it's a wink and nod to being a video game character but at the same time the previous game was two years before and the art book specifically mentions how they redid her model for the sequel.
    • Additionally, 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: It's super easy and features a lot of platforming, so as not to slow down the gameplay. You don't even have to touch half of the mirrors. Chloe takes care of them.
  • 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: One of the most distinctive and fun in modern gaming.
  • Lost World: Shambhala.
  • 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.
  • 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: 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?.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Any time the game hints at the Yeti being around
  • 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.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Partially averted. Nate gets shot in the gut by Flynn in chapter 14. It's however shown to be painful and debilitating and the wound DOES actually slow him (and thus the player) down in certain ways. Though it doesn't affect the gunplay, platforming and movement are affected. He also recovers remarkably quickly. Completely averted with Jeff and Elena.
  • Please Wake Up: Nathan, to Elena after the latter nearly gets blown up with a grenade.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Lazarevic is absolutely lousy at treasure hunting. He tears apart the site of Marco Polo's shipwreck in order to find the next clue, but Nate finds it in less than an hour. Lazarevic tears apart a city in order to find the next clue, but Nate finds it in less than an hour. Lazarevic tears apart a monastery in order to find the secret passage to Shambala, but Nate finds it in less than an hour. To make matters worse, he's also a Bad Boss to such an extent that no one's likely to speak up and point out that "tear apart X to find Y" isn't exactly a great plan.
  • Redshirt Reporter: Jeff and Elena, almost.
  • 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.
    • Elena doesn't keep so much as a scratch on her from the grenade that blows on her face.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: The monstrous-looking Guardians are actually just dudes in costumes. Super-strong, super-tough, and super-agile dudes in costumes, but still...
  • 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're getting into *ahem* another kind of business.
  • 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 does it easily when Nate tries taking one of his men hostage.
  • Soft Water: Averted at one point early in the game, you need to raise the water level in a pit to make it down safely, because it's still too far to fall without dying.
  • Spikes of Doom: A descending ceiling of them. Fortunately Nate has the sense to shoot at the cogs to stop the mechanism.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: Once you complete the tutorial, this is the very first level in Among Thieves. This also isn't like stealth sections throughout most of the game, where getting seen simply initiates a firefight - here, get seen, and it's game over. At least the guards are crazy and have bad eyesight.
  • 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 even quotes the full proverb: "Honor among thieves".
  • Translation Convention: Averted with Tenzin, who spends the whole of the game speaking unsubtitled Tibetan. Nate doesn't understand Tibetan, and so has no idea what he's saying. And neither do you. (Unless you understand Tibetan, obviously.)
    Nate: Tenzin! RPG? RPG! (Beat) What the hell is Tibetan for RPG?
  • Traintop Battle: Against a helicopter. Twice.
  • 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.
    • Elena gets injured by a grenade in Among Thieves and recovers without much fanfare except a bit of limping at the start of the final cutscene. However, quite a bit of time passes from when they first make it out of Shambhala and the recovery; enough time for Schafer's medallion (and presumably his body, seeing as it is his funeral the characters end up at) to be recovered from the monastery, and for Sully to catch a flight into Tibet.
  • Unnecessarily Large Interior: The temples in the city and the ice cave.
  • 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.
  • Whole Plot Reference: As pointed out by Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin'? the game shares a lot of plot points with Firefly and Serenity. One similarity HAWP misses is that they also share a composer.
  • 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


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