G4's 2009 Game of the Year, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, keeps the add-ons coming with the new Siege expansion pack. Six bucks nets you a new co-op mode, maps, skins, and trophies. Even if you’ve been away from the game for a few months, it’s worth checking out, especially if you wanted more co-op missions out of the game's multiplayer.
Fight Together or Die Alone
Siege is also the name of the pack’s new co-op mode, which tasks you and two friends with staying alive while holding down territory. When the three of you are inside of the designated zone, you make progress towards staking a claim. If one of you steps out, the progress bar stops. Sounds simple, but with waves of enemies pouring in from all sides, you’ll find yourself moving out of the zone to get a better angle on a heavily-armored foe or to snag some much-needed ammo. Once you’ve successfully laid claim to a zone, the round ends, and your team is off to a new spot to fend off increasingly tough bad guys. In order to survive all ten rounds, you’ll need to walk the line between protecting yourself and holding down the fort. Working together is mandatory: as gameplay becomes increasingly frantic, you’ll need to stick together or die alone, waiting for a revival that will never come. Even when I was playing with incommunicado co-op partners, we fell into a natural team synergy. That is a testament to the parameters Naughty Dog has set.
Let’s Get Vertical
The two new maps that come with this expansion, The Highrise and Museum, are worthy additions. The Highrise takes place on a close grouping of bombed-out skyscrapers. You’ll quickly realize how they got that way, as a helicopter appears at random intervals with a missile payload. This helps to balance out the otherwise distinct advantage of climbing to the top of buildings and raining down death from above. That, along with a general lack of rooftop cover, means that players naturally spread out along the vertical plane.
The Museum is based on one of the earliest single player levels. It’s a relatively large, open space that offers little cover in spots, which makes playing Siege here a pleasant challenge. While this map is extremely technically proficient and very welcome, it lacks the little treats of The Highrise (creeping through an elevator shaft, mistaking an umbrella for a person). But an austere map isn’t a bad thing: Museum is beautiful and haunting, and too many goodies would detract from the foreboding mood of the darkness and the severe statues. That said, it isn’t without its mysteries. Like The Highrise, Museum expands skyward. Though most of the battles I engaged in took place on the ground, there are plenty of places to climb and get the drop on your enemies. Both maps are gorgeous, from minute physical details that most players won’t even notice to sweeping landscapes in the background that you might compromise your safety to appreciate.
Eye See You
Siege contains six new skins, some more useful than others. The glowing red orbs of a chrome skeleton make that whole “don’t shoot ‘til you see the whites of their eyes” thing pretty easy. But if you’ve got something to prove, you might enjoy being visible from across the map. Eleven new trophies offer a good range of difficulty. These alone will be enough to bring some fans back into the fold. Among the player skin highlights, Baseball Shirt Drake -- rendered from the earliest versions of the first Uncharted: Drake's Fortune -- is a standout.
Naughty Dog continues to distinguish itself by committing to unwavering quality in both full titles and add-ons. Uncharted 2's Siege expansion pack is no exception. Though the fun lasts as long as you feel like playing through co-op missions, it’s well worth the low price of admission. For $5.99, it's a fantastic deal that's worth checking out.