Naughty Dog have always made games of an exceptionally high quality, not only from a technical perspective, but also in terms of artistry and narrative. I have just finished playing through their new game "Uncharted 2: Among Thieves" and it is easily the best looking game i have ever seen. Not only is the way everythings modelled and textured along with all the post processing exquisite; it also looks jaw dropping in motion. Which is why its part of my blog. The animation is on par with your average animated feature film, which is an extraordinary accomplishment considering the limitations of rendering every stunning frame in realtime on the PS3. According to the behind the scenes videos Naughty Dog uses a technique they have pioneered called animation blending. This involves the animators animating a character movement for every eventuality in the game and then as the action unfolds they are layered together as the character reacts to events in game creating a authentic and organic movement which is unique to every play. For example The character reloads his gun (animation 1) whilst sliding into cover (animation 2) as a bullet flys past his head and he flinches (animation 3). This kind of detail adds real personality to the character and creates a very convincing connection between the player and the virtual world with which they are interacting.

What Uncharted 2 also has that most other games lack is an emotional connection with the characters. Dialogue plays during the cutscenes, and during gameplay. Whether its just comedic banter or exposition, the player is getting the know the various characters and their relationships to one another the whole time. You can even access the protagonists journal (this is for puzzle solving but there are pages with more personal annotations which really give an insight into what motivates Nathan Drake). This game is an inspiring example of what the medium can become when it strives to be accepted as an artform, and as a new method of storytelling that does things through interactivity that no other medium has the means to achieve. Even if the average gamer doesn't discern the scale and scope of what Naughty Dog has created, they can experience the epic, EPIC game, that is Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

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