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Uncharted 2: Siege
Score: 86%
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Developer: Naughty Dog
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/Third Person Shooter/Online

I'm a bit surprised at how little attention Uncharted 2: Among Thieves's multiplayer gets. I'll admit I don't play the mode as much as I did a few months ago, but I still play it more than other, more popular multiplayer games. There's just something about combining Uncharted 2's mechanics with human ingenuity that makes it really appealing. Besides, its one of the few multiplayer modes where I'm consistently decent. I'm not a dominant player, but I'm less of a meat shield than other shooters.

Uncharted 2: Siege is the first major expansion for the multiplayer side of things. In addition to two maps that encourage vastly different play styles, the expansion also adds an incredibly fun extension of Survivor mode, Siege.

Sneaky Snipers:
The two new maps, Museum and Highrise, are based on the single-player levels of the same name. Museum is a darker map and draws inspiration from the single-player level's play style. Though you can still run around like a gun-toting mad man (as most players tend to), the map's numerous passageways and long, dark, shadowy hiding spots encourage stealthy play. Hitting opponents with a surprise melee attack is a blast and adds a hint of humiliation to kills. Secret passages add another twist. There are no safe areas, so you constantly have to be on the move.

Highrise is the polar opposite of Museum. Based on the first Nepal level (the one with the helicopter and falling buildings), Highrise places emphasis on agility and quick decisions. The level is probably one of the game's more vertical maps and offers just as many high perches as Museum does hiding spots. The area is littered with water towers ideal for sniping, but also leave you wide open to enemy shots. Another route involves navigating ledges and ladders, leaving you safer but with fewer kill opportunities. The entire map is based on positioning. Oh, and the helicopter is back. Every few minutes warnings will pop up, indicating the helicopter - or rather it's missiles - are on the way. Again, it's all about position and leaning to get out of the way of danger quickly.

Waves with Friends:
The best part of Uncharted 2: Siege is, as the name suggests, Siege. On a basic level, Siege isn't much more than a variant of Survival. The key difference is the addition of up to two friends to help you fend off waves of enemies. The idea isn't anything new, but Naughty Dog has managed to find ways to leverage the already existing play mechanics and create something just a bit different.

The goal is to withstand ten waves while restricted to small areas of the map. Once all three members enter the specified area, a wave of enemies rush towards your position. Meanwhile, a timer counts down the seconds until you have to run to another zone and face down a second, more powerful wave. Again, it isn't exactly new, but the smaller areas add a frantic pacing. It's not like you can run and hide, but you also can't make a valiant Rambo-style stand. If an ally falls, you can revive them but at your own personal risk. Even if they fall behind cover, enemies come from all sides, so every save is a gamble.

What I liked most about Siege is how much importance it places on communication and strategy. I love when co-op games actually force players to communicate. A great example involves melee enemies, who will charge and grapple with players. You can always shoot the enemy off your friend, but also risk hitting them in process. The alternate is to charge with your own melee moves, placing a giant target on your back. Matches alternate between moments of cheerleading and yelling at each other for sloppy play. It's great!

Uncharted 2: Siege is a good value, but probably not enough to grab players who've since moved on from Uncharted 2. The new maps add something fresh to games, but even with the all the new strategies they introduce to multiplayer, they do little to drastically change the game's dynamics. Siege is just an all-around fun time with friends and probably the expansion's most compelling reason to buy, at least if you have a regular play group. It's fun with strangers, but only if they have headsets and talk.

For players still playing, or just those who occasionally play, Uncharted 2: Siege is a nice reward for sticking with the game. Toss in six new skins, 11 new Trophies and the $6 price tag is more than worth it.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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