Remember kids: don't drink and drive.
With this great experience comes one critical flaw: There is no campaign co-op. While the story does turn down a path that would make co-op difficult, out of the twenty-six chapters of the game, you're only without another character for four of them. It was rather painful to see Sully take up a sniper rifle and help stave off enemies that ambush Nate while he infiltrates a camp, or to solve environmental puzzles where you and Tenzin play off of each other to maneuver through the environment. Don't get me wrong, this is a title that absolutely must be seen to be believed, but there is so much potential for great gameplay with at least one other player.
Unfortunately for us, what we're given for co-op is very hit or miss. There are three basic modes split among two categories: Co-Op Survival and Co-Op Objective. Survival mode is exactly what you expect from modes like this, with wave after wave of enemies spawning, you and your two friends must survive as long as possible. It's a fun diversion, but most people shouldn't expect to play it more than a few times, given that other games far outclass this type of co-op. (It was also the hardest co-op mode to get a matchmaking result in.) Luckily, the objective-based modes are more fun. Gold Rush is probably my favorite mode, where you are placed into a level and must find treasure and carry it to various capture points littered around the map while traversing some (admittedly simple) obstacles and fending off several waves of enemies. It's great fun to grab the treasure while your two friends protect you and help navigate the map. When they're low on ammo, you can swap duties and be on your merry way.
Get used to it. People just want to shoot you.
The other objective mode is simply referred to as Co-Op, and it's the biggest kick in the pants to anyone who wanted campaign co-op. It takes a couple of the big moments from the single-player mode, remixes them slightly and lets you play them in co-op. It's just as fun as you'd hope it would be, but ultimately it adds up to nothing more than a big tease for what could have been. All off the co-op modes suffer from a fairly map selection: There are four small maps to play Survival or Gold Rush on, and three scenarios to play in Co-Op. It's very disappointing, especially when two of the three modes are an absolute blast to play. The lack of maps and missions to play out will certainly hurt the longevity of the co-op multiplayer.
Throughout the game, you earn money for trophies earned, medals achieved and for your kill count in the multiplayer modes. This cash is used to buy weapon upgrades for co-op (each weapon has upgrades for ammo and reload speed), perks, player skins, and a wealth of other bonus content. Groups in multiplayer are formed up using a well-designed party system or the serviceable matchmaking. Finding co-op partners was easy, though the Survival mode took a long time to find appropriate matchups. There is also a full-featured competitive multiplayer mode, complete with all of the standard variations we've come to know over the years (Deathmatch/Team Deathmatch/King of the Kill, etc.).
When looked at as a complete package, Uncharted 2 is going to be a strong contender for a lot of "Game of the Year" lists, and the single-player experience is one of the finest games of this console generation. Naughty Dog has a great thing going with this franchise, and I can only hope they lend their considerable talents to a more fully-realized co-op mode in the inevitable sequel I am already champing at the bit to play.
The Co-Op Experience: As of September 3, 2019, the co-op mode for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is no longer available. Naughty Dog ceased server operations on this date, and we have marked this game as "co-op removed."
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.