‘Among Thieves’: Honor or No Honor?

The next post in my mini-series on the Uncharted games is up at PopMatters. This time I look at the themes of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Like the previous post I use the title as a jumping off point to see the deeper meaning of the game is.

In fact, Uncharted 2 was the game that clued me in to this possibility. While I figured Uncharted 1′s meaning and concept pretty quickly and Uncharted 3 was obviously pushing it to be about Drake the second game had me stumped. A lot of things happened in it, but it was all plot and little story. We get hints at Drake’s past through his associations with Flynn and Chloe, but no more than we got from the first game.

The title is pretty neat. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves has just the right tenor and implication to make it a great marketing tool. But when desperately looking for some hook to grab onto so I could decipher the meaning of the game it was all I had left. Nothing in the game itself hints and the significance of Marco Polo or the Nazis or the magic sap from meaning anything beyond a plot device to keep the action moving. It works in that movie serial way of Flash Gordon and the others that Indiana Jones was based off of. Even that ending dialogue exchange where Lazaravec compares Drake to himself by how many people he killed felt tacked on and more of a nod to the criticism that arose from the first game. Plus, the love triangle between Drake, Elena and Chloe felt tacked on. It was well-written and well acted, but it’s overall importance wasn’t there.

The title ended up being the key. Once I asked myself whether it meant “Honor among thieves” or “No honor among thieves” I had my answer. It was both and neither. The story was about the competing philosophies behind those two phrases, not just between groups, but within individuals as well.

The post picks  up the trail from that point on.

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