IMO: Uncharted 2
Nathan Drake is the suave Everyman most men would like to be, good height, good weight, perfect hair, sense of humour, interesting job and the ability to fall off a 2 storey building without breaking any bones.
Like any other honest everyman would, Drake gets embroiled in a quest to find Shangri-La, a mythical utopia in which ... actually I have no idea what they think is in Shangri-La nor do I have any clue what’s in it but it seems important enough for Drake to want to find it.
While the meat of the story won’t amaze and astound, the way it’s conveyed and acted is where Uncharted 2 gains fandom. All animations for both in-game and cut scenes are done by using the same person for each role. Nathan Drakes real world counter-part, Nolan North, does all the voice work as well as animations for attacks, movement, rolls as well as story cut scenes and this is done for every major character in the game which makes all aspects of animation look as close to lifelike as possible. The voice work for al story cut scenes is also done during the motion capture which makes it feel less tacked on and more of a whole package than in other games. The cast also sat through and watched a lot of the game ad-libbing as it was played to get some great comedic moments which really add to the characters charm.
Uncharted 2 isn’t a one trick pony though. While its animation and dialogue is top notch, its combat is also fantastic. Both CQC and gunplay work exactly as expected and have been tweaked and re-jiggled enough since the 1st game to have a noticeable effect. Headshots now down enemies straight away (unless they are in massive suits of armor) and the punch combo system has been dropped in favour of a more streamlined version.
The last part I want to mention specifically is the multiplayer. It’s OK, it’s not fantastic, but working in teams and killing people is fun. What I really love is the Co-op. with modes similar to Gears of War's Horde, every game under the sun's Capture the Flag, and 3 3-player story missions, Uncharted 2's Co-op offerings are right up my street. Brilliant level design, enjoyable to kill enemies and a leveling system with items and perks make UC2 probably the best online experience I've had with PS3. The only thing you can’t do is pick your character skin which is a little bit of a bummer.
Overall Uncharted 2 is an astounding package which really showed the quality of game that Naughty Dog can produce and that we as gamers should all play. I wont say this is Playstation's Gears of War/Halo/Generic other title, but I will say this is a series each and every gamer should sit up and take notice of because if Naughty Dog can keep this up, Uncharted will be up there with Castlevania, Zelda, Half-Life and Phoenix Wright as a truly stand-out series for games.
Buy it, play it, love it.