|Developer(s): Naughty Dog
Publisher(s): Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform(s): PlayStation 3
Release date(s): October 13, 2009
Genre(s): Action-adventure, Platformer, Third-person shooter
Mode(s): Single-player, Online multiplayer, Online co-op
Among Thieves revolves around the doomed voyage home of Marco Polo from China in 1292. After spending almost 20 years in the court of the Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan, Marco Polo departed with fourteen ships and over six hundred passengers – but when he arrived at Persia a year and a half later, only one ship and eighteen passengers remained. Polo never revealed what had happened to the lost ships.
The story begins in medias res, with a wounded Nathan “Nate” Drake (Nolan North) waking up to find himself in a train hanging off a cliff. Through flashbacks, it is revealed that former associate Harry Flynn (Steve Valentine) and old girlfriend Chloe Frazer (Claudia Black) approached him with a job to steal a Mongolian oil lamp from an Istanbul museum. Nate accepts the job when he learns that the lamp may lead to the treasure of Marco Polo’s lost fleet. Harry and Drake acquire the lamp, which contains a map showing that the lost fleet had been transporting the Cintamani Stone from the mythical city of Shambala before being thrown ashore in Borneo by a tsunami. Taking the map, Flynn double-crosses Drake, who is arrested and imprisoned for three months. Chloe, who claims to have had no knowledge of Flynn’s treachery, asks for the help of Drake’s friend Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Richard McGonagle) to secure his release.
Nate and Sully follow Flynn and his boss Zoran Lazarevic (Graham McTavish), a Serbian war criminal who is widely thought to be dead, to Borneo. With the help of Chloe working within Lazarevic’s camp as a mole, they discover that the lost fleet never actually possessed the Cintamani Stone. They locate a tomb containing the bodies of Polo’s passengers, as well as a Tibetan phurba and a letter from Polo saying that the next clue is in Kathmandu, Nepal in a temple. Flynn and his men appear in the tomb soon after and take the letter, while Nate and Sully escape by jumping off a cliff into a river.
While Sullivan decides that the quest is too risky, Nate and Chloe head to Nepal, finding conflict as Lazarevic’s mercenary army ravages the city looking for the right temple. After surmising that the temple they are looking for is adorned with one of the symbols on the phurba, the couple was surveing the area from the rooftop of a local hotel, finding its location.
En route to the temple, the pair runs into Elena Fisher (Emily Rose) and her cameraman Jeff (Gregory Myhre), who are tracking down Lazarevic to prove he is still alive. The four reach the temple and discover that the stone and Shambhala are in the Himalayas. As they are about to leave, the group is ambushed, and Jeff is shot by one of Lazarevic’s men. Despite Chloe’s insistence to leave Jeff behind, the group pushes on until they are caught. Chloe reluctantly pulls her gun on Nate to protect her “cover”, while Lazarevic executes Jeff. While Lazarevic and Chloe leave for the train yard, Nate and Elena manage to escape just as Flynn is about to kill them. The couple manages to catch up with Lazarevic’s train on a stolen jeep. Nate boards the train and finds Chloe, who is upset about Nate having taken Elena and Jeff along earlier and refuses to leave with him. As the two argue, Flynn arrives and shoots Nate in the abdomen. With no other option, Nate shoots a pile of propane tanks, killing Flynn’s men and sending Nate’s half of the train over a steep cliff.
Returning to where the game began, Nate escapes the train and travels through a snow storm, recovering the phurba among the wreckage before falling unconscious. He awakens in a Tibetan village, where he is reunited with Elena and is introduced to a German man named Karl Schäfer (Rene Auberjonois). Schäfer tells Nate that the phurba is the key to finding Shambhala, but Nate tells him he is no longer interested. To convince him otherwise, Schäfer sends Nate and the village leader, Tenzin (Robin Atkin Downes), to find the remains of the men in his expedition, who were looking for Shambala and the stone 70 years earlier. Traveling through a series of caves to an ancient temple filled with yeti-like creatures, Nate and Tenzin discover that Schäfer’s men were SS members on an Ahnenerbe expedition, and that he had killed them to protect the world from the power of the stone. They return to find Lazarevic’s men attacking the village. After securing the village, Nate and Elena find out that Schäfer has been kidnapped along with the phurba. They then track Lazarevic’s convoy to an abandoned monastery. The two locate a mortally wounded Schäfer, who tells Nate that he must destroy the Cintamani Stone. Schäfer then succumbs to his wounds and dies.
Nate locates Chloe, who surrenders the phurba after he promises to take Lazarevic down. Nate and Elena use the phurba to unlock the secret passage to Shambhala underneath the monastery, but Lazarevic corners them and forces Nate to open the gate. When the gate opens the group is attacked by the monsters from the ice caves, but Lazarevic manages to kill them. It is then revealed that they are actually the human Guardians of Shambhala, powered by the Cintamani stone and dressed like monsters to scare off anyone who trespasses in the city. Just as Lazarevic prepares to kill Elena and Nate, another wave of Guardians attacks, which allows them and Chloe to escape.
Making their way to the top of the central temple, Nate discovers that the Cintamani stone is in fact a giant amber of petrified blue resin embedded in a giant Tree of Life. The true worth of Shambala is the blue sap of the tree, which when ingested makes the drinker nearly invincible. As they prepare to go after Lazarevic, a wounded Flynn arrives and detonates a grenade, killing himself and seriously wounding Elena. Nate leaves Elena in Chloe’s care and sets off to confront Lazarevic at the tree. Nate arrives just as Lazarevic drinks the tree’s sap, which renders him nearly indestructible and heals his old wounds and scars. Detonating the pockets of explosive resin in the tree, Nate defeats Lazarevic and leaves him to be killed by the Guardians. Nate reunites with Chloe and Elena and they escape the city as a series of explosions begins to destroy Shambala.
Back in the village, Chloe asks Nate if he loves Elena, which he does not deny. Chloe bids Nate goodbye as Sully leads a recovering Elena over to him. While Sully chases after Chloe, Elena and Nate pay their respects at Schäfer’s grave before embracing. They share a kiss and together they walk over to the edge of a cliff and watch the sun set behind the mountains.