Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Review

Uncharted 4

Uncharted 4 is the latest and final entry of the Nathan Drake series. The original Uncharted was a game that was well-received by fans and critics alike. It was an original showcase of what sort of power that the Playstation 3 could harness. First-party developers usually were able to get the most out of the system due to their exclusivity to Sony consoles. Two more PS3 Uncharted games and a Vita title later; we now have Drake looking better than ever for his PS4 debut.

The story unfolds chronologically after the first 3 Uncharted games. Elena and Drake are married and living a more normal life. It doesn’t take a fan of the series to see that Drake is unhappy living with this regularity. It’s definitely an interesting dynamic that unfolds as the story progresses. The game has its fair share of flashbacks with the addition of Drake’s believed-to-be-dead brother, Sam. Naughty Dog has done a great job of adding Sam’s backstory within a single title. Brothers Drake end up embarking on a journey to get Sam out of trouble with a drug kingpin who allegedly helped him escape prison. Nate, promising to leave his adventuring life behind, doesn’t exactly begrudgingly oblige.

Borrowed from Playstation.com

This creates an interesting dynamic in the story. Historically, Elena has shown a less-than-positive attitude towards Nate’s adventuring lifestyle. This was certainly hashed out in the third installment. With Nate leaving yet again, salt is poured into old wounds. I like the darker story a bit. There are still a lot of laughs, but Drake and Elena seem more human with this elaboration on darker subject matter.

Graphically, the game looks incredible. It’s probably the best looking game to date on a home console system. I’m not sure what sort of witchcraft Naughty Dog has been experimenting with, but they continue to raise the bar of what a console can do when the right tools are utilized. Great care has been taken with every texture. The way dirt, water, and snow affect clothing and other surfaces is drawn with incredible realism. Animation looks very lifelike and is a paradigm for the industry.

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The gameplay is solid and hasn’t changed much over each iteration. It’s still offers solid gunplay. The only major addition is Drake’s grappling hook. This allows Nate to traverse different chasms or even be able to drop on an enemy rendering them useless. The game runs overall at a smooth 30 fps. However, the frame rate dips under heavy, stressful loads where there are lots of enemies. The vehicle sections are pretty fun and are a great break in between the platform and shooting sections of the game.

The story is a fitting end for Nathan, Elena, Sully, and Sam. Most of the loose ends are tied up nicely. Many gamers were worried when Neil Druckmann took over the helm of writing the story after the departure of Amy Hennig who had written the prior stories. Druckmann did a fantastic job of writing The Last of Us and has definitely brought an interesting dynamic to the Uncharted series.

Uncharted 4 is a very fun game overall. The graphics are incredible, and the gameplay is familiar with subtle, new mechanics. There isn’t much reason to play the single player campaign more than once, however there is a decent multiplayer experience as well. Most Uncharted fans flock to the game for it’s single player amazingness. With Uncharted 4 is a solid experience. It’s expertly crafted by amazing talent. For any nitpicking flaws, the game still gets so very much right. It earns a score of 9.5 out of 10.

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