Uncharted 4 is the final instalment in the Uncharted franchise, bringing to an end the story of one of Playstation’s crowning jewels. Since it’s arrival 9 whole years ago, the series has been received extremely well by both critics and gamers alike, often serving as the sole reason one would pick up a Playstation for. From a personal standpoint, Among Thieves, the second instalment in the franchise was the best of the three, with the first serving as a great entry into the series and the third being a pretty entertaining affair.
Having had several gripes with how the third game wrapped up, I was skeptical about Naughty Dog’s jump into the Next-Gen Console and for good reason. Amy Hennig, the series’ director, had left the studio, Alan Tudyk had left the game over creative differences, there were delays, controversies in abundance and much more.
In short, Uncharted 4 possessed all the fluff you’d rather not have accompanying your game before it’s release.
That being said, that fluff does not really matter. Because Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is probably one of the series’ best and is a fitting conclusion to the story of Nathan Drake.
Indiana Jones has always been one of my favorite characters to have ever graced celluloid and there has yet to be a better portrayal of a swashbuckling hero in the twenty first century. Nolan North’s Nathan Drake, comes pretty close.
Right from the series’ prologue, the game reels you in, slowly but surely, establishing characters for you to feel invested in, for both newcomers and series veterans alike. Nathan Drake is living a quite retired life with his now wife, Elena when his brother Sam who he believed to have died in a prison escape, returns claiming to have found a lead to the long lost treasure of history’s most notorious pirate, Henry Avery. Thus sets off a wild goose chase from Italy to the isles of Madagascar, with the Brothers Drake leading you on an unforgettable ride fraught with excellent set pieces and some wonderful heartwarming moments.
Straight off the bat, this game is probably the most beautiful looking game I have ever seen. Naughty Dog may have chosen to run the game at about 30fps, but that does not deter from the game’s sheer gorgeousness. My playstation is now filled with screenshots of the game, and I keep going back to admire just how stunning those vistas truly are. The attention to detail in this game is the flagpole future games will be measured against. The gameplay mechanics are as always topnotch, allowing you to swing from ropes onto enemies, a stealth mechanism that allows you to sneak past a horde of mercenaries without so much as wasting a bullet and much more. It handles beautifully, and I have no complaints about it whatsoever.
Extravagant set pieces, beautiful vistas and gameplay be damned; The best thing about this game is it’s story. Having brought in Neil Druckmann who directed the best Zombie Apocalypse feature in the last ten years in The Last of Us, Uncharted 4’s strength lies in its emotional core rather than over the top action sequences. Naughty Dog does not try and top the series’ best moments but instead shifts the focus entirely onto it’s characters, making this one of the series’ true highlights. With exceptional performances from Nolan North, Troy Baker, Emily Rose and the little known Chase Austin, Uncharted 4 toys with your emotions in a way that no other game in it’s genre has ever done before.
The game does tend to have it’s flaws especially in an island sequence that tends to bog the game down in the middle but that does not dull the experience of a game that will stay with you long after you’ve put down your controller. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is my favorite game of the year and if you ever were looking for a reason to pick up a Playstation 4, this is it. Masterpiece.