For the past 9 years the iconic Nathan Drake has been captivating gamers as his grandiose globetrotting adventures take him to beautiful locations all over the globe. At E3 last year there was a mass of excitement when it was revealed that Nate would be back for another adventure. Naughty Dog have stated that Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is the last adventure for Nate and right from the outset it is obvious that they have poured their heart and soul into this final outing. It may not be the last Uncharted game we see but if it is the last time we get to take the helm as Mr Drake then his story couldn’t have ended any better!
Since the adventure’s of Drake’s Deception life has changed dramatically for our hero. Gone are the fortune hunting days. These days Nate is a self respecting family man with a respectable day job. It seems strange to think that Nate has settled down but seeing him interact with his leading lady Elena Fisher, he seems reasonably content, although prone to the odd moment of drifting back into daydreaming about the good old days. Rest assured Uncharted 4 isn’t all about wandering around as Nate goes about continuing his comparatively mundane routine, this is Uncharted after all and it isn’t long before a blast from the past comes back to surprise Nate and thus throws our hero right back in the thick of the action. Hunting for the legendary Treasure’s of renowned pirate Henry Avery, will once again take Nate on an adventure of epic proportions, exploring locations that are spectacular in their beauty and offering a fair slice of death with one wrong move.
Uncharted has always been an adventure that is much more like an interactive movie than straight up video game and Uncharted 4 shows that Naughty Dog have perfected that art on the PlayStation 4. The direction of Uncharted 4 is quite simply a masterpiece. The cut-scenes are flawlessly presented with a near lifelike presentation that really has to be seen to be believed. There is no better looking game on the PS4, or console in general, than Uncharted. Take those gorgeous cut-scenes and put them with a gorgeous in game experience with no head up display and it combines to create a game that shows Naughty Dog at it’s absolute best.
The whole presentation has been nailed, even the small details have been lovingly created. Character modelling is second to none, as are the animations. Environments are beatifically rendered with subtle detail that is easy to miss but captures the eye to those paying close attention to their surroundings. Look closely and you’ll notice things like Nate trying to warm his hands in the snow or the way he will fiddle with his Tux, clearly uncomfortable to be in such fancy clothes. It’s not just the visuals that are sharp, the dialogue and interaction between the characters is well thought out too. Often there are many exchanges between characters that reveals new details that we weren’t aware of previously.
We all know that there is more to a game than just sublime visuals and well put together character interaction. If the gameplay is lackluster then it won’t be too long before we turn off and go for another game. Of course that has never been a problem for Uncharted and Naughty Dog have resisted the urge to completely overhaul the gameplay in Uncharted 4. That same core gameplay experience remains with a few tweaks along the way. This time around Nate is equipped with a grappling hook, it’s easy to forget you have it so if you find yourself wondering how to get from A to B have a look around and chances are you may just find a branch or something similar that would be perfect for that grappling hook and solve those “how do I reach that spot?’ problems. That’s not the only addition however. For the first time in Uncharted Nate has been trusted to get behind the wheel of vehicles so strap yourself in and prepare to do some driving! Uncharted has always remained quite a linear scripted experience and that remains the case once again BUT there is a bit more variety on offer. You’ll still be pushed towards your objective but the way in which you get there is a bit more open this time around. One particular sequence for example will see Nate driving a 4×4 trying to evade a truck like tank shooting at him. As you make your way down the hill through streets there are multiple paths that can be taken, each lead to the same end result at the bottom but how you get there is your choice. It might only be a small thing but it’s those those small moments where players are able to make choices, whereas in previous installments there would be only one way to go that help create that hint of openness.
Puzzles have always been a bit part of the Uncharted experience and they are back once more. The puzzles work wonderfully with the goings on around the action and fit the sequence of play nicely. Solving the puzzles isn’t the hardest challenge you’ll find but should you find yourself struggling at times (there are a couple of tricky ones), often spoken interactions between characters will reveal vital clues as to how to go about solving the puzzle. I did notice that the emphasis placed on referring to Nate’s journal isn’t as prevalent in this story. The diary will still get plenty of use but often it’s to read something you’ve found and to put in the diary rather than to use as a reference to solving puzzles.
There is another piece of the game that is worth mention and that’s the combat interactions. Uncharted 4 certainly has its fair share of gunfights and the system feels more refined this time around. There is plenty of ammo to be found around the environments so should you find yourself running low on ammo you won’t be too far from a replenishment of supplies to continue the firefight. Balance to the weapons feels more refined and thus a more rewarding experience. In those really intense firefights you’ll want to make good use of the well thought out level layouts to find cover just be careful because many pieces of cover are destructible so you won’t stay hidden for long. There’s more to the combat than just gun fights though, melee attacks are often an integral part of the game and thanks to some excellent camera placements and the way the camera will zoom in on the action you’ll be presented with the best possible angles to engage in a fist fight. Countering isn’t really part of the equation, I’d say this is to create a more intense experience, so hang in there and wait for that QTE moment to get Nate to start kicking some serious enemy butt.
Whilst Naughty Dog could have just left it at the single player action and still have put together a gaming masterpiece they have gone above and beyond, creating a multiplayer part to the game as well. The modes available are your pretty standard multiplayer fares such as team death match and modes based on capturing positions and holding them. There is another plunder mode which involves searching for idols and getting them back to your base. Whilst chances to play multiplayer have been extremely limited in the pre-release review period, what I was able to play was good. Time will tell how multiplayer stands up to the server stress that is bound to occur on day 1 but certainly at the heart of multiplayer is a fun addition to what is already a brilliant game.
It’s clear that Naughty Dog have gone all out for their hero. They said it would be his last game and they have done everything possible to send him out a winner and succeeded on every front. Make no mistake, this is THE best looking game on console bar none! Take those gorgeous visuals and add in an action packed adventure and some sweet multiplayer gaming and Uncharted 4 is an absolute winner. If you have a PS4 then this is a must own, if you don’t own a PS4 then this is definitely the game that is going to make you want one. Bravo Naughty Dog you have created a masterpiece.
- Best Graphics on Console Bar None
- Creates an excellent interactive movie experience
- Engaging Story
- Great Character interaction