Naughty Dog is back after a lengthy hiatus from the Uncharted series to introduce Nathan Drake’s final adventure in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Can the fourth game in the series live up to the sky-high expectations, or will it crumble under pressure?

Release DateMay 10, 2016
GenreAction-Adventure
PlatformsPS4
DeveloperNaughty Dog
Price$59.99 US
ESRB RatingTeen
Players1-10 Players

*A copy of this game was provided to FYIG by PlayStation for review purposes*

The Uncharted series has been a series that is near and dear to the hearts of many gamers around the world since the first game in 2007 on the PlayStation 3. Since then, there have been three other games in the main series (including this latest one) and a few different mobile games, including Golden Abyss on PlayStation Vita. Bluepoint Games even decided to remaster the three main series games for the PlayStation 4 late last year in anticipation of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. With all those games in 9 years, it’s easy to forget that Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is the first main game in the Uncharted series in almost five years. Those five years must have been well-spent though, as Uncharted 4 is possibly the best game in the series and arguably one of the best games ever created.

Uncharted 4
Is that a bandicoot? He looks familiar.

Sony has a large stable of exclusive franchises, and Uncharted is easily one of my favourites. Playing through Nathan Drake’s saga takes you to another place as a gamer. It’s like you’re playing an Indiana Jones movie with endless action, shocking betrayals, and deep friendships that last across the entire series. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End continues this pattern in bigger and better ways than ever. The most striking difference between this game and the previous three is that Nathan has grown up. Nathan and Elena are married now and have a house together. You get to see the human side of the adventurer as he lives the life of a retired fortune hunter; until his brother, Sam, shows up with an offer Nathan can’t refuse.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End ties everyone together so well with conversations and cutscenes, adding so much more to the story. It’s rare to have more than a moment in Uncharted 4 without some kind of interesting dialogue or something pertinent to the story. The writing is superb (if not emotional at times), with many layers of each character that aren’t fully revealed until the late stages of the game. The main performances of Nolan North (Nathan Drake), Emily Rose (Elena Fisher), and Richard McGonagle (Victor Sullivan) were better than ever, while newcomers Troy Baker (Samuel Drake), Laura Bailey (Nadine Ross), and Warren Kole (Rafe Adler) breathe some new life into the series in smaller, but equally as important roles.

Uncharted 4
Sam Drake makes his first appearance in the series bringing a whole new layer to Nathan’s character.

Companion characters are smarter than they’ve ever been in the series. These characters provide witty commentary while holding their own in battles (especially if you’re being held by an enemy and need a hand). They’ll crouch with you in tall grass to be stealthy and even add in little hints about gameplay when you’re stuck. There was the occasional time when they would end up running around randomly while I was getting ready to engage the enemy. This led to me almost shooting them, thinking they were our foes more than a couple of times. They never did alert the enemy to our presence, though, so it was a fairly minor thing.

Uncharted 4 is full of polish from top to bottom. The added power of the PS4 allowed the Naughty Dog team to experiment with different types of terrain, like slippery gravel, deep mud, and tall grass. Each adds a lot to the gameplay and keeps players on their toes as to how to get to the next checkpoint. Climbing feels more fluid than ever, and Nate can now reach for different ledges as he’s climbing. The grappling hook makes is a tool that also provides some different opportunities to climb, swing, and generally save your life from falls. I will say that it’s kind of ridiculous how far Nate throws that hook with perfect accuracy sometimes, but it is what it is. The environments are still fairly linear, with some different options here and there. This is a finely curated story so even having a little bit of choice is all you need.

Uncharted 4
The world of Uncharted 4 never ceases to amaze me.

As far as combat is concerned, this is classic Uncharted while adding more stealth into the mix. Nate can still toss grenades and be the one-man army players are used to. However, there’s the added element of stealth that’s a little bit more prevalent than before. Tall grass can be used to hide (I even hid a Jeep in there, oddly enough), and Nate can perform a quick stealth kill without being detected. Be warned, though, the AI in Uncharted 4 is not stupid. The enemies will switch to an alerted state at any sign of trouble (a dead body, a shot fired, somebody being killed). The sad thing is that Drake can’t move bodies, so the stealth aspect only goes so far. Enemies will flank you, and don’t forget where you are if you attempt to hide. The shooting mechanics are just as polished as ever. Couple that with the stealth mechanics and refined climbing, making for a very satisfying experience.

What brings the whole game together are the graphics, though. This is easily the most beautiful game I’ve ever played. There isn’t a moment in Uncharted 4 that doesn’t look incredible. From the beautiful landscapes to the underwater sea life, it’s an incredible sight to behold. More than that, though, it’s the little things. Snow settles in Nate’s hair, water ripples and crashes into the rock formations, and explosions light up the screen. The most incredible thing graphically in the game for me had to be the facial expressions. There was one scene where Elena was on the verge of angry/sad tears, and it was like looking at a real person’s emotion. It was amazing to see, and to be that immersed in a character is incredible. Uncharted 4 evokes emotion better than any game out there.

Uncharted 4
A scenic boat trip doesn’t always go as planned…

I feel like the pacing of this game fits the game perfectly, and I might be in the minority there. The third act did become a bit long, and after an insane car chase and a crazy clock tower puzzle, it was a little bit mundane to run and gun and repeat for a while, but that, to me, added to the suspense of the end. Naughty Dog could have ended it a couple of hours early, but then people would have complained about a short game. It does drag on a little bit, but since this is likely the last time I’ll be playing as Nathan Drake, I welcomed it. Uncharted 4 picks up near the end and stays true to its characters.

There isn’t much left to do after you complete the campaign other than to go back and grab the treasure. Lucky for us, Naughty Dog has brought back the popular Uncharted multiplayer modes. There are three modes: Plunder, Command, and Ranked Team Deathmatch. There’s nothing like using all of the game mechanics against other people. There are so many options opened up with the use of a grappling hook. The biggest addition to the multiplayer mode are new abilities like Teleportation. There’s also an AI sidekick that can heal, snipe, or even pin down your enemy. It’s good to have friends.

ProsCons
Great multiplayerNone
Fantastic end to Drake’s journey 
Looks gorgeous 

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