Uncharted 4 is the fourth installment in the series made by legendary developers Naughty Dog. You follow Nathan Drake, who despite trying to avoid the adventurer life, gets pulled back in by his brother, Sam. You are drawn in to help Sam in his troubles and travel on a journey to find the treasure of the legendary pirate, Captain Henry Avery.
The game is a visual and auditory marvel, and Naughty Dog knew it when they added in a photo mode to take screenshots of their gorgeous landscapes, from dark, overgrown ruins to mountains towering over sparkling seas. It remains to be seen who can do graphical fidelity quite like Naughty Dog, who appear to be on a whole other level. The mo-cap is flawless, a far reach from the original game. The voice-acting is natural and brings out the character and relationships of the characters.
The story itself is a Naughty Dog masterpiece. Fans of the series will get to see the characters they love, like Sully and Elena, and get a full fledged background on new characters like Rafe and more importantly, his brother Sam. In addition to this, the game does an amazing job at making you care about the background story of Avery as well. The story of what happened to Avery and the pirates blends pretty perfectly with Nathan and Sam’s relationship, and as the final entry in Nathan’s story, they knocked it out of the park.
The relationships you know and love, and the new one between the brothers, get fully fleshed out. The previous games dwelled on the conflict between Elena and Nathan and how his lifestyle wasn’t something their relationship could withstand, but it always felt like nagging. This game shows the true impact it has between them, and you start to understand the impact of Nathan’s decisions on his life. Nathan plays the role of the more mature brother despite being the younger one and is constantly trying to explain the impact the constant adventures have on having a real life. It feel like he’s not just trying to coach Sam, but convince himself that what he’s saying is true as well.
While the gameplay in Uncharted has never been the focal point of the series, this feels like the pinnacle of what it can be. The platforming feels natural and doesn’t have the same annoying downfalls of the past games, such as Drake randomly jumping off the cliff he’s attempting to climb.
Uncharted 4 adds in two new gameplay mechanics, the rope hook for scaling surfaces he wouldn’t normally be able to get to, and the “slide”, which allows Drake to move down slick, slanted surface and vault to other platforms. While they do feel natural to the game, they tend to overuse them after they’re introduced. After the tenth slide in a row, even the characters in the game comment on how frequently they’re used.
The end of the game, while initially feeling like a sort of copout, is followed up with a truly unique prologue that both wraps up the series as well as keep it semi-open to potential more games in the future. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a pretty beautiful and emotional end to a franchise that I’ve loved for nearly a decade. The game also has keys spots of nostalgia, whether it’s a reference to Cutter from the previous game entry, or a room filled with the treasures that Nathan had discovered through the previous Uncharteds, even Golden Abyss on the Vita.
The final assessment is this: play Uncharted 1,2, and 3. And then go play Uncharted 4. Get the full experience from this incredible conclusion to Nathan Drake’s story. The game is an absolute must play if you’re a Playstation owner. And if you’re not a Playstation owner and are wondering if Uncharted 4 is a game worth getting the console over, I would whole-heartedly say yes. There isn’t a game out there with the graphical prowess and story genius that is Uncharted 4.
Final Score: 10
Final Playtime: 16 hrs.