A Thief’s End

Uncharted 4? Check. Uncharted 4 DualShock 4? Check. Limited Edition Art Books of the entire Uncharted Saga? Check. What a perfect way to say goodbye…

Due to the fact that this is a very recent game, I will be keeping things short to avoid going in to spoiler territory. The screenshots, however, may include spoilers. For your own risk, if you haven’t beaten the game yet, I’d suggest not reading this review or viewing the pictures.

Uncharted 4 picks up a few years after Drake’s Deception. We see a settled-down Drake, who has put aside his treasure hunting for less desirable treasure hunting (he now works for a company who has legitimate permits for searches). Drake and Elena finally have the chance at a normal life like they’ve always told themselves they’d have. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last long. Drake’s older brother, Sam, who was thought to be dead, reamerges 15 years later. Sam is in trouble, and Nate is the only one who can help. Sam promised half of pirate legend Henry Avery’s treasures to a very bad man, if they manage to find it. If not, Sam is as good as dead. So; in true Godfather fashion, as much as Nate wants out…he gets pulled back in. Finding Avery’s fortune won’t be so easy, as Drake’s old “partner”, Rafe, is also seeking it for himself. Uncharted 4 is a race to find the treasure and save Sam.

Honestly, where do I begin with this game? Graphically, Uncharted 4 is easily the most beautiful game I have ever played, without question. There is a level of quality and detail here that goes above and beyond anything that has come before it. Water has its own physics, like when a breeze blows against a steady pool. Rocks, shake, and debris roll and move away from directions they originated-especially when on a steep hill. Shade even affects shallow pools of water, detailed by darker areas. The main characters have more detail than ever before. Faces have undergone a complete production. The game is all in real-time, so there’s this sort of seamless branch between the cut-scenes and gameplay. Clothing acts accordingly to the environment. The clothes even have their own degree of fabric detail. The game is utterly gorgeous. There are screenshot opportunities everywhere. Speaking of the environments, the areas in Uncharted 4 are larger than they’ve ever been before. Some areas (such as the Jeep driving in Madagascar) are quite massive and allow for a lot of exploring. Naughty Dog has always been known for their impressive games that really push the boundaries of not only what’s possible in a game, but what’s possible for the console. It is shocking to know that Uncharted 4 was not pushed to the PlayStation 4’s limits, but it’s safe to assume Naughty Dog’s next game will.

This is the largest Uncharted game yet. When I say largest, I mean largest. The main story is about 16 to 20 hours long, and takes place over 20 chapters. These chapters are much longer than normal, boasting massive areas of exploration. I really appreciated the game’s length, as it kept me coming back for more. I played the game a little bit at a time to fully savor it.

The Uncharted series has always been known for its storytelling, and Uncharted 4 does not disappoint. It is the greatest treasure hunt I’ve ever experienced. Much like an Assassin’s Creed game, A Thief’s End had me researching pirate history left and right. You know that you’re really into a game if you find yourself researching things like that. What always interested me about these games is the unknown. These cities could have actually existed, and they’re out there, just waiting to be discovered. It makes me want to go searching. In the meantime, I’m treasure hunting through Nate-through all of these characters, and that’s a really special thing.

I was honestly worried about Naughty Dog introducing a new Drake into the mix, but Sam fits in very easily. It definitely doesn’t hurt that  the amazing Troy Baker has joined the rest of the cast. 

Enemy encounters are a bit different in most of the locations in the game. Tall grass allows Nate to hide and take out his enemies using stealth. This also helps to hide when discovered. Nate now has a new rope ability as well, which allows him to climb, rappel, and swing. The combat is heightened when a rope swing is combined with a takedown from above. Ever so satisfying.

Throughout a couple larger areas in the game, a Jeep is available to drive. This Jeep comes with a wench on the front that can be wrapped around an object to either help the Jeep climb, or help to create a new path. 

Uncharted 4 doesn’t have the most difficult trophy list, but the 6-hour speed-run trophy is keeping me from going for the Platinum. There are your typical difficulty trophies, treasures, and specific weapon kills, but Uncharted 4 is far too wonderful to be rushed through at all, let alone for a trophy.

The end has finally come for our favorite thief / treasure-hunter extraordinaire, and Uncharted 4 delivers on all cylinders. Naughty Dog has done it again. This time, they’ve done something really special. Uncharted 4 is by far, one of the greatest games I have ever played. In terms of the series, I’d say it’s just a peg below Uncharted 2. The Uncharted series has always been known to feature bold stories, massive action sequences, the best-of-the-best in terms of graphics, but most importantly, it has heart. For me, it’s not  about finding the treasure as much as it’s about the journey on the way to the treasure, and the relationships that these characters go through along the way; especially Nate and Elena.

That’s what I’ll always remember the most.

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