Due to the development of 2013’s The Last of Us, Uncharted fans have been waiting quite a while for their favourite series to continue. Now, Naughty Dog provides us with Nathan Drake’s first adventure on PlayStation 4, which apparently is his last one at the same time. Will the game prove to be a worthy end to our beloved thief?
The first chapters of Uncharted 4 show us something we have never seen before. Nathan Drake’s times as adventurer are over. He is married, he has settled down with Elena and works in a normal nine-to-five job, slightly unhappy with his ordinary life. Luckily, his brother Sam, who he thought died fifteen years ago, comes by with a request for help he cannot reject. And so he starts into his last adventure, knowing that it is his final one. Sam, fittingly played by Troy Baker, known for his stunning performance of Joel in The Last of Us, does a great job at playing Nate’s older, yet more chaotic brother. The introduction of his character added another layer to the one of Nathan Drake and allowed for new and interesting interactions and stories. At first, I was worried that one game isn’t enough to care about Sam, but Naughty Dog used the opportunity to round out the franchise and make it feel even more real.
Veins and wrinkles
As the first of its kind on PlayStation 4, Uncharted 4 delivers an extraordinary performance in terms of presentation and graphics. To this point, there has been no game that provided me with such varied, bright and colourful environments, each extraordinarily detailed and authentic. Again, Naughty Dog offers a creative set of different settings all around the world, leaving me with the constant curiosity of where Drake’s heading next and how beautiful it will be. Many details even made me stop and stare for a while – the wind blowing through Drake’s shirt while hanging on a cliff, or how the wrinkles on it change while moving up and down. This is the first time I’ve noticed veins on a character’s skin at all. Given the fact that we’re rather in the early years of PlayStation 4’s lifecycle, I can’t wait for the greatness Naughty Dog will present with their upcoming titles.
The Last of Uncharted
Naughty Dog fans will notice how drastically The Last of Us influenced the Uncharted franchise. Its change of tone is unmistakable, as the happy Uncharted recipe suddenly received some spicy accents from the ingredients the team used for their last, apocalyptic game. Compared to former games, Nate and his friends show a much broader set of emotions, making them feel exceptionally human and allowing you to care for them much more. Even the pace has changed significantly. With twelve to sixteen hours of gameplay, Uncharted 4 might be longer than the last two games of the franchise combined. Especially the tendency of ditching the linear gameplay and introducing more and more open environments lead to more time spent and incentivised the always rewarded exploration. Repeated chores of searching your way through certain areas turned out be tedious, but offered time for developing important relationships. I genuinely appreciate the time Naughty Dog took for better characterisation and more subtle setups of scenes, yet it felt protracted in the later chapters of the game. I didn’t want to end Nate’s last adventure, and it seemed like Naughty Dog also couldn’t do it so easily.
A Thief’s End
Uncharted was a role model for video games before, but with A Thief’s End, it achieved to set completely new standards. In terms of offering the full package of presentation, storytelling, and graphics, Naughty Dog certainly created a PS4 milestone and an outstanding piece of art for the whole console generation. With the conclusion of Uncharted 4, an era for PlayStation gamers is ending, and hell, this might be the hardest goodbye in video game history.
What we liked:
- Breathtaking visuals
- Astonishing score
- Great characterisation
- Meta storytelling
What we didn’t like:
- No Chloe
- A tad too long
This review was written using a PlayStation 4 review copy provided by Sony PlayStation. Are you excited to play Nathan Drake’s final adventure? What is your favourite Uncharted game and why? Tell us in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter!