Hard to believe that the Uncharted franchise is nearly a decade old, 10 years since Nathan Drake started his treasure hunting adventures, making Uncharted one of the killer IPs for the PS3. Naughty Dog’s adventure series has gone from strength to strength since 2007’s Drake’s Fortune with the high point arguably being 2009’s Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The previous Uncharted games have sold approx 28 million copies worldwide, proving Naughty Dog to be as important a developer for the PlayStation as Rare was for the N64. So here we are with the 4th and final installment of the multi-million pound franchise, does A Thief’s End continue Uncharted and Naughty Dog’s run of quality video gaming experiences or has the series finally run out of steam?
Firstly let me say this, Uncharted 4 is a gaming masterpiece, taking all that made the previous games great and turning them up to 11. Neil Druckman (The Last of Us) has taken over directing and writing duties, proving more than a worthy successor to series stalwart and all round gaming legend Amy Hennig. Drake’s final (by Naughty Dog at least) adventure is epic, with writing and acting worthy of the greatest Hollywood works. This is first time in a long time that I have felt truly immersed in a gaming world, and it is because of games such as Uncharted 4 that the 8th generation gaming era could arguably be the greatest ever.
Platforming has always been a strong point of the Uncharted franchise and A Thief’s end is no exception, climbing up rock faces and buildings is far more realistic than games such as Assassin’s Creed, with hand holds falling away at inopportune moments, giving a real sense of danger to proceedings. Drake can also swing from ropes across caverns, make death defying leaps of faith and even scuba dive to get to where he wants to go, all of which controls absolutely perfectly. Combat has also been improved with your gun automatically locking on to the nearest enemy, making the frequent gun fights, fast and furious but never frustrating. The weapons on offer are a pretty mixed bag, the machine gun is probably all round the best gun for dispatching enemies, however if you can obtain the golden Barok .44 then it’s one shot kills all the way (unfortunately with very limited ammo). Grenades are incredibly useful for either dispatching groups of enemies from distance or distracting them, sending them off in the wrong direction while you sneak by. Small guns can also be used while hanging from ropes, allowing Drake to take out enemies from above or while being dragged behind a vehicle.
This brings me to one of the highlights of the game, if not of gaming as a whole. Drake, after pretty much destroying a bell tower must escape from an enemy armored car, which is constantly trying to take you out with a massive machine gun. The chase which follows, sees Drake drive a Jeep, be passenger on the back of a motorbike and jump from enemy vehicle to vehicle all the while trying to take out enemies and save his brother. The action is blisteringly fast and the pixel perfect controls make the whole section flow seamlessly, it is an absolute masterpiece of action gaming and one of the most outstanding moments in any video game ever.
Uncharted 4 is not all action however, the 1st few hours of the game are very slow going, with a hell of a lot of cut-scenes to sit through. The quality of the story telling and voice acting however make even these slower sections riveting and unmissable, but if you do find yourself getting tired, persevere and the action will come thick and fast later on. Naughty Dog have even thrown in some cool little nods to their gaming roots (you will definitely know the part when you get to it) and to the other games in the Uncharted franchise which will delight long time fans.
Graphically Uncharted 4 is gorgeous, with some of the best looking environs on the PS4. Whether it be tropical islands, abandoned cities, Scottish ruins or mountain tops, Uncharted’s world is a treat for the eyes. The character models themselves are outstanding with facial features and expressions which look incredibly realistic sometimes all the while adding to the movie quality of the whole production.
Uncharted 4 is the perfect swansong for Nathan Drake, and indeed a satisfying conclusion to the decade old franchise, the puzzles etc are simple and easily solved but interesting nonetheless. The back and forth banter between the main cast is believable and really does a good job in keeping the player immersed in the story. The collecting of artifacts etc is a fun diversion but pretty redundant as they have no real use within the game and some of the platforming elements do tend to be a little samey by the latter chapters of the game. However these are minor niggles to an absolutely astounding game, well worth your time, effort and money, get this NOW!
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Developer/Publisher: Naughty Dog/ Sony Interactive Entertainment
Uncharted 4: A Theif’s End PS4 (Reviewed) out now and exclusive to PlayStation 4
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we purchased the game