Uncharted 4 Review

 

Uncharted 4 is Naughty Dog’s crown jewel at the moment, easily one of the best game that came out in 2016 so far and a serious contender for the game of the year.

I cannot stress enough that regardless of your beliefs and knowledge about video games in general or about this series in particular, you need to play this game. Yeah, it is that good!
Uncharted 4 is the first must own titles for the PS4. I consider it to be a console seller, just like Halo was for the initial XBOX. And, besides that, the game is a true work of art. The attention to detail in this one is unprecedented. I could go as far as to say that PS4 now holds one of the best looking games I have ever played and that it could easily beat and even surpass PC titles like Crysis or Witcher 3.

Uncharted™ 4: A Thief’s End_20160521231919

Breathtaking vistas of Uncharted 4

I was staggered at the sheer amount of dedication that the team at Naughty Dog put so that the world it created felt alive.

You take again the role of Nathan Drake, the main protagonist of the series, who now discovers that his long dead brother is in fact…not dead, but alive and well and that he still searching for a great pirate treasure that you both were looking for in your youth.
The story itself is one of love, betrayal, trust and friendship, well executed, though not that original. Being really (and I mean really) picky, the game itself is not out of the ordinary when taking single elements apart from its story and gameplay. But the way they are executed and presented is truly outstanding. Uncharted 4 is a true example of the final product being bigger than the sum of its parts.

The structure of the game is quite linear (no branching paths or things like that), though now you have bigger areas to explore and to gaze at. You’ll be traveling all around the world from Scotland to Madagascar, in an attempt to find the hidden treasure of Pirate Captain Henry Avery.

Ship graveyard

Ship graveyard

As I said in the beginning, the game’s graphics are amazing. You have fully moving foliage and vegetation excellently rendered, weather effects, smoke and fire effects done to the finest details. Facial animations are especially well executed, with real human emotions clearly depicted on the faces of the characters while they interact. And, above all: there are no cutscenes or loading times present except the ones when you start the game – all is done within game engine, with a staggering amount of details and 60 frames per second. Naughty Dog did it again!

Especially the second part of the game is a work of art in its level design and graphics. There is literally moment after moment when you feel the need to rush to your Playstation menu and save a screenshot or record a video. People who say that graphics in a game are nothing, well, they haven’t played Uncharted 4. Just take a look at the screenshots I managed to take in this game.
To complement the gorgeous graphics, the gameplay got the same amount of attention from the team at Naughty Dog. Characters interact with each other in a natural way, even when they are interrupted by world events. Your own character reacts to the different actions that he is doing, his internal monologue is a clear indication of where the action might go next. The synergy between all of these elements is tweaked to perfection here. From start to finish, Uncharted 4 is a delight to play and look at.

The game is 22 levels long plus an epilogue that literally put tears in my eyes. It is definitely the final adventure for Nathan Drake, but who knows what the future may hold for other characters. I am not spoiling anything, but let’s just say the ending is one of the best I’ve seen in video games and it knows how to pass along a legacy. Naughty Dog learned quite a lot of things from The Last of Us and its touching story. And that is clearly seen in Uncharted 4.

Ow yeah, and you also drive in this game!

Ow yeah, and you also drive in this game!

Music plays a big role in the game as well. The famous Uncharted tune returns, with slight variations. You have sad music; you have action packed scores and even a bit of classic tunes if you interact with the different gramophones in this game.

Combat is very similar to the previous games, with slight improvements in the animations and cover mechanics. The biggest innovation to navigation and combat is the grappling hook and rope that you can use to swing across big gaps in the terrain and also do midair takedowns on unsuspecting foes.

There are also stealth mechanics introduced which are nice to pull off. But, to be completely fair, all my attempts to be stealthy lead to intense gun fights. So yeah, not very subtle I’m afraid.
The only minor gripe I have with the game is that there aren’t more things to do in this big, vast environment. You do collect treasures, like in previous entries in the franchise, but they all feel rather unimportant and put there just for the sake of exploring. I would have liked some optional quests or some dungeon-like challenges for character upgrades or extra content. Also, there is no weapon crafting or leveling up your character like in Tomb Raider.

Uncharted goes to a dark place

Uncharted goes to a dark place

Ow, and I almost forgot: on top of all, the game has multiplayer! Though it is not where the strength of the game lays, the multiplayer is rather a fun to play experience. Takedowns in death matches are especially satisfying and you could burn an hour or two with some friends obliterating opposing teams with guns, relics and rooftop acrobatics.

All in all, Uncharted 4 is a ride you have to take. Find a friend with a PS4 if you don’t own one yourself, buy this game and play it as soon as possible. Every minute of Uncharted is a pleasure to experience. This is, for me, at least the best game in PS4’s library at the moment.
Until next time, keep playing!

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