By: Knight Dylan
The stories of swashbuckling Pirates setting sail into the unknown and finding lost treasure makes for tales of adventure and mystery. Tales that excite the viewer and make us yearn for the freedom of the open ocean and the excitement it brings.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is very much a pirate story, but more so, it’s a story about family.
Three years after the events of Uncharted 3; Nathan Drake, the hero of the first three games, has settled down. He’s given up the adventuring life and lives quietly with his wife, Elena. It seems like Nate has put globe-trotting behind him until a knock at the door sparks the adventure of a lifetime. All this time, Nathan has had a brother named Samuel. A brother that until now, Nate thought was deceased.
Samuel seems to be in trouble and needs the help of his little brother to help find the treasure of Pirate Captain Henry Avery. Unable to deny his brother and his lust for a new adventure, Nathan agrees and the two start their journey.
Uncharted 4 is a third-person action-adventure game with platforming and shooting elements. The player will control Nathan as he runs, jumps, climbs, and shoots his way through various areas. Nate can use a variety of weapons but can only hold two firearms at a time: A side-arm and a main weapon such as an Assault Rifle. He’s also able to use Grenades or Dynamite, depending on the area.
Combat has changed thanks to a new, more open approach to it. Almost in the style of Metal Gear Solid V, Nate is given large areas full of enemies and can choose to take them out silently, go in guns blazing, or sometimes even ignore them altogether. It’s up to the player on how to progress this time where in past games you were forced to take out enemies in very linear areas.
A new mechanic to this installment is the Grappling Hook. An interesting tool at first but becomes overused and uninspired. You’ll use it to get to high areas, swing across gaps, or rappel down walls. It works most of the time but in some areas feels so forced or even outlandish, though it certainly doesn’t ruin the game, it’s an issue that I feel takes away from the game and provides an easy way out instead of making the player think or find a new way to ascend an area. It does however, work wonderfully in combat when you need to make a quick escape or cover distance quickly. The grappling hook goes hand in hand with the climbing sections, which more so than in any other game, feel very long and tedious. Though Uncharted is known for it, it would’ve been nice to dial it back just a bit.
There’s an all new Melee Combat system that incorporates quick-time events and makes the combat feel very real. You can almost feel the punches Nate lands and it’s a great feeling.
Enemy AI has also received a major upgrade, enemies will now coordinate attacks, and try to outsmart the player. Creating a new challenge that keeps you on your toes and planning out your approach.
The most exciting parts of Uncharted 4 are without a doubt the action scenes, driving through a town with an armored truck hot on your heels, escaping a crumbling building moments before it completely caves in, it’s these moments that make Uncharted shine and really blend gaming and cinema into one. They’ve been simplified this time in the hopes that players will have an easier time pulling them off and not being pulled out of the experience; a very good call.
Dense jungles, the open ocean, snowy mountains, they all look wonderful. Uncharted 4 shows just what the Playstation 4 is capable of and sets a new bar for graphics in gaming. Environments are colorful and full of life, birds fly by over a bustling street, cars can be seen driving down the road from far away, and it just gives a feeling of life. Not only do the environments look great but the characters themselves as well. Almost eerily realistic, the animations look extremely smooth, you’ll see wrinkles, sweat beads, eye movement, lip movement, and every expression looks natural and real. It’s incredibly impressive.
Though I won’t say much about the story, I can say it is very family focused. Whether it’s the brotherly bond of Nate and Sam or the relationship of Nate and Elena, there’s some great story-telling at work in these scenes. Progressing to get to this points however, does get a bit tedious. As you make your way around the world you’ll explore dingy temples or ruins and be assured that the treasure you’re looking for is here, only to have the rug pulled out from under you and told to go to this area because that’s what the clue says. It’s certainly a way of progressing the game but maybe not the best one, although this is nothing new for the Uncharted series.
The Multiplayer of Uncharted 4 feels refreshing and is fun to play. You’ll play as characters from the entire Uncharted series in an effort to kill the opposing team. Using firearms, climbing abilities and the grappling hook, you can have some pretty interesting combat scenarios with other players that feel fast and fluid. Uncharted 4 also throws in a new element called “Mysticals” Supernatural powerups that help the player using it. For instance, one will summon an AI to cover you and take out enemies, or another will heal you and your teammates. Though the Multiplayer is fun, it doesn’t really have enough to keep me interested and it isn’t something I’m sticking around to play.
Uncharted 4 is a really great game with a wonderful story and characters. Solid gameplay, and gorgeous visuals. Though some elements, like the grappling hook, hold it back from perfection, it’s still a game worth checking out.
Characters feel real
Environments are diverse
Gameplay is solid
Overuse of Grappling Hook
Some climbing sections are tedious and drag on
Having the rug pulled out for the sake of story progression