Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a prime example of true video game art

By Grayshadow, Posted 13 May 2016

Nathan Drake’s first adventure, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, released in 2007 to popular acclaim. The sequels that followed would continue to push the Uncharted franchise to new heights, featuring some of the best stories, narratives, and multiplayer on consoles. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End concludes this long series of adventures with one last journey. It has a few hiccups along the way but these small issues are easily overshadowed once everything starts to flow in a medley of climbing, shooting, and destruction. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is an utterly amazing conclusion to the Uncharted franchise and one worth taking even if you never played a single game in the franchise.

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End,Naughty Dog,NoobFeed,Sony,

After unearthing El Dorado in the Amazon rainforest, finding the Cintamani Stone deep in the Himalayas Mountains, and entering the Iram of the Pillars Nathan Drake has given up treasure hunting in order to live a normal life with his wife Elena. Now a diver working for a salvage company Nathan is constantly tempted with offers of adventure, and eventually an offer arrives that he cannot refuse. Reentering Nathan’s life is his long-lost brother Sam, now in debt to a powerful drug lord asks for Nathan to take on one last job to secure his freedom; the loot of the infamous pirate Henry Avery.

Uncharted 4’s story isn’t truly amazing, especially when compared to Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Centering around trust, betrayal, and loyalty you’ll encounter both familiar and new faces as you attempt to locate one more legendarytreasure and uncover the body of lies hidden among myths. It follows the same formula as past Uncharted games: one lost city, a priceless treasure, and a crazed villain obsessed with the same goal. However it’s how Naughty Dog presents the story that made it feel refreshing: with fantastic writing, perfect animations, and talented voice actors.

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End,Naughty Dog,NoobFeed,Sony,

Veteran voice-actor Norlan North returns as Nathan Drake and once again does a perfect job capturing the smart-ass amateur historian as he stumbles across a mixture of successful endeavors and painful turn-of-events. Troy Baker lends his talent to Drake’s brother, Sam Drake, and does an equally excellent job, highlighting Sam’s obsession for adventure and love for his brother. 

Uncharted 4 tells a story with affection. The main idea of uncovering Avery’s treasure is always present but it’s the smaller stories that truly shine. Sam using humor as a shield or Nathan staring affectionately at Elena when she’s not looking. Streaks of sweat, eye wrinkles, and many more facial and body languages effectively express what each character feels. This attention to details add a human element to the story, display the developers at Naughty Dog’s intense passion for perfection. 

Like the character models each environments are graphically detailed and impressive in every situation. Tiles reflectimages, water glitters, and so many other details show that the developers at Naughty Dog wanted nothing more than make Uncharted 4 a beautiful game, and they succeeded. And the game plays as good as it looks.

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End,Naughty Dog,NoobFeed,Sony,

Like other Uncharted games you’ll climb, shoot, and perform daring feats. Shooting is efficient, with your traditional assortment of weapons at your disposal. Nathan can only carry two weapons, a sidearm and a main weapon, so choosing which is best for each situation is a must. Gifted with incredible acrobatic talent and stealth skills Nathan has more options this time around on how to approach combat.

For the first time in Uncharted stealth is an option here. In past games Drake could eliminate a select few of enemies before being notice, now it’s possible to kill every enemy quietly. Unfortunately the stealth controls are not as precise as Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us. Nathan crouches automatically and cannot lure or distract enemies, limiting you to fix walking patterns. If found it’s possible to return to the shadows by breaking the enemy’s line-of-sight, always giving you an option for combat or stealth.

The enemies you’ll face throughout this adventure aren’t special. They range from a line-up of weak cannon fodder who carry pistols to increasingly heavily armed foes with strong armor. Due to the vertically of each environment and the smart AI each fight is a new milestone. I didn’t mind facing off against the same enemies over and over again because they attacked in different situations that not only complemented their strengths and weaknesses but required me to think creatively to defeat them. In one situation enemies were on several separated platforms, requiring me to navigate through each one to eliminate everyone or bypass them and head straight for the exit. In another I had to content with a moving elevator for cover while enemies laid siege above me. I always faced the same type of mercenaries but the environment was constantly shifting, no fight was ever the same.

If Nathan requires support his partner is more than equip to handle a fight. Partners are effective in both stealth and active combat. When hidden they’ll mark enemies and kill a few if possible, and since they’re gifted with Ellie’s ghost abilities no one will notice them. When in active combat partners are effective allies, but enemies won’t care. Once seen enemies redirect all their attention to Nathan regardless if his partner is shooting point-blank. Without a diversion fights that compose more than 5 enemies can become vexing seeing that enemies are also gifted with impeccable aiming regardless of weapon or position.

Like combat your partner will aid you in traversing the environment, offering clues if the player is lost. The grappling hook, a new addition to the Uncharted franchise, allows Nathan to grapple specific locations to either swing across gaps, climb to new areas, or pull nearby items and loose walls. Environments in Uncharted 4 are stunning, ranging from linear paths to wide-open areas with multiple entry points. Exploring each area will uncover hidden treasure, journals, and conversations that grants points to unlock special easter eggs that alter the game. These includes visually filters and cheat codes.

The narrative may be the best parts of Uncharted 4 but they’re also inconsistent. During specific situations Nathan can interact with his partners to gain their input, but since these require precise moments you can easily trigger them and lose them in an instant. For those seeking to get the most our of Uncharted 4 these are optional conversations are essential and offer some of the most profound dialogues in the game. 

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End,Naughty Dog,NoobFeed,Sony,

The best parts of Uncharted 4 come from the set action sequences. These incredible situations have Nathan performing inhuman feats such as grappling onto a nearby truck and sliding across the surface or fleeing a collapsing cavern. The lack of navigation can make these situations upsetting, especially when split decisions are required, but these are still the best portions of Uncharted 4’s single-player. 

Puzzles are another staple within the Uncharted franchise and here they’ve improved. When faced with one of these problems Nathan’s trusty journal has all the information you’ll need to solve them. They aren’t particularly difficult but compared to other games in the franchise these are definitely an improvement. Requiring more creative thinking during the second act of the game.

The size of the environments do highlight a major issue, the lack of a sprint button. Nathan isn’t the fastest character and can move vexingly slow, especially in the larger environments or during hectic combat situations. This feature has never made it into the single-player campaign but after the second open area I was deeply annoyed about Nathan’s speed.

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End,Naughty Dog,NoobFeed,Sony,

After completing the 12 hour campaign multiplayer will keep you busy. Running at 60 fps, compared to the campaign’s 30 fps, multiplayer plays better than the single-player adventure. With 4 modes, Team Deathmatch, Plunder, Command, and Ranked Team Deathmatch, teams of 4 or 5 compete in a multitude of maps. The grappling hook adds a new layer of strategy, allowing players to quickly zip from one area to another. Naughty Dog has done a phenomenal job molding familiar locations from the single-player adventure for competitive multiplayer.

Deathmatch is perhaps the most popular mode, allowing players free-range to kill one another. Plunder and Command are the most hectic, requiring not only precise aiming but effective teamwork. Command has players taking control of points on the map while protecting their captain, which is a randomly chosen player.

Plunder has players carrying an idol to a specific point on the map before the other team can do the same. Here chaos is rampant, simply being in the same vicinity of a spawned idol means a fight. Things become even more chaotic with the outrageous abilities available for players.

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End,Naughty Dog,NoobFeed,Sony,

By earning points players can use temporary supernatural powers. Based on past Uncharted games some of the powers called mysticals that include summoning a sarcophagus that releases evil spirits, similar to Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, teleporting short distances, an ability used by enemies in Uncharted: Drake’s Deception, and use of the Cintamani Stone to revive fallen allies, a reference to Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. 

AI sidekicks are new additions multiplayer. With this option players can summon offensive, support, or medic allies that can change the flow of battle. Feeling overwhelmed by multiple enemy players shooting at you, send for a heavily armed brute with a minigun. Having trouble keep your allies alive, call a medic. AI allies are efficient and if used properly can easily turn the tide of battle.

The progression system is icing on the cake. With a diverse assortment of perks, taunts, skins, weapons, and much more to unlock you can play for days and still have more to collect. Naughty Dog promises to more maps and mysticals, along with a cooperative mode, that will keep players coming back for more. Especially seeing that Naughty Dog plans to give all multiplayer content away for free after development has been completed.

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End,Naughty Dog,NoobFeed,Sony,

Uncharted 4’s action and narrative seamlessly flow together into a melody of exotic taste. Bouncing between personal moments and set piece with such fluidity that I yearned for the next situation, regardless if it was a cutscene, combat, or simply walking across the landscape. It’s a story about family, sacrifices, and self-examination. It’s an action packed adventure filled with some of the most intense sequences in video games today. But most importantly it’s a shining example of what makes games unique from any other medium. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a prime example of true video game art.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PS4
Publisher(s): Sony
Developer(s): Naughty Dog
Genres: Action-Adventure, Third-person Shooter
Themes: Treasure Hunting
Release Date: 2016-05-10

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