Title: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Available On: PS4
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Entertainment
Official Site: https://www.unchartedthegame.com/
Release Date: May 10th, 2016
Where to Buy: Retail Stores, PSN
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a culmination of everything that has come before in the beloved Naughty Dog franchise. For being what is to be the last entry in the Nathan Drake story that started back in 2007 with Drake’s Fortune on the PS3, A Thief’s End is a fitting end with a beautiful send off of beloved characters.
As with any other Uncharted story, we play as Nathan Drake, who this time is in search of the long-lost pirate treasure of Henry Avery. Things are complicated when Nathan’s brother Sam comes into the mix after being assumed dead for many years. With flashbacks thrown in and going across the globe from Panama, Scotland even as far as Madagascar in search of Libertalia, a pirate utopia, there is much to love.
It seems that Naughty Dog has taken a page out of their own book in The Last of Us, by making the story more about the characters than the events around them. Character development is well done, even going as far as making you care about new characters such as Sam Drake. This is a nice change of pace, considering you are introduced to characters in previous games just for them to take a back seat. Caring for these characters such as Drake, Elena, and Sam makes A Thief’s End being the last entry in a series a hard pill to swallow.
A Thief’s End is also wonderfully voice acted, adding more to each character. Some might shrug hearing that Nolan North and Troy Baker are voicing characters in a game, but their performances (also done with a nice mix of motion capture) are worthy of the best voice acting awards. A beautiful soundtrack and graphics don’t hurt either.
Speaking of graphics, once you start the game, you will be wowed with some of the best graphics on the newer generation of consoles. Uncharted 4: Thief’s End even rivals high-end PC graphics at certain moments. Not once will you encounter any clipping or any frame rate drops. Uncharted 4 runs at 30 FPS in full 1080p. Multiplayer runs at a full 60 FPS. Though there is a difference in FPS between the modes, they look the same.
Added, the cutscenes are all in game. With the exception of starting the game or dying, you won’t encounter what is rare, even for newer consoles: no load screens. This makes everything run so seamlessly. There will be moments when you won’t realize that the gameplay started, such as the opening sequence, just because of the graphics.
Gamers though, don’t buy games just for their graphics. Don’t worry, the game isn’t lacking in gameplay either. From the get go, you will go from one set piece to another. The scale of each level is larger than previous Uncharted games, including Drake’s Deception. One of the biggest highlights is a car chase in Madagascar, which honestly can be considered one of the best action sequences in a game.
Also, think of each level as a mini-arena where you encounter gun fights, engage in car chases, with some puzzles thrown into the mix. Some of the levels are semi-open world such as a group of islands you can explore while being able to dive in the ocean around them, adding depth to an already large game.
One of the great things about Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is that there are options in how you can play. There are moments when you have to take part of scripted gunfights, but unlike previous games in the series where you can be stealthy but to only a certain extent, you can complete most of the game by silently taking out enemies. Or you can just go in guns blazing which is just as fun. There is a nice mix between both stealth and action that sometimes you can switch between the two different play styles for each new encounter. One moment you are hiding in the grass, the next fighting in some old cathedral in Scotland.
A new feature that is unfortunately not used a lot is the use of branching dialogue. There are moments when you have to choose one of two (sometimes three) options on how you want to proceed. These are all through scripted cutscenes. Unfortunately, these moments are very far in between, with no impact on the overall story. It is just fun though, hearing different dialogue, adding some replayability to an already long game.
As with previous Uncharted games, the multiplayer mode is back. Naughty Dog seemed to make everything simple, making things easier for those who haven’t played multiplayer in previous games so they don’t feel isolated or unsure what to do. There are only four modes to choose from: team deathmatch, command (domination mode), plunder (capture the flag), and ranked team deathmatch.
In addition to the modes, there are various maps that are taken from the game. There is varying locale, mixing things up. You can fight in a city street, in an old abandoned settlement, in a villa in Italy, or in the forest of South America. These maps are small but allow for varying types of gameplay. Don’t let the size fool you.
Customization, though simple, is also highly detailed. You can choose from various different buffs, weapons, skins, taunts, and many other options. Each of these customization options allows you to tailor your character to your play style. Though customization isn’t on the level of other huge multiplayer games such as Call of Duty or Battlefield, there is enough to want to go back and try new things. Simple, yet fun.
To be able to customize your character you will need currency. Currency can be done by completing, winning matches or through various daily challenges. There are micro-transactions available to be able to get new character skins, taunts, and even buffs such as an XP boost, but these items you can also unlock through natural progression. It is nice that Naughty Dog doesn’t put an emphasis on microtransactions like other AAA titles that have multiplayer.
Overall, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is one of the best games on the newer generation of consoles, going as far as rivaling the PC in terms of graphics. It is a proper send off on a franchise, but will leave you wanting more from developer Naughty Dog who seems to set the bar even higher than they did with The Last of Us. With a nicely detailed multiplayer added in the mix, there is something for everyone to enjoy. For those looking for a reason to buy a PS4, this is one sure fire reason to do so.
- Gameplay: Fun, solid action with some of the best action pieces in a game. Multiplayer is a nice addition that you will want to keep going back to.
- Graphics: Some of the best graphics on the PS4, rivaling PC.
- Sound: The voice acting is top notch with standouts Troy Baker and Nolan North voicing the Drake brothers.
- Presentation: Another great story from developer Naughty Dog. A nice sendoff for the beloved franchise.
- Engaging story
- Great graphics
- Nice send off of a beloved franchise
- Dragged out ending cutscenes