Uncharted 4: A Thief's End Review

It is easy to say that the Uncharted series has been one of the most amazing action adventure games to ever grace our video game lives. It all started back in 2007 when Uncharted: Drake's Fortune was released exclusively onto the Playstation 3. Back then the main character, Nathan Drake was compared to Lara Croft, the main protagonist from the world famous Tomb Raider series. While Drake's mission includes hunting down ancient artefacts and essentially raiding tombs, that's where the moniker "Dude Raider" and similarities ended. Drake's personality developed through the first game to then explode into Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The sequel brought with it massive memorable set pieces that would make a lot of Hollywood blockbuster films feel ashamed. Drake's popularity soared to the top which inevitably gave birth to the third game in the series, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. The third entry into the series dug deep into the world of Drake and gave away many secrets that showed fans all about how and why Drake is who he is today. So what I am basically saying here that if you're wondering whether or not you need to have played the previous three games before playing Uncharted 4, the simple answer is no, but you probably should.

"Why doesn't any other game on the Playstation 4 look like this?"

It has been a long wait for Uncharted 4: A Thief's End but finally that wait is over. After the success of the first three games in the series, you must forgive even the biggest fans for thinking "how will they manage to make a game that is bigger and better than the previous in the series?" Well Naughty Dog, the developer for Uncharted has come to the party with what appears to be everything that everyone has ever wanted. It's big, it's beautiful, it's fun and manages to tell a story that we want to know about. Uncharted 4 manages to improve on the previous games and also deliver a powerful ending to what we believe to be the last adventure that we will take with Drake, but is it the best game in the series?

True to form, Uncharted 4 kicks off with a bang of an opening sequence. From the moment you get control of the game you are thrust into an action sequence where you are in control of a boat in some rough waters with angry enemies chasing you in bigger, better boats. Scenes like this are littered throughout the game and will showcase of the absolute power of the Playstation 4. However, just like a good book, after the opening sequence you are reeled back in for a quieter humble piece of game play. The next part of the game will be a little familiar if you can cast your memories back to Uncharted 3. You start the game playing as a young Nathan Drake during his time living in an orphanage. It's no secret that this is where you meet up with Sam, Nathan's older brother. The story line does a magical job at showing the bond between the two brothers and manages to pull some heart strings early on and continues to grow the relationship throughout.

Uncharted 4 sets the tone for the game very early on. Basically what you can expect is an isolated story that won't appear confusing or broken to those that haven't played the previous games in the series. Those that haven't played the previous games can expect to miss references to previous characters and events that will very likely just soar overhead and no second thought will be given. Uncharted 4, like the previous games doesn't require prior learning to enjoy but simply put, you should go and play the other games for the simple fact that they're fun, witty and wonderfully made.

The difficulty of Uncharted 4 can be compared to the previous in the title which means that it's not going to be a walk in the park during the heavy gunfight scenes and especially the bosses. Uncharted is generally is a hard game to play. Now in saying that, if you play it on easy you're going to enjoy the game play and the story with little challenges, but you will still die from time to time. Just like in the past, if you're playing on any settings from 'Moderate' up to the dreaded 'Crushing' you're going to be tested. If you hate your controller, go ahead and try Crushing difficulty on your first try. I would recommend Moderate for a first playthrough to ensure rage doesn't ruin the experience.

'Is Uncharted 4 the best game in the series?'

The graphics have been a big thing with the Uncharted games. In the lead up to this release, there have been a lot of teasers that have showed off the amazing sharp images of the realistic looking characters within the game. The final product has shown that those teasers were not pulling our leg. Seriously, this is the game that will make Xbox One owners shell out for a Playstation 4. Not only does the game look spectacular, the animations are amazing and fluid. There have been a large number of occasions when I have stopped and thought to myself how ridiculously real life like the scenes looked. There aren't many games like this, but this is one game that makes me stop and think "Why doesn't any other game on the Playstation 4 look like this?" Respect to Naughty Dog for the fact that the last game to make me think that was The Last of Us.

There are a lot of control options in the settings here that can be a little confusing but they all seem to be carefully thought out. You can customise the controls to pretty much however you would like which can help you get through the game if you're not an amazing gamer like all of those teenagers out there. There are assists everywhere in there that range from camera assists to full aim assists. Most of these features though might want to be turned off if you're a little more used to video games because they might just make your time a little harder for no reason at all. I found that the lock on aim setting was making it impossible to get head shots because the auto lock would stick to the enemy's chest area. Turning it off will probably see you spraying all over the place until you get used to it, but it will get easier.

New mechanics that have been added to the game make it all the more fun and visually pleasing to pull off. From jumping off a ledge onto an enemy to take them out, to swinging across ravines using a grappling hook. It all looks amazing and very hard to pull off, but with a tiny bit of practice, you will be swinging like a hero and taking out enemies in style.

Is Uncharted 4 the best game in the series? Well for me this would have to be a two phased answer. Naturally, due to the extreme power upgrade that the Playstation 4 has over the Playstation 3, the game looks, plays and feels like the best game in the series due to its obvious upgrades. Then on the other hand, how does this one handle story, characters and fun factor. New characters are well thought out however they have been toned down from the previous games. Uncharted 2 saw a larger than life enemy named Lazarevic that was big, evil and super hard to kill. Although Uncharted 4 takes a more realistic approach to the game's characters, the bad guys just don't come across as particularly intimidating like a good enemy should be.

The story comes across as well thought out and doesn't become convoluted in a lot of boring history and crazy talk about mysteries of the unknown. This time around, the story is delivered down the straight and narrow and is very easy to follow. I was eagerly awaiting each step of the game to see what happened and how it all panned out. There's enough mystery there without getting annoying and emotions are evoked that give the game heart and soul.

The multiplayer portion of the game won't be the console seller that the single player campaign is, but it does have some defining features that will have people playing it for some time. The gameplay is smooth and connectivity is solid without so much of a hint of lag...so far anyway. The abilities from the single player game transfer into the multiplayer maps quite well and the quick tutorial before you start is appreciated. The multiplayer matches work with perks that you will have to level up each time you start a match. This type of setup essentially puts everyone on an even playing ground at the start of each game, rather than handing the higher levelled players all the cool stuff first. The balancing seems to be working well and the community base is quite large meaning that searching for a game isn't usually a long wait.

Uncharted 4 has been hinted to be Drake's last adventure and it may very well be but that will be up to you to mull over after you've completed the game. What do you think? Overall the experience with Uncharted 4 has left me completely satisfied and struggling to say a bad word about it. If there are people out there that haven't even thought about giving this game a go, or the previous games for that matter, I must press the point that these games are like no other. They all have a production quality that I have never before seen in any video game. Naughty Dog have a winning formula here and they deserve the thanks they get. So if you were on the fence before reading this review, get yourself into gear and go play some Uncharted 4.

Nice touch - a trophy for recreating the E3 2015 controller fail

Lucas Aurelius
Aussie Gamers Express.

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