Developer Naughty Dog has released a rather solid line-up of titles over the years. Looking back at the development studios past achievements, the team has introduced us to some rather iconic characters… These include the likes of Crash from Crash Bandicoot; Ellie and Joel from The Last of Us; and Nathan Drake – as well as the unforgettable supporting cast – from the Uncharted Series.
While some of these titles were only available to those who owned older consoles, the team at Naughty Dog went as far as remastering the entire Uncharted Collection, as well as The Last of Us, for the PlayStation 4 in order to introduce newer players to the riveting action, drama, and adventure that these titles had to offer.
Fast forward to 2016, and the team at Naughty Dog has now released the latest addition in the Uncharted series, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. The latest title to grace the series features a 16-hour campaign (dependent on your play style), which follows the story of series protagonist – Nathan Drake in a more intimate and well thought out fashion.
This time around Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher have retired, from the good old days of treasure hunting, and have opted to settle down in a less than exciting domestic setting. However, it doesn’t take long for adventure to come knocking when Nathan’s brother Sam makes a grand appearance – after being presumed dead – which comes in the form of a plea for help as well the promise of an irresistible adventure. With the stakes at the ultimate high, Nathan and Sam embark on a globe-trotting adventure to pursue Captain Henry Avery’s long-lost pirate treasure hoard. Without giving away too many spoilers, I will leave the story synopsis there.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End features a superb plotline. During the first few hours, the game seamlessly weaves through Nathan’s past and present… never leaving players confused or out of the loop. By filling in the blanks – related to the backstory of the siblings – the initial bond between Sam and Nathan is revealed, which ultimately sets-up the storyline for one of the best Uncharted titles to date. While the storyline is solid and well-written in every aspect by the creative team, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End would not be the gem it is today without Naughty Dog’s talented development team as well as voice artist veterans such as Nolan North (Nathan Drake), Troy Baker (Samuel Drake), Richard McGonagle (Victor Sullivan), and Emily Rose (Elena Fisher) to name a few.
While the storyline is a hit, gameplay tends to be a bit of a mixed bag of tricks. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End initially starts off strong; however, things tend to get a little rinse and repeat the further you progress. In the early stages you are thrown into the thick of things as Nathan and Sam take on enemies whilst still trying to stay in control of a speedboat… but soon after that the game tends to slip into the traditional Uncharted experience that the past three titles had to offer, which is fight, explore, and solve puzzles. Not that this is a bad thing, as the set-pieces combined with the intense combat encounters always seemed to impress, but at the same time made me long for more – even with the addition of the grappling hook. Apart from the repetitive nature of the gameplay, I found myself quite impressed by the hand-to-hand combat sections featured in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Watching Nathan and Sam slam enemies into walls and body slam them into the concrete floor was always a highlight.
Another highlight of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is how big the world actually is. Granted, the Uncharted series has always been one that is a bit on the linear side; however, this time around it allows players the option to explore a bit more. With the world being as big as it is, it also makes finding hidden treasures and trinkets more difficult. This is due to the fact that the player will need to explore every crack and crevice to find said treasures, instead of them being blatantly put in front of them.
When it comes to graphics, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s end is a visual masterpiece. There where times where I would find myself just looking out at the scenery and set-pieces in awe. Apart from the scenery and beautifully crafted set-pieces, the character models were also exceptionally well-designed, and truly showcased that Naughty Dog had placed a fair amount of work into crafting and creating them. This can be seen in the attention to detail given to each character especially when it came to the character’s age, fingernails, wrinkles, and hair. This amount of detail combined with the exceptionally well-written storyline places Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End right on a pedestal next to The Last of Us.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End also includes various multiplayer modes, as well as 8 maps to battle it out upon at release. The multiplayer experience includes the likes of the traditional Team Death Match as well as modes such as Command, Plunder, and Ranked Team Death Match.
These modes were pretty fun to play and are well-worth jumping into. During each match the player will gain currency that can be used in the in-match store in order to purchase power-ups. These power-ups (Mysticals) allow players to unleash supernatural elements on the opposing team. In addition to these, the player can also summon a side-kick. Side-kicks come in a variety of classes, which include:
Sniper – A sniper is used in order to defend a location and take out opposing team members
Savior – A savious is essentially a field medic who will revive downed players, hand out ammo, and replenish items
Hunter – when called in, hunts down the nearest enemy and puts them into a hold for the player to KO them
Brute – A brute is heavily armed and armored; however, they do move rather slowly across the map
Combining side-kicks and mysticals really makes for some interesting online match-ups. As within the single-player mode, gameplay featured through out the multiplayer runs pretty smoothly visually. The maps look gorgeous and gameplay is fast and exciting.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a beautifully crafted title. It features a solid storyline, which has been beautiful crafted and pieced together by the creative team at Naughty Dog. To add to the accolades, it is a title that is a visual masterpiece from start to end.
While Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End hits all the high notes when it comes to storyline and graphics… I felt like I kept wanting more when it came to combat. To add to this, puzzle solving felt a little too easy, which is something the past titles in the series suffered from. Apart from this, the overall experience of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was an absolute pleasure and I’d recommend it to anyone who has had the opportunity to play the past titles in the series.
For those who have missed out on the previous titles in the series, you will be pleased to know that you can pick up the Nathan Drake Collection on the PlayStation 4 – which includes: Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted: Among Thieves, and Uncharted: Drake’s Deception.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, which is a PlayStation 4 exclusive, was reviewed by Darryl Linington
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