Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Review

When Bungie finished Master Chief’s fight in Halo 3 and moved on to create Destiny, Microsoft resurrected the character to begin a whole new series of adventures. Yes, the best video game characters never get the proper ending they deserve. They are forced to churn out adventure after adventure until the well runs dry and profits disappear. Luckily for fans of the Uncharted series, Naughty Dog has attempted to create the perfect sendoff for Nathan Drake and his treasure hunting companions. If Sony is wise, they will respect the choices the studio has made and let this game stand as the best swan song ever made for a great video game series.

Nathan Drake is back. Our story picks up three years after the events of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. Nathan has retired from his adventures and has finally settled down with Elena Fisher. When Nathan’s long lost brother, Sam, reenters Nathan’s life, Nate soon finds himself once again being pulled back into a world of treasure hunting, crime, and adventure. What starts as a simple quest to find a Captain Henry Avery’s gold, grows into a greater mystery that spans from the British Isles to the island of Madagascar. As Nate and his brother journey closer to unlocking the full mystery of Captain Avery, the stakes continue to rise and Nate is forced to finally decide what matters more to him, the allure of adventure or protecting those he cares most about.Fans of the series will feel right at home with the adventure. Nate platforms through various obstacles through breathtaking scenery to reach the next clue in his journey. He solves puzzles that have been locked away for centuries. He fights through ruthless mercenaries who aim to stop him.  Naughty Dog knows what works best for the series, and even though certain tricks, such as part of a cliff breaking way during mid climb, have lost their impact, the game never feels dull or a rehash of previous adventures. In fact, its clear Naughty Dog has perfected their craft. A chase scene midway through game may be the best pure action sequence in the whole series.

Just like its predecessors, Uncharted 4 manages to push the envelope in terms of graphical fidelity. Uncharted 4 is easily the best looking PlayStation 4 game. It offers gorgeous backdrops that provide and insane amount of detail that your eyes simply can’t ignore during your 15 hour journey. Like previous Uncharted games, a photo mode has been included to capture the scenery. If you’re like myself, by the time your journey has ended, you’ll have taken enough in game photos to fill a whole photo album. Uncharted 4 also continues one of the best kept secrets of the franchise, the stellar multiplayer mode from previous two entries of the series. While the modes offered are basic standards in competitive multiplayers (Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Domination), Uncharted 4 includes its platforming maneuvers to the modes to create a multiplayer experience that feels unique from other popular shooters. Where else can one scale a building and then swing from a rope while shooting an AK47 a targets below him? Additionally, Naughty Dog has brought in a care package system in the form of an in game store. Players earn currency by finding treasure on the map or by killing enemies. They can use the currency to purchase basic supplies such as grenades, heavy duty weapons, armored companions,  or even mystical abilities such as the cursed statue from El Dorado. While not something that will likely keep you engaged for months on end, it is a great extension to the base game.When series director and cowriter Amy Hennig abruptly left Naughty Dog during the development of Uncharted 4, there was a lot of concern that Naughty Dog would move away from what made Uncharted so great in hopes of larger sales numbers and a more lucrative franchise. Luckily for fans of the series, while Ms. Hennig’s departure is a sad one for Naughty Dog’s future releases, longtime Uncharted cowriter Neil Druckmann, along with returning Uncharted 2 director Bruce Straley, continues the excellent narrative that he and Ms. Henning began nearly ten years ago. He has not only written the most grounded adventure in the series, but he also gives Nathan his most personal story. These two elements blend together to create an amazing journey for the player and a fitting closure to one of the best series of the past decade. Want to hear us chat more about Uncharted 4 and other video game news?  Check out the Geek Versus Games podcast below, or subscribe in your favorite podcast app.  Did you enjoy Uncharted 4?  Let us know in the comments.

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