What can I say about the Uncharted franchise that I have not said already?
That its one of the best Gaming franchises ever?
That its one of the most cinematic gaming experiences you can have?
Well… Yes, I’ll say just that.
80% of what makes the Uncharted series so great is the story, so I will forgo delving into too much detail. Just know that Uncharted 4 is the continuation, and yes, ultimate end of the series for lead man Nathan Drake. With its normal mix of gun play, puzzles and platforming Uncharted 4 does little to renovate its core gameplay but does make a few welcome changes. This time around you are almost always followed with a Friend (or two) weather it be old pal Sully, adventurist wife Elena or your estranged brother Sam. Yes that is right, Nathan has a brother, he has just been in a Spanish prison for 15 years (more on that later). Having a partner follow you around was nothing new for the series but this time the partners actually did more helpful stuff, weather it be taking down a foe from the bushes or flying in last minuet and decking a guy who is giving you problems, the partner system was mostly beneficial. What is also nice is that, just like The Last of Us, enemies do not notice the AI character when you are hiding. The largest change this round however was the higher push for stealth, which honestly makes more sense for Drake to want to be stealthy rather than the one man killing machine. Stealth sections are usually pretty short, and easy to skip if you would rather go in guns-a-blazing, either way the tight controls keep up with whichever play style you choose. For me stealth did add a bit more fun for me instead of getting hunkered down for shootouts I enjoyed sneaking around and taking out everyone whenever possible. Another addition would be the few open areas, sure Uncharted is 100% linear in its game and story telling, but a few areas allow you to do a lot more independent exploring for hidden treasures or optional fights, giving you a small scale feel of an open world Uncharted experience, and seriously, off-roading in Madagascar will always be one of my new favorite memories.
Graphically Uncharted 4 is stellar, from large open maps with breath taking views (which are constantly being admired by Drake and friends, we get it the game looks good) to fantastic character models and movements. Cutscenes are in game and are gorgeous with fantastic facial work making the characters feel more alive than ever before and adding to that oh so important human element (hard to feel worried for a guy who has single-handedly murdered thousands of people). While you are globe trotting everywhere from Scotland to Madagascar and beyond there are more than enough environments to experience Uncharted has always been a globe trotting game, but this time you actually feel like travel is being done on a much larger scale. This time around Uncharted pulled out all the stops and made one of the most detailed worlds, It is without a doubt one of the most gorgeous games I have ever seen and I can understand the rumors of Uncharted 4 pushing the limits of the PS4.
The gripes I have are more or less nit-picky, but they are still there. Uncharted 4 has one of the best multiplayer experiences ever made for an Uncharted game, however the entire experience (while vastly improved from past versions) still feels empty and tacked on in a way to boost micro transactions, its a fine and dandy multiplayer but its not going to keep me coming back. In the past each Uncharted game had a “mystical” aspect to it some super natural thing that worked as a twist mid game, from the curse of El Dorado to the Djin of King Solomon, however in Uncharted 4 there was nothing magical… no mystical pirate curse, no pirate ghosts, no pirate magic not even any pirate rum, just Nathan and swaths of mercenaries to cut down. While I enjoy the fact that Uncharted 4 focused on a more “realistic human” problems (oh no we have a mortgage), without the change up of a new enemy the enemy types did get rather repetitive. Lastly there are a few gaffs with the story and adding in his estranged brother from nowhere, some scenes when Nathan meets Sully the first time don’t fit too well if Nathan did have an older brother, but they addressed them well and nothing to unbelievable .
At the end of the day Naughty Dog did something truly special over the past few years, created an amazing story and characters we all love. While I am sad to see the franchise end I am excited for the future of what Naughty Dog puts out next, as they seem to only shit gold right now.