Uncharted 4 or A Confession from a Convert

So, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is supposed to be the highlight and the swansong of the Uncharted saga. But how does it fare from the point of view of someone like Rabidgames, who hasn’t exactly been a fan of Naughty Dog in the past?

For starters, Rabidgames only finished Uncharted 2 and stopped a playthrough of Uncharted 3 due to acute boredom. After all, both games are linear corridors for sightseeing tours and repetitive as hell, mostly thanks to the obvious climbing and shoot-out sections and the tedious waves of enemies in shoot-outs. Furthermore, both the climbing nor shooting mechanics were clearly below the best in the respective genres, and the Uncharted trilogy barely asked for thinking (a few puzzles aside) or more than just basic gameplay demands. Plus, the story in Uncharted 2 turned absolute bonkers at the final boss and the banter between the protagonists was shallow and wannabe cool in most moments. In a nutshell, Uncharted used to be popcorn action – shallow but easy going fun.

Now, The Last of Us … we have a more difficult case here. While the story is better presented, the dialogues are way better and you quickly get invested in the story and the dark world, the gameplay is – again – repetitive, which hurts even more in a stealth game. Also, the fact the AI partners are not spotted by the fungal zombies pretty much ruined the immersion. Still, The Last of Us is a more ambitious game with deeper characterisation and more demanding gameplay, but Rabidgames can only play it in small doses.

So, what about Uncharted 4 then? Did Naughty Dog manage to combine the deeper characterisation and more mature atmosphere of The Last of Us with the well known Uncharted properties? Yes. And they improved Uncharted 4 in pretty much every aspect.

Let’s have a look at the story elements – Nate has settled with Elena and he’s given up on the Indiana life until his long-lost brother shows up to recruit Nate on another treasure hunt for – let’s say personal reasons. All of the above is experienced in the first couple of hours of Uncharted 4, and it makes you more attached to the characters than the previous 3 games in their entirety. The dynamic between the brothers, the dialogues, the backstory, the subtext, it’s all more mature now.

Technically, Uncharted 4 is also a true masterpiece. No issues so far, simply stunning visuals and a great sound, the tighter shooting mechanics and even the integration of driving Jeeps and boats all work without a hitch.

And in terms of gameplay, Uncharted 4 offers pretty much everything you could ask for. From improved climbing (including a grapple rope) to better shooting and a functioning stealth approach, from diving underwater calmly to a hectic Jeep chase through a city, from cinematic linear levels to wide open environments to explore, there is lots of diversity in Uncharted 4. Sure, the gameplay and the handful of puzzles are still not too demanding, but offering different routes in many levels and the refined elements taken the best of the two big Naughty Dog games manage to turn Uncharted 4 into a gamers’ delight.

And most importantly, the balance between frantiv shoot-outs, climbing on mostly ancient and sometimes crumbly buildings and some downtime leisurely driving around a boat or swimming underwater in peace is set up amazingly. Apart from GTA V, which also managed to create diverse gameplay moments along its story, no game can compete with Uncharted 4 in this regard.

At the end of the day and probably the series, Naughty Dog has managed to create and deliver one of the rare games where visuals, story and gameplay are combined close to perfection. Uncharted 4 is one of those rare games that are must-plays for every gamer.

Rabidgames acknowledges greatness: For the first time, Indiana Jones would take his head off to an Uncharted game. The more serious tone, the improved mechanics and the outstanding balance of Uncharted 4 could easily be condensed into what would be a great movie with awesome vistas and an engaging story. Congratulations, Naughty Dog, you managed to convert an unbeliever!


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