At this point, there is almost no use of writing an Uncharted 4 review. The internet is flooded with them, and almost each one of them is good (Apart from some crazy dude at Washington Post, but that’s a whole different story altogether). My point is, Naughty Dog were so confident that they had made a gem of a game that they lifted the embargo on the game a full week before it got released. That’s how good the game is.
What kind of game is Uncharted 4? Asked my father, my brother and my wife (on 3 separate occasions) and I told them it was Indiana Jones meets Tomb Raider meets National Treasure. It’s a summer blockbuster, filled with explosion and set-pieces. It’s an adventure which swerves from Malaysia to Italy to Scotland to Madagascar. Everything about Uncharted 4 gives you the vibe that you are watching a Hollywood flick, and a very good one at that.
|(+) Excellent Story and meaningful characters
||(-) Stackable Trophies
|(+) Beautiful Visuals
|(+) Amazing set-pieces
Detailed Uncharted 4: A Theif’s End Review
(+) Uncharted: The Movie
The game activated on Monday. And in that week, I played the game 2 hours each night until the weekend, after which I basically went crazy. That is not remarkable in itself. What is remarkable is that during all my play through, my brother sat alongside me and watched me play.
The fact that he sat through the entire game without even once asking for the remote told you how good a story, the people at Naughty Dog had come up with. It wasn’t mind-boggling like Inception, neither was it down and gritty like Last Of Us. It was simple, and yet intriguing. It was straight-forward and you could see the twist from a mile but the ride there was extremely fun.
And it looked beautiful too. The sunny Malaysia, the cold and harsh England, opulent Italy, and finally the tropical sweaty and menacing jungle of Madagascar; every place in Uncharted is detailed and immensely beautiful. The lost city of Libertalia is bigger and deeper as you dwelve deeper into it, and you can but marvel at what they have created. More than once in the game you would find yourself staring at the colorful vistas that the game presents.
The story and the canvas though is not the only good thing about Uncharted 4. Nathan and Sam Drake (Nolan North and Troy Baker) share a connection which can only be seen in brothers with their inside jokes, kiddish rivalry and un-compromising commitment to each other, even when they disagree. Sam’s reluctance to trust Sully while Nathan’s faith in him provides a nice sub-plot during the start of the game. While Nathan’s relationship with Elena which is struggling to find balance between “normal” and “adventure” is explored during the latter half of the game. Nadine’s cold calculated deadly and practical mercenary plays the perfect foil to Rafe Adler’s very rich, very jealous, very psycho antagonist. And in those 6 figures you have the entire cast of the videogame, none of which complains of being under-exposed or un-utilized.
And then there are the set-pieces. Oh my god the set-pieces. The trip downhill a slow Madagascar town is what everyone thinks of thanks to the demo. But you know what the crazy part is, that’s just half of the sequence. That particular stretches on for a good 10 more minutes, before you get a chance to catch your breath. And it’s not the only one. There is another, where you are escaping a collapsing cave, another where you are running through crashing buildings, and another where you are trying to outrun a HAV (Heavily Armored Vehicle) through narrow streets ON FOOT. I can go on, but then that would be spoilers.
(+) Uncharted: The Game
Of course Uncharted is a decent game in itself. There Assassin’s Creed elements in the game which are hard to miss, but unlike the Assassin’s Creed series, where everything is scalable, you only move forward in Uncharted (or in some cases upwards or downwards or left or right, as the case maybe) if you are moving in the right direction (be it the story or a bonus item). The beauty in it though that Nathan makes leaps and jumps that are just beyond the reach of a normal human and just making those jumps feels fantastic every single time.
There is no character progression in the game, and neither is equipment upgrade. That in itself is a bold move, since leveling up and grinding are integral part of video game replayability. Especially since the single player campaign last somewhere between 10-12 hours with no skipping of cut-scenes. But Naughty Dog assumes that you would like to come back to the story with increasing difficulty and unlocked bonus mode (like 8 bit rendering, and 4 bit audio). Whether that is a wise move, we would find out later. But honestly, Uncharted does not feel like it needed the skill tree, Drake was good at what he did in the last Uncharted, and that’s where he picks up from, seems legit.
The combat on the other hand feels encumbering to the entire experience. Not to say it isn’t smooth or clunky, but it came in my way of the progression and soon I was blowing stuff up recklessly just so I can get through the next wave of enemies and move on with the game. Though I have to say it was strategically placed to provide breaks from the constant climbing that Drake was doing, which is important to pace the game.
The multiplayer plays very similar to the multiplayer in Last Of Us. If Last Of Us had more colors, and no zombies. There are 2 two teams, one is full of Nathan’s rogues, while the other is full of corporate army goons and they are pitted against each other in various modes like deathmatch. There is nothing to write home about the multiplayer apart from the fact that this mode does provide skins, and level up of equipment and so scratches the grinding itch of the regular gamer. But once again, in my opinion the multiplayer is not central to the Uncharted experience.
(-) Uncharted : The Trophies
Trophy wise, Uncharted places its bets on skill rather than experiment. There are various guns to try in the game (Yay!) but no trophy for using all of them (Boo!), though there are trophies for doing something specific with specific weapons (Meh!). It does not encourage you to try different combinations either in Single player or multiplayer, but it does encourage you to try insane stuff like using the rifle, the handgun, melee and a bomb on enemies within 15 seconds. There is also a speed-run trophy which is unlocked if you finish the game within 6 hours, while there is another which asks you to collect all trophies and journal items, which seem kind of contradictory. To round it off there are the signature difficulty locked trophies, but given my recent aversion to tough games, I went for the easiest difficulty this time.