Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is the latest entry into the Indiana Jones style, 3rd person action adventure series. It is also likely the last entry in the series from famed Sony developer Naughty Dog. The game's main attraction is an 11-15 hour main story that takes the player across the world in search of, well, treasure. Naughty Dog included a multiplayer mode, but I will keep my focus on the real reason we all bought Uncharted 4, the campaign.
No surprises will be found here. You will scale large cliffs and clock towers, shoot plenty of baddies, and solve the occasional ancient puzzle. Although all of these are very fun, don't expect any drastically new gameplay elements in a Thief's End, other than the classic video game rope which can be used to Tarzan swing around levels and scale walls. The rope is a great addition, but it left me wondering why Nate decided it just now would be a useful tool. The shooting in Uncharted 4 is much improved from past games in the series and the introduction of stealth makes shooting more impactful when you decide to use it. While it is valid to claim other games do third person shooting and controls better than Uncharted 4, it is still top notch in A Thief's End. The climbing is not far from what we experienced Uncharted 2 and 3. You will jump, rope swing, slide, and of course have plenty of ledges and bridges collapse under you. The puzzles force the player to dig through Nate's handy notebook for clues on which tile to place where or what location to move a block to. Even though we've seen most of this before, these elements are varied enough throughout the campaign to avoid boredom from over repetition.
Uncharted 4 opens with a Nathan Drake who has given up treasure hunting for a calm suburban life with fan favorite Elena Fisher. The return of Nate's long lost brother Sam Drake forces him into one last adventure. Sam's absence from past Uncharted games is expertly justified and Sam and Nate's relationship throughout this game feels very natural. This is aided by excellent performances from Troy Baker and Nolan North, which is certainly not a surprise. A Thief's End continues to bring the player across continents in search of Captain Henry Avery's lost pirate treasure. The story of Captain Avery is uncovered piece by piece throughout the campaign and is just as engaging as Nate's story. The parallels drawn between Avery's crew and the Drake brothers is a joy to watch unfold. Aside from a slower beginning, which is needed to fully set up new characters, the pacing throughout Uncharted 4 is superb. The often changing locations, engaging plot points, and variety of gameplay elements make the entire campaign a pleasure to play through.
Graphically speaking, A Thief's End is not only the best looking game on PlayStation 4, but quite possibly the best looking game ever created. The lush landscapes, jaw dropping views, and hand crafted detail in every last rock and pillar is unprecedented in video games. The game runs at a solid 30 frames per second and at no point left me wanting better performance. In addition graphical prowess, Naughty Dog, as usual, gives us a game that seamlessly transitions gameplay into cut scenes with video production better than plenty of films. I can't help but think A Thief's End may end up being a better movie than Sony Pictures Uncharted movie.
An engaging and thoughtful story, great game play mechanics, and a level of cinematic production value only matched by past Naughty Dog games make this treasure hunting adventure a masterpiece and a must play for any PlayStation 4 owner.
+Outstanding graphical presentation
+Seamless integration between gameplay and narrative
-Slow beginning chapters