This is the end, and things will never be the same.
EDIT: With another fantastic review, here is our esteemed writer, Corey Bonanno.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Review
The Uncharted series has consistently been a Playstation powerhouse title for almost a decade.
The characters, the historically fantastical backdrops, and the intense blockbuster action has
enchanted gamers and massively influenced the industry. When a fourth title was announced,
there was skepticism towards another installment in Drake’s journey. However, the repetitive
climbing, unrelenting combat arenas, and atypical puzzle solving never seems to hit a point of
overstaying it’s welcome. The pacing and structure allow for the plot to move forward and
draws you further into Drake’s world.
Over the years, Naughty Dog has successfully shown again and again their intent to push the
games industry into the future with character driven narratives and utilizing their platform’s
technological capabilities with boundless ingenuity. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is truly a
masterclass in design and story. With this being Naughty Dog’s final adventure for, Nathan
Drake, the saga is not only successfully bookended, but it also provides a deep and connective
closure for the characters and fans to reflect on even after the final credits.
What truly makes Uncharted so special is the relationships of the characters. How they grow,
change, love and betray; the writing of Uncharted sets it above the competition. Even with new
characters being introduced to the series, the writing is able to make them fit and have a history
that allows a seamless character integration. Sam, Drake’s older brother, who has never been
mentioned in the previous titles, seems to be instantly believable in the fiction. It is as if he has
always been a part of the series. Drake and Sam’s relationship truly feels like two brothers
separated for years, returning to each other and rediscovering their brotherhood.
The character interactions and relationships keeps the repetitive nature of the gameplay from
overstaying it’s welcome. This isn’t to say the mechanics haven’t been finely tuned and greatly
improved on the Playstation 4’s new hardware. The hand-to- hand combat and gunplay has
taken strong notes from, The Last of Us. The violence is gritty and scrappy with a very realistic
and lasting impact. It still manages to keep an overall lighthearted nature with the action, but
the narrative and overall mood is much darker in subject matter and content.
Naughty Dog’s engine has been overhauled in a massive way when it comes to the technical
leaps Uncharted 4 has made. Always an industry trendsetter, Uncharted, has once again
flushed out even some of the smallest environmental details. The simple concept of putting
physics into the act of maneuvering down loose rocks and giving the rocks collision to gather
more into a “scree” slope run, is impressive in terms of world detail. This is just one example
that lends believability to the world and the hazards of the natural settings.
Going forward, The Uncharted franchise may be at a a close, at least under Naughty Dog’s
tutelage. This does not necessarily mean we will never see another. Sony knows that the
series is a financial success, and could still be farmed out to a different studio. It does feel like
Nathan Drake’s story is finished. It is “A Thief’s End” after all. What’s so impressive about the
talent of the studio is that whether it is a new story set in the Last of Us universe, or an entirely
new property, the studio produces gold.
Uncharted 4, is a masterpiece, plain and simple. It is a sequel gamers didn’t know they needed.
Naughty dog understands their games, and understands how to maintain their place at the
pinnacle of development. If fortune favors Naughty Dog, there is only room for improvement.
The creative teams are capable; seamlessly bringing game design, mechanics, and narrative
together harmoniously time and time again. With momentum like this, the industry can only
excel as a medium of art capable of capturing all audiences.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End 95 – 100