“Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End” takes players through an over-the-top adventure that never lets up on the thrills. Released for the Playstation 4 on May 10, the game is the final installment in the “Uncharted” series, and continues the adventures of treasure hunter Nathan Drake.
The story follows Drake as he is reunited with his long-lost brother, Sam. The joyful reunion is cut short when his brother informs him that he has three months to find the treasure of the pirate Henry Avery, or risk being killed by a drug lord. The two begin a race against time for the treasure, which becomes complicated with an old rival seeking the same prize.
The gameplay hasn’t changed much since the first game debuted in 2007. It’s broken up into two styles: exploring landscapes, and getting into firefights with enemies.
The game heavily emphasizes exploration. Drake must scale a variety of buildings and cliffs throughout his journey. Level designs are wide and open, with multiple paths you can take to reach your destination. This freedom helps keep the game from feeling too linear.
The openness carries over to when you encounter enemies. You’re given complete freedom with how to dispose of them. Do you want to stay hidden, using the environment to your advantage to stealthily take out your enemies? Or do you want to run, guns blazing? You’re free to choose whatever play-style suits you best.
Sneaking around can be more challenging. Due to the enemy’s advanced AI, they can easily spot you if you’re not careful. However, the satisfaction you feel after clearing out a group of enemies without alerting a single one is a highly rewarding part of the game.
When it comes to graphics, developer Naughty Dog has certainly outdone itself. As you play through the game you’ll visit all sorts of unique locations, ranging from Italy and Mexico to Scotland and Madagascar. Each of these locations is incredibly beautiful and realistic; at times you’ll feel like you’re actually there.
The character models are equally impressive. You’ll notice every single detail, from the stubble on Drake’s chin, to how his clothes get stained with dirt and mud as you progress through a level. It’s these little additions that help make “A Thief’s End” one of the best looking games out there.
Where the game really shines, though, is with its writing. No matter how crazy the action sequences get, the game never loses focus on its story and characters. Nathan and Sam feel like real people, and no matter what happens, you feel like you can understand their motivations and why they make the decisions they do.
And while the game’s story is complex enough to keep old fans entertained, it’s self-contained enough to allow newcomers to jump into the game without having played any of the previous ones.
The game’s shortcoming comes in its final act, which stretches out for way too long. You end up doing the same tasks over and over again, and it becomes more tedious than fun.
While some of this is understandable, due to the game wrapping up the four-game series’ story, there’s still filler that could have been trimmed out.
Despite that issue, “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End” is a must-buy for gamers. It’s a proper send-off to the series and is likely to please fans new and old.