I recently picked up a PS4 Slim during the Black Friday deals. Bundled with it was a copy of Uncharted 4. Now, I’m not usually one for these kinds of action-adventure type games but I was very surprised at this game.
Naughty Dog is a very popular studio that continues to push the boundaries of cinematic-type games. They’ve released the Uncharted series, The Last of Us and are currently working on The Last of Us 2 as well as a standalone, spin-off Uncharted game that focuses on other characters from the series.
Uncharted 4, as mentioned above, is an action-adventure game centered on the escapades and adventures of Nathan Drake. At the time of playing Uncharted 4, I had only played a couple of hours of Uncharted 2 and hadn’t played any other games in the series, so my knowledge of the previous games was somewhat limited. However, after finishing Uncharted 4 I finally understood why the series was so popular: they’re amazing looking, well written and well-acted games that have passion pouring out of every seam (At least the 4th one is).
Firstly I’ll talk about the story without spoiling too much. The first chapter of the game is an explosive start with Nathan and his brother Sam attempting to escape what appears to be the National Guard for an unknown country, a big boat chase scene with lots of explosions and shooting. After being captured by the authorities, Nathan and his brother Sam are sent to a Panamanian prison to serve time.
This entire chapter, and many other chapters, take place before the events of the first game (Drake’s Fortune). The prison chapters give way to chapters revealing Nathan and his brother’s past and sheds light on the reason the brothers are pursuing the long-lost treasure of pirate Henry Avery. Having some back story about Nathan and his brother is really good, their banter is great and it adds another layer to their somewhat complicated relationship.
The pirate-centered story really hits home for me. I’m a huge fan of pirate related stories; one of my favorite movies is The Goonies after all! Speaking of The Goonies, many of the situations that you find yourself in really feels reminiscent of that movie. Trying to find secret pirate treasure for an urgent need or situation? It may be a trope, but it’s one that I don’t mind encountering from time-to-time.
The characters are also a huge part of why the story is as great as it is. Nathan Drake is your typical adventurer, Indiana Jones type. His wife, Elena, is pretty much just a female version of himself. Victor “Goddamn” Sullivan is your loud-mouth, cigar smoking companion who always seems to be pulling your butt out of sticky situations. Sam is the misunderstood brother.
As trope-y as the characters are, it’s not really the archetypes that make them interesting. The banter between them all throughout the game is amazing, and is very well written. They joke and poke fun at each other and when a difficult situation presents itself they act in a manner that I’d say is appropriate. The characters really stand out in this game, they’re awesome and easily the most memorable part of the entire game.
The locales that you encounter range from the Panamanian prison, to the Scottish Highlands, to King’s Bay, Madagascar. All the locations are wonderfully presented, they’re beautiful and the attention to detail is astounding. Naughty Dog really thought of everything. If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s the graphical fidelity of these games. Everything is meticulously crafted down to the rocks and mud sliding down the slopes.
Action and shooting parts of the game really ended up being my least favorite part of the game. That’s not to say the shooting is bad, in fact it’s really good, but the real grandeur of these games comes from the “adventure” part of the game and not so much the “action” part. Part of the grandiose-nature of the game definitely comes from the ridiculous situations that Nathan and his cohorts find themselves in.
One thing that I’ll definitely say was unnecessary was the “dialogue tree” that was added. In many parts of the game, you’ll be given 2 or 3 dialogue options from which to choose. You’d think that these would have a slight impact on the situation that Nathan was in but they ultimately meant nothing at all. The dialogue options are unnecessary and I almost forgot about them completely.
Overall, I’m a bit partial to this game as it takes on the pirate theme. The locations are beautiful and extremely detailed, and the Indiana Jones style story is something that could really hit the nostalgia buttons of many players. A few hiccups as far as the action sequences and the dialogue “choices” are concerned don’t take away from the grand story of the game.