Uncharted 4: A Thief's End Review

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End Review

  • over 1 year ago by NiK Walker-Smith


  • Fantastic attention to detail - plot, graphics, characters
  • Tremendous fun - good balance of story, stealth, combat and platforming sections.
  • Amazing set pieces


  • A bit of a slow start to the plot, takes a while to get going
  • Puzzles aren’t that challenging

Well thanks Naughty Dog, you just made most other games look really crap and lazy.

Naughty Dog have got themselves a reputation of being able to squeeze remarkable graphics out of Playstation hardware. Back when Crash Bandicoot was released on the original PlayStation Naughty Dog were assumed to have received special help from Sony due to the amazing (at the time) graphics they hacked to the limited PlayStation hardware.

Check out this video which explains quite how remarkable Naughty Dog are: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sbUdMNIG20

Like all previous Uncharted entries, the quality of graphics and attention to detail in number 4 is at times mind-blowing. I recently played through Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and the character animation is a world apart from Uncharted 4. In Deus Ex, outside of pre-rendered cut scenes the characters are static, rooted to the spot when conversing and are limited to moving their arms and shifting their weight a bit, it just feels totally unnatural, and about 10 years out of date. In comparison, Uncharted utilises motion capture of good real actors and as a result the in-game conversations feel so much more real, natural and of a higher production value. The writing feels stronger, the in-game banter between all the characters is entertaining, at times funny and others dramatic…mostly when appropriate.

Uncharted 4 starts with an action packed opening but quickly moves to flashbacks and a lengthy slower paced section that tries to bring you up to speed with Nathan Drake and his “retirement” from adventuring. it also introduces his brother Sam and setup the plot that inevitably involves Drake being pulled back into treasure hunting. The game is peppered throughout with more plot and definitely feels more influenced by Naughty Dog’s “The Last of Us” in terms of storytelling and pacing compared to previous Uncharted games. On the whole I found this excellent, once the plot gets going it’s fine, but I felt the new brother figure Sam, was a bit of a retcon - where was he in the last 3 games? - and took a bit too long to get to the next action packed sequence.

It’s rather easy to take for granted how well crafted Uncharted’s action sequences are now that we’re on the fourth (main) installment. Once the plot gets moving the pacing is quite good, with slower explor-y sections sprinkled between the stunning set pieces. The game is still very much linear but has some more open sections to explore, notably in the jeep vehicle in the Madagascar section. The free-flowing platforming sections are still the core of the game and the combat is still satisfactory - to sometimes great. The variety of enemies is still a bit on the slim side. Nathan now has a rope with grappling hook (seems to act as a whip for climbing) that basically turns him into Indiana Jones. You can use it to traverse during the calmer platform sections and get around faster whilst in combat or sneaking.

In this game Nathan Drake and his friends are on the hunt for the pirate Henry Avery’s treasure and the pirate colony of Libertalia. Their journey takes them to a variety of environments - rocky cold Scottish highlands to beautiful tropic islands that you need boats to traverse. The puzzles are not too taxing but there’s some good sections where the jeep is integrated very well - infact, it doesn’t feel forced like the Batmobile in Arkham Knight. There is a good mix between exploring, stealth, combat and running for your life. The game has the standard intense uncharted sections - notably the car chase shown off in the demos, which is very linear but brilliant. The game actually has a good ending and epilogue, something that is increasingly rare nowadays.

Uncharted 4 is very well polished and I did not encounter any bugs, although I’m pretty sure it was giving my PS4 quite a hard time as the fan was going bananas the majority of the time. I have yet to try the multiplayer but I have heard it is pretty good but the player base may have dwindled as it has been a while since launch.

If you have a PlayStation 4 it should probably be compulsory to own or at least have played this game, it really is that good. I strongly recommend you give it a try.