“I can’t believe how real these games look these days.”-my wife, watching me play Uncharted 4

Uncharted 4 starts slowly, perhaps too slowly for my taste.  By chapter 6/7 things had picked up significantly and that’s about where I stopped to write this review.  You will see my (Jacen Hardy’s) opinion as the main body of the article, but then you will see two different perspectives on the game as well.  Now, on with the review.

Presentation:

Uncharted 4 is a gorgeous game.  I don’t think this surprises anyone.  4 hours in, I am not certain that I agree with the “best looking PS4 game” sentiment with games like Witcher 3 and even Infamous Second Son out there, but it’s no slouch in the looks department.   The story cutscenes are seamlessly woven into the gameplay in a way that few developers can manage.  The voice acting, animation, and pacing are all top notch as you would expect from a Naughty Dog Uncharted game.  I can’t fully explain why, but I get more of an Uncharted 3 feeling from this game than an Uncharted 2.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End™_20160510205413

This is the prettiest screenshot I could post without someone screaming “SPOILERS!”

I can’t fully explain why, but I get more of an Uncharted 3 feeling from this game than an Uncharted 2, at least in the opening hours.  Uncharted 2 grabbed you from the get go with one of the greatest sequences in video game history and never let up. By the time Uncharted 3 rolled around, I suppose I was expecting too much and never felt like it fully reached the heights of 2.  I am very early on in 4, but I fear that may be the case here as well.  I wanted to be immediately blown away by Uncharted 4, and while there were some “wow” moments, I felt like I had kind of seen it all before.

The story is presented through cutscenes and character banter while accomplishing the actual missions.  It’s seamless and fun and remarkably well done.  I can’t knock it for that.  I simply cannot shake the feeling that it’s not quite clicking for me.

Gameplay: 

If you have played an Uncharted game before, you know exactly what to expect.  Long sections of platforming/climbing perforated by hordes of enemies who need to be shot in the head.  For Uncharted 4, they added a grappling hook mechanic which adds some extra speed to the platforming, and they beefed up the stealth mechanic to allow you to approach some situations without the need for bullets.  It’s all extremely polished and fun.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End™_20160513211849

Lots of this.

I think I may have grown tired of Uncharted games though.  The platforming is fun, yes, but I find myself only playing to see the next cutscene or get another bit of story.  The gunplay really grates on me these days as I feel like there are almost too many enemies coming from every direction to really be fun.  I die more in Uncharted than I do in Dark Souls sometimes.  As a working father, I don’t have time for that.  I have beaten all of the other Uncharted games on medium difficulty, but this may be the first one I turn it down on.  Not because the game is more difficult, but because I am at a different point in my life than I was for Uncharted 3.

Verdict:

This was a difficult game for me to score.  On the one hand, if you love the Uncharted games, it’s more of the same and I’m certain it will ultimately tie up Nathan Drake’s story.  I will continue playing it for that.  For me, though, I have grown tired of the too long gunfights and so I can’t give it my highest recommendation.

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BScotch’s Take

I love the Uncharted series.  I like Uncharted 4.  The series was the standard for cinematic adventure games supplanting Tomb Raider, the old Indiana Jones PC games, Soul Reaver, etc.  Uncharted 4 started slow for me – very, very slow.  At around 5 hours I am on Chapter 8 and it remains slow.  The gun battles are unappealing, easy, and boring.  Uncharted 1 had a learning curve for run, gun and hide.  Uncharted 4 places you exactly where you need to be.  This game was made for the masses and it shows.  Even the puzzles suffer.  There were times in Uncharted series (2 especially) where I was dumbfounded on some parts.  That is where the game makes or breaks for me.

The game is beautiful.  Luckily I have a 4K TV that takes advantage of the artwork and a surround system with theater quality sound…well, dollar theater.  No matter – the development team captures the locations to perfection.  The voice acting remains a genre leader.  You will hear quite a bit of talking.

The game controls wonderfully and nearly wills you to make the correct decision when in fights, climbing and running.  I have yet to reach any driving levels, so no comment on that front.

The problem so far is that the game is too easy, too cookie cutter, too slow.  I don’t care about the characters like I used to and the wonder of the treasure being sought after is lame.  But hey, it looks, sounds and control great – and that’s a plus, right?

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Jonathan Alan’s Take

When I started playing Uncharted 4 I had intentions of just playing four hours and then write a review about it. Well once I started the first chapter I lost track of time. Six hours later I realized that I hadn’t eaten lunch and was on chapter 9. This game pulled me in to a world that I didn’t want to leave until I knew how it ended.

While there may not be any scenes like free falling from a plane or climbing up a derailed train, Uncharted 4 does deliver steady set pieces that get you adrenaline rushing and leaving you saying ”Whoa….that just happened”. Combat hasn’t changed much since the last installment. You still find cover and shoot, but now you also get a grappling hook and the ability to hide in tall grass. This does make the game feel more accessible to different play styles, but at times can feel a little repetitive.

Naughty Dog has definitely learned a lot from their last game, The Last of Us. The story in Uncharted 4 is better than any of the previous titles. It does have a slow pace in the beginning but that is to help you get invested in the new cast of characters. About a quarter of the way into the game is when it starts to feel like the previous Uncharted games but in a much more mature tone. Not so much that it is a mature game with gore and nudity, but that Nathan Drake has matured and you feel that when you play. By last you few chapters you see a change in Nate that is truly shows his age. Since this is a spoiler free review, I will just say Naughty Dog accomplished an ending that is well worth your time.

Multiplayer

Uncharted multiplayer does nothing new in the world of online shooters. With limited maps and only four modes to choose from this feels like a shallow afterthought, only put on since the previous Uncharted games have had them. This is a shame since they could have made some really interesting treasure modes or have pirate clans that you could join.

Verdict

Overall this game is a must play for any body who owns a PS4. This is the pinnacle of console graphics, level design and storytelling.

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