Uncharted 4 is incredible. I’ve only put in around 2 hours so far, and I can confidently tell you, this game is incredible. Now these are early thoughts, just my first impressions, but from what I have seen so far, I’m in for one hell of a ride, the game so far has made all the right choices, and the pacing has been phenomenal, but let’s get into why.
From the very opening scene, graphically, this game is simply gorgeous, the detail on our characters is truly spectacular, and you are thrust into a chaotic boat chase, this sequence is fantastic as it serves as a good taste of the games driving mechanics, swimming controls and highlights a little gun play to. Now you can choose to use an auto aim but this isn’t as fun or as challenging I find, although the option is there should you want it. The chase reaches an intense conclusion when you are tasked with not only avoiding mines shot at you by the mysterious chasers, but also navigating your way through barely visible but deadly rocks. I won’t spoil how the scene ends but it transitions nicely into the next scene.
We’re taken back to Nathan’s childhood, this time seeing him in the catholic orphanage he was brought up in, after a telling off by one of the nuns, Nathan notices a flash light being aimed him by big brother Sam, once in control of Nathan again, you get a good reminder of the games main focus, and that is its navigation, jumps, climbing and all the high risk manoeuvring you have come to expect from Uncharted. As you make your way throughout the orphanage, you have to stay undetected, until you eventually make it to Sam on the rooftop. This sequence also introduces us to the character that is Sam,, Nathan’s brother who has since left the orphanage and found a life for himself, doing unspecified work. Again I won’t spoil their interactions but with the meet and greet aside, there’s a bit more platforming work to be done, and also the welcome addition of the grappling hook, which is shown to be useful for climbing and descending from buildings, as well as swinging between huge gaps and pulling down obstacles that would otherwise deny you progression to new areas.
Another scene with a heart to heart between the brothers which leads to another transition, this time the adult Nathan Drake is in a prison, in the middle of a fight with one of the inmates. This sequence reintroduces us to the combat system, which looks to be more brutal than ever. Nathan and the inmate take turns at battering each other as the crowd around them take turns at pushing them back into the fray. Here we are reminded of combo techniques, counter attacks and dodging, which is done with well-timed rolls that allow you a brief escape from the heat of the moment. After a decent amount of time practising these skills, Drake is led away, and placed in solitude. Later on, Drake is led through the prisons halls and you get to see some good old-fashioned police brutality.
Without spoiling any of the game’s plot, the next part is all about traversing a tower, utilising the grappling hook and gives us our first taste of puzzle solving. An easy enough one for starters but perfectly done, leaving me personally very excited for what is to come next. With the puzzle solved, another scene plays out and another character, Rafe, is introduced, a rich aristocrat type with the same goal as Nathan and Sam. Drake is placed into an ongoing fight, which highlights some brutal but satisfying combat, and impressive teamwork from Drake and Sam, after a prolonged fight, another scene takes place, and things suddenly get very, very out of hand. I can’t spoil it here unfortunately, but the next few sequences are insane, and lead to some heavy-hearted viewing.
It’s at this point that I stopped playing. As I type this, I am currently beginning Chapter 3, and the first image I see is Drake underwater in Scuba gear, I am very excited now to explore the ocean, and see what comes of this. A few things worth mentioning, the games graphics genuinely are spectacular, from character models to environmental visuals, the effort here is second to none. With early indicators of what to expect from Naughty Dog’s earlier work in The Last of Us after its PS4 release and the Uncharted Collection, I don’t think anybody expected this one to be a disappointment. Also making a return is the Photo Mode feature, which is awesome for creating set pieces and stunning photo opportunities. With plenty of features and bits to play with it’s well worth switching on, so as to capture a memorable moment at any given time.
With Sully and Elena still to be reintroduced, and a magnitude of locations and characters to meet, things are looking very promising for Uncharted 4 and this may yet be my early shout for Game of the Year. I’ll be sure to follow-up with a full review, and a separate feature on the games Multiplayer which I have yet to dive into. If this is truly to be A Thief’s End, it looks like Naughty Dog are sending the franchise out with an earth shattering bang.
Image – Naughty Dog