What would you do if your brother who has been dead for 15 years suddenly came to your doorstep and needed your help? And if that help consisted of hunting for a long-lost pirate treasure that’s haunted you for 15 years so your now not dead brother won’t get killed by a Panamanian drug lord, would you do it? That’s the premise of the final chapter for Nathan Drake in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Nate, now retired from the treasure hunting game, was “enjoying” the next phase of his life until his dead brother comes back and throws his life for a loop for “one last job”. This last job consists of the Drake brothers searching for an ancient pirate island called Libertalia.
I’ve been a big fan of the Uncharted series and followed Nate on his travels all over the world through the first 3 games. It’s kind of bittersweet that Drake’s saga is coming to an end, but I’m glad that Naughty Dog is able to give their series the ending they want. Also, let me preface this and say that if you’ve played any of the Uncharted games and own a PS4, then there’s no reason for this game to not be in your library. No point in reading the rest of this, GO BUY THE DAMN GAME.
Ok now that disclaimer is out the way, I can tell about the actual game. If you didn’t know what kind of power the PlayStation 4 has, the veteran Naughty Dog team definitely shows it off. Uncharted 4 is a gorgeous looking game. There were times when I just had to stop playing and take in how beautiful this game was. My friend Nathan at humanstein.com told me if it weren’t for the PS4 share hashtag he wouldn’t have known it was a video game. So that lets you know that the game looks amazing. It’s the reason everybody is fired up this evening.
Now if you’ve played any of the other Uncharted games, then you’re already familiar with the gameplay. However, one new crinkle Uncharted 4 adds in is a grappling rope. The grappling rope throws in a little bit of variety in the normal, run of the mill Uncharted exploration sections. You also play most of the game alongside your brother so there are a few puzzles where Sam lends a helping hand.
Though the Drake brothers don’t have any super powers, they do have super powered hands. Because there’s no fucking way a normal human hand can withstand the way the Drake brothers jump from mountain to mountain. My hands hurt just from trying to open a can of pickles. (Yes I know it’s just a game, but still, they have hands of steel.)
Another great gameplay feature I liked was the stealth moments in the game. There were ample opportunities, which I didn’t really take, to be all stealthy and James Bondsy when it came to taking down enemies. My style of playing was more like take out a few guys quietly, get caught and then have a shootout. But there are definitely ways to take out everyone without using a single bullet. I, however, didn’t have the patience for that.
I talked a little bit about the story earlier, but because this is such a more personal story than “find the rare treasure, try not to die” formula that the previous games had, I don’t want to spoil much of it. However, I’m completely satisfied with not just the story, but the ending and epilogue. You’re left with no open-ended questions at the end that could leave you thinking that there could be one more Nathan Drake adventure. One of the things that I loved about the story was that although this was the 4th entry in the series, we got to learn a lot more about Nate’s past as if it was an origin story. Like I said, it’s a very well done, satisfying story that all Uncharted fans will appreciate.
As far as things I didn’t like about this game…I can’t think of any. If I HAVE to pick something, I would say I didn’t like the fact that there aren’t many big set pieces in this one. The previous games were known for their big Indiana Jones-esque set pieces, and while there are some sprinkled in the game, they aren’t the focal point of the game. Which is perfectly fine with me because of the type of story Naughty Dog was trying to tell.
Overall, if you’re a PlayStation 4 owner, this is one of those games you need in your library. Even if you never played any of the previous Uncharted games, A Thief’s End is just a fun game to play and show off to your non-PS4 owning friends the power of the PlayStation 4. I won’t assign numbered ratings to my reviews, but so far in 2016, this has been my favorite game. So go play it and tell me what you liked about it down in the comments!