Uncharted 4 : A Thief’s End

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The Intro Screen

Date Completed : June 4th, 2016

It looks like the Olympics are on once again which means that my wife will be commandeering the Television for two weeks.  During the Winter Olympics 2 years ago I was able to take the opportunity to complete The Last Of Us but this time around I think I’ll start by getting caught up with my blogging.

I spent the first few hours playing Uncharted 4 taking screenshots of everything. This is the first PS4 exclusive game that I’ve played on my PS4 and it looks fantastic.  It took awhile but eventually the ‘Wow’ wore off enough for me to focus on playing like I would any other Uncharted game.

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Don’t Sneeze!

Being a long-time fan I already knew the drill and I set myself up with a spoiler-free walkthrough that detailed all of the hidden treasure locations.  I played all three of the previous game without the assistance of a walkthrough and each time I regretted it.  The hidden treasures are squirreled away pretty deep in some cases and I’d rather be experiencing the story than exploring every nook.

One of the things that really stood out for me was the bantering.  Characters engage in bantering with each other and it comes off as perfectly natural.  I never observed any ‘repeat’ conversations – I can’t imagine how much voice work must have been recorded to make this game possible.

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Lots of back-seat driver banter through this section…

The game plays exactly like the predecessors, with the notable exception of rope/vine swinging mechanics.  I thought that I’d enjoy the vine mechanics more but in practice I didn’t find a lot of opportunities where it made much of a difference.  I usually went with my go-to strategy of charging down my enemies with guns-a-blazing.

So, how does the game rank in the grand scheme?  I’ve really enjoyed every single Uncharted game but when I think back on previous titles I think I enjoyed them all for different reasons.  The original Uncharted had a small cast while later games had much more cast members with seriously over-the-top action sequences.  I think Uncharted 4 manages to recapture some of that small cast vibe while still including great action.  Thinking back on the games I think that Uncharted 4 may be my new favorite.  Here’s my official ranking, if you’re keeping score:

  1. Uncharted 4
  2. Uncharted 2
  3. Uncharted & Uncharted : Golden Abyss (Tie)
  4. Uncharted 3

The game is too violent to let the kids watch but sometimes I let them sit in the room with me between action scenes.  Some of the language in the bantering sections could get questionable but the kids didn’t seem to have noticed.  Whenever bullets started flying I’d kick the kids out of the room.

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Sometimes you’ve gotta push a wagon.

Occasionally my wife wandered in while I was playing and she seemed at least somewhat interested in the story.  The storytelling is one of the elements that has elevated the Uncharted games above other similar games.  This game continues the tradition, and being Nathan Drake’s last outing they take every opportunity to please long time fans in every way.

I didn’t purchase this game – I borrowed it from a colleague.  This game is a lot of fun and I can see myself plaything through it again but it’ll have to wait until I have access to another copy!

Is it fun: Yes
Score: 9/10
Length:  20 hours
System: Playstation 4
Genre: Action / Third-Person Shooter

Uncharted : Golden Abyss

Date Completed: 9/25/2012

My wife was kind enough to get me a Playstation Vita for my Birthday this year.  I was very excited to try out my new console but the only game I had for it initially was Uncharted : Golden Abyss.  I had just finished playing through Uncharted 3 I wasn’t feeling up for another Uncharted game at the time so I sadly decided to postpone the experience.  A few months passed and my poor neglected Vita gathered dust and was jumped on by toddlers.  I bought a hard clamshell case with a child-proof latch to protect it from my boys.  For extra security I kept the Vita stored safely on a high shelf behind a pile of distractingly intresting things where they were unlikely to find it.  After the hand-hating controls of Kid Icarus I was ready for something with dual analog sticks so I finally retrieved my neglected Vita from the top shelf, charged it back up and gave Uncharted : Golden Abyss a try.

Uncharted : Golden Abyss is a mobile Uncharted, which is awesome, but it’s also a tech demo for every piece of technology Sony threw into the Vita.  Uncharted is played with the same controls as its big brothers on the PS3 but players may also optionally use the touch screen, rear touch panel and/or gyro controls for certain portions of the game.  Without exception the traditional controls gave a better game play experience so I used them whenever possible.  There are a few times in the game that require the touch screen such as when Drake creates a charcoal rubbing or wipes the dirt off of some artifact he found.  Some of the puzzles are actual, literal puzzles, and you arrange the pieces using the touch screen.  I’ll be honest, I actually enjoyed some of the puzzles and charcoal rubbing parts of the game.  The controls were far more comfortable than anything on the 3DS.

The story of this game takes place prior to the events of Uncharted.  Drake has apparently been hired by some dubious characters to search for treasure on the property of other dubious characters all of whom are backed up by giant armies staffed by dubious characters.  Not to give away too much of the plot or everything, but before the game is over Drake will kill EVERYONE.  Everyone dead.  Armies wiped out.  Countries depopulated.  Drake is a bad man.  During all of the mass-murdering mayhem Drake meets Marisa Chase, who is continuing the research of her missing Grandfather.  The plot has the normal twists and turns and the idle moments are filled with the semi-witty banter that Uncharted fans know and love.

That’s not Elena! Drake you bastard!

Having most recently played my 3DS I found that the graphics looked amazing, although I thought the colors looked a bit off.  Most of the graphics appeared to have come straight out of the original PS3 Uncharted game so it might have been I was used to them looking differently on my TV set.  I’ve also heard that OLED displays such as the one in the Vita have color saturation issues (whatever that means) so it’s possible that is what I was detecting.  After I got used to the colors I didn’t notice any issues.  The screen is large, clear and bright and it looks great.

No complaints in the graphics department.

Uncharted wouldn’t be Uncharted without treasure hunting side quests.  Golden Abyss has so many hidden treasures that I felt overwhelmed looking for them all.  There are charcoal rubbings, turquoise carvings, statues, photographs and bounties that can be collected at various points through the missions.  It was too much for me so I didn’t bother to look for everything on my first time through the game.  I plowed through and enjoyed the ride.  I plan on going back through the game later for my Platinum Trophy and I’ll use a guide to help find everything.  There is a lot to look for.

I’d say Uncharted : Golden Abyss is just as good as the original Uncharted game for the PS3.  It’s not quite as enjoyable as Uncharted 2 or 3 but it’s still a high quality title and I am very happy with my first full gaming experience on the Vita.

Pros

  • Portable Mass-Murder Simulator.
  • Overwhelmingly high amount of treasure to find.
  • Serves as a tech-demo of Vita hardware capabilities.

Cons

  • More similar to original Uncharted than more recent titles.
Is it fun: Yes
Score: 8/10
Length:  ~8 hours
System: Playstation Vita
Genre: Action

Uncharted 3 : Drake’s Deception

Date Completed: May 25th, 2012

Everyone’s favorite mass murderer is back on another treasure hunt and he’s brought whole crew is back with him.  This time Nathan Drake and Sully are on the trail of a creepy old woman from Nate and Sully’s past.  She’s in search of a lost city containing and untold riches and Nathan and Sully want to get there first.

Gameplay is pretty much identical to previous Uncharted titles with some incremental improvements, but what has always set the Uncharted series apart is the storytelling. This is easily the most complex story yet attempted by the series. It spans multiple continents and weaves historical fact and fictional narrative into a rich and vibrant tapestry that makes me a little concerned for the history students of tomorrow (You know, the ones who thought ‘The Da Vinci code was accurate’).

All of the characters from previous Uncharted games (except the ones ruthlessly murdered by Drake) make cameo appearances.  The relationships between the characters have continued on in a believable way and the characters are realistic and easy to relate to.  It’s not perfect but I don’t know of any other video game series that has managed such a good job with creating realistic people and relationships, with the possible exception of Super Mario Bros.

A lot of quality work by talented people went in to creating the locales for this game.  After watching some of the opening panoramic shots I often wondered ‘How on earth are they ever going to be able to top this in Uncharted 4?’. I hope they are up to the challenge but I am afraid they are running out of places for Nathan Drake to look for treasure. Maybe the next game will follow Captain Cook’s brief voyage to the moon.  IS ANYONE FROM NAUGHTY DOG READING THIS?

The abandoned shipyard location is very cool

I recently purchased the Sony 3D display for use with my Playstation 3 and this was the first game I played on it that was 3D enabled. I found that if the 3D depth was cranked up too high there was quite a bit of ghosting so I kept it on the lowest setting. This was enough 3D to add depth to the scenes but not enough to give me a headache. Overall the 3D added to the game but it still played fine without it. To enable 3D you need to go into the display menu each time you start the game, turn on stereoscopic 3D and set the depth slider. Sometimes if I was only going to have a few minutes to play I’d skip 3D in the interest of saving time.

Now try and imagine the creepy old lady in 3D!!!

Multiplayer modes are available but I haven’t tried them yet.  Multiplayer requires a single use key to be activated on your Playstation Network account.  This means that Multiplayer will not work for individuals who bought their game used.  I didn’t buy used and I don’t plan on selling my copy so this doesn’t really bother me, but if you’re the kind who gets upset about other people making money you might want to boycott this game.

Overall I really enjoyed the game and I plan on playing through it again just to experience the story one more time, and to pick up the rest of those trophies of course.

Pros

  • Great characters, storytelling and locale design.
  • First Uncharted with 3D support.

Cons

  • Multiplayer requires an activation key for your PSN account.
Is it fun: Yes
Score: 9/10
Length:  ~10 hours
System: Playstation 3
Genre: Action