Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a strong closing chapter

This is it. Well, it’s not really the last Uncharted game since they are doing a standalone DLC later this year and they’ve left hints of where they can carry on but regardless, this is certainly the final chapter in the Nathan Drake saga.

An endearing Indiana Jones clone that eventually dug into our sceptic hearts, the Uncharted series has been well received but always felt a little funny. Like, how has Drake got away with raking up such hefty body counts in his adventures? And why is there always a damn supernatural twist?

This one really delivers on the story chops this time around, though, especially with its character driven story. Especially with the main trio of Nate, Elena and Sully, after three games spent with their entangled relationships, a lot of the emotional impacts have more gravitas here.

That delightful trio is turned into a foursome with the introduction of Nate’s long-lost brother Sam, who had been in a jail in Panama after some adventurin’ gone wrong. It seems a little late to introduce him timeline-wise, especially with the third instalment showing Nate on his own as a youngster abroad and we aren’t given much context as to why Sam wasn’t present when he is in early adulthood.

Regardless of that minor plot hole, while at times he does seem more as a device to move the plot forward he does add something to proceedings. That’s also to say he’s well performed by Troy Baker, who sells him well and in the end, both he and his brother’s motivations for continuing become clear.

Yes, this is Nate’s Lethal Weapon moment where he’s repeatedly told he’s too old for this stuff. Even by the end, he knows he is but the way he’s driven forward to save his brother and complete his mother’s legacy

The drama it creates between him and his now-wife Elena is some of the best stuff I’ve seen in a while. Their relationship is so believable, their arguments feel so raw and the fact that in this one they don’t want to leave anything unsaid really pulls the viewer in to something by now they are fully invested in.

However, it’s not just a great story and the gameplay this time around mixes things up absolutely perfectly. No longer are you blasting through wave after wave after wave of enemies like a mass-murdering psychopath, instead the shooting sections are kept to a minimum until the end and most situations can be dealt with a stealthy approach.

It’s a real plus for this game that it feels more like an exploration and an adventure than some of the previous entries. Even if Nate has some of the most ridiculous climbing abilities known to man, seriously we all need to know his workout regime at his age, it just adds a lot more down time where you can work out the relatively simple puzzles and navigate the fun environments.

Speaking of those landscapes, there are some really wonderfully realised ones in this little adventure. From the wintery escape of Scotland to a huge mansion in Italy to the sprawling tropical-ness of Madagascar, there are some truly beautiful worlds in this gorgeous looking game that at times you just want to stare into the sky box for a moment.

The famous set pieces also make a return, with some more really breath-taking stuff, even if it is still incredibly over the top. Just like when Shaggy and Scooby create sandwiches, Naughty Dog always go all-in on their nutty action scenes to make something insane and this chapter is no different.

The multiplayer is also a nice little addition that builds on some of the stuff from within the campaign. Some of the additions to the abilities, with throwbacks to older games as well, are a tad silly and at the same time, it’s not really an experience you will keep pulling yourself back to for months afterwards.

Does this game have the same impact for those who haven’t played the first three games? No. But that’s clearly not what Naughty Dog was aiming for with this final chapter and seriously, who jump in on the fourth instalment?

Regardless, this wasn’t just an excellent Uncharted game, this was an excellent game. They absolutely nailed the tone, the balance of the game and most importantly, the ending is one of the most satisfyingly complete in recent memory.

It’s a real glass case of emotion that still seems to waft onions underneath my eyes, the sneaky so-and-so’s.

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