Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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I finished Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End yesterday, and I felt like making a post about it, since I had a bunch of screenshots. Late game review because the game came out in 2016. I think I got it from PS+? Certainly didn’t pay for it.

I first played the original Uncharted trilogy back in 2010-2011, but I found out just now while writing this post that I never finished Uncharted 3 (started yes, apparently), so that explains why some story elements seemed unfamiliar in the 4th game. (I think I may have also gotten the trilogy remaster via PS+, so maybe I should play the 3rd game too? Maybe.)

I actually have to thank the Uncharted series for getting my into this kind of single player adventure game in the first place. After Uncharted, I played some kinda similar games like Infamous, Tomb Raider etc, I was never that into the genre before.

My main complaint with the series is the sheer suspension of disbelief it requires to imagine a person like Nathan Drake could exist: basically a human at peak physical ability, able to fearlessly leap off high cliffs and cling onto walls with unbelievable grip and upper body strength, barely ever getting tired, while at the same time good enough at gunplay to go up against armies of battle-hardened mercenaries and come out on top. Oh, and he has an intimate knowledge of archaeology and is also able to find ancient lost treasures and cities all the time apparently. And also he’s pretty good at sketching. It’s fine, after all what are video games but power fantasies right?

Uncharted 4 gives us a deeper look at Nathan Drake’s background and how he grew up to be like this, and we find out that not only is he this human at the peak of physical ability, he also has a brother who, despite 15 years rotting away in some backwater prison, is also at peak physical ability and also has all the rest of Nathan’s abilities (except the sketching though). (Cue Star Wars prequel meme “This is getting out of hand, now there are two of them!")

Aside from that minor complaint, the games are pretty great though. If you’re not familiar, the games are highly linear and story-driven, consisting of set pieces and sequences that are either platforming/exploratory (figure out how to get from point A to point B) or combat/stealth vs the aforementioned armies of battle-hardened mercenaries. Oh, and there’s the occasional puzzle too. Uncharted 4 adds some new elements such as letting you drive a car (4 wheel drive) around in what seems like an open world (it really isn’t), but it’s still mostly the same.

I’m not a big action game player, so I dislike the combat parts and I die a lot there. You can see in one of the screenshots later that my shooting accuracy rate was like 49%. For this reason, I’m not inclined to go for achievement completion on this one (or any of the Uncharted games for that matter), since there are many combat-related and difficulty-related trophies, and even one that requires me to finish the game with like a 70% accuracy rate. Good luck with that!

Dying a lot isn’t a problem, as the game is very forgiving. There are a generous number of checkpoints, and there’s really no penalty for dying too much. (Again, you can see in the stats screenshot that I failed checkpoints 105 times.) It’s kind of unavoidable with on-rails games like these - there are plenty of spots where if you don’t climb or run or jump in just the exact way the game wants, you’ll die and fail the checkpoint. It’s not super frustrating since you never really have to repeat too much, but it’s that kind of game.

Also, I guess Nathan Drake is famous now, because people know about his discoveries from the first 3 games, but I feel like he should be richer than he is portrayed. Not that he’s poor, but surely he got away with a few valuable trinkets here and there during his adventures right?

Story-wise it feels like they planned this to be Nathan Drake’s final run, given the epilogue, but who knows? I mean in their universe, Sully is pretty old but he still also does ridiculous stunts with the rest of the gang. And they did introduce some new characters, so it’s not far-fetched there’ll be another Uncharted game later on, possibly with someone else as the lead?

Anyway, game is pretty good, play it if you can, happy to have ticked it off the backlog! Have some screenshots:

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