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Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

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Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
UNCHARTED-4-A-Thiefs-End.jpg
"All right, kid. Let's go do it, one last time."
Victor Sullivan
Protagonist(s): Nathan Drake
Samuel Drake (Chapter 8)
Genre(s): Action-adventure
Third-person shooter
Platform(s): PlayStation 4
Release: May 10, 2016
Engine: Naughty Dog Game Engine
Developer(s): Naughty Dog
Publisher(s): Sony Computer Entertainment
Country: United States
Series: Uncharted
Predecessor: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Successor: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy


Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is an action-adventure game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 4. Prior to the announcement of The Lost Legacy, it was to be the final game in the Uncharted series, though it is the final game to feature Nathan Drake as the main character.

Development

In a Kotaku article discussing the crunch situation for The Last of Us Part II, the development team ended up spending extremely long hours at the office working on Uncharted 4, to the point that it was interfering in their private lives. The shift in director from Amy Hennig to Neil Druckmann only propagated an already bad crunch cycle as Druckmann chose to rewrite large portions of the original script. Not only that, it seems Naughty Dog encourages such behavior, hiring people both talented and willing to put in as many hours as it takes to live up to the studio's perfectionist attitude toward their products. Plans were put into place to try and reduce "crunch time," as many designers left the studio after Uncharted 4 due to burnout (Jason Schreier states that of the 20 non-design leads for Uncharted 4, 70% had left the company within four years). Unfortunately, those plans didn't pan out, and production on the games following Uncharted has reportedly been even worse.

Plot

A Thief's End follows series protagonist Nathan Drake (portrayed by Nolan North), who has retired from fortune hunting several years after the events of Drake's Deception. He reunites with his estranged older brother Sam and long time partner Sully to search for clues to the location of Captain Henry Avery's long-lost treasure to save his brother.

Why It Rocks

  1. Nathan Drake is seen playing Crash Bandicoot in the original PS1. The banter between him and Elena during this part is hilarious.
  2. This game introduces Sam Drake, Nate's older brother and he makes for a great companion.
  3. Superb voice acting as usual (special mentions to Nolan North and Emily Rose), all helped by some top-quality facial animation to make everyone believable.
  4. Extraordinarily groundbreaking and realistic graphics with stunning lighting effects, amazing visuals and great amounts of attention to detail.
  5. Amazing storyline that does the final entry justice and gives Nathan Drake, and every other major character a proper send off.
  6. We get to delve into Nathan Drake's past, and get to see where his thrill for adventure stems from.
    • It was also revealed that the surnames of both Nate and Sam were actually Morgan, and not Drake.
  7. Amazing gunplay, complete with hit markers for feedback, and guns packing a real punch.
  8. The levels of the game are more open allowing more exploration.
  9. The game has more fleshed out stealth sections. The player can mark enemies to track their positions.
    • New to the combat is the vertical takedown, which is pulled off by jumping from high up, onto a enemy below. Can also be used during stealth sections.
  10. Vehicles are used more in the game. They handle very well and are actually a lot of fun, despite vehicle sections usually sucking in third person action games.
  11. Improved AI and combat. Enemies move around more often, and use the environment to their advantage.
  12. Great platforming. The game introduces the grappling hook for added mobility.
  13. Aside from the stand-alone single-player DLC Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, every DLC in the game is free.
    • Speaking of The Lost Legacy, the storyline takes place after the events of Uncharted 4, where you can now play as Chole Frazer from Uncharted 2, and it's just as good as the game itself.
      • Nadine Ross, the secondary antagonist now gets a proper characterization, and has great chemistry with Chole.
  14. Great multiplayer which remains competitive even over 2 years after its launch!
  15. This game appears to be a deconstruction of pirates, treasure hunting, and greed.
    • Libertalia, and the various pirate captains who founded it are a deconstruction of the romantic, adventurous, and noble image of piracy painted by works such as Captain Blood or Pirates of the Caribbean. Sam and Nate idolize a free and libertarian society that turned out to be an insidious trap devised by the captains to attain power and wealth. Naturally, a society run by psychopaths, rapists, murderers, and thieves did not end well, and the pirates all turned on each other.
    • The obsession over treasure hunting can be just as destructive as the various insanity-inducing artifacts of the previous games. A primary example is what happened with Avery, who after making off with the biggest pirate haul in history, fell into paranoid madness, being surrounded by other pirates who were willing to kill for his gold. What ensured was a catastrophic pile-up of double-crossing and backstabbing which led to the deaths of Libertalia's inhabitants, the pirate founders, and eventually Avery.
    • In the game itself, Nate, Sam and Rafe all suffer from greed to various degrees:
      • Nate's initial motivation to help Sam begins to slip as his zeal for treasure hunting and his obsession takes over, making him lie to his wife and briefly sidelining his mentor.
      • Sam decides not to get on Sully's seaplane and leave the bad guys to the treasure, like Nate wanted. He falls victim to the sunk cost fallacy, and nearly gets himself and Nate killed in Avery's burning ship.
      • Rafe is determined to loot Avery's ship instead of the more practical option of looting the surrounding, non-booby-trapped cavern.

Bad Qualities

  1. This game takes away the ability to throw back grenades without any explanation, meaning that enemies throw them every two seconds when you're trying to heal in cover.
  2. The beach battle in Chapter 20: No Escape is extremely aggravating in Crushing mode. It gets to the point where players either give up, or cheat to get past it.
  3. There are some problems related to the characters.
    • Sam and Nadine are clearly Creator's Pets.
      • Samuel Drake is a never-before-mentioned long-lost brother, Karma Houdini who is single-handedly responsible for the entire events of the story, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people, all out of a purely selfish desire to get his hands on Avery's treasure. He is willing to lie to Nathan and trick him into risking his life and be incredibly possessive and manipulative of his brother, showing no qualms about upsetting his marriage, and insisting that he knows Nate better than Sully and Elena. Even after the truth comes out, he selfishly tries to steal the treasure again, getting more people killed. At the end of it all, Sam is considered "redeemed" despite not doing a thing to earn it and walks off scot-free.
      • Nadine is a Mary Sue and Karma Houdini. While it could make sense that the reason Nathan gets beaten is because she has a much different fighting style, that goes out the window when she's able to easily beat down both Nathan AND Sam at the same time, falls through two stories of wood and inexplicitly walks it off and kicks Nate in the gut, and is never punished for nearly killing both of them. In fact, she is a co-star with Chloe in the standalone DLC which has Sam in it and he never calls her out for nearly killing him and his brother but instead acts buddy-buddy with her. In the years following the release of The Last of Us Part II, many people began to theorize if this character exist solely because Neil wanted a strong, black, female character given his political beliefs and his support for Anita Sarkissian.
    • Rafe Adler is nowhere near as interesting, nor threatening as past villains such as Zoran Lazarevic, and he can get annoying after a while. He's also an idiot since he betrays Nadine, takes her with him to the ship instead of either killing her or leaving her behind and then goes on a rant how he never betrays his people and how Nadine will stay loyal to him. Then he tells her to take Nate's gun. To the surprise of no one, she backstabs him only seconds later. And then he has a sword fight with a reluctant Nate while everything around them is burning down.
    • Drake is an idiot for lying to Elena and not bringing her along on the job. His supposed motivation for doing this that he thinks Elena wouldn't understand, which is pretty absurd. The woman who stood by his side through his previous three jobs would definitely understand him going on another one to save his brother. Even when she inevitably finds out, she's much angrier at Nate for lying to her about the job than she is about the job itself. Although, one could say that this was to show how obsessed Nathan is over treasure hunting as stated in WIR #15.
      • Plot Armor: It is complete bullshit for Nate to have survived not only a thirty foot drop off a cliff, but also lived through a direct smack on the head against a rock.
  4. El Dorado's disciple in co-op mode is extremely difficult. He's a bullet sponge who wields a powerful LMG, can teleport and can summon towers that shoot homing projectiles that go through walls, and he can summon them to you from everywhere. When his health drops low enough, he can shoot said projectiles himself, and even lower and he summons more towers at the same time.
  5. Missed Opportunity: Many fans have pointed out that it would've been better if it was revealed that Hector Alcázar was in fact, alive after all and making his own search for the treasure. The idea of the Drakes and Rafe forced to work together when the far more ruthless Hector showed up would have been a great twist and further showcased how the desire for the treasure had a way of twisting men around.
  6. The remastered version removes multiplayer for no reason.

Trivia

  • With the released of Uncharted 4: A Thief's end makes the Uncharted series the first Naughty Dog franchise where the 4th game isn't a racing spin off
  • This is the final game that was published under the Sony Computer Entertainment branding before they were renamed to Sony Interactive Entertainment.
  • The game had a troubled development as it suffered from many delay and multiple crunch.
  • This is the second Naughty Dog game released for the PS4, however it's the first game developed specifically for it.

Reception

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End received critical acclaim and is considered one of the best games on the PlayStation 4 as well as one of Naughty Dog's best works. It has a 93/100 on Metacritic. It is currently the best selling game of the PS4, selling 8.7 million copies by the end of 2016, and was nominated for Game of The Year, but lost to Overwatch.

As of May 21st 2019, that 8.7 million sales number has increased to over 15 million, overtaking Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec as Sony Interactive Entertainment's best selling first-party exclusive of all time.

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