I remember two years ago, walking into my local EB games and putting money down on a few games soon to release.  As this was happening the cashier at the time asked “Did you catch the demo reel of Uncharted 4”, and instantly I had blown over my video game budget for the month because there was no way I wasn’t getting this game.

To say that Uncharted 4 is polished would be a bit of an understatement.  The world, the battle, the puzzles, and story all come together in a neatly presented package that, in the end, leave you satisfied with the over-all outcome.  This final chapter in Drake’s story gives us a glimpse into how he became the treasure hunter that he is. As a young teenager he was sent to an orphanage when his mother died, someone who was also an explorer herself.  We find out that Nathan has a brother, Samuel Drake, he’s also the sketchiest dirt bag you’ve ever met and you never quite learn to love him.  Through, flash backs you find out that Samuel supposedly died years ago in a hunt and its something that our hero just never discusses, even with his wife Elena who you might remember from the first three games.  Samuel returns early in the game with an elaborate story about how he didn’t actually die, but was freed by a local drug lord and sent to find the same treasure otherwise he would be found and killed, thus begins Uncharted 4’s adventure.

To say this installment was much different than the rest would be a bit of a stretch, but to its advantage, it has been polished to the point where you can see every detail reflected back.  The gameplay elements have been largely improved, climbing and exploration areas are much easier to navigate and the battle system has been revamped in a way that doesn’t make it feel new, but more comfortable and much more stable. The team also found it within their heart to add in additional conversations between you and your current partner, be it Sam, Sully or Elena.  It’s a nice diversion from the older games where you didn’t have much interaction between characters besides cut scenes.  The small intimate conversations help players understand the relationships and what the current situation is doing to either strengthen or break down those connections, it brings a little more reality to an otherwise pretty far-fetched story.

Some of the more interesting things added into this game are the hidden gems you can unlock or that are in front of your face the whole time.  Photo mode for one, is my favorite thing in this whole game as a feature.  You can hit the options button any time and turn on the Photo Mode, you enter it live through the L3+R3 buttons (analog sticks).  This function gives you all the necessary tools to take a scenic picture.  If you’re a lover of Instagram and its filters, it has a plethora of interesting filters and tweaks to make your interaction fun.  To add to the experience, the option to remove enemy and player characters to reduce clutter in the shot is also there.  In my whole time playing I think I took one shot that had Drake and Elena in it, otherwise I just wanted the scene, because damn was this game beautiful.  Included for you pleasure is a few of the snaps I grabbed.

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If there is one thing that bothered me the most about this game it was the characters, and not who they were, but how they acted.  We found out that Drake was basically a lying dirt bag, even worse, his whole reasoning was to help a brother who was lying to him.  I felt seriously bad for Nathan and Elena’s relationship in this game, and now that I think about it, I was supposed to.  I love these characters and to see an unforeseen outside force come and damn near ruin it, was heartbreaking, damn near traumatic.  So with all that in mind, well done Naughty Dog… I hate and love you.  Now getting on to Samuel, we find out that the drug lord thing was never an issue, but an old partner in the adventure who was also after the same treasure, was the driving force, oh also the fact that this treasure might have been the final legacy of Sam and Nate’s mother.  Just when you thought that Sam was a good guy, that he has maybe redeemed himself, you find out that he lied the whole time about who his instigator was.  The more you want to trust him, the less you find you can and that makes me really hate the guy.  Even at the end of the game, when he had redeemed himself, it still wasn’t enough for me.  So enough of about the cry baby boys, lets talk about the solid female who seems to be holding up the final act of this game, Elena.  If I have on thing to say about Elena, its… you know what, there are no words.  As a character she is adventurous, and you can tell that Drake has pissed her right off, rightfully so.  He has a brother she never knew about, he told her he was going on a dig somewhere in Malaysia and ended up in Madagascar doing something completely different.  Every time something went wrong, he lied again and again, but in the end she came to his side, and helped him through another insane adventure.  The fantastic part of the whole final act where these two were working together, is that you can see her becoming less and less angry with Drake, she’s becoming more and more comfortable back in the adventurer lifestyle and loving that Drake too is in his element.  In the end it seems like almost everything has blown over, but in reality, anger and falsehood turned into empathy and that kind of growth was really amazing to see fleshed out in a game, with people you have followed for so many years, across multiple platforms.

To touch shortly on the puzzles, because there wasn’t too many, they made their presence known and they weren’t so difficult that it would be impossible to pass any area of the game for an extended period of time.  I never had to revert to the ol’ online help once during this game, nor did I get so frustrated that I needed to set the game down and walk away for a cooling down period.  Everything worked well and it was fun enough even on the harder settings that it didn’t hinder the overall feel of the game.

If there was a single word I could use for this game, it would probably be surprise.  While in the end it didn’t deliver anything too terribly different than the preceding 3 installments, it seemed that around every corner was a twist, or an inescapably beautiful view, or a hilariously, albeit rage inducing, placed villain.  The story of the treasure that was being sought after was engrossing and engaging to the point where I blew through 50% of the game in the first night I played it and if you knew me, I don’t do that too often these days with games.  As mentioned earlier, everything came together in a neatly formed package that left you satisfied at the end and to me that is a pretty successful game.

So far this has been the best game of the year, I would give it a solid 5/5.

http://radiopressgaming.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/jUrb1xl-960x540.jpghttp://radiopressgaming.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/jUrb1xl-150x150.jpgNathan MillerGamingMicrosoftSonyNaughty Dog,Uncharted 4I remember two years ago, walking into my local EB games and putting money down on a few games soon to release.  As this was happening the cashier at the time asked 'Did you catch the demo reel of Uncharted 4', and instantly I had blown over my video game budget for...