Uncharted 4 is finally here and boy was it worth the wait. With Nathan Drake's climactic adventure Naughty Dog has saved the best for last, delivering an impeccable single player campaign that will no doubt be remembered as a masterclass in cinematic gaming for years to come.
But how should you prepare for the PS4's biggest exclusive yet?
1. Catch up on your history
'Greatness from small beginnings.' Sir Francis Drake's motto perfectly encapsulates Uncharted's franchise-long story arc, which you'll only come to appreciate after having played through each and every game.
By no means do you need to complete Uncharted 1 to 3 in order to enjoy 4, but it is recommended you do so. In many ways A Thief's End is a love letter to the franchise's storied history and is packed full of neat references, subtle easter eggs and knowing winks, which only true fans will appreciate.
The exceptional story loses some of its impact without the context of Nate's earlier escapades, so do yourself a favor: Grab The Nathan Drake Collection and brush up on your history.
2. Take your time
Forget best looking game on the PS4, this is one of the most graphically beautiful games of all time. Naughty Dog's artists have produced some truly stunning horizon-spanning vistas that will leave your mouth agape. All this dazzling artwork demands that you take a moment to stop, look around and take it all in.
There was a moment early on in the game where I was dangling from a cliff edge. For no real reason, as Nate was dangling precariously, I spun the camera round and, barely visible in the distance, I spotted a surfacing whale floating just off the Scottish coastline. These small details, which are easy to miss, show just how much love and attention went in to crafting this gorgeously detailed world.
The game's deliberately slow pacing also allows for optional conversations to occur between characters, so take your time and soak in the atmosphere.
3. Don't ignore the photo mode
Speaking of the beautiful environments, make sure you play around with the game's photo mode to see them at their best. Trust me. I'm not normally one who spends any time at all in these modes, but Uncharted 4's converted me. You can pause the action at any time -- during gameplay or not -- to take a picture, using a suite of handy editing tools to bring your creative vision to light.
There's also a pretty cool narrative reason for why you'd want to take a moment to capture the beauty of Nate's adventure.
Nuaghty Dog has used the term 'wide linear' a lot in their pre-release marketing campaign, which refers to the relative openness of the levels compared with previous games. Don't get the wrong impression: This is still a highly scripted linear experience, but there are more paths to choose from and plenty of nooks and crannies to dig around in. Who knows, maybe you'll find something shiny...
5. Check your journal
If you're ever stuck on a puzzle Nathan Drake's journal should be your first port of call. It's also stuffed full of extra character information and charming little sketches that add flavor to the story, so make sure you check back here often.
6. Rolling is the way forward
If you're playing on either Hard or the devilish Crushing difficulty modes then you're going to want to roll. A lot. Not only is diving around the best way to protect yourself from gunfire in the open, it's also handy for dodging melee attacks.
7. Mark your enemies
This awesome new feature is designed to help out with the game's revamped stealth mechanics. You can now traverse entire areas while avoiding combat encounters completely, if you're sneaky enough. When you see a group of enemies find some high ground and mark as many as you can. This will help you keep track of their location so you pick them off one by one.