With Uncharted 4: A Thief's End's highly anticipated release last week, many have been making their way through the jungles and waters of Nathan Drake's final adventure. As game studio Naughty Dog's farewell to the world of Uncharted, the fourth installment is arguably the best entry in the Uncharted series. While we all undoubtedly have our own favorite Uncharted game, there is no denying that each game is comprised of not just amazing gameplay and plot, but of great character moments and emotion. As fun as it is to play as adventurer Nathan Drake as he embarks on another quest with his amazing crew of misfits, the best parts of each game are always the intense, heartfelt, or even heart wrenching moments of the story. It is with these moments that Uncharted 4 exceeds its predecessors and cements itself as one of the best endings to a franchise.
Throughout this game, we follow Nathan as he must overcome some of the toughest obstacles in his life, but this time they aren't some supernatural enemy that he must defeat. During this adventure, Nate must overcome his own guilt and ego, the issues with his marriage, and amending the relationship he has with his brother. While these moments may not sound as intense or exciting as running out of the crumbling city of Shambhala or finding the Iram of the Pillars, these struggles in Uncharted 4 do justice not just to the story but the characters we have grown to love and cherish over these past 10 years.
Nathan & Elena
Throughout the series we see the consistently rocky relationship of Elena and Nathan unfold, yet this game opens up with them finally married and living a "normal" life. Unfortunately, we find out that both are unhappy with the quiet life they've chosen. However, Nathan embarks on another adventure with his brother and Sully behind Elena's back, only to have her find out the hard way. This puts more strain on their relationship than ever before, and we are unsure if they will ever be the same. Seeing them forced to work together during this major argument only adds to the tension. Fortunately the thrill of adventure and near death experiences throughout the game prompt them to talk out their differences. We finally get to see the couple we've followed for so long find the perfect balance in their lives and live happily ever after.
Nathan vs. Nathan
One of the most interesting struggles throughout the game is seeing Nathan Drake come to terms with the fact that he loves the adventure and hunt for hidden treasure. While he constantly tries to convince himself and Elena that he doesn't do that anymore, you can see the excitement in his eyes when they discover a new clue in the hunt for Henry Avery's hidden treasure. Nate must come to terms with the guilt he feels for trying to lie to Elena and himself about his need for excitement in his life. Luckily, Nate is able to overcome his guilt and accept who he is. Once he accepts who he truly is, both he and Elena are much happier with their lives.
Nathan & Samuel Drake
Samuel Drake is the newest addition to Nathan's ragtag group of misfit adventurers, but he is also Nathan's older brother. Thought dead, Samuel resurfaces alive to ask Nate to help him find Henry Avery's lost treasure so that he may pay his debt to a cartel leader off. Samuel's escape from a Panama prison was thanks to this cartel leader, and now he must find Avery's treasure to repay him, or he dies. Nate, reluctant to go on another adventure, can't pass up the opportunity to help save his brother's life. For the first half of the game, the brothers work as an incredible team who have each other's backs and can communicate with precision. It isn't until Samuel's secret is revealed that the brother's relationship is strained. We find out that Samuel lied about his escape, and is actually searching for the treasure as a means to prove his worth to his long dead parents. We find out in flashbacks that his mother had searched for Henry Avery's treasure, and Samuel wants to complete her journey. Fortunately for Samuel, Nathan is a skilled adventurer and helps save his life when Samuel is captured, left for dead, and pinned down by gunfire. Ultimately, these brothers, despite their differences, come together in a way that is unique and organic. Their relationship forms the backbone of the entire game.
This game is absolute gold. From gameplay, to characters, to plot, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End never fails to be anything other than stunning. As the end of a franchise, Uncharted 4 helps this series go out on a high note and doesn't make us feel like we are missing out on anything else with these characters. This final adventure took everything we loved about the previous games and amped it all up to 11. Leaving no stone unturned, Uncharted 4 delivers on every front.