"Uncharted 4: A Thief's End" is the fourth and final installment in the "Uncharted" game series and it follows Nathan Drake as he lives his life retired from treasure hunting. He's living the quiet life with his now wife Elena, but he eventually gets dragged back into the thick of things when he reunites with his brother, Sam, who seeks his help to find the long lost treasure of Pirate Captain Henry Avery. So now it's Nathan, Sam, Elena, and Victor "Sully" Sullivan embarking on this one last quest to cap off this successful video game franchise.
I only just played the first three "Uncharted" games very recently having bought the remastered "Nathan Drake Collection" for the PS4. I loved "Uncharted 2" and I also though 1 and 3 were both very strong games in their own right, so naturally my hopes were very high for this game. The first three games are great examples of games that actually feels like a playable film with how the story is presented. I wanted that to continue with "Uncharted 4", and you better believe that they did. I mean come on, this is by the same company who developed "The Last of Us". We all know the game is going to be at least very good, if not all around fantastic.
The thing that really got to me with the "Nathan Drake Collection" was how amazing the remastered graphics looked. With the interaction of the characters to the environment as well as the landscape design itself, I didn't think that "Uncharted 4" could be much better looking for a game. Then I actually played the game and I realized how dumb I am for assuming things. The graphics in this game are nothing short of perfect. The lighting, texture, characters, and landscapes are all perfectly designed to the last detail, making this game feel as close to a movie as a video game can possibly get. Every frame in "Uncharted 4" feels real and its a true testament to how far we've come in the gaming industry now that we have more advanced technology being used by people who actually care about a great gaming experience.
In terms of gameplay, this game has more of the same stuff you'd expect in an "Uncharted" game, but it doesn't feel recycled nor does it feel like too much. You have the basic stuff such as plenty of climbing, shooting, driving around, and then some. A new feature that I really liked was the grappling hook in which you use it to latch onto things and make large jumps that you normally wouldn't be able to in any previous game in this franchise. The grappling hook comes in handy many times and it feels all the more rewarding when you successfully navigate it into the next cutscene of the game.
Another addition to the game is that of more puzzles like you'd expect, but there's a good balance in making not too easy, but also not inexplicably difficult to understand. With "Uncharted 3", there were more than a few puzzles in that game that I couldn't understand at all and I had to resort looking the answers up on YouTube and from what I've read online, I wasn't the only one who had to do that. That didn't happen at all in this game, so it's nice to see that the creators seemed to listen to the fans and make genuinely challenging puzzles that don't fall into the realm of near impossible.
Story wise, this game really delivered in being more than just some generic action-adventure game. There's plenty of tension and synergy between the characters, particularly with Nate and Sam. Nate has grown throughout this series, understanding the price of constantly seeking fame and fortune. Now that Sam has come along and seems to be making the same mistakes as a much younger Nate previously did, it's great development for Nate to make an attempt to look past the treasure, realize that there are more important things in life, and try to apply all of this to Sam. And with Nate and Sam's arc together, we get moments that look back into the past, showing us who these two are. Everything comes full circle in this game as we learn everything we need to about Nate and his past. This game really does a great job of making this feel like the final installment in the series.
By the end of the game, you engage in a great boss fight which will easily go on as one of the series' highlights, and then comes the conclusion which, in my own personal nitpicky opinion, is dragged on just a tad too long. You get a long ending cutscene that finally sends our characters into their own fitting ends, and then you get an epilogue that's actually playable. For me personally, I don't feel like the epilogue in this game justified any actual gameplay. It could just as easily have been an extended cutscene and we as an audience still would've understand the point and accepted the ending of the series. That's just a small complaint on my part, and it doesn't ruin what is otherwise a truly great game.
"Uncharted 4: A Thief's End" is the fitting conclusion for Nathan Drake's character, making an exciting, adventure that still has heart to it in a way that unfolds with a cinematic flair to it. With all four games, the characters have been the most important aspect to each story and it shines just as well here as it did in the first three. This is easily one of the best video game franchise we have, and I could not have asked for a better ending to the Drake legacy.