If you don't see it, you'll get frustrated. Your mind wanders to the developers and what they were thinking when designing the level rather than being in the moment and the second that happens, any tension that they had built up is lost.
So this isn't a case of doing something poorly, it's a case of Naughty Dog taking it to its peak. Perfecting the staple of the series without being able to push it further. It's not like they could take this part of the game out - it's too important - but it demonstrates that ideas from the mid 2000s can become stale even when they're perfected.
And the puzzles? They're slightly lacking. There are a few here and there and the ones that are in the game are decent, but nothing on the scale of Tomb Raider
. No clever physics-based challenges, nothing that will cause you to get stuck. Simple puzzles that do the job of making you feel brainy for a second or so but never stick around in your mind.
One part of the game that's had some serious improvements is the partner interaction. The Last of Us
plays a big part in where companion AI sits in Naughty Dog's games at this point. It was done well then, with a few hitches here and there, but now it feels incredible. Whoever is with you will always be on hand to help in combat, be it through cover fire or taking out an enemy with a stealth kill. They'll call out where enemies are, and jump on their backs to give you a free shot.
Most importantly, your buddy will never get in your way, and if you do find yourself falling behind while climbing a wall and they're clinging onto the rock you need to reach to progress Nate will climb onto their back and use them as a replacement.
I had a few moment where I was hiding while Nathan's brother Sam was running out in the open, but it's rare and never as obvious as it was when you faced off against clickers and scum in The Last of Us
However, all this being said, the star of the show here is the story and the characters that tell it. After a slow start the game focuses on relationships, love, betrayal and friendship. Nathan Drake doesn't go on a journey, he lives one and with each plot beat you'll get more hooked and excited to see what happens next.
At the end of the day it's still a story of some men wanting to hunt down treasure that falls into the cliched romp we've seen before, but this time you actually care about their motivations and what effect its having on the people around you.
feels polished to near perfection. Any problems I have with it stem from the core of the game rather than what they've done with it and those nagging issues fail to stick around in my head to destroy the excellent work on show.
So when people talk about this being the last Uncharted
game, I feel as though I understood why. If I was ever in doubt as to why Naughty Dog would abandon the series, a line towards the end spelled it out for me. A simple line that was in the context of the story but clearly directed at the player and I sat there nodding and agreeing.
It's an incredible 15 hours that kept me pushing to the end and thinking long after the credits rolled.
Once done, if you're not quite ready to say goodbye to Uncharted
you can hop into the multiplayer which happens to be better than expected. It's fun, fast-paced and has a few decent ideas here and there, but ultimately won't take your attention away from dedicated online shooters for too long.
Although you're unable to create a completely customisable character there are a few old friends to bolster your options and plenty more to unlock. Each can be dressed by spending points you earn in the game and although there's quite a bit of micro transaction nonsense lurking away in the background, it never imposes and feels completely cosmetic.
However it feels nothing more than something you'll want to dip your toe into. Third-,person online shooters still have that feeling of being a little cheap with the character movement not lending itself well to frantic gameplay, while the precision of FPS aiming is lacking. But, whenever I did give it a go I certainly had a good enough time.
As a package though, the single-player campaign is clearly the focus and is the reason to buy the game. Those with a PS4 should get this, even if it's just to see what your console is capable of. But if you've played an Uncharted
game before and have a dislike for the series then there's nothing here that will convince you otherwise.
There's no getting away from the fact, though, that this is the best Uncharted
has ever been and is proof that the team at Naughty Dog knows how to create a game that can pull at the heart strings in between having you ruthlessly murder people.
It has style and swagger as it walks past, but is ultimately doing so as it heads into the sunset. Uncharted 4
is leaving behind a legendary character who will be remembered as someone who went off on a high note and, as
a fan of Uncharted
, I'm OK with that.
+ Stunning to look at
+ The best Uncharted has ever been
+ Incredibly engaging story
- Held down slightly by old idea
SPOnG Score: 9/10