Uncharted 4 Is a "Technical Powerhouse," Analysis Says

"The best-looking console game we've ever tested."

520 Comments

With Uncharted 4: A Thief's End scheduled to come out tomorrow, May 10, Digital Foundry has now posted its technical analysis for the long-awaited PlayStation 4 action-adventure game. The site gushed about the game, saying it raises the bar for current-generation games.

"This is a must-play experience that delivers the rare mix of pitch perfect gameplay and high-end visuals," Digital Foundry said. "Uncharted 4 is the technical powerhouse we've been waiting for."

"The set-pieces are more impressive, the maps larger, the characters and environments more detailed and the gameplay mechanics are richer than ever before. This is the real deal."

Uncharted 4 runs on the latest version of Naughty Dog's proprietary engine, which, this time around, allows for an "almost obscene wealth of new rendering features," Digital Foundry said.

The game runs at 1080p/30fps for its campaign and 900p/60fps for multiplayer. Regarding the campaign visuals, Digital Foundry said, "Uncharted 4 delivers the best image quality we've seen in a console game to date."

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"Thin edges are remarkably clean, shader aliasing is almost non-existent, and shimmering is all but eliminated," the site explained. "Large, complex fields of detailed foliage remain razor sharp even at a distance while finer details on Nate's weapons remain clearly visible."

On the subject of character rendering, Digital Foundry said Uncharted 4 looks better in this department than games like Halo 5: Guardians, Quantum Break, and Rise of the Tomb Raider. "Uncharted 4 pushes things even further," it said.

According to the report, skin and fat "bend and move realistically," while Drake's shirt will react to the wind as it should. "Even his chest hair is impacted by the wind," Digital Foundry said.

Digital Foundry's full report offers a deep, deep dive into Uncharted 4's technical performance, touching on things like its use of real-time cutscenes and how the AI is smarter this time around, among other things. The report wasn't completely positive, however, as it also mentioned long load times and a photo mode that is not as robust as it could have been. Additionally, Digital Foundry said shadow quality could be better.

But overall, Uncharted 4 blew Digital Foundry away.

"There is a clear dedication to excellence here and it has paid off and Uncharted 4 is the best-looking console game we've ever tested," it said.

Uncharted 4 launches on May 10 exclusively for PlayStation 4. Reviews for the game started to show up last week, and critics are handing out high praise. It is the last game in the series Naughty Dog plans to make and the final one that stars Nathan Drake. However, there could be an Uncharted 5.

GameSpot scored Uncharted 4 a 10/10.

"In its writing, in its design, in its understanding of what makes games unique, Uncharted 4 is something to aspire to," critic Mike Mahardy said. "It's a shining example. And we'll be talking about it for years to come."

For more on the game's critical reception, check out this review roundup.

In other news, co-director Bruce Straley has advised against rushing through Uncharted 4. "Take your time. Its not like the last three. Don't try to gobble it down in one sitting. Settle in. Enjoy the moment," he said.

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archav3n

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any chance that this framerate can be increased to 60FPS in PS4.5?

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analgrin

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@archav3n: Quite likely although UC4 is very responsive given it's only 30fps. Much more responsive than previous UC and TLoU games on last gen. The reason for it is ND like using v-sync on their games to stop screen tearing allowing for a more movie like experience. The moment the game cant handle 60fps it will drop to 30 which would be a bit jarring so they lock it to 30fps so it doesn't fluctuate.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@archav3n: i really hope so , they should have offered both 30 and 60 like The Last of us. All they did for that game was reduce shadow quality to get 60. They could have reduced lighting to achieve it here.

This game doesn't really look much better , especially indoor locations and shadows are not even as good as the last of us in any case. Very low res.

My guess is it was to make the game consistent throughout as the driving segments would need to be 30 due to the open world style aspect of it.

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horizonwriter

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@archav3n: Uncharted has become Sony's flagship gaming franchise so I have no doubt that this gets a performance patch when the 4.5 comes out, especially since Naughty Dog caught the 60FPS bug with the TLoU remaster.

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ALLIAMOS

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Edited By ALLIAMOS

@archav3n: same question

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elmarine2064

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Congrats and thank you Naught Dog for giving us gamers a masterpiece!

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DEVILTAZ35

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@elmarine2064: So far i've seen 3 bugs and 1 one very low res art asset in a particular scene :)

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elmarine2064

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@deviltaz35: Yea, I have only seen one bug so far and it wasn't a huge deal at all. Game is amazing so far!

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Phazevariance

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PLayed it for about an hour after it unlocked last night at midnight. Definitely looks as amazing as they say.

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itchyflop

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if ur gonna go......go with a smile!!!

great exit in the series for ND, got my copy today and will enjoy every minute :)

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Leonagard

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oh! technical powerhouse we were waiting for... that sounds cool!!! but not for me... I'd have Last of Us 2, or othe new IP...

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gottago42

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A technical powerhouse yet the multiplayer runs at 900p lol

So 900p is only bad when the XboxOne does it right right

Digital Foundry hate towards the XboxOne is on full display here

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DEVILTAZ35

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@gottago42: It is 60 fps MP though , i would have preferred 900p 60 for single player as well. It didn't need to be 1080p if that sacrificed frame rate.

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EdwardNygma

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@gottago42: Cry more or buy the better console. Those are your choices.

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horizonwriter

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@gottago42: Um, nice re-write of history there because DF has never said that 900p was outright bad. Besides, in multiplayer a game's framerate trumps resolution so dropping down to 900p to attain 60fps is completely justified.

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mr_nee

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@gottago42: Just upgrade your HW to PS4 already and stop whining

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Flyincloud1116

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@gottago42: Tinfoil Hat.

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Fedor

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@gottago42: I remember them saying all sorts of nice things about Xbox games, wtf are you even talking about?

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Batts86

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@gottago42: You really think for one second that the resources needed to run COD compared to Uncharted 4 are the same? Dude I refuse to explain this to you... You need to honestly take your tin foil hat off and go bang your box a few more times....

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MrFreehuggs

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@gottago42: Digital Foundry never says 900p is bad. They always say there is very little difference between 900p and 1080p unless you have the two side by side. You are thinking of fanboys

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DEVILTAZ35

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@MrFreehuggs: It's true , especially on a large screen tv. Barely would notice the difference.

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gottago42

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Edited By gottago42

@MrFreehuggs: When Digital Foundry did an analysis on Call Of Duty black ops 3 they praised the PS4 version for running at 1080p and criticized the XboxOne version for running at 900p they said the 900p resolution made it harder to see enemy combatants from far lol but now they are praising Uncharted 4's multiplayer running at 900p they don't have any problems seeing enemy combatants from far this

Hypocrisy at it's best

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mddg_mmcc

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@gottago42: In that case it was the same game being run at a lower resolution on another system. There is no X1 version of Uncharted 4. They can't compare the two. It's a simple fact that 1080p is better than 900p, and 60fps is better than 30fps, but I've never seen them say anything negative about 900p/30fps games. They just state the facts.

I'm sure you think 900p is fine, except when a PS4 game does it. Hypocrisy indeed. I play a lot of BF4, and it runs at 900p on PS4 (720p on X1). Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is 900p as well, and that game looks fantastic. Would I prefer 1080p? Of course I would! But the fact remains the PS4 typically runs games better than the X1. And the PC almost always trumps them both. It's fact, not bias.

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scottyp360

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@gottago42: well we are talking about two different games that run on completely different game engines. It is possible that Uncharted running at 900p looks better than COD running at 900p. A game like Quantum Break isn't full 1080p, I believe it's 720p with some upscaling, but the game still looks great. Resolution doesn't tell the whole story. Stop looking at numbers and use yor eyes

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snk0610

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My GTX 980 Ti games

Shows excatly the same graphics.

Uncharted 4 has indeed very impressive graphics

That matches what you see on Titan and GTX 980 Ti cards.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@snk0610: Not really, although things like buildings etc are well rendered, i noticed in the diving section when he gets back on the boat under the bridge , the whole other side of the bank looks more like PS2 graphics. It is like they put placeholder assets in and forgot to replace them with the high res foliage etc. Stands out like dogs balls in that scene. Also as was mentioned by IGN shadows are actually quite weak and also low res. That is a shame, Even Last of us remaster has better shadows.

I've also noticed a couple of minor freezes a couple of times and panning the camera too often can make you sea sick as 30 fps is very low to pan a camera around as you can see a weird motion blur. Is there a way to switch off motion blur too as that is really annoying in some parts?

In saying all that most of the art direction is the best i have seen, i love the attention to detail just looking through a window of a place you aren't even going to go to and there is a fully lit room with furniture. Acting is good too but sometimes the controls still feel a bit off in places. I didn't like in the jail how if you walk the wrong way a guard who was 10 feet from you is suddenly in your face turning you around . That just got annoying.

I am only on chapter 4 anyway so a long way to go but despite everything it's so far not bad , nothing like the excellence of the way Bioshock starts though. i wish more games were that inventive.

I got talked into picking up Infamous - Second Son while i was in the store too as everyone keeps telling me that is quite a good game.

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ALLIAMOS

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@snk0610: what is your name ?!

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ArabrockermanX

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@snk0610: I think you need to buy glasses to go with your GPU...

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snk0610

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Edited By snk0610

@ArabrockermanX: Maybe you need glasses.

is it so hard to admit that consoles can also showcase impressive graphics?

i don't have a console and i have no problem admitting it.

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Guy_Brohski

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@snk0610: Except a 980Ti would run this game at 60+fps... Not a paltry 30fps.

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DEVILTAZ35

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@Guy_Brohski: I just go it last night and although i like it , it's so far not amazing. Graphically it's impressive for the PS4 but you are right. The 30 fps is too noticable. It's the same issue i had with the new Rathet and Clank, it just makes panning the camera a chore and it's very noticable how slow the framerate is at times when you have to make fast movement adjustments.

It's fully playable but it just could have been so much better with less graphic detail and a better framerate.

Not really sure how it got a perfect 10 just running at 30 fps as it doesn't really deserve more than an 8.5-9 at the most.

I am really hoping this series gets a patch for the Neo to run the games at 60 fps.

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dino7c

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@Guy_Brohski: actually they dont run this game at all

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Fedor

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@Guy_Brohski: 60fps at 1440p

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Flyincloud1116

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A great developer working on a great console to make a great game. Thanks ND.

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starjay009

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Edited By starjay009

I am a PC guy. I saw UC4 and it BLOWS away most PC games out of the water ! into tiny smithereens. Of course you will have 'some' PC f**s comment about the 30 fps gibberish. But what they conveniently forget is the PS4 is technically a medium range PC from late 2012 / early 2013 and Naughty Dog have been able to achieve this masterpiece through thorough quality testing. Goes to show what devs can do if they put their minds in the right place for PC gaming. But that will NEVER happen. PC gaming for all it's so called glitter will continue to suffer with inferior, buggy ports of its console counterparts. No matter how expensive or powerful a PC rig is, we will have to admit that a game like Uncharted 4 will never be on it. Oh and I don't want some dorks here comment about playing their games in 4K at 120 fps cause you and I know that's a lie unless you have 4xTitan cards inside your tower at a whopping 4000 $+ price range. Peace.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@starjay009: Fair enough but it has issues , noticeable lack of shadow quality yet interiors baffle me as to why this is the case as they don't really look any better than The Last of us which runs at 60 fps. Lighting is excellent though , rendering of characters is not quite as good as i was expecting after all the gushing in reviews. Outside of cutscenes i mean.

Also i looked over a cliff to see the ocean and the colours were amazing. What wasn't amazing was noticeable squares of animation of the water lapping in and out. It was poorly done and even shuddered . It seems physics took a back seat due to lack of processing power.

It would actually be far more impressive to lower the graphics to the quality of The Last of Us overall and run it at 60 fps. It would just make this game flow so much better. It's a shame as i like the game but that 30 fps hurts it alot as it does with the new Ratchet game.

I still feel the game is worth the money but so far i'd give it a 8.5 at the most.

Just a bit disappointed after all the hype i guess, i deliberately did not watch any video reviews, and avoided as much footage as possible prior to playing it to try and get the most out of it.

To be honest the whole start just feels more like recent Assassins Creed. It is more polished but those games benefit from running at 60 fps or above on PC.

Is it better than Tomb Raider? , Jury is still out for me on that one , i would say much more effort has gone into the story but not sure about the exploration side of things as yet.

Controls seem to be pretty similar in both games too. Both use ropes to swing , Uncharted does have a handy mechanic where you can steer around at certain points when sliding which is great to have.

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ALLIAMOS

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@starjay009: please,,,,,!

Samsung 4k tv js9500 65 inch or 78 inch , try to play (Rise of the tomb raider) and (the witcher 3,,,,etc) ultra setting with 60fps, for me I am using gtx titan X sli ,,,

NO COMMENT !

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Napalm_354

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@starjay009: what I would like to know is, how much more is it possible to squeeze out of that hardware? And what could be possible with PC hardware if devs actually bothered to optimize their games instead of farting out some un-optimized tech demo, because there is horribly overpriced hardware on the market that can run it on a pure power alone.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@Napalm_354: Give it another 2 years on PC when DX12 becomes mainstream for most PC players , then you might see a much higher level of quality. Personally i am not rushing out to spend more on PC at the moment though as despite the better framerates not enough effort is put into the games themselves and there are just far too many bugs that cause far too many issues.

Nvidia has been very slack on driver updates of late too. I have a single 980ti and despite knowing the new cards are better just not planning on bothering with an upgrade at least before the end of the year or mid next year when the higher end cards are released.

As i only game at 1440p anyway , i don't have many issues with my current card or setup.

Just for now i am giving the PC a break apart from maybe Doom which comes out this week and playing PS3 Ratchet and Clank collection and Jak and Daxter and they both run at 60 fps and are tons of fun. I'll still finish Uncharted as i have 9 days off soon and want to see this series to it's end in any case.

Why these Ratchet and Jak and Daxter and even Sly Cooper collections are not released on PS4 is baffling.

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RogerioFM

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@starjay009: Peasant in disguise detected,

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starjay009

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@RogerioFM: How about I give you my Steam ID and you can check my stats including all my games in there ?? Douche !

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DEVILTAZ35

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@starjay009: I go too overboard on steam games , have about 1100 :(

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Fedor

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@starjay009: sure, what is it?

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ramtracker42

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Edited By ramtracker42

@starjay009:

Good comment ... I agree 100%

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