The Good: Memorable story and fantastically written characters and script, varied gameplay and a plethora of locales, one of the best looking games ever made, story is satisfyingly conclusive
The Bad: Combat is a drag and still isn't the best it could be, multiplayer is a wash-up
The Uncharted series is one of my favorite and it helped push the PS3 to the top of the charts. Going from a game just called "Dude Raider" or a generic Indiana Jones rip-off one of the best selling games series of all time is a huge achievement. Naughty Dog pushes each Sony console to their limits, provides fantastic acting, scripts, gameplay, and also the famous action movie scripted events. Uncharted 4 is no different and feels like the pinnacle of the series, as well as the end.
Uncharted's story is a little more personal and complex than past games. The game spans 22 chapters and clocks in at around 12 hours from start to finish. Nathan finds himself trying to retire from the treasure hunting seen when ghosts from his past come knocking and he must do one last hunt. Of course, an evil corporation is out to get their first, but small branching paths in the story see us playing as Nathan as a child and this unlocks mysteries surrounding why he started doing all this in the first place. The story concludes with no cliffhanger, which is relieving, as this is the final chapter in the Uncharted saga. I felt satisfied with the ending and all my questions seemed answered, but I still wanted more.
Gameplay wise, Uncharted has fine-tuned its not-so-great third-person shooting as best as it can. I honestly don't care for it and I felt the shooting sequences slowed down the more fun adventures this time around. Stealth was a bit easier, and the shooting segments are spread out more so it's not as frequent, but I still don't care for it. Nate moves around cliffs and buildings faster and more gracefully. I felt Assassin's Creed needed to take a note from this game as I never had Nate cling on to things he shouldn't or hop around like an idiot.
I could end this review there, but Uncharted 4 is much more nuanced with its fantastic scripted events. From breaking into a mansion and running from cops as a kid to finding your way around an island during a massive storm. The game has vehicle segments, which are fun, and even some underwater swimming. It just feels so well balanced and paced so brilliantly that I never got bored. I only felt like things slowed down during shooting segments and I kept dying frequently. Some shooting segments are actually avoidable as you can sneak through or even climb around the enemies.
My favorite thing about this game was the many locales to explore. This felt like a true to heart adventure with so much detail crammed in that it made me almost feel like I was there. Searching for pirates treasure is a classic story, but this is done in a way where I felt like it might just actually be true. We go from civilization, to complete remote areas all through the game. Most of the game had vast sweeping landscapes that were just gorgeous to look at. Uncharted 4 is still the best looking console game to date, and even tops PC games in the looks department. Naughty Dog pulled off some miracle with the PS4 hardware and it just oozes detail. Foliage is individually rendered, I rarely found flat lifeless textures, and the character models are incredibly detailed. Mud, water, dirt, sand, snow, and grass. It all actually felt different and I felt pulled into the whole experience.
Other than getting through the adventure you can collect trinkets, which I'm not a fan of, and then there's the dreaded multiplayer. I already don't really like Uncharted shooting mechanics so more of it doesn't sit well with me. It feels forced like Uncharted 3, and just comes across as a generic shooter, nothing really all that special. Same modes, maps, and mechanics you would expect from any third person shooter. I won't be coming back for it anytime soon.
Overall, Uncharted 4 is a true adventure game from beginning to end. It tells a tale of someone who overcomes a huge personal goal and Nate feels truly human and not like an immortal action hero. The sweeping landscapes, varied locales, amazing acting, fun scripted events, and various gameplay elements culminate to what is essentially what 99% of video games fail to achieve. The only downside was the combat slowing everything down as Uncharted's combat is not the best out there. This is what makes me proud to be a PlayStation owner, a game that pushes visuals and gameplay to their limits; Uncharted 4 captures the essence of playing a movie.