It’s safe to say that the Uncharted series had a deep and lasting impact on the previous generation of consoles. Naughty Dog’s franchise felt more cinematic than many games out there, and it combined these cinematic qualities with exhilarating gameplay centered around covered-based shooting and death-defying platforming. The series spawned a slew of imitators but none captured the energy of Uncharted.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is finally here, and with the power of the PS4 and the collective experience that the studio has gained from its previous titles, Uncharted 4 has the potential to be the signature game of this generation. Here’s why.
1. The End of Nathan Drake’s Journey
While this may not necessarily be the last Uncharted game, it will be the final one to feature Nathan Drake as the lead protagonist. Uncharted 4 will be the culmination of a nearly 10-year journey, and Naughty Dog plans to give Drake a farewell that fans won’t forget.
Director Neil Druckmann has stated that the game’s finale will cause controversy among fans. Should we take this to mean that our favorite adventurer will meet his untimely demise? It’s hard to say until we finish the game for ourselves, but whatever the outcome may be, there is little doubt that Drake’s send-off will have the gaming community talking for months.
2. The ‘Last of Us’ Influence
Naughty Dog already proved that it could create intriguing and memorable characters with the first three Uncharted games, but the company took things to a whole other level with The Last of Us. Naughty Dog gave us personas with many layers of nuance, and delivered a story that was filled not only with big set piece moments, but one that also took the time to show the interpersonal relationship between the various characters.
This experience will have an impact on Uncharted 4’s story and characters as well. Expect Uncharted 4 to deliver a level of complexity and subtlety that hasn’t been seen in the series. While we will still get all of the big bombastic and over-the-top moments fans expect, we’ll also get quieter sections that will give the characters (and audience) moments of reflection and introspection.
3. Superior Console Graphics
Aside from creating games that feature memorable characters and exciting gameplay, Naughty Dog is also well-known for creating some of the most visually impressive graphics seen on consoles. The work the company did on the PlayStation 3 was stunning, but now that it’s utilizing the power of the PS4, we’re no doubt going to see what this generation of gaming consoles can really do.
All of the available game footage is quite impressive. However, actually playing the game in one’s own living room will be a whole different experience. This is where the graphics will truly shine and justify the purchase of a PS4 for anyone who may have thought the system (or this entire generation) was a dud.
4. A Bigger World to Explore
Previous games in the series have generally been linear experiences, but Uncharted 4 is changing things up, if only slightly. While this will not be an open-world game and is still at its core a linear experience, it will provide players with bigger environments to explore.
These “wide linear” levels will have several branching paths and alternate routes. This will not only give players more of a choice of where they want to travel, but also help extend the replayability of the single-player campaign. Each path will no doubt offer up its own secrets so replaying certain sections will be essential for completionists.
With the game’s larger environments comes the opportunity to introduce different ways to engage enemies. While previous entries had some light stealth elements, the games were really centered around gun combat. Though gunplay will still be the central combat mechanic of the game, stealth will now be a more viable option for those who prefer to be a bit more discreet.
Gun combat is always great and this series has proven to be among the very best in this department, but the chance to be stealthy for (potentially) long stretches should be appealing to many. As with the environments, it’s good to see that combat options will also be expanded.