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First Impressions | Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

I was 16 years old when I got my first PS3. At that point, I had seen so many videos about the games that were to come out for it (also the horrible launch of the console. Seriously, that’s some Westeros style stuff right there). One of the games that was coming out was Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. I didn’t know much about the game itself, but I did know that it was an adventure game from Naughty Dog, and they made Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter. How could they do wrong? I also knew that it would be like Tomb Raider, but that you play as a guy. As a male, that seemed like a slice of fried gold. I always thought Lara Croft was a cool character, but because our genitalia did not match, my simple teenage mind just couldn’t settle into her buxom boots.

Nearly 7 years since that point, I can proudly say I am a diehard fan of the Uncharted series. I can relate to Lara Croft now as well, but only after I was married. (My wife made me relate to her. She said I wasn’t allowed not to). After the first Uncharted game, I wanted more and when I heard that there was going to be a sequel, my ears pricked up like a dog catching the scent of blood.

Two years later, I received the game for my birthday and what can I say? It’s better than the first one by a long shot and that’s saying something. The third one was released shortly after, and though it was not as thrilling as the 2nd installment, it’s still a great game and is much bigger in scale and scope.

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So now it’s 2015, and we are getting a glimpse at what’s supposed to be the next and final installment of this stellar series. We were shown a teaser trailer a few months back and it left us Drake junkies itching for our next fix.

If you haven’t seen it, it features a brief glimpse of the protagonist, Nathan Drake, awakening on a beach and looking as though he’s been through too much for even his daredevil persona. He gets up and finds a pistol buried in the sand. Cleaning off the sidearm, he holsters it and marches off into a foreboding jungle.

A brief side glimpse shows a few pirate gibblets hanging from tree branches, a harrowing warning to the dangers Drake will soon be enduring. All while this goes on, a voice over from an unseen conversation between Drake and his mentor/father figure, Victor Sullivan, plays in the background.

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The conversation states that Nate is looking for assistance on some- thing and is in desperate need. Sully reminds his protegé that he’s been out of the game for too long and things aren’t the same. Drake agrees but insists, stating he has no choice and that this will be ONE LAST TIME.

All of those things combined definitely tells you that this is going to be a much different game than the others. Recently, I watched a video showing off the gameplay and graphics. This game series has always been gorgeous and this one does not fail to deliver.

The Madgascar locale is as breathtaking as ever and the environments are lush with color and life. The world around Nathan breathes with life. Guns now have animation to them, giving them a realistic vibe (pistol slides and rifle actions sliding back after shots, bullets spitting out of breaches,powder residue hanging in the air, etc.). Drake himself is given an update. His body and facial animations are vastly improved, and his Nathan Fillion inspired looks shine bright this time around. You can’t take the sky from me…. Sorry, that one slipped.

The gameplay remains similar to other titles, but has now been given a faster, more frantic pace. Players will have to utilize all their skills from previous games to survive. The demo I saw showcased Nathan having to use blind fire, run and gun tactics, cover based mechanics, hand-to-hand combat, stealth, and acrobatics all in the same firefight.

The game also seems to have taken cues from the most recent Tomb Raider game. Drake now has a spelunker’s pick and rope hook to traverse terrain with. The rope hook is also featured in com- bat, in very surprising and exciting ways.

The gameplay demo also featured a small glimpse into the plot of this chapter. When Drake climbs over a tumbling ridge of stone, he is greeted by a gun in his face. The two men smile and laugh and put their pistols away. Nathan knows this man, referring to him as Sam.

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Sam remarks about how he nearly blew Drake’s head off and then states that he’s glad he’s alive. He then says “C’mon, little brother. We’ve got treasure to find.” That’s the end of the trailer, and it left me wanting more and asking questions. What treasure? Who are these men working for? Why are they trying to kill Drake? Where’s Elena? Where’s Sully? Where’s Chloe? And of course, LITTLE BROTHER?!!! Sam is Na- than’s older brother? Where has he been this whole time? Do you know what your younger sibling has been through?

So my verdict? Bring it on! This series has never disappointed me, and I can always go for another round with Nathan Drake.

It’s not like we have an Indiana Jones game to look forward to. This game looks great, and run- ning on the power of the PS4, I think it’ll play smoothly. I look for- ward to getting my hands on this, and I have a feeling this one will be a pre-order purchase. Now, if you need me, I’ll be sitting in a corner crying over my Firefly and Serenity Blu-Ray, drinking Mudder’s Milk, and telling myself I’m a leaf in the wind. ‘Till next time, you húndàn!

Austin Beattie

I am a father, a husband, a Kryptonian, a part time dominatrix, and I love earl grey tea with spread cheese on crackers. Also, I'm delightfully bitter at the world.