Just last week, Sony invited us over to Singapore for a media preview of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Based on what we have seen and played, this is potentially Naughty Dog’s best game yet, and it’s a great send-off – if this is indeed the last Uncharted game – to one of the most talked about franchises in gaming history.
At the event, we were given a first look – and of course, a chance to play it – at a particular chapter in Uncharted 4 set in the open plains of Madagascar, which is about a third of the way into the single player campaign. In this chapter, Sully, Nate, and his brother, Sam, are looking for outposts which were thought to be used by Henry Avery to hide treasures. The best part? They are looking for these outposts while driving a vehicle. Yes, this is the first Uncharted game that gives players the ability to drive.
When I first took control of Nate, I was surprised by how vast the environment is. So vast, in fact, that I was told I actually missed a secret area. Then again, I was too engrossed in progressing through the story instead of exploring. It appears it is possible to drive practically anywhere players desire, and the graphics simply look gorgeous.
While the graphics look great, I was underwhelmed by certain limitations, such as the framerate. Unfortunately, the single player campaign of Uncharted 4 runs at 30 frames per second, although I was told that the multiplayer mode will run at 60fps. While 30fps doesn’t sound particularly impressive, the single player campaign still runs and looks great; there doesn’t seem to be any noticeable drop in framerate either when I played through the demo.
And then we have the combat system, which has been refined in many, many ways over the last Uncharted title; Naughty Dog certainly took cues from The Last of Us’ combat mechanics. I always found Uncharted’s combat system to be somewhat less refined and “unrealistic,” but this changed with Uncharted 4. Most, if not all of Nate’s actions, have a touch of realism now. The climbing mechanics are much more realistic, and the hand to hand combat is very reminiscent of The Last of Us as well. Make no mistake, however: this is very much an Uncharted game.
Uncharted 4 also sees the introduction of several new mechanics, such as the ability to mark targets, a much improved stealth gameplay, as well as the grappling hook, which opens up a slew of new ways to navigate around specific area. All of these new mechanics can be fully utilised in the combat sequence of the demo, although I went with the good old fashioned approach of…shooting everyone.
Looking back at the demo of the gameplay, I was genuinely surprised by how many ways I could have approached the combat sequence. There was an instance where it would be possible for Nate to jump down from a building – a very tall one, if I might add – before using the grappling hook to swing over a post to take down an enemy; I was sure Nate was falling to his death when he jumped down the building.
I’ve played all three Uncharted games that have been released so far, and there’s one thing that I’m awfully fond of in this franchise: the humour, and I’m glad Uncharted 4 retains this. Hearing Nate, Sam and Sully’s conversations in the game truly put a smile on my face, and I wish I could’ve played the game further to see where the story brings me. Personally, I feel that great humour and storytelling are what make the Uncharted series such a delightful franchise.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a very, very promising game. The elements of what makes the series such a compelling one are all here, and I absolutely can’t wait to see how Naughty Dog will conclude its latest game. Uncharted 4 is set to be released on the 10th of May 2016.