Top 100 Games of All-Time: #56

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Release Date: May 10, 2016

Platform Played On: PS4

2018 Placement: #51 (-5)

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What It Is:

The finale of Nathan Drake’s journey and Naughty Dog’s first entry on the PS4 hardware. It’s an action-packed romp that utilizes the PS4’s power perfectly for an epic conclusion of Drake’s story. It brings back all the typical crazy action setpieces that are expected in Uncharted but also has a more grounded, slower take on the sometimes over-done “one last ride” trope of action heroes.

While it doesn’t stray too far from the third-person shooter with mild platforming formula established in all the previous Uncharted games, it does add a bit of an open world flair to some of the sections. A few specific areas give you more wide open spaces to explore, and the battle arenas often give you more options than just “start shooting and take cover when health gets low.” A grapple rope, stealth mechanics, and better encounter design make the combat arenas feel less restrictive and more free flowing. The story and acting is also one of the best in the series, although the decision to give Drake a brother we’d never heard of before in this final game is still a bit of question mark.

Why It’s Important To Me:

Look, if you visited my website before its revamping this past February, you know that the above image was the header image for this blog basically since its inception. I love the Uncharted series because it gives me that Indiana Jones pulp adventure vibe that not many games can replicate. Solving historical puzzles to find hidden treasure while taking part in globe-trotting action is exactly the kind of dumb fun that I enjoy reading, watching, and playing so of course the Uncharted series would be right up my alley.

This is my second-favorite of the series – I really do think the encounter design is the best of the bunch and it has some of the best new characters (and my favorite villain). The set pieces are great and the different locations are jaw-dropping. This game was the first one where I truly just dove into photography mode and had a blast. After Uncharted 4 I wanted every game to have a photo mode so I could be snapping action shots or photographing beautiful in-game vistas. It’s just a great package and a well-done finale for characters I got really attached to over the four games.

My Strongest Memory:

I tried to go into this as blind as possible: I made the mistake of digesting every single piece of pre-release media that came out for Uncharted 3, which made playing the actual game a bit of a disappointment as I already knew all the big action setpieces. So I was waiting to be blown away by whatever crazy stunts were in store that I didn’t know about.

What ended up happening was a game that was a lot more focused on the story and the characters of Uncharted and less about the blockbuster sequences. Sure there was plenty of action gameplay (and an awesome car chase that was probably my favorite sequence of the game) but what really got to me was the cut scenes and what happened in between all the action. I found myself genuinely upset as I got through the ending and the credits rolled, knowing this was 90% likely to be the last game I got to spend with Nathan, Elena, and the crew. This game brought to the surface feelings I didn’t realize I had towards the Uncharted series, and I’m thankful for it existing.

Why It’s #56:

Uncharted 4 is a masterpiece of a pulp action game. It’s not depressing or trying to be cinema like Naughty Dog’s TLOU games. It’s a fun romp with enjoyable characters that I like spending time with. It makes me smile every time I watch this fan-made Uncharted/MI6 mash-up trailer. It might not stick with you if you don’t have as strong feelings about the rest of the series, but I give it twenty thumbs up.

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