May 16 2016
I’ve just finished Uncharted 4. It’s an exclusive game title for the PS4, and if you need just one reason to buy that console, this game is it. If you need another reason, add The Last Of Us: Remastered from the same game studio, Naughty Dog, to the list.
After I’ve played The Last Of Us: Remastered some months ago, I wondered how the folks at Naughty Dog would ever want to top this game. It looked like the crown jewel of gaming, and everything that Naughty Dog would attempt after this achievement would be doomed to fail for sure.
Well. I now have the answer. Uncharted 4 most certainly is the most beautiful looking game I’ve ever played – on any hardware, at any price. And it’s also one of the best story-driven computer games ever made.
The game has an entertaining Indiana Jones-style story with likeable main characters, and already in The Last Of Us, Naughty Dog have demonstrated that they are absolute masters at cinematic story telling. Uncharted 4 is popcorn cinema at its best – it can easily compete with any Hollywood blockbuster production and beat them at their own game.
Nothing is perfect, however, and there are a couple of things that make sure that Uncharted 4 won’t get a hundred out of a hundred possible points. That’s not saying much, though – Jim Murray, the author of the Whisky Bible, never awarded more than 97.5 out of a hundred possible points to any Whisky that he had tasted either; even the “World Whisky 2015” only received 97.5 out of a 100 points from him.
The action sequences in the game are almost always over the top, and sometimes they’re just a bit too much. If Matthew Reilly, the author of the Jack West and Scarecrow novels, made games, I have no doubt that this is exactly the type of game he would be making.
There’s also a lot of climbing in the game. Maybe way too much of it.
And that’s probably my only real criticism about this game: There’s a bit too much of everything in it, and maybe a little less here and there would have been nicer. But that’s just a maybe.
At the same time, despite all of its stunning beauty, the world of Uncharted 4 did not always feel alive enough. There should have been some wildlife somewhere. Non-Player-Characters and the places they crowd lack soul, lack life. Yes, there is a super-crowded market place in that game, and all computer characters in it try hard to come across as non-generic individuals, but still, the attempt fails. There’s just no soul in these computer extras.
Animal life is another problem area. I think there should be billions of insects in the jungles of Uncharted 4, way more fish in the ocean water, rats, spiders and cockroaches in the caves and catacombs and there should be some animal predators on the hunt that maybe even attack the player when they feel threatened by him. There are not nearly enough birds in the game, especially not birds that attack the player when he gets too close to their nests when he climbs across the mountains. But after all, this is still a game for consoles, not for high-end virtual reality computing clusters, so maybe we cannot have it all and need to accept certain technical limitations.
Despite these admittedly rather minor points, and in best Jim Murray tradition, I award Uncharted 4 97.5 points out of a theoretical hundred, and officially proclaim that it is among the three very best story-driven computer games that I have ever played. The other two are The Last Of Us from the same studio and the original Half-Life by Valve, which is an unforgettable classic in its own right. There are a few other gods in this Pantheon, but those three tower above the rest.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a must-have for any gamer and it definitely is a platform seller for the PS4: This game is so good, it alone justifies buying a PS4.