Uncharted 4 is the conclusion to a long-running action/adventure series that's been around almost as long as Tomb Raider. I passed over the series when it was originally released because it had a greater focus on gun fights than I'm generally interested in, but when the first three games were released as a remastered collection I played through them (on "I don't care about combat" mode) and enjoyed the spectacular scenery, the strong characterisation, and the cool lost cities.
Story-wise, I'd say Uncharted is stronger than Tomb Raider (both old and new) because it sets up a small cast of 'good' guys and plays off the interaction between them over multiple games. Uncharted 4 thoroughly delivers on a strong adventure story (and, happily, gets away from the supernatural element that made the conclusions to the the first three games feel...kinda repetitive). There are two things pulling the story along - Nate's (previously unmentioned) brother, and the conflict between marriage/going straight and an in-born love of adventure.
It was the second point that worried me going into this story, and early on it seemed that my concerns would be realised, with Elena functioning as almost an 'anchor' keeping Nate from the stuff he loves. Overall, though, I think the game managed to find a good resolution to the problem, and as a series I think it treats female characters reasonably well.
For gameplay (ignoring the gun fights, which still don't much interest me), this was a really well-balanced puzzler, mainly involving trying to figure out how to climb things, or survive buildings (inevitably) collapsing around Nate. One thing that really stands out as a huge step forward was the companion interaction. Nate has a companion with him at least half the time, and instead of passively waiting about, the companion will wander around, inspect things, kill the occasional thug, try out different climbing routes - sometimes even taking the lead - and make helpful suggestions if you spend too long faffing about.
Most of all, there was scenery. Just, freaking awesome scenery. And wondrous and completely unlikely ruins, soon to be recklessly destroyed by Nate, his friends and opponents - none of whom seem to understand that an object doesn't need to be made of gold to be valuable.
The one thing the game lacked was Chloe (a kick-ass lady from earlier games), but I guess you can't have everything.
15 May 2016
Uncharted 4 (no spoilers)
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