Arts & CultureVideo Games

Review: Uncharted 4 is this Summer’s most impressive thrill ride

What makes an action movie work? What is it about a great car chase or fist fight that gets our blood pumping? It’s the meeting of the possible and the impossible. Seeing human beings defy the laws of physics, or survive insurmountable obstacles fills us with inspiration.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End goes a step further than any action movie. Believable human characters are put through an unbelievable adventure that could only exist in the digital realm, all while giving the audience direct control. It tops anything possible in cinema – as believable as a Hollywood movie, but free from the damning constraints of real life. You won’t find a better thrill this summer. 

Set a few years after our hero Drake declared his retirement from the treasure-hunting life in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, A Thief’s End finds our hero dragged back into the game by his older brother Samuel. He’s fresh out of jail with a debt to a Mexican drug lord and a new clue towards the treasure of infamous pirate Henry Avery. Together the pair hop back on the trail, tossing caution to the wind at the promise of untold riches.

Naughty Dog’s landmark adventure series has always followed a certain formula, stitching platforming, puzzle solving, and gunplay into a living action movie. Platforming along cliffsides is as effortless as ever, and the new rope mechanics add a sense of danger to lengthy leaps. Combat has never been better, now incorporating open environments and functional stealth. Taking down enemies can be done in countless ways, and they’ll all look stunning in motion.

As the first entry of the series on the PlayStation 4, A Thief’s End basks in the format’s newfound power. Every character is rendered and animated in stunning detail. The actors underneath the digital skin give nuanced performances. Environments scan the globe and offer almost non-stop visual bliss. An in-game photo mode even supplies players with a slew of camera controls and filters to capture any moment. 

With the same team that developed 2014’s The Last of Us, it’s no surprise that A Thief’s End is tightly plotted from start to finish. Rather than just stitch together these incredible set-piece moments, the story is smartly conceived. It’s a satisfying conclusion to Nathan Drake’s story, firmly closing his book while opening new avenues for the franchise.

Follow Chris Berg on Twitter, @ChrisBerg25

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Chris Berg

Chris Berg