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    dkirschner's Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (PS4)

    [March 9, 2024 01:43:15 PM]
    Burned my way through this over Spring Break and thoroughly enjoyed it. This is the final (?) entry in the series with Nathan Drake, which is sad. He’s so likeable! Naughty Dog has perfected this series. They’ve taken everything great about the previous games and polished them even shinier, with more crazy chase scenes and set pieces (e.g., running from the machine gun truck in the city; getting dragged behind a jeep on a rope; exploding corpses; etc.). I liked everything about it except that it ran long, although imagining this from the developers’ perspective, that this is the last game featuring a beloved character, I understand the sentimentality. The worst offender on this point was the chapter where Nate and Sam break into the old lady’s house to find their mom’s stuff. It slammed the brakes on the momentum at the end. Though again, it’s hard to critique for character development and nostalgia.

    One thing they added (or I just don’t remember from previous games, but really liked) was nuance to the climbing animations that signify when Nathan can safely jump to the next thing. For example, when climbing around on a cliff, Nathan will reach toward the next ledge, indicating that you can jump there. When swinging on a rope, he will reach out when he is close enough for you to leap onto a platform. The interactable ledges blended in well with the cliffs and other environments, such that Nathan’s reaching was quite useful. I was thinking about pattern recognition while playing, how I have learned to recognize what is “climbable” and what isn’t in games, and how specific games train you a bit differently. Also, it’s interesting to think about Nathan’s “knowledge” versus the player’s knowledge. Nathan reaching indicates to the player that Nathan “knows” something, and the player, reading the cue, can then act on Nathan’s knowledge.

    Another thing I was thinking about while playing was Tomb Raider. I played Rise/Shadow of the Tomb Raider a year ago and remember hating all the collectibles and crafting, and how those games were moving more in the direction of open worlds. I spent those games clicking the right stick to activate “hunter instinct” or whatever it was called, which highlighted crafting resources, collectibles, and so on. I am so thankful that Uncharted didn’t move in that direction. There are totally optional treasures to find that have no bearing on Nathan’s strength or abilities, and a reasonable amount of journal entries (and the journal is fun to engage with). I loved that there was not a ton of shit to pick up. No resources, no crafting, no inventory, no skill trees, no upgrades, no costumes or cosmetics, no intrusion of online play, no microtransactions. The writing, platforming, puzzling, and shooting carry the experience without needing all those other sources of motivation that, for me, usually just bloat the game and make me worry about searching every corner, hoarding inventory items, going to every “?” on the map, etc. That made Uncharted 4 refreshing to play.

    I do want to know, regarding the epilogue, how in the world Cassie didn’t know more about her parents’ adventures! How did she reach adolescence—being a young adventurer/archaeologist herself, interacting with Sully, Sam, and the rest of the gang, presumably having THE INTERNET—without learning that her parents were involved in such dangerous work? Specifically, I want to be there for the conversation, after she is stunned by seeing a picture of Nathan holding a shotgun (“Dad has a shotgun?!”), when they recount to her the thousands of hired goons they’ve killed over the course of four games. There’s your story for Uncharted 5: The Drakes Go To Family Therapy. Haha, oh man. Anyway. I’m looking forward to knocking out Lost Legacy soon, then cleaning out my remaining PS4 games, which are all old indies that I’m ashamed of not playing sooner, perhaps subscribing for a month of PS Plus, and then trading in the ole’ PS4 for a shiny new PS5! Summer 2024 maybe? Early birthday present? Woohoo!
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    dkirschner's Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (PS4)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Monday 4 March, 2024

    GameLog closed on: Friday 8 March, 2024

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Feeling like a mixture of Tomb Raider and Assassin's Creed so far. --------- Fantastic adventure! Must-play.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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    1 : Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (PS4) by jp (rating: 5)


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