I've played these games over the past 4 months and they are all story focused linear action adventure third person shooters. I bought the Nathan Drake Collection for £7 and Uncharted 4 for £8 and played all the games on Hard difficulty on PS4. I'll review each game for you in terms of gameplay and story but will give more weight to gameplay cause it takes up more of your time.
(6 is good, 7 is very good, 8 is great, 9 is outstanding, 10 is a masterpiece).
Uncharted: Drakes Fortune 7/10
The gameplay is mixed into shooting, platforming, climbing and puzzles with a large focus on shooting from cover and though the gunplay is slightly floaty it's still really satisfying to kill enemies and there weren't many damage sponges either. The shooting is repetitive and the environments both is space and in looks are similar other until the third act which adds a new undead Spaniard enemy type rather than humans which is the best part of the gameplay is fast paced and involves a lot more thought. The human enemies will often try to flank you and the gunplay is faced pace and enjoyable with unpredictable movement by enemies maintaining the excitement.
The movement is clunky and frustrating, especially getting behind cover but the shooting mechanics, enemy AI and gunplay basics are really good. The puzzles and platforming are bad but the climbing is ok, mindless and cathartic but it was often not clear where you are meant to go and the balance of gameplay is poor with too much shooting. There are some set pieces and these are generally good with a jet ski sequence, a car sequence and some chase sequences but the game could do with more of them to break up the shooting and climbing.
Both the plot and characters are outstanding with an intense and focused plot on the mystery of El Dorado and Sir Francis Drake. It is a mystery with new developments rarely answering previous questions and nearly entirely posing new ones and adding to the mystery to the point where I was enthralled, sometimes terrified and constatly on the edge of my seat throughout the third act. The dialogue between the characters and the relationships between them is interesting, entertaining and well acted. It has a soft, heartwarming ending and good pacing throughout.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves 7.5/10
The gameplay, on paper, is improved, the shooting arenas are better and more varied, the mechanics are tighter, the movement is much smoother and there are some great set pieces but there are a few terrible flaws that pull the gameplay from greatness. The enemies act a lot less randomly and rarely leave cover leading to less dynamic gunfights and enemies also have a lot more health and take longer to kill. The enemies that try to run towards you are nearly exclusively magazine sponges that will one two you with a shotgun meaning that despite the environments being different, the gunplay feels more repetitive and frustrating than the first game as you have to kill the shotgunner first or die 10 seconds in. The puzzles are still subpar and I often couldn't find the exit to a level.
There are much more set pieces and some standout chapters which I felt were from the train wreckage all the way through the village, parkour section, the first bear fight, the siege and then the tank battle to the end of the car chase/ leaping from truck to truck. I know a lot of people like the 2 train chapters but it just felt like the same gunplay but everything is restricted to a single narrow corridor which made it feel very repetitive on top of 2 mini bosses with obscene health bars. The game also adds in stealth which is sometimes useful but very basic.
The story is so close to being a masterpiece but it falls just short due to the plot. The character development is a masterpiece and having the love triangle between Nate, Sully and Chloe as well as the morality triangle between is a masterpiece and the most impressive way I've seen the selfish guy does a selfless thing story in any medium. The love triangle and contrast with Chloe, Nate and Harry Flynn is also well done and the pacing is also fast paced. I also adore the ending and was full on crying during it.
The plot is similar to the first game and also very good with some thrilling and captivating moments during the ice climbing section with Tenzin where a mystery is eluded to through dead wolves. The plot is great, it takes a backseat compared to the characters and fulfills its purpose in keeping me engaged, but it has 1 of immersion breaking nitpick which is Shamballa being overground which just irked me the wrong way and made me less interested in the plot because up until that point, made internal sense.
Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception 7.5/10
The gameplay is much improved over the first two games where there is both an enemy ai which is unpredictable and varied environments to fight in and the second half of the game has some insane action set pieces such as the entire shipyard sequence and horse/car chase. The shooting feels tighter but the standout star is the movement which is fluid, tight and Nate controls exceptionally well. Hand to hand combat is also added and it is a very simple version of "press square to attack" combat but it is way too easy.
The puzzles are great and way better than the previous 2 games but the game has a couple of pretty big flaws, the first being the incredibly slow pacing of the first act to the point where it was boring to walk through and then in the final fight, the game glitched out for me and I am stuck on a 99% save file and in an endless loop fighting Talbot and the final fight is bad too.
The story is nearly entirely about Nathan and Sully where Nathan pushes himself and Sully too far but the story is unfinished in both the characters and the plot which brings it down on top of pacing issues. The dialogue, as always, is top notch and the actual character development of Nate is outstanding, but the character development is unfinished and the entire game builds up to the consequence of Nate pushing himself (and therefore Sully too far) but no ally even dies. The basics are still done extraordinarily well with a focus on the history of Nate and Sully, their relationship is interesting and Elena is wonderfully voiced too and the ending is well written but the game still feels unfinished.
The plot is also unfinished so it doesn't make sense. It doesn't have the thrill of the first 2 games and the plot is also just a remix of the first 2. There is the long desert walking scene which I felt was missplaced and should have been after the ship blows up rather than after the plane crash and the pacing of the plot was a bit wonky.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End 8.5/10
The gunplay is really varied and much better than the rest of the series with the environments and shooting arenas somehow even better. The game has stealth and melee combat that is fun, satisfying and useful and has your allies (Sam, Sully and Elena) taking more active roles in combat and stealth. The climbing sections now include sliding, a pick and a grappling hook which make it more engaging though the actual movement is less smooth than in 3. The enemies also have a better AI than in previous games and the shooting arenas are much larger leading to each encounter being more varied and the game being less repetitive. The game also has set pieces with some such as the chases being amazing but the third act didn't have a big set piece until the final boss fight which was dissapointing. The final boss fight is the only one which is good in the entire series and it's epic, fun and has a cool combat system used for it.
The pacing of the gameplay is better as well and sections with lots of fighting will be followed by slower puzzles, climbing or exploration sections. As with all the games, the slower sections are filled with dialogue. The puzzles are as good but happen less often and there are also open levels and exploration areas which were mixed with some being a bit too slow and others being just right.
Where the gameplay is hurt is in its lack of depth and the fact that the big late game fights are such a huge step harder than the rest of the game as well as being fairly short. All 3 other games had extended 3rd act fighting sequences that went on for hours and here it was just a few combat encounters that were a big unwarranted difficulty spike.
The story is good and many parts of it are masterpieces and phenomenal but the ending wasn't good enough. I liked the plot and the way it is told both through cutscenes and dialogue but also through exploration and reading letters which added loads to the story. In particular, episode 16 exploring Evelyn's house is my favourite part of the game and the use of contrasting Nate with other explorers was very well done and something missing from 3. The plot is deeper than the other games and has a much more interesting story to tell with the interest in the pirate colony and it's creation and demise. The villains are also really good and I especially liked Rafe's motivations.
Were I didn't like the story was in 1 aspect and it's the reason why the score is a 9, I felt that the ending was missing emotional punch. I would have liked either Sam to die or at least more conversations between Sam and Nate in the burning ship. It felt rushed and like part of it was cut. I also felt that the cut scenes at the end of chapter 22 were way too long and not that interesting. The epilogue was kind of cool but I already knew who Cassie was because that part was spoiled for me (the only part in all 4 games) so I felt very melancholic about the epilogue but wasn't overly emotional so the ending was a bit of a let down because I'd much rather have a 30 second cry than a 20 minute melancholic feeling. The game didn't make me cry and given how emotional I was, it was a dissapointing that they couldn't have one last crescendo at the end. It's still an outstanding game but the ending is just missing that punch.
The dialogue is excellent and the characters are good as well. I enjoyed the plot twists but they could have been better but the characters, storytelling, environmental storytelling and flashbacks were done so well, I am not sure I will get attatched to a group of characters like this again.
This is my review of all 4 games. If you haven't played them, please do, they are cheap and well worth the money. The 4th game also has an active online multiplayer which I have been enjoying. I love these games and I want to talk more about them but I don't want to bore you.
- Uncharted 1 is a mess, but Im happy I played it
- Uncharted 3: more of the same, but better!
- Uncharted 2: Among Thieves | The Best Action Adventure?
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