I preordered this game about a month ago, seeing as I liked playing the last 3 games and found them to be pretty enjoyable. I remembering seeing Drakes Fortune back when it was coming out in 2007, I was pretty stoked back then. I was going on 32, now I'm 40. So no this isn't some child reviewing the game after just playing a little and spouting out a few words. So I played the first and though, yeah it's not bad.. I liked 2 a little better and 3 even better than that I think because of it's shorter length, and the fact you play as a team. Yes I know many favor 2, and will think I'm insane, but that's what I felt about them. Also I liked the Jason Stathamesct'/Charlie Cutter character a lot. Well other than the beautiful scenery, and incredible character models not a lot has changed here. It's the same old Drake being drawn out of retirement after being married to the games blonde sweetheart Elena. Now he's fishing out old cargo from the bottom of the rivers. playing with toy guns and shooting at cardboard cutouts attached to string. And playing Crash Bandicoot, for more fun. Though his longing for adventure continues in his head.
I think most have played it, and/or watched Twitch and Youtube videos, so some spoilers aren't going to kill anything. After his brother Sam takes off in the beginning, you are thrown into a prison fight scene. This shows off the much improved controls (somewhat), and the many quicktime events that you'll be using through the game. A tutorial of sorts. Then you get a little practice for climbing, when one of the guards let's you out. You go to an old castle, where you find an old Crucifix. After this the game goes kind of slow. The only real "shooting" action being the short boat scene I forgot to mention(at the beginning) with very little gunplay, and then you play as Sam when he returns to tell you why he's been "playing dead" for the last 15 years. That's about as far as I'll go with the story.
Speaking of gunplay, you have the option to turn autolock on/or off. For new players I recommend on, since aiming, and shooting were never Uncharteds strong suit. Though in general as I said it has improved. Later in the game guys are as many say "bullet sponges" and do take a little more time to kill, unless you land that great head shot. Which is fairly easy. So instead of going through the whole game piece by piece, I'll just list, what I think are the strengths and weaknesses. Instead of pros and cons. Which is really one and the same.
- Amazing graphics, though in some areas, especially scene one they seem slightly downgraded, compared to some of the other beautiful landscapes. I still think Ryse Son Of Rome (Crytek are still graphical masters), The Order 1886, Rise Of The Tomb Raider (a favorite of mine), Rachet and Clank, Assassins Creed Unity (yeah bad but beautiful), and Quantum Break still stack up pretty nicely against this. Though things here may be slightly more crisp, as Naughty Dog has had PLENTY of years to get it right.
-The action motion capture cutscenes look amazing, not just prerendered and recorded as in the past. The only thing I've seen as good are the games mentioned above. Especially The Order, and Rise Of The TR. Uncharted takes the cake on this one though. Facial muscles, sweat, clothing effects etc. All look great
- I think the length is just right, I skipped a few movie parts because I got the gist of them, so it clocked in at about 11 hours or so for me, that's on easy. But I really have no interest in playing through the game again. Maybe in another 6 months? Definitely didn't buy it for multiplayer, as most wouldn't. And the fact mines digital, I can go back whenever I like.
- The new stealth feature, and being able to "see/sense" you're enemies around you (outlined in yellow) is a welcome change here. Borrowed heavily from Assassins Creed Black Flag. Which is great.
- Gunplay, and combat while improved still aren't really as smooth as I thought they would be. But some amazing physics are used during battle that make it very cool. So this is only somewhat of a weakness. The main thing is I don't think there is enough fighting, not nearly as much as the first two games. Though I think Naughty Dog were going for a more movie like presentation here, than just a sandbox shooter.
- Very little exploration. Compared to RIse Of The TR (Yes I know it's a sin to mention the "RIVAL"), but this game is actually pretty linear, and it's very easy to figure out where to go. And the puzzles are basically just trial and error. Nothing that you will need a guide for, or to look up on youtube. In previous games I got stuck in certain areas, in this one, not once. NOTE-This is NOT an open world game. It has set pieces, and while it's bigger than the games before it, don't think you'll be playing The Witcher 3 or Just Cause 2/3 here. Though that would have been great. But it's not that type of game.
- No upgrade system, something Uncharted has never had. Still picking up random weapons, throwing them down, and grabbing ammo. Though it's done much better this time around. Not nearly as clumsy as the first 3.
- There is a bit of screen tearing, even with the patch. My version was a pre-ordered digital download. Which clocked in at about 48 gigs or so. Though I have a 50mb connection with 150mb blast, so this wasn't an issue (speed wise). Also the motion blur is pretty intense, I didn't really mind it in most cases, but in some areas it's a bit distracting. Only a few small areas of lag. Which is great for a game with this much graphical prowess.
- The Story is good, not great. Helping Nathan's brother Sam get an ancient Pirate Treasure to save his live while clever, isn't really that original. At it's core it's the characters, how they feel about each other, the task at hand, and the reactions they have are really amazing. So in some ways you may be reminded of Heavy Rain and Until Dawn, with much more action and adventure. But still a lot of triangles and circles popping up on the screen. I would say this is in between a weakness and a strength.
So is the game good? Yes of course, it's Uncharted. Is it GOTY material, no. Though it may get it because of all the stellar reviews, and the fact most of the great games seem to be coming out in 2017. I think Naughty Dog have made one of the best sequels you'll ever get. Though I thought the end of the third was it. And never expected it to continue. Since I'm a casual gamer anyway, I wasn't concerned. Casual meaning I only usually play games I think/or know I'll like, and don't try out many new franchise. Though I have tried a few this gen. So yes the game is fun, and it's probably the best in the series because of it's eye candy. And the controls are much better this time around. I just think it lacks the classic feel the other games had. The Train Scene is unparallelled, along with a few others, like the escape sequence in 3. Where Drake and Sully are escaping the burning old burning mansion as it collapses around them. The intense sequences in this game are good, but to me not that memorable. I guess because I was kind of expecting it after all these years. The Clock Tower area is by far the best in this game.
I know my review seems long winded, but this is just what I took in from playing through the game. And about the only other Exclusive I was looking forward to. I think Gears 4 is about the only other one, since I'm older, I just don't have the time or patience, to sit through a lot of games. But this was worth it. Though it has it's flaws it's still a good game. As some folks mentioned, yes there is a LOT of climbing, maybe a bit to much in some aspects. But using the new rope/hook is actually very easy, and pretty fun. All of these games owe/pay homage to Indiana Jones, from back in the day. For those who never played it back in 2003, if you can find it, play Indiana Jones And The Emperors Tomb, still a great game. That holds true to the movies. Though you'll scouf at dated graphics, it's still a blast. So for all players of Uncharted, enjoy. For the new players you may want to go back and revisit, or replay the other games to get the maximum enjoyment of this one. Hats off to Naughty Dog, they did a great job here. But I'd still like another Crash Bandicoot to be honest. I think many would agree with me. I love these types of games, but I also love old school. Rachet and Clank were ok for me, but never really my style. And well personally, I didn't care for The Last Of Us. So goodbye Uncharted. It's been a fun ride. And let's hope Naughty Dog has some new fresh franchise up it's sleeve, for the future.
NOTE:I give it a 3.5, though Best Buy won't seem to ever let us do halves. Also be respectful, and don't troll a 40 year old guy. Especially you kids who have nothing better to do than sit and criticize people for not praising it like the second coming of The Lord. Or who have never even played it. It's just a game, remember that. Thanks.