23 May 2016

Nathan is a bit tired

So, Uncharted 4. A perfect 10 game? At least according to the reviews. But as with many "perfect 10" games, the truth is not out there. It's in the game.

I enjoyed the original Uncharted trilogy. I have played each installment through more than once. Uncharted 4 just doesn't feel right. It's not a bad game. It's a mediocre, linear, tired and boring action adventure. There just isn't any heart in it.

First of all, I must question why Victor Sullivan wasn't worthy enough to be Nathan's sidekick anymore? Sure, he's featured here and there but still. Instead Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann, the duo who smoked Uncharted creator Amy Hennig out of Naughty Dog offices, have summoned out of a thin air Nathan's big brother Sam who has been never so much as hinted of before. Why? To give Troy Baker a starring role. And he delivers yet another pretentious and uninspired performance. He's been like that ever since he became a voice acting star. He was good before, mind you.

Now that I mentioned bad performances, I must mention Laura Bailey specially. She's not a black woman and it's insulting she tries to sound like one. She fails. It's the tone of the voice that's missing and her ham acting surely doesn't help things.

Cutscenes. All seven hours of them. All rendered in consistently flat lighting and dull direction showing no visual sense just drag on and on. Pointless dialogue and dire performances through wooden character models straight out of the uncanny valley really aren't worth of airtime they get. It's evident Naughty Dog love their own work as nothing's been edited.

When you eventually start skipping cutscenes, you'll realize how little of actual game there is and how boring that little is. All scenes drag and the repetitive and hopelessly linear nature of gameplay can't stand it. Naughty Dog has tried to spirit up things by borrowing elements from Metal Gear Solid 5 (tagging enemies) and both from old Tomb Raider games (most of the puzzle mechanics) and the new Tomb Raider series (grappling hook and other movement enhancing mechanics) but instead they should have kept things exciting and have some professional as narrative director to cut all the unnecessary bits - which there are lots.

Uncharted 4 was also supposed to be a graphic showcase but visually it's flat and uninspiring. Apparently Naughty Dog's engine can't render dynamic light sources, unlike Frostbite 3 or AnvilNext. Uncharted 4 pales in comparison to some graphically more advanced games, like Rise of the Tomb Raider, Assassin's Creed: Syndicate and Dragon Age Inquisition.

Spoilers: Nathan doesn't die. Nor Sam. It was just a marketing ploy, the title "Thief's end" and all that fuss about how it's hard to imagine Nathan Drake embarking on another journey ever after. Instead they create opportunities for dozens of sequels, starring either Nathan or Sam. Uncharted 4 isn't the end. It's only a beginning. But with Uncharted 4 getting perfect review scores, Naughty Dog surely aren't learning from its mistakes.

Verdict: Uncharted 4 makes a bad movie and a mediocre game.

//planeteer J

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