Uncharted 4: A Gamer’s End

By Joshua Blake

I don’t normally talk about video games when writing, but they’ve been a big part of my life since I was a six-year-old.

That being said, I can’t think a video game – let alone a video game series – that’s impacted me as much as the Uncharted franchise has throughout my life.

From discovering El Dorado, Shambhala, Iram of the Pillars, and now, Libertalia, protagonist Nathan Drake has taken me on quite the ride.

All of the aforementioned places are rooted in actual folklore and their stories are expanded upon in each Uncharted game.

Because of this, and the vast worlds each game has you explore as Nathan Drake, you feel like you’re discovering these places just as he is in real time.

Although none of this would be possible without the help of some of Nate’s closest friends. His mentor and father figure Victor “Sully” Sullivan, who crossed paths with Nate many moons ago – deciding to take him under his wing and show him a few thieving tricks of his own.

There’s also Elena Fisher, a journalist who met Nathan through his promise to find Sir Francis Drake’s coffin. However, no body was inside. Only a journal that leads Nathan to believe Sir Francis faked his death due to his discovery of El Dorado, The City of Gold.

However, Nathan soon realized that El Dorado, The Golden Man was a statue, not a city, and so his first adventure was underway, while attempting to get the treasure before Eddy Raja – an old foe of Nate’s – who held him and Elena at gunpoint demanding help seeking it.

From this point on, the player must fight, shoot, and run his way through Raja’s band of pirates until Nathan and co learn of a tale as elaborate as any real life fable.

And that’s just the first game in this four part series…

Ten years later, game developer Naughty Dog issues their final installment of the award winning PlayStation 3 series with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End for the PS4. And my god is it a damn marvel.

A Thief’s End takes place three years after the events of the third installment, Drake’s Deception, where upon finding the Atlantis of the Sands – Iram of the Pillars – Nate, Sully and Elena walk off into the sunset, beatutifully sending off the series.

But behold! There’s more to be told. I wasn’t sure back in 2011 if a fourth game would ever come out. I thought I’d seen the Three Amigos of Naughty Dog for the last time, until a few days ago, that is.

And that’s what makes playing A Thief’s End immensely bittersweet. What struck me first was the start menu. Eerily quiet. Not the traditional heroic¬†Uncharted ¬†score.

All you see is a pirate skeleton suspended in a cage. I knew something about this last trek would be full of twists and turns, and I constantly found myself stumpted playing through the story and discovering new clues as Nate and his friends did.

Then again, following the lore of Captain Henry Avery’s treasure to the legend of Libertalia, a pirate utopia, had me wondering one thing: Is this place actually real?

This story has been discussed and researched for years, and Uncharted 4 does a great job at bringing it to life. This world is huge, rife with vegetation, exreme weather conditions, and beatutifully coreopgraphed motion capture scenes that transition to and from gameplay, completely immersing the player into this place that seems to breathe on its own.

But what really got to me was how the characters have aged, and how they’ve aged with me. Or how the game reminds you of your past adventures with these people, making you go “Oh, yeah!” as if you’re recalling an event you lived.

They’re a little bit older now and they’ve been outta the game for a while – the world of treasure hunting and thieving takes its toll – and just as Nate pleas to Sully, one last time was all I needed.

I’m gonna miss these guys more than my words here could ever describe…