A few months ago, I wrote a (slightly longer than necessary) review of Rise of the Tomb Raider. The long and short of it is, I really liked the game, but couldn't shake the feeling that it really served as Uncharted 3.5. I mean, take away the witty banter, and the globe trotting, (Lara's adventure mostly takes place in a single location, albeit with varied settings) and what Eidos presented was essentially the same mix of climbing, shooting, exploring and blood pumping action sequences that one has come to expect from an Uncharted title. And for a while, I couldn't help but wonder if Uncharted was still going to be as special as it once was with games like RotTR readily available on the market, after all, Lara's latest adventure was pretty darned good...
Well, God damn pal.
I truly wasn't prepared for what awaited me. I have definitely grown accustomed to Naughty Dog's games exceeding my expectations, but as I write this story, now 7 chapters deep, I can tell you that this game has no equal. There is no Parallel to Uncharted 4, it does what it does better than any game that has ever done 'it' before. If this is indeed a preview of how developers are going to weave story lines, pacing, character development, game play and presentation into a single package as we press onward through this generation of gaming and on to the next, than there is plenty of reason to be excited about the future.
The first few hours of the game are a slow burn indeed, but the deliberate pacing is perfect for those who love to see their heroes and villains fleshed out as real people. The story, dialogue and acting are on par with any Netflix or cable TV series on the air today, and often made me completely forget I had a controller in my hands whenever cut scenes were playing out . The action itself is very comparable to previous games in the series, but has evolved to smooth out some of the wrinkles seen in previous titles. The shooting, climbing, fighting and vehicle manipulation are all fluid and intuitive, just don't expect a ton of depth to these mechanics. By no means is it as tight a shooter as Gears of War, but of course one wouldn't expect it to be. After all, this is Indiana Jones - not Saving Private Ryan. Oh, and do I really have to say anything about the graphics? Stupendous. Truly an achievement, nothing short of show-stopping, even at 30 frames per second (I'm sure Naughty dog is hard at work on a PS4 Neo version - and I can't wait to see it). The sequence(s) in the prison in Panama changed my perception on how much polish and presentation can actively affect a gamer's experience, and must be played to appreciate it's rich undertones.
Will this game change your mind if you hated the previous games? No way. Its more of the same crazy antics jacked up to 11, but if you have love for the things that Uncharted does right, then you owe it to yourself to drop whatever you are doing right now (short of holding a baby) and get on this shit. I have been playing games for almost 30 years, and I have never, ever experienced something so exquisitely produced.
Now I'm going to stop writing, and get playing.
After all, I am a man of fortune, and I must seek my fortune.