Here he comes again, lovely Nathan Drake, the handsome, globe-trotting adventure man, the renowned plunderer of precious curios and tchotchke, the lowercase tomb raider with the nice hair.
But in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – which the developer insists is the final game in the series – our hero has hung up his exploring boots in favour of mooching around in domestic bliss.
In the opening chapter you can even explore Nate’s attic space, pressing X to gaze with nostalgia at photographs and relics from adventures past, and grabbing cold beers from the fridge rather than ancient totems from the crypt. Of course, poking about a retiree’s loft conversion is a temporary calm, lasting until a forgotten relative arrives on the scene with cool treasure maps spilling out of his ears.
What follows is all of the perfectly tuned climbing, running, jumping and shooting for which the series is famed. Uncharted 4 is a continent-spanning adventure encompassing snow-covered Scottish highlands, dense jungles, Italian black market auction heists and sprawling, open Madagascan plains.
The Uncharted series is uncomplicated, but by this stage it’s been refined to a minimalist artform. Puzzles are gentle on the grey matter, about as tricky as a Crystal Maze room, untaxing but evoking jigsaw-grade satisfaction.
Combat is where most of the changes come in. The locations in which you encounter enemies are more arena-like and open-ended, allowing you to stealthily pick off stragglers and weaken the opposition before making a full and noisy assault.
Developed for the PlayStation 4, it’s also the prettiest Uncharted game there’ll ever be, with the cast’s motion-captured faces enhancing the well-acted dialogue.
Some of the problems of previous games still persist: there’s a lot of ponderous flab, with some chapters hanging around for far longer than they have to. At 16 hours, this is a game that could’ve been half as long and one-and-a-bit times as good.
The recently remastered Uncharted Collection on PS4 can bring you up to speed if you’re uninitiated, but Uncharted 4 is a fine entry point too.
This is the ultimate Uncharted game, in both the sense that it’s the last one Naughty Dog claim it will make, and that it’s a stitching together of the best qualities of the games that preceded it. Uncharted 4 is a definitive and fitting finale to PlayStation’s greatest series.
Platform: PlayStation 4