Thou the overarching story of Uncharted 4 stretches from multiple time periods across Nathan Drakes life. The main plot takes place some time after the events of Uncharted 3 Drake’s deception and since then Nathan has settled down with his wife Elena and is living the simple life away from treasure hunting. However One day his thought to be dead older brother Sam reappears and comes to Nathan seeking his help to find a hidden treasure that the two of them had attempted to find when they were younger in order pay off some debts that Sam owes to a dangerous drug lord. After some convincing Nathan ventures back into the dangerous world of treasure hunting that not only reunites Nathan with his lifelong friend Victor Sullivan but pits the 3 of them against an old business partner of Nathan and Sam’s and his hired army of mercenaries and as they travel around the world in a race against time to reach the treasure they will discover the secrets of past which reveals the true behind some of histories most notorious pirates. After having finished Uncharted 4 I can say that although the main plot of A Thief’s End is certainly not my favorite in the series and there are certainly some story elements that are not very original and there are some plot points and twist that most of you will see coming. This is still an incredible game that brings a satisfying ending to Nathan Drake story in Uncharted while giving little hints to a possible continuation of the Uncharted franchise. The strongest elements for me about the games plot not so much that adventure aspect the relationships and personal moments between the main cast of characters. The chemistry between Nathan and Samuel is truly electric brings out some of the best performances that I have seen in the Uncharted franchise from veteran Nolan North and newcomer Troy Baker proving once against why these two are some of the best performers in this industry. I really appreciate how much time the game spends going into Nathan and Samuels young past that reveals some very important details about their parents and where and how they gained their obsession with adventure seeking and even taking the time to bring light to an old plot point that really bothered me in the previous game but is answered here. The emotional moments of the story are very well handled appearing at the most proper of times without staying too long and adding some not need mellow drama with confrontation of Nathan having to help his brother which represents his past and wanting to live a normal life with Elena serving as his present brings some of the most dramatics scenes I’ve ever seen in a video game. The only weak element that the plot of A Theif’s End falls victim to are the underdeveloped antagonists, with their motivations for even taking part in this treasure hunt being so one dimensional that it feels like outdated clichés that I have seen enough times in both movies and video games. However, this element does not detract much from the overarching story which positives in the storytelling department easily outweigh any and all negative outpoints that the main plot provides.
For anyone who has played any of the previous 4 installments you will feel right at home as A Thief’s end plays practical identical to the previous installments thou there are now some serious new additions that will certainly enhance your enjoyment over the course of play-throughs. The core gameplay is that of a platform cover based shooter that spans across the standard amount of chapters typically seen in all the Uncharted entries. When you are not engaged with enemies you will spend your time exploring vast and different environments that grant you a great sense of adventure and wonder with every new terrain you will travel bringing it own amount of secrets to discover. During your exploration there is a lot of puzzles will test your mind and your ability to take advantage of the clues you will have at your disposal in order to move forward in the plot. Some of the bigger additions to the game is the ability to drive a series of vehicles in an very vast and expansive maps from a pair of widespread islands with multiple hidden secrets to Volcano side that requires some nifty driving the use of a proper tool in order to get over some quite difficult terrain to get over. Another addition to the gameplay in the ability to swim in and under water, with this element it adds even more to exploration element of the game with you now needing to take the element of underwater secrets into account and having the ability to swim underwater will help you out a great deal in some of the more difficult combat engagements. However, the biggest addition to the core gameplay in terms of exploration and combat is the use of a hook and rope. This use of the hook and rope not only makes you feel more like Indiana Jones than ever before but it adds a serious upgrade in how one can traverse the environment as there are serial sections both in exploration and combat that built upon different elevations that will require you move up and down very quickly in order to get out tricky situations. I must also give praise to the combat A.I. developers as they have really stepped up their game here as the enemies A.I. across all the difficulties is quite capable of using the technique aspects of the environment itself against you to either keep pinned leaving you open to a flanking maneuver from directions that you would not expect or put enough fire on you to point where you are forced to move to location that the enemy A.I. has already prepared a series of ambushes for you which for me forced me to have played very differently than I had been used to in previous installments. It took me about 14 hours to beat Uncharted 4 on my first play-through on HARD difficulty and I am not ashamed to say that I did die plenty of times. There is also a lot of collectible treasures to find that can grant you points to which you can then spend to add on cheats or modifications to your over gaming experience. Once you are done with main Campaign you take your skills into multiplayer and take part in a series of standard typical matches that many of you can expect from a cover based shooter. But With such a challenging experience Naughty Dog continues their tradition of bringing well-balanced gameplay style to the front while’s adding some new elements which make it stand apart from the previous installments while still feeling very familiar to players use to the uncharted gameplay format.
Since the very first installment of uncharted back in 2007 Naughty Dog Studio has proven to be masters at creating quality AAA titles that push the boundaries of what video games are capable of with the right design elements and they have done it once again hear on nearly every possible level. The visuals for A Thief’s End are without question the absolute best that will find to date out of all their current game consoles. The developers have taken the full power of the PlayStation 4 and have used it to its makes. The attention to detail on the characters models is simply incredible. The facial expressions captured so well he that you literally have a good sense of how the character is feeling and reacting to situations without them ever needing to say a word. Even the that the characters models are wearing can react to the environment as jumping into water darkens your character and even the elements of mud can actually stain your clothes as well. In terms of environments, A Thief’s End without question has the most diverse collection of different landscapes to explore that thou do have boundaries feel more expensive than any previous title. And with such wide spacing environments, you really are encouraged to explore as much as you want and this element is even carried on into the combat sections as there are really very few linear pathways and grants you a good number of options and approaches that keep the game feeling fresh even with multiple playthroughs. The music score once again adds to the atmosphere of the game including adding a sense of tension and excitement when the action set pieces begin and will keep you on the edge of the seat until its conclusion. The only technique issues I encounter throughout my playthrough was the cover base system can sometimes have trouble moving your character to your desired position from time to time and I did happen to encounter a number of underwater visual effect error that I don’t believe were polished very well. But not serious that would affect your overall experience with the game.
Unfortunately for DOOM the 10-12 hour campaign depending on your choice of difficulty does not really have much of story but more of a concept and it is the exact same concept as the first game did back in 1993. You play as an unnamed soldier you wake up in a facility on mars. You Don’t know how you got there, you don’t know why your there but as soon as you walk into the next room, you put some armor, grabs some guns and from that point on it is your job to turn off a portal to hell that has been opened up and this will require you will go from point A to point B across multiple locations killing anything and everything that gets in your way.
Now look I understand the first two installments back in the 90s were not really trying to tell a story and were more or less run and gun shoot’em games. But at least DOOM 3 tried to explain what had been going on before everything went to hell through data logs in a kind of Dead Space kind of way and even other shoot’em games like Call of Duty, Battlefield and dare I say even Wolfenstein which back day the two were practically twins of each other just set with different themes have attempted to tell some kind story over the course of their franchises. So I’m just a bit disappointed that after 23 years this game doesn’t even attempt to do such a things in fact the game is so self-aware of itself that one of the first things your character does after picking up a monitor that is trying to explain anything is flat out throw it away symbolizing that game itself doesn’t care about telling a story and neither should you. Oh sure there are a few moments throughout the game that try to explain events but they so irritant and you simply won’t care and what makes them worst is that you can’t skip these moments and they are just there to make the game longer then it needs to be. If you someone who is just looking to jump start killing things with no real reason then this issue will not bother you. But for me, if you going to remake an old title I would’ve expected at least a solid attempt at telling a plot not just recycle an old concept. If other franchises whose original entries that provided just a simple concepts back in the day as this one did could evolve over time in this department there are not reasons why this one couldn’t do it too.
Now, what DOOM lacks in story it completely elevates itself in terms of its gameplay. DOOM has some of the most high energy and intense gunplay action I have played in some time. What really set DOOM apart from other shooters is the dynamic quality of its level design and how the gameplay really requires you to stay in a constant state of movement while engaging you enemies. Your ability to maneuver around your environment is a key aspect of your survival as the wide scale and open areas allow your enemies the ability to span from just about any location making the chances of being complexly overwhelmed from multiple different directions a real threat. The enemy variety is quite large bring back most of the classic enemies that have appeared over the course of the franchise and providing them with their own unique movements and attacks which went combined against you can be quite challenging especially in the later chapters. There are few bosses spread throughout the game that can be quite difficult to take down on some the much higher difficulties. But luckily over the course of the game, you will be granted access to a fairly powerful collection of weapons that all have their uses in the right situation. You’ve got Shotguns, machine guns, plasma weapons, multiple different grenades and even the all powerful BFG makes its return. If one chooses to want to finish off an enemy in style there are a series of special what are called GLORY KILLS that can be applied once you have caused enough damage to stagger an enemy and they can instantly finish off an enemy in bloody fashion with each unique enemy having various animations. The kills in this game are so gory the developers clearly took a page from Santa Monica Studios God of War series. One the biggest addition that this installment of DOOM has is a new expansive upgrade system. Everything from your Armor to your weapons and more can be upgraded as your armor enchantments add more to your combative performance while the upgrades to your weapons allow you different firing modes that can be attuned to your particular type of gameplay. Another addition to the gameplay is a series of what are call Rune Trials that require you to complete a specific challenge that is accomplished grant you access to special perks that you add on your charter that can also get an upgrade to grant you an edge in combat. Throughout your exploration there a good deal of collectibles that can be found in secret hidden areas along with a good amount Easter eggs that provide some very awesome throwbacks to the original 1993 game. Once you have finished the main campaign you can either choose to go back and play through it again on a higher difficulty or you can jump into multiplayer and playthroughs a number of interesting game modes that can provide some level of fun entertainment but can feel somewhat limited to some players.
I.D. and Bethesda studios have done an incredible job with bringing this old franchise into this modern generation of gaming. In terms of its overall visual design DOOM is simply incredible running in 1080p, 60fps. So much attention detail has been applied here as every new environment you encounter has its own unique taste giving you a great sense of atmosphere and a clear idea of just how out of control situation has become with multiple corpses laid out throughout the environment and blood slathered across the walls and the physical damage of the facility itself. The level design is also quite unique as not only are maps giving lots of open space to maneuver but it is also given levels of elevation giving you, even more, avenues that you can use maneuver along with providing your enemies with the same advantages to catch you off guard. The sound design is also handled every well as every enemy has their own sound that can notify you of their arrival if you hear them through the chaos. All your weapons give a sense of the how powerful they are with each round fired and what high energy impact sound effect and what engagement would be complete without some awesome hard metal music playing in the background adding to the intensity of the moment which also can give you an indication of when the enemy is still in the area and need to seek out and killed before you can move to the next area and on a final note thou the amount of exploration can be quite expensive due to size of the maps there is a solid of amount of backtracking and a need to repeat objectives from chapter to chapter that can cause to the game to feel somewhat reparative over a long period of time. But if this is something that won’t bother your own personal playthrough then I would say your extra time with exploration can certainly pay off in the long run.
Unfortunately, No Man’s Sky does not possess and actual narrative that one can follow but more on a simple objective. You find yourself waking up on some unknown planet and your spaceship has crashed. Once you have finished repair, your goal is to travel from galaxy to attempt to reach to the center of the universe for what reason is not given. Now me being a story driven gamer I can open admit that No Man’s Sky’s lack of any real narrative did make it very difficult for me to get invested into the game. However, I can understand the developer wants the player to shape their own unique story over the course of their journey to the center of the universe. The problem for me at least is that there is just not enough to do throughout one’s travel to make the write your own story concept really credible. And if you do manage to actually achieve the primary goal of the game then the payoff is not really worth all the time and effort you put into your actual playthroughs.
The primary gameplay can be described as a survival exploration game divided into two categories those being on the ground and within your space ship. The survival aspect while you’re on the ground will have you spend most of your time using your primary tool to mine for materials that you can collect and have multiple uses including recharging your hazard protection exo-suit, your life support and also multiple flight functions for your space ship including your Launch Thrusters, Pulse Engines, and Hyperdrive. You can also buy and sell the materials you collect at Galactic-Trading Terminals in order to gain more unit credits or purchase rare object that you could not collect through traditional means. The exploration aspect, while you are on the ground, will have you seeking out and scanning both landscapes and alien lifeforms so that you can collect data and once shared on the universal data base you will be rewarded with unit credits. Over the course of your travel you will also encounter serval unique alien factions that will try to communicate with you but at first, it will be very difficult to understand their language. But by exploring the monoliths of each for each unique alien species you will gain knowledge on how to understand their language thereby making your alliance with each alien species stronger, to which they will provide you will material and upgrades for all your equipment to aid you on your journey. However, an issue I had with this function is that no matter where you go all the alien species, for the most part, seem to act completely identical making your interactions with each species feeling more and more reparative with time. Once you collected as much date and resources on one partial planet as you want. You can then jump into your space ship and travels to another planet do to your entire exploration cycle all over again. If you happen to have enough fuel in your hyperdrive, however, you can use your universal map to travel to another galaxy and the more fuel you have in your hyperdrive the farther you can travel. The combat aspect of the No Man’s Sky is unfortunately very lacking both on the ground and in space. While on the ground your primary enemies are variations of different machines called sentinels that can call for bigger and stronger reinforcements if you do not destroy them quickly. However, the mostly always ignore you unless you attack them first and the same goes for any planetary wild life you may encounter. Regardless of how they may appear the wild life will mostly stay away from you and unless you feed in which they will befriend you can even guide you rare items. In space, combat can be ranged from completely nonexistent to repetitive and boring. As most galactic fleets will only attack you if you shoot first and your random encounters with hostile enemies always have you engaging only one enemy at a time.
The upgrade mechanic in No Man’s Sky is can at time feel expansive but is ultimately quite limited. You can increase your Exosuit Inventory by finding the random pod and spending credit unit to buy an extra slot which will allow you carry more materials. If you get tired of you current ship you save up unit credits in order to buy different ships that can carry a much Inventory. You can trade in your current Multi-Tool for a different one that may have more inventory slots or many high levels of mechanical function or a different level of performance. In the end though the gameplay at first glance can somewhat feel quite fast after you have finished the initial first number of hours you will find yourself doing the same thing over and over and over again no matter what planet you visit or how far you choose to travel through the universe making the game only as long as you choose to make it.
Now right from the get go a major positive of No Man’s Sky are the games visuals. The designers did a solid job at coming up with a technique of a creative lot of planets that all look slightly different than each other thou they can feel somewhat similar to each. The look of sights of traveling to multiple galaxies never seemed to get old as I always knew that no matter where I went throughout the universe I would always see something different and beautiful. The music and sound design does a great job at setting up the mood to whatever activity you taking part in where it’s exploring the vast landscapes of the planets you will visit, battling hostile enemies the vacuum of space or even traveling at hyper speed to your next unexplored solar system. On a technical level though the game did run rather smooth for a majority of my 50+ hours playthroughs I did notice a series of frame rate drops that seemed to only happen when the game had a hard time keeping up with my flight speed while I was scanning the landscape of the worlds I was visiting and with planets that are supposed to have some levels of gravity there seem to be some series issues with the laws of physics. And I have heard from serval output that their games did have a tendency to crash from time to time however this is something that never seemed to happen during my particular playthroughs. In an over all design sense, No Man Sky’s is able to capture the experience and wonder of what intergalactic space travel might be but it is heavy flawed and lacks debt making the overall game feel somewhat hollow and just as empty as planets and galaxies in No Man’s Skys are themselves.
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