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Can Uncharted 4 Live Up to The Hype?

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For many PlayStation 4 owners, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End has been one of the most anticipated games for Sony’s latest home video game console. The Naughty Dog franchise is a PlayStation cornerstone and a guaranteed E3 press conference feature, but has been delayed quite a few times raising some concerns. The latest title has been delayed three times despite a beta test earlier this year. On the other hand, Sony has kept expectations high and even though it’s not the focus of this website or editorial, the multi-player beta seems to have been a hit with gamers as well as the gaming press.

Before I get too far into this, I must confess that I didn’t like Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception quite as much as Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. I will admit the third chapter was visually breathtaking and one of the best looking games I’ve ever seen, in either 2D or 3D. I just felt like the whole formula was a bit tired, with too much reliance on quick-time events, and the story wasn’t quite as compelling as its predecessor. That being said, there is absolutely no way that I’m going to miss Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.

According to the developer, Uncharted 4 will take place several years after Nathan Drake’s last adventure. Now married, the retired fortune hunter is of course pulled back in when his brother, Sam, resurfaces. While A Thief’s End is guaranteed to be an action-packed, globe-trotting treasure hunt, Nathan Drake’s family ties and other relationships will likely make it a much more personal tale. It’s this kind of character depth in the narrative that makes Naughty Dog’s new franchise, The Last of Us, such a beloved game.

Uncharted 4, A Thief’s End, video game

One thing the last Uncharted game did do was explore Nathan Drake’s early years. Hopefully, this will have some effect on how the narrative for the new game plays out. Along those lines, Creative Director Neil Druckman, also The Last of Us’ creative director, did imply in an interview with Game Informer that things that happen early in your life tend to linger with you. The piece actually goes pretty far into Drake’s inner conflicts and how his outward facade isn’t necessarily who he is on the inside. All of that indicates something we haven’t seen before in the series.

What’s also new to Uncharted is the addition of dialogue choices. While this mechanic is unlikely to have the same impact it does in games from Bioware or even TellTale, it does show that Naughty Dog is concerned with giving players greater agency and investment in Nathan Drake. As I mentioned before, the series does have a new creative director, and there is a justifiable concern that Uncharted 4 very well might have a much darker tone than its predecessors. While I’d personally appreciate a more impactful narrative, I can understand why others wouldn’t. Though I seriously doubt it will be dark enough to garner an M rating from the ESRB.

Of course a game like Uncharted isn’t all about the narrative. Each of the preceding games have been mechanically sound even if they aren’t exactly groundbreaking. With Uncharted 4, some real effort has been put into the game mechanics and AI – for both companions and enemies. In another Game Informer piece, it was revealed that Drake’s animations have been completely overhauled, and that his climbing motions alone use more memory than his entire moveset from Uncharted 3. As for the AI, companions have always played a big role in the series and this time around, Naughty Dog promises they will be pretty competent on their own. The enemy AI roles have also been drastically expanded. After playing the beta, I’m pretty impressed with how the actual gameplay works.

Uncharted 4, A Thief’s End, video game

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End will mark the end of the Uncharted series and with new direction is likely to end on slightly different tone than how it all started. Depending on your expectations, that can be either a good or bad thing. As I mentioned before, I found Uncharted 3 to be a little flat, so I welcome a more mature narrative, though I’m sure at least a portion of the game’s audience will feel otherwise. I was also really impressed by the gameplay mechanics, especially the combat, in the multiplayer beta, and expect that aspect of the game to be pretty solid on the PlayStation 4. If nothing else, the sheer amount of effort put into improving that aspect of the game is enough to inspire confidence in the final result.  Uncharted is, without a doubt, an essential PlayStation title, and there’s really almost no reason to skip the finale.

With Uncharted 4’s release right around the corner, the most likely flaw is in the execution of the narrative, but I’ve seen enough to be confident that the series’ finale will be its best chapter yet.

What do you think? What would you like to see? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure to follow us on Twitter (@Official_OnlySP) and Facebook where you can also sound off your opinions.

The opinions in this editorial are the author’s and do not represent OnlySP as an organization.

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Writer, musician, and indie game developer in the Land of Enchantment.

Editorial

Three Single-Player Games to Watch Out for in May 2019

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May

May offers no respite from the big, bold games that have released so far in 2019, bringing with it a host of games almost certain to appeal to gamers of every stripe.

Close to the Sun

Release Date: May 2, 2019
Platforms: PC, consoles later in the year

May’s first major release may also be its most intriguing. Close to the Sun has regularly attracted comparisons to BioShock for its art style and premise, though the relationship between the two titles is, at best, spiritual.

Players take the role of journalist Rose Archer as she steps aboard Nikola Tesla’s ship, the Helios in 1897. Like Andrew Ryan before him (or after him, depending on perspective), Tesla has created a microcosm in which scientific freedom is unrestricted, with disastrous outcomes. Rose’s first impression is of a quarantine sign at the entrance to a still, dead ship, but she presses on regardless in search of her lost sister.

With Close to the Sun, developer Storm in a Teacup aims to provide an intense horror experience. The Helios holds none of BioShock’s shotguns or Plasmids. Instead, players have no means to defend themselves, with gameplay focusing on hiding from and escaping the threats on board.

Check out OnlySP’s final review of the game here.

RAGE 2

Release Date: May 14, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

For anyone to whom the slow, meditative approach does not appeal, Bethesda is busting out the big guns with the long-awaited, little-expected sequel, RAGE 2.

This time around, id Software has tapped Just Cause and Mad Max developer Avalanche Studios for assistance in developing an open-world game. The result, if the trailers are any indication, is a breakneck, neon-fuelled experience that focuses on insanity and ramps up all the unique aspects of the earlier game.

One focal point of development has been ensuring the interconnectedness of the game’s structure, and the teams have promised a greater focus on narrative this time around. Perhaps in keeping with that, RAGE 2 is being distanced from its predecessor, taking place 30 years later with a new protagonist and a whole new story, though some callbacks will be present.

Although id’s legendary first-person gunplay is a driving force throughout the game, it will be supplemented by some light RPG elements, robust vehicular combat, and post launch challenges and support (though the developers deny that RAGE 2 is designed with a games-as-a-service model in mind).

A Plague Tale: Innocence

Release Date: May 14, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Out on the same day as RAGE 2 is the vastly different A Plague Tale: Innocence. A historical adventure, the game challenges players with overcoming obstacles with brains rather than brawn.

Players become Amicia, an orphan girl struggling to survive in a plague-infested medieval France while also keeping her younger brother safe. With the landscape rife with rats and members of The Inquisition, one of the core tenets of gameplay is reportedly the need to use these threats against each other. As such, though Amicia has a sling to use, the gameplay is designed more as survival puzzles than combat ones.

Developer Asobo Studio is not a household name, though it has a lengthy history of adaptations and support on major titles, including Quantum Break and The Crew 2. Furthermore, even though A Plague Tale is yet to release, publisher Focus Home Interactive has displayed remarkable confidence in the project by extending its partnership with Asobo.

Honourable Mentions

Although RAGE 2 is the incontestable action-blockbuster of the month, gamers in search of another kind of frenetic may want to wait until May 21, when Curve Digital drops American Fugitive, which has a more than passing resemblance to the earliest Grand Theft Auto games. Alternatively, PlayStation VR owners may want to look into Blood and Truth come May 28.

Sega also shines this month, dropping Team Sonic Racing on May 21 and Total War: Three Kingdoms two days later.

Anyone looking for an RPG has indie’s answer to The Outer Worlds, Within the Cosmos, to look out for on May 30, while those looking for slower stories get the latest episode of Life is Strange 2 on May 9, Observation on May 21, and the fjord-noir Draugen at a yet unspecified date.

Have we forgotten anything that you’re excited for? Let us know down below or on our Discord server.

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