Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End on PlayStation 4 debuted with an impressive but short gameplay demonstration at last year’s E3. Sony continued to astound with a longer chase sequence presented at their press briefing this year. Featuring everyone’s favourite explorer Nathan Drake and his trusty companion Victor Sully escaping with a usual assortment of goons in pursuit, I was shown a longer version of the demo in a behind closed doors presentation.
The very first factor apparent from the gameplay demonstration is the game is still a visual treat. As we viewed during the Sony PlayStation conference, the demo beings with Sully and Nathan strolling through city streets before the local militia start shooting at our two adventurers. As with past Uncharted titles, the player uses a mix of cover shooting and melee combat to fight their way past the enemy. Nate utilises his trademark climbing stills to carve a path though the numerous goons, but an Armoured Personnel Carrier also joins the fray.
Nate and Sully make a speedy getaway in a appropriated vehicle. With the APC in hot pursuit, Nate knifes down the road, taking shortcuts through gardens and alleys, leaving extensive destruction in his wake. All the while we are treated to some excellent witty banter between the two treasure hunters, with Sully commenting they can never return to the city. Nate eventually escapes the APC and catches up to his brother Sam Drake – introduced in an earlier trailer and voiced by Troy Baker – who is also on the run, but from a gang of motorcycle goons.
At this point, my demonstration continued past were it had previously ended. Nate grapples onto a crane crossing a bridge, dodging boats and various other obstacles in his way. He eventually reaches dry land, being dragged along the ground by the grappling hook while also shooting one-handed at enemies on the crane. Nate manages to climb on the vehicle and shoot some of the motorcycle fiends following Sam. In this sequence, very similar to the chase scene in Uncharted 2, Nathan jumps from car to car, brawling with enemies and taking cover from the gun-ho pursuers. The entire scene reminded me how Uncharted 2 managed to effortlessly integrate cinematic moments into the game without them seeming out of place or shoehorned in to simply tick a box.
The APC eventually appears again, crashing into a jeep Nate has commandeered. The vehicle flips on its head, trapping our hero underneath. Stuck between the driver’s seat and the ground, Nathan also has to contend with a spreading fire and escape in a very claustrophobic quick-time sequence. He crawls out of the jeep just in time, shooting goons as he escapes. Sam speeds past on his motorbike, hoisting Nate onto the back with the APC still in pursuit. While his brother drives through shipping containers and under objects, Nate shoots at the APC’s tyres and engine. It eventually succumbs to damage and explodes. From start to finish, the chase sequence had me on the edge of my seat. With Naughty Dog’s pedigree, I have no doubt that Uncharted 4 will again the raise the bar set by it’s predecessors to be an even better adrenaline-filled experience.
The demonstration ended with Sully, Sam and Nathan regrouping at a safe house (BE ADVISED IF YOU WISH TO AVOID SPOILERS, IT IS ADVISABLE TO STOP READING NOW). Sam reveals why he was on the run – he has discovered the location of Libertalia, an undiscovered pirate colony said to possess treasures of unspeakable wealth. As the group celebrate their find, Nathan opens to the door to the safe house to reveal a resigned-looking Elena.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, which Naughty Dog has declared the final chapter of Nathan Drake’s story, is set for release on PlayStation 4 in 2016.