I’ve been patient. Very patient as it happens. Applying a rigorous discipline to my naturally agitated mindset. Enduring years of resigned vacuity, two delays and possessing enough games in my library to play so I wouldn’t be thinking about so much until finally, FINALLY, Uncharted 4 was mine! But I’ll admit that’s it’s release coincides with my own self doubt about its credentials. I’ve been complacent with my quality control before when it comes to purchasing new games, estimating something great and getting Destiny. Anticipating a unique new IP and getting Watchdog’s, taking a metaphorical dump in my PS4. There are multiple considerations that go into concluding whether or not to purchase a game. Stylistically does it meet you’re specific requirements? Is it a genre you’d feel comfortable participating in? Does the developer have a good track record of producing exciting, compelling games? Is it developed by EA or Ubisoft? In which case let’s mock and jape their squandered self respect. But from a consumer perspective you don’t want to have to research every conceivable facet. Posturing the distinguishing characteristics, calculating the differentiating variables that roughly determine the ratio of good and bad. If we did that then buying games would become more convoluted than the previous sentence! It’s difficult to evaluate a games quality without diminishing the mystique of an unreleased game. The unknown variables that determine whether or not a game is a good, surely that’s part of being a gamer?
Uncharted 4 is a game I would’ve purchased regardless of general critical consensus. It could’ve been lambasted to the seven circles of Hell and it still would have received my financial backing. It’s a pretty ignorant (and hypocritical) philosophy to have I realise, to buy something regardless of it quality. It’s the one issue I believe consolidates all of the acrimony distributed by major developers, who fail to produce worthwhile content because people such as myself will routinely buy it despite everything to the contrary advising you not too. This kind of preferential prejudice is indicative of people who just want to play something good, something they hope a developer has dedicated time an effort to coordinate a game of substance. And you can’t blame gamers for being passionate and wanting a game to be good. But developers ignorance is a discussion for another time, this is about my fears for Uncharted.
I deliberately initiated a separation between myself and any commercial endorsements, trailer’s, previews, reviews, fan speculation or coverage of any kind as much as I possibly could. Not easy when so many people are discussing it. I’ve had exposure to very non specific sequences that really only clarify how exhilarating the games excerpts are, the overall structure of the narrative and the tension the game is looking to evoke. At the same time I’ve derived my own conjectural theories, constructing inaccurate hypothesis concerning the recipient of the suggestive “Thief’s End” title for one (I’m hoping its still a reference to Drakes ancestor, Sir Francis. But now that I’ve played it, or at least a portion of it I can say with absolute certainty that my fears were completely baseless. From the diverse environments, the rich engaging dialogue, the self referential nostalgia, characterisations and even a very unexpected, inception like reference to Crash Bandicoot, or “Drakeception” if you will–that had me cackling like my drunk mother at a family barbecue, Uncharted 4 is everything I could’ve wanted. The game is a little more mature than previous instalments, yet retaining much of the levity and gratuitous cinematic fluency that has made it so endearing to fans. The thing is is that I’m invested, I’m concerned and I truly care about these characters. I’m always concerned for their welfare. The anxiety I felt was so potent though that it prevented me from playing it for a whole 5 hours after obtaining it! Which really is a credit to the creators for constructing a game series of such immeasurable pleasure, that I genuinely feared that I was going to lose some of my best friends. I’m only about half way through, currently pillaging a Scottish cemetery but can already tell this is going to be one emotional journey, one that I know I’ll finish and go right back to the start to play all over again.