E3 2015: Uncharted 4’s Adrenaline Rush
Nathan Drake's adventures are finally coming to an end. After three games that have spanned every corner of the world, we're all finally going to see how the Uncharted story arc comes to a close. E3 2015 was a perfect arena for the next big reveal, and Naughty Dog did not disappoint. The Sony conference demo was great, but it's the extended version of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End on the show floor that really gets the mind racing.
First let's talk about the main presentation. The attention to detail in Uncharted 4 is already incredible, as indicated from that simple movement through the crowd at the beginning. The way Drake and Sully interact with each passerby is insanely lifelike, right down to the quick quips they say to each person as they walk. All of a sudden the gunfights start, bullets are flying every which way, and we can see the impressive environmental damage start to appear. Tiles chip away from constant fire, wooden carts explode into splinters when Drake punches an enemy onto it, and sand shoots out of bags Drake is hiding behind. These little nuances really make the scene feel that much more authentic, and that's before Drake and Sully jump into the jeep.
The car chase scene is the only thing that gives me hesitation, but not because it doesn't look fun. Handling that jeep seems a little bit sloppy, especially in a few of the sharper turns, and I wonder how much trouble players will have with this moment when the full release appears. That said motoring through the streets while avoiding the giant gun truck still looks like a blast, and I like how the pace quickly changed from adrenaline rush to slow and steady (like in the construction part) and back again on the fly. From there Drake latches on to one of the truck, he hits the wooden wall on the side of the bridge, and the Sony media briefing stage demo ends... but the extended demo continues.
After hitting the wooden planks Drake falls into the war still holding onto his grappling hook, eventually surfacing and being dragged behind the truck. Enemies on motorcycles decide this is the best time to attack, and Drake is forced to shoot at the motorcycles while holding onto the grappling wire. This is a crazy scene to witness, as there's so much going on it's hard to keep track of it all, but it's still exhilarating all the same. Drake eventually pulls himself up to the vehicle, jumps onto a 4x4 driving with the gun truck and commandeers it, shooting more bad guys along the way.
After a while the gun truck crashes into the jeep, flipping it multiple times before it stops upside down with Drake inside. He stirs, trying to get his bearings, when suddenly a small spark lights and the interior starts to catch fire. It's hard to describe the magnificent graphical work at play here, with the fire slowly spreading throughout the inside of the jeep as Drake slowly crawls to where he can free himself from his temporary prison. He notes that enemies are gathering outside of the vehicle, so he creatively frees himself in such a way that his gun is extended and ready to fire the instant the door he's hitting gives way. It's an awesome exchange from one scene to the next, seamless and instant, and my jaw dropped when I saw it.
From here Drake's brother Sam comes to the rescue via motorcycle and the chase begins again. This time the two are able to stay out of harm with Sam's deft driving and Nathan's good aim in fending off enemies, and the scene comes to a close with a gun truck crashing into a spectacular fireball and the two driving away triumphantly. A small teaser scene then starts with Sully and the two brothers rendezvousing at a local hotel, celebrating their escape from danger and entering their hotel room only to be confronted by a familiar blond-haired face in an equally familiar pink shirt wondering what Nathan Drake is up to in that part of the world. Scene. End of demo.
Uncharted 4's extended E3 floor demo may have asked more questions than it answered, but I do know this: the game is already fitting right into the Uncharted mold, and I can't wait to see what else Drake and the crew have in store for us next year.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End will release exclusively on PlayStation 4 in 2016.