E3 2015 – Uncharted 4: shifting into gear

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During the Sony press conference, they showed off some all new gameplay from Uncharted 4. While it had some really strong moments, it wasn’t filled with much that felt particularly new. Luckily, I got to see even more behind closed doors.

First up, as a refresher: here’s what Sony showed at the beginning of the week:

What I love about that part of the demo is just how fresh and colourful it looks. The switch from cut scene to gameplay is seamless and the whole experience looks gorgeous and vibrant. I love how alive the environment of Madagascar is.

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In my behind closed doors session, the live demo included Drake taking some different paths in his journey down the mountain. This even resulted in him getting stuck and having to turn around, proving that while there are a variety of ways down, you will continue to be chased by the armoured truck until you reach the next objectives.

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While I don’t think the combat shown in the demo is that fresh or unique, there is combat later on that is. Following the point when it looks like Drake might have died (of course he didn’t), the demo includes some cool new elements. Drake is dragged through some realistic and well-lit mud before eventually taking down the convoy one vehicle at a time. This includes shooting, punching and generally bringing down mayhem on the various enemies before encouraging Sam to jump on his truck.

Of course, that isn’t a good idea as seconds later Drake gets crashed into and must endure some QTEs in order to escape the burning wreck, just in time to shoot some more baddies. Then it’s another quick chase to blow up the armoured truck that feels somewhat reminiscent of Terminator, and Drake escapes basically without a scratch.

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What I’m so impressed by from the demo was the fluidity of movement. While combat might look fairly similar to every other bit of cover shooting, its the movement through crowds and the environment that feels wholly upgraded. I’m not sure how they managed to improve upon The Last of Us, but they did – even small animations like touching people to move them out of the way feels more natural.

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All the excitement from the mountain of Madagascar wasn’t the end of the demo, though. The scene shifted to later that night as Drake and his brother Sam meet up with Sully. Thanks to a map and cypher, they’ve discovered the location of Libertalia, a mythical pirate colony/sanctuary. Supposedly, all the pirates used to store their loot in one common location. Of course Sully hits the nail on the head when asking “So where is this commie pirate sanctuary?” I mean really, what pirate should be willing to store his loot with other pirates?

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Anyway, before they can carry on with their plans, they enter their hotel room only to find Elena examining their charts. Staring at Nathan she rebukes him asking, “How’s the Malaysia job? Seems you’re a hair off course.” Of course that’s where the demo ends. The story is still so up in the air although hunting down the treasure of a bunch of communist pirates is an excellent setup. Plus, dealing with Elena could make for more than just an interesting QTE.

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The game is truly looking gorgeous and fans of the franchise have every reason to be excited. While combat isn’t necessarily looking all that new, it doesn’t have to be new to be fun. It’s hard to gauge how the game is actually playing as they didn’t let us go hands-on with the demo, but it is appears to be coming along nicely.

With a release date only set for 2016, we still have a long way to go until we see more of how the gameplay will really be experienced.

Last Updated: June 19, 2015

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