Naughty Dog Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Naughty Dog RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network 8 Games That Could Be Considered "Art" Sun, 18 Feb 2018 13:13:05 -0500 buymymixtape123

Video games have come a long way from the 8-bit sprites of the 80s. Games now rival other forms of media in art style, storytelling and music. Video games are as much of an art form as a movie or a piece of music. Here are eight games supporting this thesis and showing the boundaries gaming pushes as a art form.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt  

The Witcher 3 is as beautiful as a game could get. Just peering over the horizon while the sun is setting is just as soothing as looking over a real sunset. Furthermore, the narrative and music are exceptionally good, rivaling other popular high fantasy stories like Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings. I remember the first time I played this game back in May 2015, and just riding through Velen for the first time on Roach and taking in the sights and sounds of the world changed the way I looked at gaming. This game made me realize that gaming is art.


Cuphead is one of those games many gamers would look at and think it's a 1930s cartoon. Cuphead is brilliantly designed and stays true to the 1930s cartoon look, even having the strong film grain cartoons and movies of the past used to have. This run and gun, boss rush game is notorious for its hard difficulty but just taking the time to appreciate the art that this indie studio, Studio MDHR, made is enough to make you fall in love with this game.



Bioshock is a game on this list that's artistic for more than its art style. This doesn't mean Bioshock isn't a beautiful game, just going down into the underwater city of Rapture in the first few moments is going to make your jaw drop. But the narrative is what pushes this game into art territory. The game pushes you to think about what is wrong and what is right, and even comments on tyrants and the struggle of power and narcissism. Not a lot of games cover subject matter like this, and Bioshock does it beautifully, to the point where you want to know what is going to happen next in this amazing story. Bioshock is more than a game; it is a piece of art.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

There is one moment in gaming I will never forget and it is the moment at the start of Breath of the Wild, where Link first comes out the Shrine of Resurrection and looks over the horizon of Hyrule for the first time. At this point of my life, I never thought a game would surprise me like that and this moment did to the point of tears. Breath of the Wild isn't a perfect game, but it is art in every aspect of the word. The attention of detail Nintendo did with the landscape of the world, the cartoonish but beautiful graphics all show how gaming is art. 

The Last of Us

The Last of Us shows that video game narratives can be just as compelling and serious as a feature length movie. The Last of Us story of Ellie and Joel as they survive together in a post-apocalyptic world is heart wrenching, addictive and bittersweet. Not to mention that this game is beautiful and dark, which the PS4 remastered port expands upon. This game's story is so beautifully crafted that it's well-known outside of gaming. Even non-gamers know of this title and enjoy Naughty Dog's creation.  


Journey is one of those games that will impact you immensely in the short time it takes to beat. It isn't hard and doesn't have complicated mechanics, but it uses beautiful visuals and music to tell an emotional tale of a robed individual in the vast desert. Journey's soundtrack was so beautiful that it was nominated for a Grammy in 2013, one of the highest awards in music. If after you play Journey, you still don't think video games are art, you may have to get your head checked out.

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker was hated when it was first announced. Nintendo went for more of a cartoony, colorful experience than following the graphics laid out in Ocarina of Time or Majora's Mask. But, people came to notice how beautiful this game really was and how fun the game is in general. Nintendo really focused on facial animation in Wind Waker, where Toon Link makes a certain face when he swings a sword or tries to push something that is too heavy for him. Also, the game is gorgeous for its cel shading graphics. This games still looks as good, if not better, than games coming out on the Switch.

Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus is beautiful because of how little it does compared to other games. Other games on this list earn their beauty from a wide arrange of colors and architect. This game does not have any of that, as there are no towns to go to, nothing to really look at and no other quest besides killing all of the Colossi around you. It is similar to Journey, where the game takes you on a emotional roller coaster without really doing much. This is the beauty of gaming: it is able to tug at your heart strings just through gameplay, art style and music alone, without a direct narrative putting it all together. If you are unsure if Shadow of The Colossus is in fact art, please check out the PS4 remastered that just came out recently.

There you have it, eight games symbolizing why video games can be considered art. When it comes down to it, if any other media like movies and music can be considered art, then video games should be as well. 

Were the Expectations Set Up By Uncharted 4's Trailers Fulfilled? Fri, 09 Jun 2017 17:50:09 -0400 CarlyEvans

One of the most anticipated games of 2016, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, brought to an end the story of a character loved by many gamers since his debut, Nathan Drake. The final game in the highly acclaimed Uncharted series was originally teased at E3 2014. The teaser began with a cryptic scene showing Drake waking up on a stormy beach, overlaid with a concerning conversation between Drake and Sully, seemingly setting up a foreboding adventure.

But before I go any further into the final tale of Nathan Drake, I want to warn you that there will be many spoilers for UC4 and The Walking Dead in the paragraphs that follow, so be warned!

Still here? Let's dive in.

Not only was the Uncharted 4 reveal trailer convincingly pointing to the death of a main character, the title of the game itself was presented in a way that many fans thought the end of the series would also mean the death of its protagonist, Nathan Drake. 

However, as those of us who have played the game know, Drake comes out alive one more time. But is this ending realistic or even deserved from what Naughty Dog led us to believe? 

The Uncharted series is no stranger to unrealistic situations. In each game, the player takes on hundreds, if not thousands, of enemies single-handedly (or with one or two sidekicks). Not only has Drake murdered thousands of people over the course of the series, but every character who climbs anything has incredible finger and upper body strength, something that is simply not realistic. And specific to UC4, no one's grappling hook aim is that good. 

While these little things (and others) can be dismissed for gameplay's sake, story elements are more difficult to write off when they are unrealistic, especially in a series like Uncharted

But with an epic story had to come an epic ending. And while the ending was succinct and sweet (or more specifically, the epilogue), it wasn't totally realistic. Drake nearly died in the final battle against Rafe, and he just barely saved Sam, his brother from the same fate. This final scene was one full of frustration and anxiety, but not one lathered in fear for the demise of our protagonist. In any situation like that one, our hero realistically would not have made it out alive.

An end to Drake would have meant that UC4 would bestow to the gaming culture at large a greater impact than it already has. While we can assume Nate has left his illegal treasure hunting days behind, we will always know he is with his family enjoying life at their beach bungalow. If he had died, maybe that could have sparked an even more interesting story for those left behind

And it's not as if an ending such as that is without precedent. 

Many games have killed off their main characters. Telltale's The Walking Dead Season 1 brilliantly delivers to players an emotional blow with the death of its main character, Lee Everett. The player spends the entirety of the season (five entire episodes) with Lee. After growing close to him, as well as Clementine, who was always by his side, players were tasked with making a grueling choice as Lee succumbed to death: should Clementine shoot him or leave him to become a zombie?

Not only was this wrenching decision implemented in a choice-based game, but this ending delivered the series from Lee's hands to Clementine's in a heartbreaking and dramatic fashion. Telltale was able to kill off their main character in a beautiful way -- and a way that had meaning. Something like this could have been implemented in Uncharted 4, something that would have delivered a more meaningful and impactful game ending for everyone. 


Although there are many points in any video game that we can point to and label as unrealistic, Naughty Dog has proven that to create masterpiece games and stories that impact gamers worldwide, developers should just kick the story up a notch and deliver what they seem to promise. 

In the end, Naughty Dog led gamers to believe that Drake would die at the end of Uncharted 4. Not following through on that ultimately stole a little of the thunder Uncharted's final chapter provided long-time fans. 

Do you think Nate should have died at the end of UC4? Was Naughty Dog intentionally leading us to think he would? Sound off in the comments below! 

5 Things That The Last of Us Part II Shouldn't Be Sun, 04 Jun 2017 08:38:38 -0400 CarlyEvans


There are many things that we can hope for in The Last of Us Part II. The return of Joel and Ellie is a reason to celebrate already, but with so few details confirmed to us now, we only have speculation and hopes. 


In order to deliver another quality game and successfully implement this sequel, Naughty Dog should build on what they've already established. Sticking with a linear story line as well as a linear environment will let the audience spend quality time with the characters we are waiting to see again. And looking toward the future -- and not the past -- will let audiences get another glimpse into the amazing universe that Naughty Dog has created. 


The Last of Us was a brilliant game that definitely deserves a sequel. Here's to hoping the sequel is just as good or even better than the original! 


What are you hoping for in The Last of Us Part II? Let us know in the comments below. 








It Shouldn't Have a Sad Ending


As we have seen from the reveal trailer and heard from Neil Druckmann, The Last of Us Part II is about hate and revenge. This narrative choice is in complete contrast to the original's story of a loving bond, and it leads us to believe a dark story is to be told. 


While TLoU had a frustrating end, the course of the story was one of mutual love and respect growing between two unlikely people. Inversely, the story of Part II should end with a much more resolute and resolved plot thread. Since the game will likely take an even more somber tone than the first, a conclusion that doesn't leave the audience speculating -- and gives them a little hope -- will do the game justice. 


Whether Part II is the end of TLoU series is, of course, still unknown. A resolved and, dare I say, happy ending will close the chapter on TLoU universe in a way that the first couldn't, and now we know why.


The success of this game will depend on how Naughty Dog handles returning to a game that is held so high by so many. But if their previous IP's are any indication, this game will successfully do the original justice. 


Don't Rely on Choice-Based Mechanics


TLoU succeeded as much as it did because of its storyline. Narrative Director Neil Druckmann beautifully guided these two characters on an incredible journey that always went a particular direction that would always end with the fateful scene we all know today. 


Changing the way in which we engage with the characters with a choice based system in The Last of Us Part II certainly would give the player more control over the story. However, within the universe of TLoU, a choice based system in which the choices we as players make alters which storyline we follow will not benefit the game itself. 


The ending of the original game was so polarizing because there was no other option. The story always ended in the same exact way, no matter how many hours you put into the game or how many infected you did or did not kill. Each player gets the same experience in terms of the story. If The Last of Us Part II deviates from the single story track, it could create a disparate experience for their players and distract from the story they really want to tell. 


Part II should allow players to fully explore and experience a well thought out story that knows what it wants to say and where it wants to take us. 




Part II Shouldn't be an Explanation for the First Game


The Last of Us had an ending that polarized its audience. The ambiguity that followed the final scene left fans with questions and frustrations alike. But that is what makes the game a masterpiece. 


The final scene was meant to leave the player wondering what was going to happen. Did Ellie really know the truth? Was her response an acceptance of Joel's lie or was it a genuine example of trust? 


The Last of Us Part II should not be the answer to these questions. 


Part II should not aim to be the final say on that final scene of TLoU. While we will certainly learn about the affect that moment had on Ellie and Joel simply because we are getting a new game with the same characters, Part II should not spend its time giving an explanation of Joel's reasoning or Ellie's understanding.


Players can learn about the fate of Ellie and Joel through the interaction they may have in the game. Naughty Dog would be wise to show how that moment changed or didn't change Joel and Ellie's relationship rather than telling the players forthright. Ultimately, the focus of the game should be about the new story not on what happened in the past.


The Last of Us Part II Shouldn't Just be About Ellie


The Last of Us Part II reveal trailer has been the center of focus for many fan theories. One such theory suggests that Joel, even though he appears in the trailer, is actually dead. While it has been confirmed that Ellie is the main playable character in Part II, this does not necessarily mean that Joel will not accompany Ellie on her journey this time around. 


Since Joel was the character by which we experience the story of The Last of Us, it would be an incredibly harsh choice to kill him off for the sequel. The bond that was established during the original is what makes the game so striking and relatable to so many people. It would be a mistake for Naughty Dog to kill off one of the two main characters that came from the original. 


The Last of Us Part II will be Ellie's story to tell and in an industry dominated by male main characters, Ellie has such an important place in this story. However, Joel is a huge part of TLoU universe as well. Naughty Dog should carry on the story of two characters that many fans have grown to love and are hoping to see in the sequel together. 


Keeping TLoU Out of the Open World


Open world games have been a major part of many of the games released in the past few years. Games like the Far Cry 4, Final Fantasy XV, Horizon: Zero Dawn, as well as games in the Elder Scrolls series, have all brilliantly implemented open world settings. While this concept works really well for certain stories, this is one that will not work within TLoU universe. 


Naughty Dog has been implementing larger areas in their campaigns in recent years, as seen in Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. However, they have yet to create an open world game for this generation of consoles. While opening up areas of the map can be exciting and allow for more exploration, opening up the world itself creates a much different gameplay experience. A decision like this will not benefit the world of The Last of Us because the original game was a narrative driven story, first and foremost -- and many open world games struggle with that type of focus. 


Assuming Naughty Dog continues to do what it does best, Part II will be a game that is mainly narrative driven. This type of game does best when the narrative can move along in a controlled environment, which an open world is not. The characters of TLoU are the most important pieces of the game and when characters inhabit an open world, it is easier to lose focus on their development. 


The Last of Us Part II will do best if it is in a linear environment, just asThe Last of Us was. 


The Last of Us Part II, announced at PlayStation Experience 2016, is still early in development, but the long-awaited sequel was greeted with excitement and surprise alike when it was initially unveiled. 


As we await for more information about The Last of Us Part II, we can only speculate about what the story will hold and how the game will play. But following the amazing game that was The Last of Us, this sequel will have big shoes to fill.

In order to maintain, or even surpass, the bar that was set by the original, TLoU Part II should avoid these five things. 

Let's Hope Jak and Daxter Heading to the PSN as PS2 Classics Leads to a New Game Thu, 06 Apr 2017 08:00:01 -0400 Nick Lee

Playstation announced on April 3 that the classic Jak & Daxter series would be coming to the Playstation store and that Jak X: Combat Racing. With the classic series comes our own hopes and wishes that the duo will be back for another hilarious journey, but are these just dreams or could there be more?

Playstation previously released the HD collection for the PS3, but why bring back the game again on next gen console unless they were prepping fans for more? The last installment of the series, Combat Racing, was a one off and didn't feel like a real resolution to the series because it wasn't meant to be at all. A reboot of the series would be amazing for fans but Naughty Dog has had only one instance of actually planning a follow-up but was ultimately canceled.

jak 4

Initial efforts to make the game a reality stemmed from rumors, artwork and the transition from PS2 to PS3. In 2006 there was the developmental title Jak and Daxter: The Last Frontier. This turned out to be a registration title that was given to High Impact Games who would develop the game. This was the prime time frame for the aforementioned transition between consoles and was described in the book The Art of Naughty Dog: Naughty Dog Studios as:

Imagine the two co-founders of Naughty Dog passing the torch to new management -- we were switching to brand-new rendering technology with the extraordinarily complicated hardware architecture of the PS3, and literally building our entire code base up from scratch.

By 2009 with the game released, Naughty Dog expressed regret in the process and stated they would have "Done some things differently." If the series were to make a come back, the only way to gage interests would be a re-release of the existing games. If this is a move to do so, and not just a money grab by Playstation, hopefully we will be getting more hints in the near future. The last official mention of a sequel by the company came in 2013 when in an interview with IGN Sony president Andrew House stated it was, "Never off the table."

With Crash Bandicoot coming as a remaster in 2017, maybe Naughty Dog is planning some great revisits in the coming years for next gen consoles.

Uncharted 4 - Creating Characters That Live Outside the Game Mon, 03 Apr 2017 16:00:01 -0400 Caio Sampaio

The fourth entry in the franchise that immortalized the video game equivalent of Indiana Jones features a story that is more mature and well-developed than its three predecessors.

Released by Naughty Dog on March 10th, 2016, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End brings the story of Nathan Drake to a close, as he embarks on a journey to find the treasure of Libertalia and use it to settle a debt for his brother.

The writers have placed more emphasis on the emotional impact of the experience, through the conflicts between the characters and their motivations, but the narrative expands beyond the game itself.

uncharted 4, soundtrack

Naughty Dog, through its partnership with Sony, created a playlist players can listen on Spotify. The list of songs available; however, does not consist of the pieces used in the soundtrack of the game. The songs compiled are listed as the favorites from the quartet of characters of the production -- Nathan, Sam, Elena and Sullivan. Each of them has their own playlist with their favorite songs.

The type of music a person listens can communicate plenty in regards to the personality of this individual; therefore, this move by Naughty Dog makes sense, given its attempt to pursue more depth in the characters of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End.

By allowing players to listen to the favorites songs of the characters from the game, the narrative of the title expands to outside the production itself and allows players to have an even better understanding of the personality of these four individuals, especially if the player shares the same musical taste than Nathan, for instance.

This shows the amount of details Naughty Dog put in this game, but also displays the possibility of games to create a more meaningful experience by adding information in regards to its characters and its plot in sources outside the game itself.

With this said, let us take a look at three methods Naughty Dog could have used on the internet as a means to add depth to the experience of players who ventured themselves in Uncharted 4: A Thief's End.

life is strange, max, chloe

1 - An Instagram Account:

The picture above comes from the official Instagram account of Life is Strangea game released in 2013 by Square Enix and Don Nod Entertainment.

The developers use this page to post screenshots/videos of moments from the game and to share fan arts. While this is an effective method to connect with an audience, this approach could be expanded to add meaning to the narrative of the game and here is how Uncharted 4 could have done it.

Elena, who in this game is now married to Nathan, is a journalist and the couple went on many adventures together once the main story ended. In the epilogue, set over a decade later, players see pictures from the journeys taken after the main story. Players; however, only see the photos, without actually knowing the story behind them.

Considering Elena's profession, it is reasonable to assume she documented each of these expeditions. With this said, Naughty Dog could have created an Instagram account, on behalf of Elena, and upload pictures showing the story of what happened between the end of the main story of Uncharted 4 and its epilogue, more than a decade later, so players could learn the story behind those photographs, through their descriptions on Instagram.

This would have added depth to the characters, but without affecting the understanding of the story of the game for players who wish to play it, without following the Instagram account. These parts of the story would be entirely optional.

rapture, bioshock

 2 - A Web Game:

On March 4th, 2009, 2K Games released There's Something in the Sea, a browser game developed to promote BioShock 2. The game detailed the investigation of Mark Meltzer to find girls who went missing on beaches all over the Atlantic Ocean.

something in the sea

Solving puzzles and studies clues from the investigations, players assisted Mark in his journey to find the missing girls. The game ends with him tracking down the girls to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, where he would subsequently find the underwater city of Rapture.

The website was shut down in 2012, but it is still possible to access some of its content through the fan website Rapture Archives Center.

The success of the experiment made 2K Games insert the character Mark Meltzer in BioShock 2, released on February 9th for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

The popularity of There's Something in the Sea shows another opportunity to expand on the narrative of Uncharted 4, as these two titles share similarities in regards to their gameplay.

In both games, players need to discover clues, in order to progress with the story and as previously stated herein, in the epilogue of Nathan Drake's last game, players see pictures of the many adventures Nate and Elena had within the end of the main story and the epilogue.

With this said, in order to expand the narrative of the game with optional content, Naughty Dog could have launched a website where players would need to go through the clues of the journeys of Nate and Elena shown during the epilogue.


 3 - A Podcast

Uncharted 4 represented a step forward in regards to the maturity of the storytelling in the series, but when it comes down to writing, the relationships between the characters of the franchise have always been stellar since its first entry in 2007.

nate, uncharted, Elena

In cutscenes and gameplay, it was always a pleasure to hear two characters having a conversation.

With that said, the series could benefit from having a podcast with the characters recalling the adventures they had together through the franchise and the ones players saw in pictures throughout the epilogue of Uncharted 4.

uncharted, nate, drake


As the narrative of video games continue to become more mature and complex, perhaps it is time for the industry to start looking for more platforms to expand the storytelling of its titles.

The biggest challenge is doing this, while ensuring that the portions of narrative delivered through social medias or other mediums are optional and a player can fully understand the story through the game itself.

The worst thing that could happen is creating an scavenger hunt, where players need to find parts of the story across the internet.

In this article, I described how Uncharted 4 could have expanded its narrative through an Instagram account, a web game and a podcast, but these are the tip of the iceberg, when it comes down to the possibilities of creating content that has meaning to players and expands the depth of characters and of the narrative.

While the context provided herein regards Uncharted 4, the same approach could benefit any narrative-driven game. While what the future holds remains to be seen, I hope to see more initiatives as Naughty Dog's partnership with Spotify to allow the characters of the game to "create" their own playlists.

uncharted 3, nate, drake

5 Best Moments From the Uncharted Series Sun, 26 Mar 2017 15:23:56 -0400 Jerline Justo

Naughty Dog's Uncharted series has been a phenomenon for 10 years now, making Nathan Drake one of the most memorable characters in the gaming industry. As the new DLC, "Uncharted: The Lost Legacy," takes looks to take players on a brand new journey with (relatively) new protagonists in Chloe and Nadine, people will not forget the moments and adventures from the series' past.

Each of the four games offers a lot of memorable moments, but these five moments will stay with fans forever.

WARNING: Spoilers Ahead

1. The Abandon German U-boat (Uncharted: Drake's Fortune)

The U-boat scene is first moment where players get hooked into the series. The cramped spaces, the dead crew members, a map left behind -- everything from this moment makes it enjoyable for Uncharted fans. Not only players get to see Nate in action, but they get to know what they will expect later in the game.  

2. The Hanging Train Scene (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves)

What’s the best way to open a game? Why not have the main character, who happens to be critically injured, inside a dangling train car! This opening tutorial is the reason why Uncharted 2 is my personal favorite out of all four games. The game opens with more questions than answers, leaving players curious and motivated to continue to move forward.

3. The Battle Against a Helicopter (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves)

Fans know every Uncharted game comes with grand fight scenes, using big large goons or vehicles as the primary players. But out of all those moments, this one stands out the most. In this scene, Chloe and Nate fight through endless waves of enemies while being chased by a helicopter. 

4. The First Meeting (Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception)

Unlike Sam, who was later introduced as Nate’s brother in A Thief's End, this dynamic duo will always be a fan favorite. And this moment makes players love them even more. After Sully and Nate get shot by Marlowe, players return to Nate’s past, to the moment when Nate meets Sully. We learn about the ring of Sir Francis Drake and how both characters create a bond together.

5. The Epilogue (Uncharted 4: A Thief's End)

The Epilogue is what the fans truly asked for and a perfect way to bring closure to the series. It introduces Nate and Elena’s daughter, Cassie, and their dog, Vicky, dropping hints on where other characters are doing. Not only does this ending show how some of Uncharted's most beloved characters ended up, it gives players closure for the series. 


Of course, these aren't the only great moments in the series' history, but these five are the ones that stand out to most fans of the Uncharted series. It's somewhat sad to know that Drake's adventures are over, but maybe we'll get more stories set within that universe -- especially after this DLC. 

What’s your favorite Uncharted moment? Leave a comment below!

5 Best Moments From the Uncharted Series Sun, 26 Mar 2017 15:23:56 -0400 Jerline Justo

Naughty Dog's Uncharted series has been a phenomenon for 10 years now, making Nathan Drake one of the most memorable characters in the gaming industry. As the new DLC, "Uncharted: The Lost Legacy," takes looks to take players on a brand new journey with (relatively) new protagonists in Chloe and Nadine, people will not forget the moments and adventures from the series' past.

Each of the four games offers a lot of memorable moments, but these five moments will stay with fans forever.

WARNING: Spoilers Ahead

1. The Abandon German U-boat (Uncharted: Drake's Fortune)

The U-boat scene is first moment where players get hooked into the series. The cramped spaces, the dead crew members, a map left behind -- everything from this moment makes it enjoyable for Uncharted fans. Not only players get to see Nate in action, but they get to know what they will expect later in the game.  

2. The Hanging Train Scene (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves)

What’s the best way to open a game? Why not have the main character, who happens to be critically injured, inside a dangling train car! This opening tutorial is the reason why Uncharted 2 is my personal favorite out of all four games. The game opens with more questions than answers, leaving players curious and motivated to continue to move forward.

3. The Battle Against a Helicopter (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves)

Fans know every Uncharted game comes with grand fight scenes, using big large goons or vehicles as the primary players. But out of all those moments, this one stands out the most. In this scene, Chloe and Nate fight through endless waves of enemies while being chased by a helicopter. 

4. The First Meeting (Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception)

Unlike Sam, who was later introduced as Nate’s brother in A Thief's End, this dynamic duo will always be a fan favorite. And this moment makes players love them even more. After Sully and Nate get shot by Marlowe, players return to Nate’s past, to the moment when Nate meets Sully. We learn about the ring of Sir Francis Drake and how both characters create a bond together.

5. The Epilogue (Uncharted 4: A Thief's End)

The Epilogue is what the fans truly asked for and a perfect way to bring closure to the series. It introduces Nate and Elena’s daughter, Cassie, and their dog, Vicky, dropping hints on where other characters are doing. Not only does this ending show how some of Uncharted's most beloved characters ended up, it gives players closure for the series. 


Of course, these aren't the only great moments in the series' history, but these five are the ones that stand out to most fans of the Uncharted series. It's somewhat sad to know that Drake's adventures are over, but maybe we'll get more stories set within that universe -- especially after this DLC. 

What’s your favorite Uncharted moment? Leave a comment below!

Uncharted 4: How to Make the Multiplayer Even Better Fri, 24 Mar 2017 08:00:02 -0400 StarFang7

As we sail to the 1 year mark since the acclaimed Uncharted 4: A Thiefs End launched, we can soon reminisce about Nate’s last adventure. While Nate might be off playing Crash Bandicoot, I’d like to focus on another aspect of the game, one I believe gives this game longevity and replay value -- the multiplayer. Since the release of Uncharted 4 Naughty Dog has provided a steady stream of content for the multiplayer outlined in a road-map. These DLC updates, while fairly minor, are free and generate enough excitement for veterans to return to the action. The Spring update that launched on Friday March 17th shows Naughty Dog’s commitment to bringing new modes and changes to the community.

Having said that, it can get even better, so here is what I want to see added to the multiplayer before Naughty Dog calls it quits on content.


To date there have been 4 maps added, but for me this is on the light side. I’d love to see Naughty Dog come out with a dedicated map pack that pulls from classic maps from past Uncharted games, like London Underground, and some new Uncharted 4 inspired maps .

game map, new, Devon, uncharted 4


I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy the bare bones feel of Classic mode with no player revives, map, or in game store; not until it was released as a beta. Add this mode and I’ll be a happy camper. In addition I hope to see more modes being experimented with in the future.

Map Voting

I’ve had a handful of scenarios where my team and I would replay the same map twice or even three times, map voting would help mitigate this and allow us to cycle through the maps more frequently. The only minor trade off is add wait time in the lobby.


Right now Spotify will play in the lobby, but stop once put in a match. When you have played as long as I have, you ache for some fresh music as you gun down heroes and villains.

Player Level

Lastly allow the progression level to be publicly displayed. I think it is a fairly standard practice for a multiplayer game, which has a leveling system, to display that number next to your ID. At the very least make it a option for the player to decide if they want to show their level.

Uncharted 4 multiplayer

That about does it for my wishlist. It has been a long road since the launch of Uncharted 4 and I think all the updates to the multiplayer have been for the better. There was a time when I played with no leveling system; we’ve come far. Whether Naughty Dog decides to do one or two more updates I hope they end on a high note. Uncharted 4 multiplayer has been near and dear to my heart so no matter what you have a fan here.

No Nathan Drake in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy Thu, 23 Mar 2017 06:18:00 -0400 ReverendShmitty

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Naughty Dog’s latest pulp-action adventure, will not feature series protagonist Nathan Drake.

“We’re not going to touch on Nathan Drake in this, at all.”

- Game Director Kurt Margenau told PlayStation Blog.

Writer Josh Screrr previously said Naughty Dog had...

“...entertained a few possible ideas around including Nate as a secondary character... but everything we did felt superfluous because we tied it all up with Uncharted 4.”

This makes sense considering the complicated relationships the two stars of Lost Legacy, Chloe and Nadine, have had with Drake. Chloe being being a former lover (and occasional antagonist), and Nadine being an enemy who nearly killed Drake several times. Scherr also said the two may mention Drake in their conversations, along with other notable characters, who could potentially make cameo appearances.

Set six to twelve months after Uncharted 4, with “the single largest level” Naughty Dog has ever made, Lost Legacy follows Chloe and Nadine as they hunt for the Tusk of Ganesh in India.

You can get your hands on it as a standalone title later this year or bundled with the Uncharted 4 Digital Deluxe Edition.

Cosplaying The Last of Us Part II -- Getting that Grungy Ellie Look Just Right Sat, 10 Dec 2016 14:33:37 -0500 Emily Parker

Look folks, am I excited to play the The Last of Us Part II? Of course I am. Am I more excited about showing up in a fierce Ellie cosplay at next year's DragonCon? Ok, of course I am. She's confident, she's funny and lately she's looking like a total badass. 

So let's get down to brass tacks here. Where are we going to source the gear, how are we going to do our hair and how exactly do we get an aesthetically pleasing eyebrow scar without breaking out the kitchen knives?

First, Ellie's hair is at a convenient length; it's right in between what most of us have already. The quickest way to create that five-days-since-washed look, without actually going the five days, of course, is a bottle of conditioner or canola oil. Here's a helpful video (I just love how often she exclaims that a complete idiot could manage this process!). 

The chucks, denim over off-white, cut-up jeans and backpack should all be fairly easy finds. But, how do we get them to look like they survived an apocalypse? I'm glad you asked.

Here's a helpful video on distressing clothes, but the skinny is to wash them as many times as possible before your big event. Heidi (on the video) explains that using plenty of fabric softener and washing them with darker clothes will do the trick, but I happen to know my Goodwill down the street does a great job stocking naturally distressed clothes all year round.

After our clothes and hair are sorted it's time to take a closer look at this beautiful tattoo designed for Ellie by Natalie Hall. With some wax paper and eyeliner, it should be pretty easy to transfer a temporary version of the tattoo onto our guitar picking arm. If this seems like too much effort, you could always really blow your friends away and get the ink done permanently. Somebody's going to, why not you?

Last on our list is that new killer eyebrow scar (but don't forget the old killer eyebrow scar, either!). A couple shades of eyeliner will achieve the basic look, but if you want to go pro, you'll need to pick up some rigid collodian from your local Halloween store. The more layers you use the more your skin will indent, but for the love of God, please don't put this stuff in your eyeball. Optional is buzzing a line in your eyebrow, and let me tell you, I've always wanted to since Piper Halliwell rocked it on Charmed.

So, looks like I'll also be dragging my guitar through the Hilton at next year's DragonCon, but I imagine a baseball bat, bow or your trusty backpack would do the trick as far as accessories go. 

This guide is just the basics. Do you have any pro-tips to add? Have you already done a Last of Us Cosplay? Will we see as many Ellies as Harley Quinns next year? Let us know in the comments below! 


7 Frustrating Things About the Crash Bandicoot Trilogy You Probably Forgot Fri, 09 Dec 2016 03:00:01 -0500 SarahKel


So yes, Crash Bandicoot was an amazing game, with a great deal of fun to be had.


We loved playing it, but oh boy, there were some pretty annoying things in the game that really did make us throw our controllers down in frustration. I’d forgotten just how infuriating some of these things really were.


Let us know in the comments below what things you loved about Crash Bandicoot and equally the things that frustrated you.

7. Bosses

Like every platform game, at some point there is a boss battle. These bosses start easy and then become progressively more difficult.


Battles in Crash Bandicoot were conducted in a small, possibly too small arena. Couple this with the inability to move the camera, Crash’s not so perfect jumping and collision detection; these added an extra layer of frustration to dealing with said bosses.  Possibly more frustrating than they needed to be.


And adding to that frustration, players needed to learn the boss patterns too! Which again, took away lives as you practiced and perfected the patterns.

6. The Camera

Hello? What’s over there? Oh right, yes, I can’t see you, the camera won’t move in that direction! Much of the camera’s point of view was over the shoulder of characters and could not be moved.


This restricted the ability to see a number of items, as they were slightly obscured by the camera angle and therefore they were often overlooked. It was almost like playing the game with blinkers!

5. Level Design

For the most part, many of the levels were fairly straight forward; but then that one level comes along that makes you want to crush your controller into tiny little pieces.


One level that comes to mind is Slippery Climb, the level that involved moving platforms.  Each platform moved in one of four directions that would disappear into the walls and would sometimes require you to jump on a moving enemy to reach the next platform.  This required pinpoint accuracy, something not helped by the sometimes over generous jumping system.

4. Dying in a Bonus Level

Congratulations, you’ve collected all the tokens to make it to the bonus level! 


But, for whatever reason within the bonus level, you died. Not only have you lost the chance to save the game, to add insult to injury, the game makes you sit and watch as all of the wumpa fruit you have collected is emptied from the gauge as if to say “this is what you could have won.”


These levels are meant to be treats!



3. Jumping

This was never an exact science; it was simply down to practice, practice, practice!


Players had to have split second, impeccable timing and even then, it was all luck based, as some jumps felt nearly impossible!  This was frustrating, come on, we did not fall down that hole and we totally made that jump! The ground suddenly became transparent and we had to start all over again.


Pressing the D pad or the thumb stick during a jump often pushed Crash too far from his intended spot, leading to yet another death.

2. Dodgy Collision Detection

This is where players think to themselves -- I should be far away enough from that TNT to live.. *BANG* dead”, “oh I’ll just give this enemy enough room to get past *BAM*, dead”!


With Crash being hurt by objects and destroys crates by accident without seemingly being near them, the collision detection was another one of those frustrations that players had to gain intuition for, especially where the invisible bubble ended. 


We thought we’d sussed it all out – sometimes it turned out we were wrong!

1. The Save System

Saving progress after the end of a level is a good idea right? Of course, every platform game does it, however in the original Crash Bandicoot game, it worked a little differently.


To save the game, you had to either collect 3 character tokens that would send you to a bonus round which you had to complete; or break every single crate in a level, without losing a life, in order to collect a gem.  Completing either one would allow you to obtain a password, or enable the game to be saved on a memory card.


If neither of the save actions were completed and players ran out of lives or turned off the game, all progress was lost. Booo!


Like many retro games, we have fond memories of playing Crash Bandicoot. After 20 years of the game’s release, we look forward to the game being remastered for PS4 in 2017.


The platformer game, with amusing and quirky characters, such as Doctor Neo Cortex and Crash himself, made the game really enjoyable and was fun to play. The colourful and superior graphics made the game really eye catching. This worked well with Crash traversing sequentially through differing environments and worlds. The cartoon like appearance was an aesthetically cool art style, linking the video game world with a style similar to television.


The game was also very challenging, so gamers who wanted a difficult game to beat, finally had something to really concentrate on. It relied on razor sharp timing and incredible precision, which was refreshing and different.


The game play was always solid and struck a great and varied balance to keep players returning to the game.


However, as nostalgia for the game is now so high, many of us remember the game with rose tinted glasses. There were a number of frustrating things in the game. As time’s gone on, we may have forgotten these things and if you have, here is a reminder of those things that may have made you want to throw your controller out of the window!

PlayStation Experience Brings a Number of New Trailers, Here's a Highlight Reel Mon, 05 Dec 2016 02:03:10 -0500 Kris Cornelisse (Delfeir)

The latest PlayStation Experience has just wrapped up, and with it came an astonishing array of announcements and advertisements... by which I mean trailers. Showcasing a wide variety of games to be released in the future (or, in the case of Let It Dieright now) for the PS4 and Vita, there's a lot of information to go through.

A full rundown of all the announcements can be found on the official PlayStation Blog which is still being compiled, but I've cherry picked a few of the bigger trailers to go over now.

The Last of Us: Part II

This is obviously the big one everyone is talking about -- a direct sequel to 2013's much acclaimed The Last of Us. We've already covered this one, so I don't have much more to add except that Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann had the following to say about sequel concerns in a panel about the game:

"I played with so many ideas that had different characters and it never felt right. The Last of Us is about these two characters specifically. So yes, the Part II is saying this is a complementary story to the first game, but the two together are going to tell this larger tale.

"All I ask is that fans of the first one put faith in us and trust us. We're going to do right by you."

Part II won't be surfacing until 2018, however, so you've got plenty of time to enjoy some of the other games in this article first.

The Last Guardian

It's been a really long time coming, but The Last Guardian is finally releasing around the world in a matter of days. Following in the wake of the longer featurette trailer last week, this short snippet attempts to wrench your heart and showcase the gorgeous design of the game.

We'll soon know if the game is able to deliver on the hopes that were set about in its first presentation nearly a decade ago. To ease the final stretch of the wait, here's a brief history lesson on the game's checkered development.


Team Ninja's latest action/RPG Nioh is clearly drawing inspiration from the Dark Souls series in how it handles combat. That said, the very Ninja Gaiden-esque flare is unmistakable, and calling Nioh a simple imitator doesn't do it justice. Quite frankly, this is looking pretty slick.

Set in a very stylised and supernatural-touched Sengoku period, Nioh will see the main character Geralt -- sorry, William -- battle his way across a Japan in the grasp of civil war. In addition, yokai and other mystical threats are running rampant, and it'll be up to you to stop them.

The developers have been doing their best to take feedback from the demos into account, hence why the game has been delayed to 2017. Hopefully it will be quite the experience when it finally releases in early February 2017.

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite

Right off the heels of their Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite teaser trailer, Capcom followed up with a short gameplay trailer after the conclusion of the Capcom Cup. Almost immediately, they released an extended version of that gameplay trailer, which reveals Captain America and Morrigan of Darkstalkers fame as seen above.

It appears that the game will have a gem system similar to Street Fighter x Tekken that utilises the Infinity Stones, but we have little insight into how this will work just yet. Also like SFxT, the game has dropped down from 3v3 for 2v2. No doubt more details and explanations will surface before long. For now, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite is scheduled to be released sometime in late 2017 for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

On the subject of fighting games, PSX also revealed the impending arrival of Akuma for Street Fighter V, in addition to five unrevealed characters throughout 2017.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Looking to be the Zoids game we never got, Horizon: Zero Dawn continues to impress visually. With a big open world to hunt robot dinosaurs in, this upcoming action/RPG seems to have a lot of potential.

While nothing particularly new was revealed in this trailer, it's still a good indicator of what to expect from the game when it arrives in late February/early March for North America and Europe respectively.

Worth mentioning is that developer Guerrilla Games has partnered with Kojima Productions, and the Decima Engine used for Horizon will also be used for the upcoming Death Stranding. A new Death Stranding trailer was previewed a few days ago at the Video Game Awards, and Kojima attended a panel at PSX to talk about it.


Supergiant Games has been relatively quiet since their initial reveal of Pyre, but they have surfaced again to reveal an interesting tidbit: the upcoming RPG with an interestingly sports-like feel will feature a multiplayer versus mode.

Both Bastion and Transistor before it were purely single player adventures, so this is an interesting departure for Supergiant. However, they insist that the single player adventure is absolutely their focus, and they were unwilling to add this mode if it would compromise that in any way. Since they are now comfortable that it won't, the feature is being added.

Currently only local multiplayer has been confirmed, with online play currently uncertain. The feature was playable at PSX, and though the test only had a mirror match between the two teams in the above trailer, the final mode will feature more variety and customisation. It will also be possible to play the mode in single player against bots.

Pyre will be coming to PS4 and PC sometime in 2017.


Described as an online multiplayer combat RPG, Devolver Digital's new game sure looks like one to watch. The combat seems incredibly fluid, and the developers are promising that players will have a huge amount of customisation with their combat style.

As well as PvP between players, it will be possible to team up and cooperate with one another in a variety of PvE dungeons. In addition, there will be a world to explore and encounter one another in, which may force conflict or tentative friendship between players. How exactly this will manifest is unclear, but I'm curious.

Absolver, being developed by Sloclap who was formed by former Ubisoft Paris developers, will arrive in 2017 for both PC and PS4, but the PS4 version is slated to be released first with exclusive content. We'll let you know more closer to the launch date.

Gran Turismo Sport

If I'm honest, I don't believe the latest Gran Turismo will look even nearly as pretty as this trailer does in practice. That said, I'll be quite impressed if it does, because this is really nice to look at.

In addition to the prettier graphical effects, the trailer mentions that some specific tracks and cars will utilise PlayStation VR. Nothing specific has been announced about this, however, but it's something to keep an eye on.

You can find out more about our early Gran Turismo Sport impressions here. The game will be released sometime during 2017 as a PS4 exclusive.

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

More than a few people were pretty convinced that this was a teaser for a new Tomb Raider game, right up until it wasn't. Surprise!

Following the well received Uncharted 4, Lost Legacy is to be a standalone adventure that focuses on Chloe Frazer, who first debuted in Uncharted 2. She'll also be joined by Nadine from the most recent game. We don't know much about the game just yet, but with Nathan Drake's story nicely wrapped up, it's nice to know that there are more stories to be told in the setting.

And while we're talking about Naughty Dog, it's worth noting that a new remastered package of the first three Crash Bandicoot games is also on the way. Now if only we could get a new Jak and Daxter game...

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom

Studio Ghibli's gorgeous animated art style is renowned the world over, and the first Ni no Kuni displayed that in spades. Now, the sequel is making good use of latest console generation to look even more spectacular.

Revenant Kingdom should prove to be a magical adventure full of heart and whimsy if all goes well. Level 5 has quite the pedigree of solid JRPG titles, so we can certainly be hopeful about this one. Here's to hoping they're able to improve on the awful party AI from the original, though.

NieR: Automata

You wouldn't be alone in thinking that NieR: Automata looks quite a bit like Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, which is probably a good sign that Platinum Games is putting their iconic action style to the task.

Will it be better than their somewhat lackluster recent titles? Will it live up to the flawed but fun original by Square Enix? These questions should be answered when the game is released on March 2017 in the west.

The length of this article and the sheer amount of games and trailers on offer really should convey the magnitude of this PlayStation Experience. Despite that, there's still plenty more I chose not to touch on for this article. Whether it's Yakuza, Ace Combat, Gravity Rush, or a slew of other titles both indie and AAA, there was a veritable flood of new gaming information on offer.

This event was definitely one of the premier game industry events of 2016, and it's certainly got me excited for what's to come from Sony in the next year.

If you'd like to find out more, be sure to check the official PlayStation YouTube channel or the official PlayStation blog for an updated list of announcements. In addition, we here at GameSkinny will be sure to keep you updated on any further developments and news for these titles and more.

What was your favourite announcement or trailer from this event? Did I miss something you really wanted to talk about? Share with me in the comments!

Naughty Dog Unveils The Last of Us Part II at PSX 2016 Sat, 03 Dec 2016 09:59:39 -0500 Jonathan Moore

Playstation Experience 2016 saw some truly huge reveals for upcoming Sony exclusives -- from both indie developers and Triple-A studios alike. However, it was the last trailer of the day that wowed audience members and commentators alike: Naughty Dog Studios’ long-rumored The Last of Us Part II.

Opening with a shot of a beautiful, lush forest, we pan by the skeleton of a burned-out car and a banner waving the slow breeze. Emblazoned upon it is the symbol of the Fireflies, the rebel militia group from 2013’s The Last of Us, a game that saw survivors Joel and Ellie journeying across the country to find a cure for the apocalyptic fungal plague that has decimated the world.

The trailer continues with a sequence in a rural farmhouse where an older Ellie tunes and plays a guitar as the camera pans to various shots of what can be surmised are dead henchmen.

As the trailer comes to an end, an older Joel enters the room where Ellie is playing. He carries a revolver and asks Ellie what she’s going to do. As blood streaks down her face she replies: “I’m gonna’ find and I’m gonna’ kill every last one of them,” a chilling start to what will most certainly be a harrowing follow-up to The Last of Us’ ambiguous, cliffhanger ending.

Currently, no release date for the Last of Us Part II, which is currently in the early stages of development, has been announced. The original The Last of Us won 122 awards for everything from its gameplay to its storytelling. It was also heralded for its powerful portrayal of Ellie, as well as her huge impact as a female character.

Make sure to stayed tuned to GameSkinny for more updates from Naughty Dog’s latest entry in the survival horror franchise.

Uncharted 4 Receives Classic Mode Beta & PS4 Pro Support Fri, 04 Nov 2016 06:06:32 -0400 Angie Harvey

One of the biggest requests that fans have asked for since the launch of Uncharted 4 is to add a Classic Mode to the multiplayer. If you are one of these people, then today is your lucky day -- Naughty Dog has heard your requests and has finally delivered.

Starting today, November 3, fans can jump in and try out the Classic Mode as part of a limited-time Beta Test Playlist that will be available until the end of the weekend. Classic Mode is essentially a back to basics mode -- similar to the multiplayer in Uncharted 2 -- that focuses more on core combat and movement. The Classic Mode will feature no in-match store, radar, mysticals, downed state or sidekicks. However, heavy weapons will continue to spawn around the map.

Naughty Dog has also announced that another variation of Classic Mode will be available during the second Beta Test weekend on November 11. 

In addition to the Classic Mode announcement, the latest 1.15.041 patch adds support for the PS4 Pro along with a list of Ranked changes and general bug fixes. If you're interested in reading the full list of patch notes, you can find them on Naughty Dog's official website.

Don't forget, if you do find any issues or want to share your feedback on the Classic Mode beta, Naughty Dog wants to hear from you via social media, forums or the upcoming Beta Test Playlist survey that will be available soon.

Are you excited to finally have a Classic Mode in Uncharted 4 multiplayer? Let us know in the comments section below.

The 5 Best Gaming Companies to Work for in 2016 Mon, 31 Oct 2016 03:00:01 -0400 Aaron Grincewicz

Nearly every avid gamer has at least considered the possibility of going into game design as a career. But even with a degree in computer science and a real passion for games, it can be a tough job to start.

More and more colleges and universities are offering game-related programs these days. The issue is where do you go after graduation? There are dozens of game developers in America alone. Whether they are a subsidiary of a larger company or an independent developer, you want to make the right decision...since you'll probably be spending long hours on the job.

Like any industry, there are some companies that are great to work for and some that aren't so great. But thanks to the Internet, you don't have to actually work for any of them to find out which is which. Using employee feedback site, we've already determined which gaming companies are the best to work for right now.

In ranking these companies, I looked at factors like the percentage of employees that recommended the company to friends, satisfaction with the current CEO, and how many had a positive outlook on the future of the company. I also disqualified businesses that had less than one hundred reviews.

Keep in mind as you read this list that not all companies have employees that give feedback. Many of the larger companies also have multiple studios that are grouped together under the parent company's umbrella. So for instance, Ubisoft Montreal would be listed as Ubisoft.

Well, let's get to it and find out the best game companies to work for in 2016.

5. Sony Interactive Entertainment America, LLC

North American Subsidiary Studios: Naughty Dog, Bend Studio, San Diego Studio, Santa Monica Studio, Sucker Punch Productions.

Headquarters in: Foster City, CA

Popular Game Franchises: God of War, Uncharted, MLB: The Show, The Last of US, Infamous, Sly Cooper

  • Work/Life Balance
  • Work Culture
  • Benefits and Perks
  • Less than competitive pay (in Bay Area)
  • Job advancement opportunities
  • Senior Management

"There is a disconnect of business goals between the various stakeholders and management, resulting in endless discussions about appropriate resource support. But with new management, this could be changing..."

-- Former Employee (Senior Manager, Marketing in San Mateo, CA)

"In general management has greatly improved over the years. In the past it was more closed off, but in recent years the company has embraced multiple platforms. All in all a great place to work with a lot of growth opportunities for someone willing to put in the time and effort."

-- Former Employee (Senior Software Engineer in San Diego, CA)

4. Ubisoft

North American Subsidiary Studios: Red Storm Entertainment, Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Halifax, Ubisoft Quebec, Ubisoft San Francisco, Ubisoft Toronto (pictured above)

Headquarters in: Rennes, France

Popular Game Franchises: Far Cry, Rocksmith, Tom Clancy Franchises, Assassin's Creed, Watch Dogs, For Honor, South Park

  • Work/life balance
  • Work culture
  • Collaboration with worldwide teams
  • Language barriers
  • Low salaries

"Fun environment, team building,benefits are really good, great environment overall, people are the best part and you end up building some lifelong friendships"

-- Current Employee (Senior Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA)

"The people, the creativity, the collaboration and the energy are the best parts of Ubisoft. It's a great place to learn about the business and gain experience all while helping make the best games in the industry."

-- Former Employee (Anonymous)

3. Electronic Arts

North American Subsidiary Studios: BioWare, EA Baton Rouge, EA Canada, DICE LA, EA Montreal, EA San Francisco, EA Salt Lake, EA Tiburon, Motive Studios, PopCap Games, The Sims Studio, Visceral Games, Capital Games

Headquarters in: Redwood Shores, CA

Popular Game Franchises: Mass Effect, Battlefield, Madden NFL, FIFA, Star Wars, Plants VS Zombies, The Sims, Mirror's Edge, Need for Speed

  • Work/life balance
  • Work culture
  • Benefits and perks
  • Crunch times cause high stress
  • Full-time employment status difficult to get
  • Salaries not competitive

"Great campus, great gym, good benefits, solid line up of game products, wild range of supported platforms, good family friendly work environment."

-- Current Employee (Lead Artist in Redwood City, CA)

"The compensation, amenities, and perks are fantastic! After hearing the horror stories about EA for years, those stories were proven completely wrong. I have absolutely no remorse from accepting a position at EA."

-- Current Employee (Anonymous)

2. Blizzard Entertainment

Subsidiary of: Activision Blizzard

Headquarters in: Irvine, CA

Popular Game Franchises: Overwatch, Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, Starcraft, Diablo

Why they are number two:

  • #77 on Fortune's '100 Best Companies to Work For' 2016
    • Awarded to parent company Activision Blizzard
  • Benefits and perks
  • Work culture
  • Work/life balance
  • Employee retention
  • Management
  • Slow turnover
  • High cost of living in area
  • Customer service department

 "Everyone from the top to the bottom genuinely cares first and foremost about making great games. No shovelware here, no publishers dictating design to try and catch the latest fad. Great products, successful company, I've had maybe 2 days of crunch in 4 years. It seems like every week we are celebrating someone's 10, 15 or 20 years here at Blizzard. People tend to join and never leave.

Art, design, and other creative fields are respected much more here compared to other companies (I'm an engineer FWIW). I've seen several problems come up which would be company sinking crises at other studios (I've worked at 7 other game studios, and have seen many layoffs and shutdowns), but here, the ship changed course, smart decisions were made and implemented, and disasters were averted. Pretty amazing."

-- Current Employee (Senior Engine/Graphics Programmer in Irvine, CA)

1. Riot Games

Independent Company (Note: Riot Games was bought out by Tencent in 2015. However, it is still listed as an independent company.)

Headquarters in: Los Angeles, CA

Popular Game Franchises: League of Legends

Why they are number one:

  • #39 on Fortune's '100 Best Companies to Work For' 2016
  • #51 on Fortune's '100 Best Workplaces of Millennials' 2016
  • #14 on Fortune's '50 Best Workplaces for Flexibility' 2016
  • #19 on Fortune's '50 Best Workplaces for Camaraderie' 2016
  • Work-life balance
  • Benefits and perks
  • Work culture
  • Management
  • See awards mentioned above
  • High cost of living in area
  • Growing pains
  • Self-management critical

"Planning and arbitration are, as everyone mentions, an issue. Such is the life of a burgeoning billion dollar company. It's an opportunity for those who lead. It's disastrous for folks who cannot self-direct."

-- Current Employee (Anonymous)

The Cultural Foundation is very strong, and deftly communicated to Rioters from Day One. It is revisited and repeated. The employee support is terrific. You are given everything you need to do your best work. You will work with the best team mates you have ever worked with, and you are working with products that Players are passionate about. The success at Riot is viewed internally with enthusiasm, respect and humility.

-- Current Employee (Lead of Video Operations in Los Angeles, CA)

There you have it. Is it a coincidence that the best company is independent? As Riot Games grows, will they solve their reporting structure problems, or become too big to maintain their award-winning ways?

Were you surprised by the results on this list, or were they in line with what you expected? What other gaming companies do you think would be great to work for? Let me know in the comments!

Adventures of a Lifetime: Uncharted's Top 10 Setpiece Moments Thu, 01 Sep 2016 08:22:50 -0400 Jeremy Brown

For most PlayStation 3 owners, the flagship franchise for the console was Naughty Dog's Uncharted trilogy. Nathan Drake's charisma and wonderful cast of characters put the first game on the map, but what really set the games into gaming's highest regards was Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and its incredible setpiece moments that made it into one of the most cinematic and adventurous stories in a long time. But out of those unforgettable bombastic moments, which were the best? We break it down in this Top 10 of Uncharted's best setpiece moments.


10. Cat and Mouse (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves)

"Tenzin! RPG! RPG? ...What's Tibetan for RPG?" - Nathan Drake

It's definitely more overlooked than other setpieces, but the Cat and Mouse chapter of Among Thieves is a tense blend of story and gripping action. As Nathan and Tenzin leave the mountain, they realize Tenzin's town is under siege. When they arrive, Drake takes on a new threat- a tank that solely wants him dead. Through cliff-hanging platforming and a lot of near misses, he eventually takes the beast down with a lot of RPG shots.

9. Zoran's Final Fight (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves)

"You don't have the will." "Maybe not. But they do." - Zoran and Nate

All of the final boss fights of the Uncharted series hold special places in my gaming history, but the best of the bunch is against the menacing villain Zoran Lazarević. While the other fights focus more on thematic approaches, this fight forces Nate to use all of his skills and put them to the test (except melee- I don't advise that one.) As Zoran has consumed resin of the Tree of Life, you need to blow up flammable pockets of the resin to defeat him, as he hunts you in a small arena with a shotgun and grenades.

8. Run and Gun (Uncharted: Drake's Fortune)

"Not good, not good, NOT GOOD!" - Nathan Drake

While the original Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is not nearly as much a classic, it did have some fine ideas about what it wanted to be- even if the final act twist was jarring for many. When the cursed Spaniards chase you down for the first time, the game changes expectations in one simple move showing that it's not just a simple cover shooter. It introduces the run 'n gun mechanic, when the player needs not to fight using their aim, but rather a more fluid approach for combat. It may not seem like the biggest, but this moment paved way for what the series was to become.

7. The Burning Chateau (Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception)

"You always seem to forget, I got twenty-five years on ya." - Victor Sullivan

Oddly not always mentioned as one of the standout sections of Drake's Deception, the moments leaving the Chateau are among the best in the game. Katherine Marlowe's goons decide to burn the beautiful scenery with you in it, but Nate and Sully don't go down without a fight. Instead, the experience keeps ramping up, with the stairwell collapsing into a ladder sequence, and even having the floor underneath crumble as the two run off the roof to safety. It's a thrilling sequence, even if it gets engulfed because of the game's later, bigger moments.

6. Stowaway (Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception)

"No no no - let's, let's talk about this!" - Nathan Drake

And then, there's the later moments. This was the most covered moment of Drake's Deception before its release, and what a reveal. The cargo plane is headed to the Iram of the Pillars, so Nate sneaks on to go save Sully. Of course, it doesn't go too well, as the game literally throws Drake out the back of the plane, making him cling to dear life to keep going. The plane blows up (go figure) and a free fall sequence happens, just to top it all off. Unfortunately, this is also one of the shortest sequences in the whole game- lasting less than 2 minutes. This definitely makes the walk of contemplation in the desert right after, feel all the more slow.

5. Libertalia's Watchtower Collapse (Uncharted 4: A Thief's End)

"Something tells me they've had enough of us!" - Sam Drake

Just when things were peaceful for Sam and Nate in Libertalia, Shoreline decides there wasn't enough explosions. When you reach another glorious rooftop of a watchtower, Nadine Ross's men shoot a rocket at the building, leading to an incredible chase. As seen above, the building falls sideways, and using their grapples the Drake brothers need to climb up and get the Hell outta there. The PlayStation 4 graphics have definitely helped the awe of this fight-and-flight, but the solid gameplay makes it earn a spot in the top 5.

4. Nepal Hotel Collapse (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves)

"Hehe, we were, we were almost in that! Heh." - Nate

This was a shining example of what Uncharted 2 was meant to be- the adventure of a lifetime. In a large, civil-war torn city in Nepal, Nate and Chloé make their way to discovering the location of Shambhala- yeah, you know, Shangri-La? But then, the helicopter shows up, and royally screws up the simple journey. At its climax, the action sequence has the chopper blow out lower floors of a hotel our heroes are in, thus requiring you to jump into the next building on a very close call. Then, a calm clock counts the seconds. 

3. Sam's Pursuit (Uncharted 4: A Thief's End)

"Are you outta ya goddamn mind?!" "Yep, probably!" - Sully and Nate

Definitely the most shining setpiece of A Thief's End, this long and complex sequence has Nate and Sully zooming down the streets of Madagascar's King's Bay, then hooking onto the convoy (see above) to catch up to Sam. Though the convoy sequences in both Among Thieves and Drake's Deception were excellent and could easily be on this list as well, this one just expands the scope of the level into possibly the best action sequence of 2016. Nate hops from jeeps to bikes, and trucks to drive, smash, and of course, explode various enemy goons all over.

Then when you think it's over, it doesn't stop there- Nate hops on his brother Sam's bike and they make an unbelievable nail-biting escape from the relentless armored vehicle that's been hounding them the whole time. If only players hadn't seen this sequence in its entirety at E3, the "wow" factor might've been strong enough to make the top of the list. 

2. Cruisin' For a Bruisin' (Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception)

"See you in Hell, Habibi!" - Rameses

For many fans of the series, Drake's Deception almost suffers on a narrative front because of how much colossal setpiece moments intervene with a seamless plot. But that doesn't stop the game from having one of the most impressive scenes of 2011- the cruise ship. Pirates kidnap Sully, and its up to Nate to stop them. When he gets to their ship, he realizes he's been duped- and, as always, improvises.

Blowing a hole in the hull wasn't the safest plan, but it leads to the level design showing its its functionality, as you need to run from walls of water, and climb up hallways, using the doors as platforms. Once Drake is back in the main hall, the pirate captain Rameses makes one last shot- at the once-ceiling now-wall of glass. The only thing that truly holds this back is the narrative supporting it- the reason it's in the game is such a tangent in plot it's near irrelevant. 

1. Locomotion (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves)

"Sorry boys, just needed to punch your tickets." - Nate

Did you really think it was going to be anything else? Yes, the train sequence in Among Thieves is the most groundbreaking, fully realized, and narratively satisfying moment in the entire series. The train, from a programming standpoint, is a work of art. It's not just a stationary train with changing environments- it's actually a moving train in motion.

If being on this crazy ride wasn't enough, it also has not one- not two, but three miniboss encounters as you make your way to the front of the train. It goes on for multiple chapters of the game, and in the end Drake makes a daring move to derail the train- and give a massively satisfying and emotional impact to the game's opening moments. Rarely any moment in gaming can say that for itself, but the train sequence completely earns the right.

What about you? What were your favorite moments? Do you agree with our picks? Let us know in the comments section, and as always, thanks for reading.

Uncharted 4 Receives A New Map & Teases The Return Of Old Favorites Thu, 01 Sep 2016 08:06:49 -0400 Angie Harvey

Naughty Dog has unveiled a brand new map as part of Uncharted 4's second major multiplayer DLC release that is available now as part of a free update

Home to the lush ruins of an abandoned pirate colony, New Devon is inspired by Uncharted 4's campaign and is said to be one of the largest maps to-date. New Devon's sheer size and wide open exteriors makes it the ideal map for those that prefer long-range engagements as there are numerous vantage points all over the map. The map also caters for those that prefer more of a run-and-gun style as there is no shortage of corridors for close-quarter combat.

Update 1.12 also changes the way players can earn rewards. Previously players were only able to obtain relics by completing challenges, however, players can now acquire these relics by completing and winning matches. Additionally, premium DLC skins and pre-set outfits have been added to vanity chests, providing players with the opportunity to now purchase these items at a reduced relic cost.

Along with the update, Naughty Dog has announced a sale for the Uncharted 4 Multiplayer Store where players can find discounts from 33% to 62% on all DLC Relics. The sale will start this Friday, September 2, and will last until Friday, September 16.

Ranked Team Deathmatch has also kicked off Season 2 with a number of new rewards available for players to obtain. The ranked matches have also received a number of balancing changes to help make the competitive experience more rewarding for solo players. Full details on Uncharted 4's latest update can be found on their official website.

Naughty Dog have also teased the release of their next major DLC which will arrive in September. The DLC is dubbed 'Bounty Hunters' and will see a new map, game-type, personalization items, the return of an old favorite, the Village, and a lot more.

Let us know your thoughts on Uncharted 4's latest DLC in the comments section below!

GameSkinny Spotlight // Uncharted 4 Review, Red Dead Redemption 2 Announcement Possible, etc. Fri, 19 Aug 2016 11:49:23 -0400 BlackTideTV

Hey, GameSkinny readers! For those of you that recognize the name, yep it's the same, little ol' BTide, back at it again. For those of you that don't, let's get you filled in. A while ago I participated in the Journalist Training Program (JTP) here on GameSkinny and became a Program Mentor. Rather than returning for a third stint in the program, I began to focus my efforts on my YouTube page, BlackTideTV, becoming relatively inactive on GameSkinny.

Recently I proposed a collaborative project with the website: a weekly news roundup show on my YouTube channel. The video above is the first of said video series. For "GameSkinny Spotlight," I'll be collecting an assortment of articles from the writers here on GameSkinny that I find will be suitable for my audiences, and expanding on the topics provided. I may provide alternate opinions, extra information, added examples, etc.

In exchange for the boosted exposure to the journalists here on GameSkinny, my only request is that anyone who finds these videos enjoyable visit my YouTube channel and give it a chance. I'm currently producing a ton of Call of Duty content and doing my best to expand my horizons. That being said, I hope you enjoy the weekly videos and don't forget to check out the original articles mentioned in this week's show for more information by heading to the bottom of this description.

Why Rise of the Tomb Raider Leaves Uncharted 4 in the Dust Thu, 18 Aug 2016 06:34:10 -0400 Anne-Marie Coyle

In the 90s, Lara Croft was the undisputed champion of the action adventure genre. But after more than a decade at the top, fellow adventurer Nathan Drake crashed spectacularly onto the gaming scene with his eyes on the coveted prize.

Whether the iconic British explorer still offers the better gaming experience has been a topic that's been fiercely debated by players ever since. Initially, Uncharted arguably gained the more favorable following -- and for good reason. It pushed boundaries on PS3 with thrilling set pieces, likeable and multilayered characters and an atmosphere that perfectly encapsulated that family adventure movie experience. While in the latter part of the 2000s, Tomb Raider was still finding its feet with new developer Crystal Dynamics who struggled to really evolve the franchise's gameplay and character into something that felt relevant to modern gamers.

This generation though has seen a complete U-turn for both franchises.

Uncharted hasn't provided any real innovation since it's second installment - 2009's Uncharted 2: Among Thieves -- while the Tomb Raider series has not only managed to completely reinvent itself, but also effectively propel the genre forward for the new generation.

Uncharted 4 undoubtedly has the stronger narrative, but staunchly focuses on its setting, story and characters to the detriment of the gameplay and ultimately the player's enjoyment. This is the first post-The Last of Us release for developer Naughty Dog, and it clearly suffers for it. The studio has seemingly forgotten that Uncharted's story isn't as strong or meaningful as Joel and Ellie's desperate struggle for survival, nor is it the main reason people play the game. The long, drawn-out narrative results in pacing that can only be described as awful, with bits of action-packed brilliance padded by sequences that are not only painstakingly lengthy, but also often wholly unnecessary.

For example: in a sequence early in the game, we explore Drake's attic -- picking up objects relating to his past adventures in an attempt to provoke some sort of poignant sense of nostalgia that, unless the series has had some profound effect on you, is just not there. It's just pure, unashamed self-indulgence.

In a much later chapter you're forced to explore a mansion for what feels like an eternity as a young Nathan. It's superfluous padding and a big old waste of time. Even the more interesting narrative elements, like the dynamic between the brothers and baddie Rafe, suffer because it just takes far too long for events to play out. It all makes Uncharted 4 feel more like a movie that occasionally asks for some audience participation than an actual game.

Meanwhile Tomb Raider's narrative probably isn't going to win an Oscar anytime soon, but it adeptly serves its purpose to propel Lara through some fantastically designed levels without impeding the gameplay the way Uncharted 4 does. And gameplay is where Rise of the Tomb Raider far outshines its rival -- sprawling levels that can be freely roamed, with lots of hidden goodies to uncover.

Like Uncharted, Rise of the Tomb Raider has a multitude of treasures and journal entries to scavenge for, but also rewards the player for going off the beaten path by offering useful items like weapon parts and coins to purchase extra kit and experience to unlock upgrades. In addition to a wealth of weapon choices, Lara also gains new equipment, like fire arrows and a grapple axe. This opens up the world, giving that sense of progress that it's counterpart sadly lacks.

Uncharted 4 evolves its gameplay from previous entries by giving Nathan a grappling hook, but that's it. The gameplay never changes, and once you've swung around one set of ancient ruins you've kinda swung around them all. Arguably Uncharted's biggest draw was its phenomenal set pieces, which have lamentably been scaled back for this installment. Rise of the Tomb Raider, on the other hand, offers many visually spectacular, pulse-pounding moments -- whether it's outrunning avalanches or making daring escapes from crumbling tombs. These moments may not be realistic, which could partly explain their minimal inclusion in Uncharted 4, but damn if they aren't fun.

Rise of the Tomb Raider offers an open world intricately designed to encourage the player to explore multiple times and is populated with challenges and side quests, whereas Uncharted's levels are painfully linear and sparse in comparison. Sure they may be beefier environments than those seen in previous Uncharted entries, but there's really only ever one route to take and no reason or ability to return once the area has served its purpose narratively.

The best aspect of Rise of the Tomb Raider is its Challenge Tombs -- optional areas that provide puzzles for the player.

These are perfectly constructed so as not to impede the progress of those just wanting to blast through the game. But for those seeking respite from the action or looking for a little more challenge from their game, they are an absolute joy. All puzzles are physics and logic based; and while you never need the IQ of Einstein to solve them, they can have you scratching your noggin at times before that eureka moment.

Uncharted's puzzles are considerably less satisfying. Not only are they non-existent for the most part, but when they do make an appearance they are rarely anything more than an insultingly simplistic exercise involving matching up symbols in order to advance towards the next excruciatingly long cutscene.

And so we come to combat.

Here Uncharted seems to have something of an identity crisis. It keeps the solid gunplay from the previous games, but rarely lets the player appreciate it due to the emphasis it places on stealth. Nearly every enemy encounter in the game presents too large a number of enemies to go in guns blazing without quickly being met with the game over screen. So instead of having a plethora of guns ready to bring the pain in thrilling shoot-outs, enemy encounters are largely reduced to hiding in bushes waiting to silently take down enemies from behind. This would be fine, except the gameplay isn't smart enough to compare with the likes of Metal Gear Solid or Assassin's Creed in the stealth division. The simple level design and limited arsenal variation are designed for third person shooting -- and stealth feels not only out of place, but the fact it forces that style on the player makes it downright intrusive.

Tomb Raider constantly offers players a choice in tactics without feeling unbalanced. It also provides experience points, with higher rewards for more skillful feats like head shots or navigating an entire area without alerting anyone. This added to the range of weapons and crafted equipment on offer make for battles that are both varied and enjoyable. Plus Lara's bow remains one of the most satisfying weapons to ever grace games.

Rise of the Tomb Raider doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it vastly overshadows Uncharted 4 in terms of actual fun. Drake's swansong sacrifices player enjoyment in order to pursue a deep narrative experience which a movie can satisfy in a lot shorter a space of time and without the hefty pricetag. Games are fundamentally an interactive medium and Rise of the Tomb Raider provides a user experience that is more cleverly designed, diverse and consequently vastly more rewarding than Uncharted 4's attempt to mould an uninspired game around a narrative that crushes itself under the weight of it's own self-importance.

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End Review Tue, 16 Aug 2016 18:08:02 -0400 Chris Bowring

There are few things in this world deserving of the term masterpiece. Film makers capture the rawest of emotions when working towards such a goal. Artists delve deep into the human consciousness to produce something deserving of the term. The work of authors is often only deemed worthy of that title decades after they produced a critical and insightful analysis of society or the human existence. And within video games, such an honour is rarely bestowed. Yet within this medium, developer Naughty Dog seems to produce such works of art, time and time again.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a masterpiece. It is an ingenious blend of narrative and interaction, and it is a game I urge all gamer’s to experience, whether they be a veteran of the series or a curious newcomer. 


On that matter, before I begin I must admit something. I was not an Uncharted fan. I had played the original trilogy from Drake’s fortune to his deception, but had never truly resonated with the series. I found Drake and his colorful cast of cohorts one dimensional and uninspired. They felt like familiar stereotypes stripped from a traditional action blockbuster. The enormous set pieces, marveled by critics, did little to shock me. And by the end of each game, I had grown tired of the repetitive and uninspired shooting mechanics. So, as I am well aware, I held an unpopular opinion of the series.

However, I was torn over whether my next foray into an Uncharted experience would yield similar feelings. This is the fourth entry into a series I have, so far, found lackluster, however this is a post Last of Us Naughty Dog. A Naughty Dog where Neil Druckman and Bruce Straley have taken up the mantle of lead directors. And I can safely say, I was astonished by how much I enjoyed my time with A Thief’s End.

A milestone in interactive storytelling

Uncharted 4 takes place just a few years after Drake’s Deception. Drake has retired from a life of treasure hunting and fortune seeking and is instead sinking into the realities of a common man’s life. However, not long into the game we are introduced to Sam, Nathan’s mysterious older brother, who urges Nathan to return to his old ways, disregard the life he has built for himself, and seek glory one final time. 

In the global search for the treasure of pirate, Henry Avery, Drake and the player are faced with a myriad of poignant questions: How far is too far? What do we really want in life? Is glory worth sacrificing happiness and loyalty? Uncharted 4’s themes hit home for me as a player. It is rare for a video game to intrinsically cause you to reflect on your own life and choices, outside of its fictitious world.

Growing as a series

This amazing narrative is supported by a truly moving soundtrack and Oscar worthy performances from a wide range of characters. Uncharted 4 seeks to bring a humility and genuineness to characters created almost a decade earlier. Sully is no longer a wise cracking, cigar smoking sidekick, but a mentor figure, who shows genuine worry for Drake’s well being. Elena has transitioned from an annoying reporter to a doting yet empowered partner in Drake’s life. Nathan himself is no longer the stereotypical, action hero, every-man stereotype. He’s a real person, with desires, flaws, and a capacity to change. The same can be said for Uncharted 4’s villains.

Rafe Adler isn’t the head of a shady organisation or an infamous warlord. He is a mentally unstable individual, who through heritage acquired far too much money for his own good. And Nadine Ross, his right hand and leader of military for hire Shoreline, provides a realistic reason for why there is an over inflated army trouncing around the world just waiting to be shot in quick succession. Uncharted 4 manages to keep the dazzling, over the top spectacle of previous games but grounds its characters and narrative in reality.

A Thief’s End brings the graphical fidelity and stunning visuals of The Order 1886 to a world far broader in scale and non-linearity. It is a game to truly marvel, which is why the camera feature which allows players to take images of the game at any point in the action, is a great addition. Moving through a lush blanket of ferns, watching a building explode into a thousand fragments, or walking towards an overwhelming Cliff side view. Each of these moments is breath-taking. Gamers will struggle to find a better looking game in 2016.


Evolving gameplay – How a rope and movement create phenomenal action

However Uncharted 4 is a video game, not a film. Therefore it cannot be judged solely on the quality of its visuals, acting or storytelling. Gameplay is obviously a key component in any title's success. And once again A Thief’s End surprises me by creating refreshing gameplay that still feels Uncharted.

Yes, there are the traditional scripted set pieces, linear corridor shoot outs and virtually unlosable climbing segments. Initially, I grew worried. With such a phenomenal story and tone, I didn’t want to be distracted by tired gameplay. In one of the first sections of Uncharted 4, I found myself running through the corridors of a foreign prison and gunning down guards with an AK 47. However, I could spray a lightly armored guard with a shower of bullets and he’d recover within seconds, ready to fight back. After experiencing the satisfying one hit take downs of The Last of Us, these bullet sponge enemies had me worried over the quality of Uncharted 4’s combat. However as I progressed, fear turned to enjoyment. Shortly after this sequence, a broader range of weapons become available in each encounter, many of these weapons such as golden pistols and shotguns providing devastatingly realistic kills. As for hand to hand combat, each punch feels as weighty and brutal as it did in The Last of Us--a touch so few developers are able to get right.

However Uncharted 4 does plenty to spice up gameplay. There are three core components, each of which complement one another and add something new to the game. Yes there are segments where you can take control of a jeep or slide down the side of a cliff, but the three core differences are, the grappling hook, stealth combat, and open arena style encounters. Along with its more scripted moments, Uncharted 4 adopts open encounters similar to those in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. Players can approach these encounters in a multitude of ways from running in guns blazing, to surveying the location, tagging enemies and silently removing them from the situation one by one.

The stealth combat is perhaps Uncharted 4’s biggest stumble. The problem isn’t the stealth sections themselves. Enemy A.I. is incredibly intelligent. Upon seeing Drake or hearing gunfire, they’ll rush to the location to track him down. However escape from site, find cover, and they’ll begin searching for you unable to find you but aware that you are close by. The process itself is incredibly fun and natural. However, the actual takedowns themselves are repetitive and uncharacteristic. The hand to hand combat and shooting mechanics feel powerful, exciting and spontaneous. However, almost every stealth kill animation is identical. Grab an enemy, pull them down and quickly snap their neck. Not only does seeing this same animation over and over get tiresome, but it seems offbeat. All other fighting mechanics feel pulpy and intense. But watching Nathan Drake slink around snapping peoples necks (especially after seeing him horrified over witnessing death earlier in the game), just doesn’t feel right.

The rope mechanic on the other hand feels right at home. It is more than just a gimmicky scripted set piece, as the rope can be used in these large combat encounters, to both escape from sight and fly in, drop down, and land a jaw shattering punch. These open encounters, mixed with stealth and rope swinging mechanics make Uncharted 4’s combat some of the most fluid in video games. Moving from stealth assassin, to gun-toting action hero, to rope swinging escapist feels natural and rewarding. The constant movement keeps the game tense and leads to moments that you wished you’d caught on film. Some have shown annoyance at the removal of the grenade counter mechanic where Drake could toss back a grenade thrown by an enemy. However, I believe such mechanics hinder the player’s ability to experiment, making them feel safe behind the same piece of cover. The fear of escaping an explosion or the knowledge that the A.I. is smart enough to flank you, leads you yourself the player, to be more creative.

Final Thoughts

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is the swan song this series deserved. From stunning visuals, to awe inspiring set pieces, grounded moments of weakness, and fluid and organic gameplay. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is one of the greatest experiences games can offer. Coming from someone who never truly resonated with the series, you owe it to yourself as a gamer to experience this.