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Uncharted 4 news, multiplayer hands on, gameplay & release date - final trailer released

Katharine Byrne
26 Apr 2016
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
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Here's everything we know so far about Naughty Dog's PS4 exclusive Uncharted 4

It's finally happened. After years of development by Naughty Dog and years of (not so) patient waiting by fans of Nathan Drake et al, Uncharted 4 is officially finished. The game went 'gold' in March, putting it bang on schedule for its worldwide release date of 10th May 2016. The news comes after multiple delays for arguably the PS4's most hotly-anticipated title - and quite possibly the PS4's first, true system seller - which was originally meant to launch late last year.

With just two weeks to go until launch, Sony's just released the very last trailer for Uncharted 4, showing off more gameplay footage and revealing a bit more about the game's story. Having finally pulled himself away from a life of adventuring, Drake's long-lost brother arrives on the scene with an offer he just can't refuse, potentially causing some rifts between his wife, Elena, and his mentor and friend, Sully. 

Still, that's probably going to be the last thing on your mind once you're knee-deep in Uncharted 4's explosive set-pieces, and the new trailer shows Drake clashing prows with rival boats, hanging precariously over collapsing cathedral belltowers, tumbling through jungle villages and barrelling headlong into gated houses with teams of grunts in hot pursuit. 

With all this to look forward to, Nathan Drake's last and final adventure looks set to be yet another show-stopping production from Naughty Dog, and we simply can't wait to get our hands on it when it launches on the 10th May. In the meantime, though, here's an in-depth breakdown of everything else we know about the game so far. 

Limited edition PS4 bundle

If you've been holding out on buying a PS4 and really want to play Uncharted 4, then you'll be pleased to know you'll be able to pick up a rather fetching limited edition Uncharted 4 PS4 bundle. Now we're not sure who loves Uncharted enough to buy a franchise-worshipping PS4 but yet doesn't own a PS4 already, but we suppose you could sell your old, tired, plain PS4 and upgrade to this functionally-identical one with snazzy Nathan Drake graphics. 

The console has a rather nice grey-blue finish, similar but distinct from the recent plain grey we saw in the PS4 20th-anniversary edition. The image on the side is of Drake looking a tad defeated, but rejoice it comes with a bunch of digital goodies such as an Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune Outfit, Golden Weapon Skin and Uncharted Points for use in Multiplayer. 

A copy of the new game is also included, of course, and there's a matching controller as well - which will be available on its own. Both will be available on April 29th in the UK with GAME having various bundles starting from £330. 

30fps confirmed for single-player campaign

The E3 2014 trailer showed a bruised and beaten Drake heaving himself off a beach in a perfect 60fps when Sony first showed off the game last year, but Naughty Dog has now confirmed that the single player campaign will indeed run at 1,080p and 30fps, while the multiplayer mode will run at 1,080p and 60fps.

The news came after Naughty Dog streamed an extended gameplay demo of its E3 trailer (see below). In a Q&A session after the livestream, co-lead designer Anthony Newman said, "We had a really long, involved conversation about it with all the leads and directors. We just realised that, for the game we wanted to make, to make the best game possible, [30fps] was just something that we had to do. To me, a locked 30fps is way better than a variable 60fps."

Naughty Dog has expressed difficulties over hitting 60fps before, as even getting The Last of Us Remastered to 60fps was a bit of a mission. It's also said in the past that the studio would rather "go for the experience over the 60 frames" if a higher frame rate would mean compromising things for the player. 

"If we wanted to hit a locked 60fps, there's a lot of optimizations in the environments that would have to happen," Newman added. "This would make each level take longer to make. The same amount of geometry would take longer to make because it would have to be so heavily optimized. And so that could end up having story repercussions. 'We want to have this scene, but we don't have the time to make the environment.' It's a feature, like any other, and you have to consider it against everything else." This won't be the case for Uncharted 4's multiplayer, though, as this will run at 60fps. 

Uncharted 4 screenshot02

Gameplay trailers

At its PlayStation Experience event in December 2014, Sony gave us a small taste of what we can expect to see in the final game. As you can see from the trailer below, Drake starts off in a beautifully dense, cliff-top jungle area, rendered at a smooth 1,080p with cut-scene material seamlessly blending into in-game character models. As Drake explores a nearby cave, Drake's climbing and jumping animations have been greatly improved since the previous game, as he looks much more athletic and realistic than ever before. Drake can now steadily reach for footholds rather than leaping from point to point and the grappling hook on his side flows and shakes round on his waist as he clambers up rock faces.

Drake also looks as though he'll be taking a leaf out of Lara Croft's adventure book, as he's also seen using a pick axe when climbing on certain surfaces to help make his way across cliff edges, creating makeshift grip points as he reaches for the next ledge. This is rather ironic given that Crystal Dynamics' 2013 reboot of Tomb Raider was often criticised for being too much like Uncharted, but now it seems to have come full circle, with Uncharted 4 taking cues from Tomb Raider.

Still, the lighting looks particularly gorgeous, as Drake's torch reflects and shimmers off the low-hanging cave ceilings as he trudges through a waist-high watery pathway. More impressive, though, is the suggestion that gun fights will now take place in much more dynamic and strategic play spaces, as the trailer's climactic shootout showed Drake clambering around on all manner of different platforms and levels as he took down an army of enemies.

The open, freeform structure of the particular arena on show is almost like its own platforming section, as enemies are continually appearing from all heights and angles as Drake pushes through their defences. If all the game's fight scenes are this dramatic, then we'll be very pleased indeed. 

In terms of fighting mechanics, Drake seems to have taken a few notes from Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Unity as we see him hoisting enemies behind cover to knock them out, creeping around in tall bushes and taking down soldiers from above. At one point, he even uses his grappling hook to swing down to a lower section of the cliff and punch an enemy in the face in one fell swoop, so we only hope this sense of cinematic flair persists through the rest of the game. 

Last year's E3 trailer also showed a huge amount of content, starting with Drake and Sulley politely shouldering their way through a dense market crowd, all of whom are going about their business with detailed animations and differing character models. A gunfight breaks out between our heroes and local security forces, cover explodes under fire, grenade blasts send melons flying and the crowd scatters. The fight is hectic and vicious, gunfire is flying everywhere and there's dynamic dialogue to match your actions.

Drake pulls a very smart-looking takedown from an aerial vantage point. Then the bad guy's armoured car starts smashing things up, driving into buildings. Now this all looks scripted, but it's still impressive stuff. What's next is even more special though.

Making their escape downhill through the town, the armoured car pursues, again smashing through walls to keep up. There are innumerable turnings and alleyways that can be taken to try and evade it, all of which are packed with detail and obstacles. The jeep handling looks great, too - nice and slidey for whipping it around hairpin bends. Both characters are nicely animated as well, with proper gear changes and reaction animations as they hurl themselves round bends and collisions, all with the usual trademark dialogue. Having crashed and leapt through town, you then shoot out into the countryside, chasing a convoy of vehicles onto a long concrete bridge, where the demo ends.

It's immensely impressive stuff, and the addition of driving sequences fits with Uncharted's take on classic adventure serials perfectly. The level of polish and the sheer scale of the environment also promises something very special.

Last but not least, there's been some leaked hands-on footage showing a significant chunk of the game's tenth chapter, 'The Twelve Towers. Originally uploaded to Digital Spy's YouTube channel, the 18-minute hands on video shows Drake, Sully and newcomer Sam (Nathan's brother) searching for a volcano in the middle of a savannah in Madagascar. 

After driving around offroad for a few minutes, Drake gets to show off his new and improved climbing skills and grappling hook capabilities as he hauls a large crate through a cave to reach a higher ledge. It's not too dissimilar from manoeuvring the bins round in The Last of Us, but we're hoping Drake's grappling rope should provide a bit more control than those errant wheelie bins.

Uncharted 4 volcano

Once Drake's poked about in the cave for a while, it's then back out into the savannah for some more driving, including a rather precarious bridge crossing across a rather dilapidated wooden platform. Needless to say, the environment in Uncharted 4 looks gorgeous. If the wind wafting through the long grass wasn't pretty enough, then wait until you catch a glimpse of the sun glistening in the rain-soaked red clay.

It gets better when Drake goes for a bit of a paddle, too, as a short jaunt through a watering hole shows how the water will splash around Drake's feet and ripple outwards as he trudges through the muddy lake. Drake doesn't even have to get in his car using the door either, as a quick tap of Triangle will see him vault himself up over the engine and down into the driver's seat from the front. The video has since been removed from Digital Spy's YouTube channel, but a handful of Neogaf users have uploaded the video to multiple mirror sites so you can view it in full. 

Mutiplayer review - Hands on

Developer Naughty Dog is committed to delivering a frenetic and fun-filled multiplayer experience alongside the long-awaited story mode. The five-vs-five team deathmatch mode we played had players picking between familiar faces from all three previous Uncharted games, including Drake, Sully and Elena on one side and series villains including Katherine Marlowe and Harry Flynn on the other. Characters shown in the reveal trailer, including Zoran Lazarević and Chloe Frazer weren't playable, although it's not clear if you'll need to unlock them through play or they simply hadn't been implemented in the early alpha code. Each character has their own set of scripted and voiced lines, cracking wise with each kill and moaning about the player's abilities after each death. 

You get to pick a weapon load-outs at the start of a round from a choice of four, with close-range, mid-range and long-range guns including a bolt-action sniper rifle, AK47 and submachine gun available from the outset, along with side-arms, grenades and trip-mines. You can also change weapons mid-game, but you'll have to wait until your next respawn to get a new gun. 

Each class also includes a Mystical power-up, which can be purchased from the in-game market using the touchpad. Money is earned from kills and collecting treasures strewn throughout each map, and while lead multiplayer designer Robert Cogburn told us microtransactions were planned, "We'll have no gameplay items that will be gated through microtransactions."

The Mystical powers take inspiration from the various relics and myths encountered in each of the Uncharted games, including the Wrath of El Dorado, a thrown object that bursts into a fire-spewing Totem that can deny enemies access to an area. There will be five different powers at launch, but only three have been revealed so far. Spirit of the Djinn speeds up your character and engulfs them in flames, letting them quickly dash around the map. Among Thieves' Cintimani Stone is an area-of-effect fireball that can pick up downed teammates and automatically bring you back to life after a KO. Naughty Dog has learned a lot from The Last of Us, bringing the down-but-not-out mechanic that encourages teamplay and keeps you in the action for longer between respawns.

These outlandish abilities work well in the context of an Uncharted game, especially compared to the all-too-serious third game's multiplayer mode, helping teams turn the tide of a losing match with a well-timed or well-placed Mystical power-up. AI-controlled sidekicks can have the same effect; each one can be purchased through the in-game market using earned currency, then dropped into battle to protect you or hunt your enemies. The Sniper and Brute are aggressive, gun-toting soldiers, but the Saviour and the Hunter proved more useful in my play session; the former can revive you and your teammates, and makes grenade recharge times faster, while the former roams the map, trapping enemies. They remain stuck until you KO them, they are saved by a friend, or they mash buttons hard enough to escape.

The single map available during the hands-on demo, a densely-packed jungle, perfectly suits the Uncharted ethos. The arena has long sight lines through the central area for sniping, some close-quarters indoor combat, and some vertical sections for climbing and taking shortcuts in order to get the drop on enemies. You can also use the new grappling hook by tapping L1 in certain places, swinging across ravines and quickly escaping the line of fire.

My play session felt like it was over all too quickly, and considering I didn't have high hopes for the multiplayer mode after I didn't really enjoy Uncharted 3, it's clear that Naughty Dog has done a brilliant job ramping up the fun while retaining the familiar third-person gunplay. The 60fps frame rate certainly helps make things feel fluid, even if it comes at the expense of resolution; while the single-player campaign runs at 1080p and 30fps, multiplayer drops down to 900p. It's most visible in the player select screen before a game starts, but once you're in the middle of the action the lower resolution doesn't make a huge difference.

With plenty more weapons, Mystical powers and characters to reveal before Uncharted 4 arrives, Naughty Dog has managed to pique our interests with its latest multiplayer mode. A multiplayer beta for the game ran in early December for those who bought The Nathan Drake Collection - for more information on multiplayer it's worth reading the beta page.

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