Naughty Dog graced Sony’s PlayStation Experience with a lengthy demo of Uncharted 4, giving fans their first good look at gameplay. As we saw when the game was announced last year, Nathan Drake is looking older, more weather, but just as nimble as he was before. About what you’d expect at this point in his treasure-hunting career.
The demo starts off with Drake on an island, and he’s looking for someone. But who? Someone described as tall and lengthy, with “crazy ideas about pirate treasure.” Not Sully—someone new, someone we haven’t met before. A lot of the focus is on the environment; it reminds of the first Uncharted game. The environment is dark, foreboding, and WET. This being a Naughty Dog game, the developer never shies away from demonstrating its graphical prowess.
And Drake, doing what he does best, leaps, shouts and climbs his way around the environment. That is to say, it’s exactly like the first three games. Not that that’s a bad thing—Uncharted is built around this mechanic, with plenty of action set pieces thrown in to keep things exciting.
There comes a point when Drake reaches the top of a cliff, giving him a terrific vantage point of the island. The draw distance, level of detail and lighting are all impressive. Naughty Dog games have always look great, and Uncharted 4 definitely looks like a next generation title. A little rough at the moment, sure, but definitely a good idea of what the PlayStation 4 is capable of when put in the right hands.
What’s striking about the demo is the enormity of the location. Once Drake runs into enemies, he begins navigating a multi-level monolith, and the scale is amazing. It really looks like Naughty Dog made an effort to build an environment that players can navigate using different paths. When Drake begins evading the enemies, nearly every surface is climbable, which means not every path will be totally linear. That’s a nice change.
New to proceedings is a grappling hook-type tool, which Drake uses to navigate larger gaps; at one point he uses it to propel himself toward an enemy below him. Drake has never been the one to use tools, and I wonder if Naughty Dog will start implementing a system where players can upgrade Drake’s abilities, similar to what we saw in The Last of Us. (That’s just speculation on my part.)
The demo ends, of course, in a patently Uncharted way, while also revealing who Drake was looking for to begin with. (Is that the voice of Troy Baker? Probably.) I’ll let you watch the demo to find out who he is. All in all, a good start for Uncharted 4, though I wonder if we’ll be confined to this island location the whole time, or if Drake will be globe trotting during his newest adventure.