A look Back on Uncharted A Thief’s End
“He was hell-bent on keeping his treasure, no matter the cost to the others
Welcome back everyone to Part 2 of my Uncharted: A Thief’s End blog. In this part I will be talking about more of the story to a Thief’s End as well as the gameplay, and my likes and dislikes. I will be also mentioning more of my favorite chapters and talking about Drake and Elena throughout the rest of the game starting at For Better or Worst. I will mention this again, that for me as a player of Uncharted this game packs everything we know about these wonderful characters into one game, and then has it all come to a wonderful end where the player is free to use his or her imagination to create the rest of their future. I am so happy that Naughty Dog ended the characters of Nathan Drake, Elena Fisher and Victor Sullivan on such a positive note. Nobody dies, and Drake and Elena stay together and have a daughter, Cassie Drake. On top of that, Drake and Elena go legit and buy Jameson’s business. Victor Sullivan stays in touch with the family and becomes a type of Uncle to Cassie along with Sam Drake.
I am going to start off by talking a little bit about Drake and Sam’s encounter with Evelyn in the chapter: Brothers Drake. This chapter is not included in my favorites, I only mention it because of this encounter. Even though I feel this chapter was an interruption to the game flow for me, it is an important side chapter involving family history and more of Drake’s childhood. Also, it’s very important that we learn that Drake was not always Nathan’s last name, but they change their names. First, I really enjoyed Evelyn’s story and in some sort of creepy way, we learn even more about this curse for treasure hunting and how it has destroyed families. Henry Avery went crazy, Jonathan Burnes went crazy, Drake’s mother killed herself, and Evelyn utterly abandoned her family responsibilities for her lust for treasure, traveling and lost artifacts. It was amazing that as your walking through Evelyn’s mansion, Nathan and Sam know all the history behind every piece of artifact. As your walking around discovering treasures, you are also uncovering Evelyn’s story with her husband and son. They both met as archaeologists, traveled for a while together, got married and had a son. Her husband got really sick, her son graduated from college, yet she was there for none of it and continued her quests for more and more artifacts.
Evelyn’s hoarding of treasure became so bad that a nearby museum was even trying to tell her to let them have it so other people could enjoy their richness. You learn this by picking up a note she burned in her fireplace. Even though I loved her passion for history, seeing the results of something consuming you to the point of neglecting marital and motherly responsibilities is so sad. Her husband never condemned her or judge and remained faithful to her. Sadly, one of the last notes you pick up is a goodbye letter from her son who saw what she was doing and never wanted to see her or talk to her again. It was cool to flip through Cassandra’s notebook (Drakes mother) and see where they originally picked up Henry Avery’s trail. In the Epilogue, when you go through it again as Drakes daughter you also get to see where Nate also originally got the idea to go look for Sir Frances Drakes ring, and slowly all the pieces start to fall together. Evelyn said something very important and that is that she thought Cassandra was the best historian there ever was, and she also seemed to agree with her that Sir Frances Drake had heirs. This is important because as we look back on the other Uncharted games we understand why Drake was the way he was, and why he carried that ring on his neck all the time. It is also my intention to give you a timeline of Nathan Drakes life at the end of this blog, as I have played through them multiple times and I can now put his life together like a biography.
Once the player reaches the chapter: At Sea, you will begin to see the emotional changes in Drake. There is a lot more soul searching going on and self-contemplation. Especially when he meets up with Elena later in For Better or Worst. In fact, that was a great title for the chapter based on the emotional tension. The conversations that take place between Elena and Drake are no longer joking around with each other but talking about the seriousness of their marriage. Throughout their time together you really begin to feel Drakes sorrow over what he did. Each time he approaches her about it, there are tears in both their eyes and Elena’s responses leave Drake to think really hard about what he did. Again, Drakes mistake was based on himself, he left her out because HE felt like this was about HIM and saving HIS brother, not about his marriage with Elena. Even Sully rebuked Nate stating that Elena has been through hell and back with Drake and holding out on her was selfish. I believe that Elena understands Drake more than the player knows, she just couldn’t understand that why after all that they have been through together he felt that he needed to lie. Top that off with the fact that he never told her about his brother. Period. But like every relationship that we find ourselves in, things slowly begin to surface that we have never seen before. Either way I feel it’s important to bring up their relationship because Naughty Dog made it a big focus for the second half of the game.
I also really enjoyed the downward spiral of Henry Avery in this game. For the first half of the game your thinking that Henry Avery is this legendary pirate with his cohorts of other famous pirates, their treasure, and their new-found colony of Libertalia. Then the moment Elena and Drake enter New Devon things start to get dark with Avery. First, the Gibbets. There are little clues along the way then you get to the entry of New Devon and the place is full of them. The moment those Gibbets came into the game it not only got a little creepier, but to think that this is what Avery did to anyone who he “thought” might betray him. Henry Avery and the pirates then steal the money from Libertalia’s Treasury utterly betraying the people of Libertalia that causes a big battle to ensue. Then of course there is New Devon itself where the player then learns that the pirates all start to turn on each other killing either their wives or relatives as signs of betrayal or revenge. My favorite part in New Devon is when you get to the room with all the pirates around the table and learn the trick Avery and Tew did to the other pirates. When I first got to this part of the game I was again reminded of the Goonies. Remember when the Goonies finally found the ship and found One Eyed Willie? That’s what this part reminded me of. How about when you get to that scene where you see one of the pirate’s wives skeleton hanging on the tree? Very good graphics, but also very creepy too. Last of all when you enter the Descent of Henry Avery you really get to see how psycho he got. All the skeleton hands, rib cages, and jaws that he used to describe different betrayal’s he “thought” he had. Then it only gets better when you get to the mummified bodies/booby-traps. This section of the game is as dark as it gets but it was a great chapter because you get to see how psychotic Henry became.
I loved the overall gameplay of Uncharted 4. When I first played through the game I was simply amazed at the programming and graphics. For all the PC players out there, I know that a computer has more clear and crisp graphics, but that is obviously a given. The thing with consoles is their continual improvement that leaves gamers anticipating for more. It’s awesome to see the improvement in game consoles, and honestly the graphics in Uncharted 4 are close to PC quality. Some of the chapters and places that you are at in this game are just mind blowing. Have you ever stopped while you’re playing and just focused on the detail in some of these chapters? For example, in the chapter: Once a Thief, it was a beautiful chapter. All the platforming in that chapter was so nice. From the grass to scaling the cliff side, it was amazing detail. On top of that the sunset, and the vines growing on the side of the building and how Naughty Dog blended the colors so smoothly, how the green leaves faded into orange and brown was just perfect.
I really enjoyed the shooting and the melee in Uncharted 4 and I feel that it improved significantly as Naughty Dog did a fantastic job with the melee and added so many ways that Drake attacks and counter attacks. Especially the way he dealt with the heavy’s (the guys in full armor and a helmet). What made these guys really challenging on Crushing is that you must take their helmet off before you can even start to deal damage to them. The only way to really deal with them is when you stealth kill them, but it takes careful timing. My heart rate would literally go crazy when I would try and stealth one of these guys without getting noticed. All is quiet, and I approach a heavy from behind, then I jump on his back, mashing square to get his helmet off. While I am mashing square to do this, I am praying that another guy doesn’t notice me. Finally, the helmet is off, then I mash square and triangle like crazy to quickly knock him out. Once he is out and my heart is going psycho, I quickly get behind cover and wait for 3 minutes to check where all the other A.I. are at. Of course, this is all based on not getting noticed in the first place. If you get noticed, your usually dead. Some situations in this game are insane and I honestly suggest on Crushing difficulty to try and go for the Peaceful Resolution Trophy (Stealth chapters 13-15, not killing anyone). Unless you’re an insane gamer and good. The battles in chapters 14-15 are stupid crazy and stupid unfair. I also suggest trying to go for the Ghost in the Cemetery Trophy as well. (The Grave of Henry Avery). Mike Bettencourt is amazing on his walkthroughs in getting these trophies, but don’t just trust a walkthrough because even though I was literally following him step for step I would still get noticed. Some of these trophies I would get were just that one time. I would later go back and just for fun try and stealth some of these areas again, and it never worked again. Everything is timing and patience.
I feel that on Crushing difficulty on Uncharted 4, it really forces you to use stealth on some areas whereas on the first 3 Uncharted games they gave you a little more liberty to choose what you wanted to do. Some areas on Uncharted 4 if you go out guns blazing it will take the average player 6-7 tries to beat it, whereas if you stealth it, it will take you 2 tries. On Uncharted 1-3, you can go out guns blazing or stealth and beat it in 2 tries. I have also heard it said that a lot of people feel that Crushing difficulty on Uncharted 4 was like Brutal difficulty on the Remastered Uncharted games. That may be stretching it a bit, but I personally feel that Crushing difficulty on Uncharted 4 was slightly more difficult. Especially the A.I., oh my goodness how quickly they would notice you, and their routes were different. Their routes were mixed well, where if you stayed somewhere for too long and watched them they would take a different route. There were times though where I could swear I rolled behind cover quickly enough, yet I would get noticed. Now I have seen some videos where on hard chapters (Marooned, Thieves of Libertalia, and No Escape) guys would brutalize the A.I., and I’m sitting back like “Give. Me. A. Break.” Then I learned from Mike Bettencourt and Seraphim17 that the video where they are successful in doing that, it is their 50-70th attempt. What!?. Yep, you better believe it, some people seriously have no lives. Not like the rest of us who must work 50 hrs a week, pay bills, and raise a family.
In continuing my favorite chapters in Uncharted 4, they are Join Me in Paradise, For Better or Worse, and New Devon. This again was a process of elimination because I could have chosen 3 other chapters as well but for the sake of length I had to shorten it. The reason I chose these 3 chapters is because they were beautiful. The environments in these chapters were phenomenal, the detail and creativity blew my mind away. Also, these chapters offered a good mixture platforming and battles. Join Me is Paradise is where you finally discover Libertalia and upon entering this chapter the player gets just as blown away as the characters themselves. The little town you walk through is filled with such amazing detail and discovery. Tons of Journal Notes, Journal Entries, and Optional Conversations that are all very easy to miss. I loved the Optional Conversation that Drake has with Sam in the bar, it was a good heart to heart, but even in that conversation you can see how Drake and Sam aren’t as much alike as we think. You also start to discover that something bad happened, you get the clue when you discover the dead cows, and how they were abandoned and left for dead. I really enjoyed how Naughty Dog made everything look as old as it was, I love the effect of nature taking over what was once a thriving town. I loved just walking around and looking at all the details in all the houses and stores. Discovering the Journal Note of a kid who wrote to his father about where he was at and what he was doing, though sadly it seems he never got the letter sent. Then you meet up with Shoreline again and this battle to me was always very taxing. I simply hate it. I don’t know what it is, it’s just the way that section is laid out that makes it hard to fight the enemy. They are everywhere and come from everywhere; it’s really hard to keep up. Of course, if you’re going for the Peaceful Resolution trophy then you have to stealth this whole section without killing anyone.
For Better or Worst is where Naughty Dog finally teams up Drake and Elena again. It is also the start of this chapter that the player begins to realize that Uncharted 4 is a long game. For me it was at the start of Brother’s Drake that I began to feel that this game is long. This chapter gets emotional. There is a lot of enthusiasm between them both, but the issue of him lying to her comes up a lot in this chapter and the next. This again was yet another beautiful chapter. It was gorgeous to see the running river, the trees, bushes, shrubs, and the old architecture with the elevators. The platforming was great too and solving puzzles with Elena was fun. On crushing difficulty, I was absolutely not looking forward to the elevator battle. You know what’s so hard about this section? Its limited ammo. It’s not that the enemy is hard to shoot at, it’s that when you pick up a weapon you only get six bullets. And did I mention the enemy has unlimited grenades? The good thing about it is that the elevator you’re on is indestructible, but for you to progress you have to keep climbing up the cliffs. On Crushing difficulty, you have to conserve ammo, take your time and get headshots. The elevator battle took me 4-5 tries on Crushing, and I spent about a half hour doing it too. The checkpoints in this section stink too. Let me tell you how many times I almost made it to the top, died and had to start all over again. That’s another thing about Crushing in Uncharted 4, the checkpoints are terrible. On the battle before this one where you had to steal the jeep from Shoreline was hard as well. On Crushing difficulty, I preferred to get the trophy and steal the jeep without killing anyone. This section is laid out in a weird way because the enemy has to upper ground on you, very little cover and they can shoot down at you. And did I also mention they have unlimited grenades? On most sections on Crushing I preferred to just stealth it instead of going out guns blazing.
New Devon was also I very beautiful chapter. Though when you meet up with Shoreline again I suggest using stealth on this section as well. It is an area where the enemy is everywhere and sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where you are getting shot from. I was able to both use stealth and guns on the section. There is a complete stealth strategy on this section as well, but what I also did was a “hit and run” strategy much like I did on Marooned. I would stealth as many guys as possible then once I got noticed I would use the water to my advantage. That’s also probably why this section didn’t seem to hard. I would take out two guys, jump in the water and swim all the way back to that little island with the shrubs, and wait for the A.I. to reset their routes and repeat. Picking up a Mettler if you can helps because the scope can give you an advantage especially with the guys all the way in the back and any heavy’s with helmets. Going into the Pirates mansions was cool too. Great attention to detail, especially how every mansion was different. I must mention the ambush battle here because this was absolutely taxing and the only way to beat it is to deal with it. Honestly the only way I beat it was luck. I’m not much of a believer in luck but I also know God isn’t involved with my game playing, so it was luck. The key to this section on Crushing is have your grenades full, have a magnum, and a Chinalink. You can pick these up on the previous battle section. On the battles where you don’t have time to think and you are just thrown into them you must have to right weapons. This was a battle that I was not looking forward to at all, and I think it took me 4-5 tries on Crushing. Mike Bettencourt and Seraphim17 both give good strategies on this section, but even with that it was still very hard. Sometimes you have to mix your own ideas on how to beat something with someone else’s ides in order to beat it.
Most of my dislikes in Uncharted 4 have to do mostly with a couple of chapters. There were some annoying platforming issues I had along with (again) how perfectly the A.I. would throw grenades. When it came to the grenades the A.I. was just a little too perfect with them to the point of being absolutely ridiculous. First, I am going to talk about two chapter’s that were really hard for a lot of people, those chapters were Marooned and No Escape. Let me start with Marooned. When I first played through this game on Crushing I was stuck on Marooned for a week. Of course, I’m talking about the section where Nate meets up with Shoreline after being shipwrecked. No matter what strategies I tried to use, no matter how much I tried to approach this section I would die a lot. Sometimes I would spend 30-45 minutes taking my time using stealth and hit and run strategies to only end up dying. What is it about Marooned? It is the way the map of this section is laid out. You can only go one way through this section, there is no avoiding the enemy A.I. they must be dealt with. It also seems that the A.I. always has the higher ground, that there is no really good cover. You’re always getting noticed and shot at from somewhere. Seriously there were times where I could not see the enemy at all and a grenade would land right next to me. If I can’t see the enemy then they shouldn’t be able to see me and yet their stupid grenades would land right next to me. Yes, there is a stealth strategy through this section where you can avoid enemy contact, but what I’m saying is just the general flow of this section. There was a time where I tried this section like 7 times in a row and for the life of me I could not beat it. One time I had spent 30 minutes carefully stealth killing guys. When I reach the second section of this part I was doing good until I mis-jumped, Drake didn’t grab the ledge that I thought was there and I died. I seriously thought that I was not going to beat this game on Crushing.
In fact, it was this section on Marooned that forced me to look up walkthroughs. To look to someone else for help on a video game was a humbling experience for me, because on all the other Uncharted games, I never needed them or used them. There are two strategies I used on Marooned. 1. The hit and run. 2. Stealth. Now, in order to get the Peaceful Resolution trophy you have to stealth this section, if it’s too challenging on Crushing try Hard. For the Hit and Run strategy (I got this from Seraphim17) I would stealth as many guys as possible on the first part of this encounter and collect a ton of ammo. Then I would approach the second half of this section by picking off as many guys as I could. I would stay on the upper cliff on the first section, pick some guys off who were at the second section, run away, recover health, and repeat. The main problem with this section is that Heavy in the back, his accuracy with his machine gun is stupid. I could not get close to this guy, the moment he notices you on Crushing it’s like two bullets and your dead, plus he doesn’t move anywhere else, he stays back there walking from side to side shooting you. You’re not going to believe how I got this guy, I used my handgun, aimed for his head at a far distance, picked my shots carefully and one bullet at a time I finally killed him. This heavy alone was a 20-minute encounter. I am not going to talk about the stealth strategy for the sake of length, but the stealth strategy was the most intense stealth I have done in a long time.
No Escape was a chapter that was amazingly stupidly hard on Crushing. Again, it is kind of like the ambush section in New Devon, your just thrown into it and have to just get it over with. I was also stuck on this section for a few days and again I used Seraphim17’s strategy. Now Mike Bettencourt’s strategy was to just jump down there and start shooting guys, picking your shots, and being aggressive. I tried his strategy a couple times and when I would get to the second half where Nate says “Seriously!?” a grenade launcher dude would kill me. How many of you out there hated how long Nate would get stunned by a grenade launcher blast? I would be behind in cover on the deck of the ship, and then a grenade launcher guy would shoot a grenade into my cover and it would blow me out of cover and another guy would shoot me. So frustrating. Your like “Come on Drake get up!!” and then you die. Again, the checkpoints are terrible here as well, I would be doing so good, I would get so close to killing the two heavies’ and then I would die and have to restart the whole battle again. I get the realism that Naughty Dog incorporated into this game, it’s awesome, but on a difficulty like Crushing it’s just unfair. Like at least make a decent checkpoint halfway through this battle. It’s really only this first battle sequence that is hard to push through, the rest of the battles throughout this chapter are fun, even on Crushing. When this encounter first opens, you jump down onto a cliff where you meet two guys, by the time you take them out and jump down to the ship your screen is in the gray already. It’s just brutal. Don’t even get me started on the “gas mask” guys that just rush you and want to choke you out.
I spent about 45 minutes on this section, and it ended with me jumping down from the cliff and engaging a gas mask guy. I spent the majority of my time hanging from the cliff picking guys off one by one until it was just the gas mask guy down there. He would just sit there and wait for me. The funny thing is that Elena was down there shooting him, but he would never engage her, and her bullets never killed him. So much for having an A.I. partner. So, I realized I just got to do this, because I needed his Uzi for one more guy. You want to talk about mashing square to get this guy, man it was close. He gets me in his headlock and by the time I kill him my screen is nearly white. A lot of people would say that on Crushing once those guys get a hold of you your dead, and their right, maybe I lucked out again. I climbed back up the cliff hoping that some guys stupid perfect aim doesn’t kill me. Once I am in the safe I carefully find the last guy and kill him. Once I beat that section I paused the game, stood up, and celebrated. These were the only two chapters that I would say I really struggled with, and it mostly has to do with the way the chapters flow. How your introduced into a chapter or battle scene changes the flow of a game. You may be doing great throughout the game, but if your introduced to a battle scene a certain way you will begin to realize that maybe you’re not as good as you thought.
This is going to sum up part 2 of Uncharted: A Thief’s End. I really enjoyed going back on these games and talking about them I hope you have all enjoyed them as well, thank all of you for reading these and thank you Indie Game Lover for letting me be a part of your blog site. Even though this end’s Nathan Drake’s journey I still have one more Uncharted to do and that is The Lost Legacy. Below is Nathan Drakes Timeline.
1. Cassandra (Drake and Sam’s mom) is married (husband remains nameless), meets Evelyn, and they do some archaeological work together, professors of history.
2. Cassandra commits suicide (reason unknown), Drake’s dad surrenders them to the Catholic Orphanage. They remain orphans.
3. Nathan and Sam remain in Orphanage. Sam discovers where their mom’s stuff is. They go to Evelyn’s mansion to find it.
4. Evelyn tells them that their mom believed Sir Francis Drake had descendants.
5. They escape the mansion and change their lasts names to Drake.
6. Sam and Nathan go their separate ways for a while. Sam takes a job offer (Mentioned in A Thief’s End)
7. Nathan ends up in Colombia, to steal Sir Francis Drakes ring. Nathan meets Victor Sullivan (Victor is doing work for Marlow) (Drake’s Deception).
8. Later, Sam, Nathan and Rafe Adler begin to pick up Henry Averys trail in a prison in Panama. Sam gets shot, Nathan believes him to be dead, he escapes with Rafe, does some work with him but goes his separate way. (A Thief’s End)
9. Nathan and Sully do some treasure hunts and adventuring together (Their conversations in the Uncharted games). Nathan meets Eddie Raja.
10. Nathan meets Elena Fisher who is a T.V. Show Journalist for a history channel. Nathan uses the coordinates on Sir Francis Drakes Ring to find his coffin. (Drakes Fortune).
11. Nathan and Elena gain some history. Meets Harry Flynn.
12. Nathan goes on a hunt for Shambahla and the Tree of Life. Meets Chloe Frazer. Elena as a reporter hunts for Lazaravic, meets up with Drake in Nepal. (Among Thieves).
13. Nathan and Chloe date for a little while. Nathan and Elena get married. Nathan and Elena separate.
14. Nathan and Sully meet up with Charlie Cutter (Charlie and Victor know Marlow) to find the Sands of Atlantis. Charlie plays a “double agent” as well as Victor. (Drakes Deception).
15. Nathan and Elena reunite and get married.
16. Rafe bails Sam out of the Panama prison. Sam comes up with Hector Alcazar story. (A Theifs End).
17. Nathan and Elena are married and have their own house. Nate works for Jameson, Elena writes for a magazine about traveling the world. (A Theifs End).
18. Sam finds Nathan and lies to him about Hector Alcazar. They pick up their hunt for Henry Avery’s treasure, Nathan contacts Sully for help. (A Theifs End).
19. Nathan and Sam find Henry Averys treasure, with the help of Sully and Elena (A Theirs End).
20. Nathan and Elena go legit and purchase Jameson’s business. They have a daughter named Cassie. Sully and Sam stay in contact with Nate and Elena. Sully and Sam are Uncles to Cassie.
21. Sam and Sully team up and do some jobs together. (Sam teams up with Chloe later, The Lost Legacy)
22. Cassie travels with her parents (Nate and Elena) on multiple jobs.
23. Cassie discovers Cassandra’s journal (Her grandmother) and Nates collectables she found in Nates office.
24. Nathan Drake and Elena Drake tell their daughter Cassie about their past adventures. The rest is history.