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Uncharted 4 is the showpiece the PS4 deserves

The PS4 hasn’t seen many exclusive titles over the last two and a half years. Sure, there have been a few notable releases, but Sony’s been surprisingly slow to deliver games that make the PS4 stand out from the crowd. But on May 10th, the big guns are finally coming out as Naughty Dog unleashes the fourth (and supposedly final) entry in the beloved Uncharted franchise. The reviews have started hitting already, so let’s take a look at how the finished product holds up.

Based on the 69 reviews aggregated on Metacritic, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End currently has a rating of 94/100. Our sister site IGN has a review-in-progress up right now with a tentative score of 8.8/10. While this isn’t quite as exciting as a completely new franchise from Naughty Dog, it’s clear that a lot of love and hard work went into this finale. This is much more than a cash grab. By all accounts, it’s a meaningful end to an outstanding franchise.

Numerous reviewers have called this the best-looking game they’ve ever played, and it’s hard to argue with that when you look at the game in motion. Sure, some titles on the PC have undeniably better effects, higher-res textures, and a faster frame rate — nobody is seriously claiming otherwise. But taken as a whole, Uncharted 4 is a second-to-none dopamine delivery device. The detailed performance capture, the rich environments, and remarkable art direction come together to make something much more impressive than a mere tech demo.

It’s pushing the PS4 harder than any previous release, and that’s par for the course with Naughty Dog. The Last of Us and the first three Uncharted games were the cream of the crop on the PS3, Jak and Daxter dropped jaws in the PS2-era, and Crash Bandicoot ran circles around other polygonal games on the first PlayStation. At this point, it’s no surprise to see this studio putting on a clinic.

While we’re still waiting to see an in-depth breakdown of the retail release, the folks at Digital Foundry have already run some tests on the 2015 multiplayer betas. When you’re playing online, the resolution is only 900p, but it’s running at 60fps. Beta 1.03 did drop down into the 50s on occasion, but it was typically stable. And since Naughty Dog has had months to polish the game, there’s a decent chance that the day-one version will be even smoother. Fingers crossed.

As far as the single player campaign goes, it’s running at 1080p30. It’s disappointing that 60fps isn’t feasible, but the footage from E3 ran at a near-perfect lock. It’s not going to be as smooth and responsive as the multiplayer mode, but at least it seems to be consistent. And since the solo mode is designed as a blockbuster action-adventure game instead of an unforgiving skill-based shooter, this seems like a reasonable compromise. Let’s just hope a 60fps Neo version gets patched in later this year.

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