Uncharted 4:A Thief’s End, Nathan Drake older and more grizzled is back on the hunt for treasure, seeking a buried cache of glimmering pirate booty in places uncharted.

A my Hennig who had been the writer and creative director behind the first three Uncharted games left Naughty Dog early in 2014. She was followed by Todd Stashwick, who was the game director on Drake’s Deception and was billed to fill the same position on A Thief’s End. This made us quite nervous about Uncharted’s forth outing as much as we trust Naughty Dog, you could really feel Hennig’s style spill into the game, and we worried the series might lose some of its unique narrative flavour.

After seeing the game in action, though, and being treated to 15 minutes of gameplay, our fears have been allayed the game seems to be as well-polished and well-constructed as any other Naughty Dog game, and looks to be taking huge advantage of the power on offer in the PS4. We’ve broken down the gameplay revealed so far to see what clues it can give us regarding the full game…

1/ Nathan Drake is reported to have over 800 facial animations in Uncharted 4, and his hair is powered with ‘true’ physics, too. There’s been a notable downgrade in graphical fidelity since the game’s reveal, but it still looks ace, so we can’t complain…

2/ After Drake goes spelunking through some caves with some cheesy ‘let’s talk to myself about the world’ dialogue we see our hero discover a letter, and it hints at the pirate booty the game will centre around. It’s a nice way of unveiling story that moves away from audio logs.

3/ After crossing the paths of a couple of corpses suspended from the cliffs around him, Drake emerges onto a plateau and spies his goal a mountain that probably houses some mythical beast that’s decided to make a den over pirate gold or something.

4/ On His way back to higher ground, we see Drake’s first really challenging platforming section. Naughty Dog use mo-cap to animate the core characters, but then hand-animates details in limbs to give the game that fantasy-grounded-in-reality flavour.

5/ Drake curses to himself as he sees a set of soldiers patrol. They’re all armed, and Drake hangs out above two of them as they pass a can of insect repellent between them. Using foliage as cover, Drake slowly moves through the level, tension rising.

6/ Alas, Drake gets clocked by the patrolling guards, but not before he leaps down and assassinates a watchman. His partner drops the can of insect repellent and starts shooting, but Drake smacks the enemy. Shooting feels punchy, but is still the series’ weak point.

7/ At The end of the trailer, a figure approaches Drake, calling him ‘brother’. Drake is an orphan that grew up as a street urchin, so is this shady figure a friend or a foe? We assume he’ll help for a bit, then betray Drake, because this is how things usually go down… 

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