OMFG I loved this game! I loved it so damned much. It was fun to play, with enough light-heartedness to keep me from being gloomy, with enough jeopardy to keep me enthralled; excellent writing, excellent voice acting, excellent gameplay. God damn, this game is wonderful!
The people responsible for bringing Nathan Drake to life did a fantastic job on him. His facial expressions during the cutscenes were incredible; making him extremely human and so incredibly empathetic.
And he's not the only one the studio made so very wonderfully human.
To be fair, Nathan Drake is a total pain in his arse the whole game.
But this dude is cold.
Though not exactly on the good side, this mercenary is an incredible badass, who is more than handy in a fight. She brings Drake to his knees more than once... and look at her arms! Those are arm goals, right there.
Eat your heart out, Michelle Obama.
Everything was so perfect in this regard, I was often swept away as if I was watching a fantastic film or reading a spectacular book.
Holy shit, writers at Naughty Dog. Just... holy shit. The story was extremely compelling. Yes, it was an action game, but it was also a story about family, and it was so wonderful - the tension between brothers is so well written, as is the tension between husband and wife.
So, too, is Nathan's reasons for lying to his S.O. I've on more than one occasion witnessed first hand a bloke withholding information from a loved one under the guise of "protecting" the other person (when really they're protecting themselves, as is touched on in game).
The banter is often amusing enough to make me laugh, and the scenes between brothers and lovers, friends and foes is so fucking good... I tip my hat to the writers. It was a spectacular script, without which all the impressive character design and voice acting would amount to jack squat.
I'm so terrible at gaming, I know. You can see just how bad, incidentally, in the playlist of highlight reels I made of my live streams of this game on my YouTube channel (the last of those going up sometime this week). Still, despite the number of times I died playing this game, I adored it. The transitions between cutscenes and gameplay were effortlessly smooth.
The puzzles were engaging... I wish there were more of them. I adore puzzles and this game had them in spades; not even just the literal puzzles, but in options to take during play and figuring out the best way to take out the enemy on your quest for Avery's treasure. My god, this game was so much fun to play.
Honestly, the only frustrations I had during gameplay were due to my own awful ineptitude.
Well done, game designers.
Yes. Can I just say. Yes. This game got it right. Though there were only two women of note in the game, they were both incredibly written, and very believable.
The hero's love interest (his wife, in fact, Elena Fisher) was not a trope of damsel in distress, nor was she fully the badass woman who is just a badass and nothing else. Nor did her badassery mean that she was a man-hater. Nor was she the awful clingy lover type. She was a wife; one who was worried for her husband, who was justifiably angry at him, and one who clearly loved him. She was smart and capable, quite sweet and still capable of shooting a gun well.
In short, she was a full person on her own, independent of the hero.
Nadine Ross was similarly well-crafted. She was a woman on the edge, an unattached mercenary in it for the money and not much else. She was a skilled fighter, and didn't much care for careful archaeology (seriously, all that dynamite made me cringe). She was dangerous and cold, and clever in her own right.
In short, she was a full person on her own, independent of the villain.
Fuck yes, writers!
This ending was perfect for the story. It was very much in keeping with the fun, action-adventure feel of the game. The villain dies and the heroes escape, and things are really fucking good. It was so satisfying I really didn't want it to end at all. Ever.
Seriously, though. During the live stream I just sat and chatted because I just. didn't. want. it. to. end. Good thing I did, too, because there is a very sweet playable epilogue if you wait long enough.
When at last I put down the controller, I had that wonderful, bittersweet ache in my heart; the same kind you get when you turn the last page of a really spectacular book.
I cannot, even in this stupid long review, tell you how much I loved this game.
It now ranks as my favourite game. I will return to it often, I think.
Six out of five stars.