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New column enters 'Uncharted' territory.

Byline: Dominic Baez The Register-Guard

The idea of this column is simply video games are awesome, so let's share in that awesomeness together.

Whether it's the latest "Call of Duty" or "Assassin's Creed," the newest "Final Fantasy," the latest mobile craze or even just the strange, lovable indie release, you'll get reviews of a wide variety of games. The goal generally is to spread out the type of games that will appear in this column, making sure to cover the latest AAA title to the $5 cellphone app. If you have any suggestions, especially if the game has a connection to the region, let me know at dominic.baez@registerguard.com.

Sometimes this will be a First Impressions column, a sort of starter review of a game I'm playing. It generally covers the first few hours of the game and gives the reader a taste of what to expect. I'll follow up those with Final Verdicts - basically a part two to the First Impressions, covering what the first column didn't, particularly late-game story and multiplayer components. The rest of the columns will be full reviews in their own right.

Sometimes the games reviewed here will be brand new, having come out generally within the last couple weeks. Other times the game will be a bit older, typically within the last few months. It's a mix to ensure diversity (and sometimes there just isn't any new game out that I really want to play, you know ).

Our online readers may notice a different review from the one that appears in print. The version in print will be more direct, more digestible for everyone to understand what stands out (or doesn't) in each game. The online review, however, will be more in-depth, more nuanced, giving readers a better idea of why I said this or that. Also, if you're a fan of Let's Plays (watching gamers work their way through the game via recorded gameplay with commentary), you can find the first episode of each game I review with this story at registerguard.com.

First up is one of my favorite games of the year so far, what's already proving to be the epitome of what an action-adventure game should be. Enjoy.

First Impressions: "Uncharted 4: A Thief's End"

The last chapter (supposedly) in Nathan Drake's worldwide treasure-hunting escapade is meant to come to a close in "Uncharted 4: A Thief's End." How developer Naughty Dog goes about doing that is part of the surprise (and angst) that surrounds the release of a sequel to the one of the most acclaimed video game series of all time.

The game's big surprise, of course, was spoiled by trailers for the game months ago: Sam, his virtually unknown brother long-thought dead, has returned, healthy as could be.

But Sam's return kicks of the type of globe-trotting treasure hunt that Nathan had sworn off. But Sam is in trouble, and Nathan is compelled to help the only family he has left. That requires the two (with the help of longtime mentor, Victor "Sully" Sullivan) to track down the insanely lucrative bounty left behind by famed pirate Henry Every.

What's followed so far is typical "Uncharted" fare: lots of puzzle-solving, lots of jumping and parkour, lots of gun fights, almost all of which performs seamlessly. A few control issues pop up now and then. (As with previous "Uncharted" games, the movement controls can be a bit stiff during normal gameplay.)

The story so far is engrossing on both a personal and more sweeping level. The hunt for Every's treasure, solving puzzles and piecing together the mystery, is addicting, as is to be expected, but it's the history between the two brothers that is more fascinating here.

The graphics push the PlayStation 4 to its max potential, showcasing yet again how beautiful a video game can truly look. From a frothing ocean to scurrying rats in a dust-filled catacomb, the visual aspect of "Uncharted 4" is nearly unparalleled.

It's been chaotic, action-packed and intriguing from the start. There's little proof "Uncharted 4: A Thief's End" won't finish in the same glorious fashion.

Editor's note: This is only a preliminary review of the first several hours of game. The full review, which will cover the rest of the single-player story and the multiplayer elements, will follow.

Dominic Baez, an avid gamer since youth, has been writing video game reviews since 2010. You can contact him, especially with game suggestions, at dominic.baez@registerguard.com or follow him on Twitter @Silver_Screenin. You can check out his blog at silverscreeningreview.com. VIDEO GAME REVIEW Uncharted 4: A Thief's End Rated: T for Teen, for blood, language, use of alcohol and tobacco, and violence Price: $59.99 at release (probably cheaper now) Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 (exclusive to the console) Publisher/developer: SCEA/Naughty Dog
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Title Annotation:Wild Card
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Column
Date:Sep 2, 2016
Words:805
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