There are two types of people in the world: those who do not play video games, and those who are huge fans of the format. If you find your core personality in the first portion of my clause, hang on until the end, today’s story may be just for you. If you are identifying in the latter group, you should have a definitive answer to one of the most important questions in life: “what’s the best video game that you’ve played?”
To be clear, the question is not any variation of “what game do other people say is awesome, for reasons X, Y, or Z.” This is a purely personal reflection on your gaming career. Is that even a thing? Anyway, I can definitely say that the Uncharted franchise, available on the PlayStation platform, is the best series that I’ve ever played. More specifically, I can safely claim that Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is the best game that I’ve ever played. I can make that statement based on a plausible suspension of disbelief.
To be fair, at no time during my multi-month video game campaigns did I personally feel as if I were actually the main character, Nathan Drake, immersed in globe-trekking, treasure-hunting adventures from one far corner of the world to the other:
- or, despite my proficiency with a Tau Sniper magnum pistol, and my obvious favoritism for the specific weapon of instantaneous death to Evil Doers, I have never fired anything related to this amazingly lethal weapon of war;
- or, launching a stealth attack from a higher platform, smashing my forearm off the skull of a He-shouldn’t-have-signed-up-for-the-mercenary-team Bad Guy, is not in my daily repertoire, although I’ve become very proficient at said maneuvers;
- or, I could never capture the fancy of the beautiful blond investigative reporter, sustain multiple gunshots without succumbing to death, or melee myself out of a ten-against-one street alley brawl;
- or, likewise, I will never jump from a moving horse, survive a plane crash and sinking ocean liner, board an airplane on the runway through the landing gear compartment, or parkour myself from rock ledges hundreds of feet above a raging sea while dodging gunfire from unscrupulous modern-day pirates.
Never, to all of those circumstances.
But in the moment of completing these challenges, and solving these logical problems, my mind accepted the wild scenarios as plausible situations. I had to problem solve, strategize, and determine how to accomplish a specific goal or task in which the result of the equation is not immediately visible, calculated, or understood. That’s the beauty of video games, and that’s a difficult accomplishment to achieve.
The Uncharted series is challenging from a gameplay standpoint, well scripted from a plot and character point of view, cinematic as related to story-telling. I laughed, I cried, I gripped the controller with fear of being shot (again) or captured. I loved some characters, while hating others. It is for these reasons, that I stamp Best Game Ever on the fourth installment in the series. While I played all four of the games—and each subsequent game was better than its predecessor—A Thief’s End was the sum of everything great that the game studio had to offer.
On a side note, isn’t this the reason that we engage in other forms of entertainment? We go to the movies to watch a flick on the Big Screen, to be engrossed in the film’s reality, if only for ninety minutes. We don fancy suits and neckties to watch a musical or play in the posh theater. We cheer from stadium seating as our favorite football team clashes helmets with an out-of-town rival. Gladly we shovel piles of cash into the ticket booth for admittance to listen to our favorite band or see a musical superstar extravaganza. I believe that it’s our human nature to crave such escapes from the reality of life.
So for all of you Video Game Haters, maybe you just need to give it a try. Maybe you need to immerse yourself in the world of treasure hunting, or problem solving, or just some good old-fashioned exploration. Go ahead and chart your course for suspension of disbelief, I’ll wait right here for you.