GOTY 2016: The Top 10 Games of the Year - #4

We're excited to announce the Silicon Sasquatch Top 10 Games of the Year! After months of discussion and a marathon five-hour meeting, we've finally narrowed down the ten games that we feel best represent the best and most important that 2016 had to offer.

We'll be counting down through our Top 10 list all week, so stay tuned on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don't miss a thing!

#4 | Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Naughty Dog | May 10th, 2016 | PlayStation 4

Craft and artistry are equally important when assessing games. Raw creativity can lead to interesting games, but without polish it will be more proof of concept more than the finished item. High sheen and fit-and-finish is the mark of triple-A development, but without creativity, many titles come off as bland and uninspired.

Leading into the spring 2016 release of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, the polish and quality were immediately evident. As one of the biggest tentpoles in Sony’s three-ring circus, there were high expectations for a new Uncharted game: comparisons to previous Uncharted games, to previous Naughty Dog games, and against all of the triple-A franchises in gaming. 

Fortunately, Uncharted 4 lives up to the hype. And surprisingly, it does so not in the major set-piece moments but in the small details throughout the adventure and the story. The writing and acting to bring Nathan Drake, his brother Sam, and a small cast of returning characters to life is equal to all of the graphical polish Naughty Dog crafted for the game. It is a title about chasing legendary treasure and exploring remarkable locations, but all of that is in service of telling a story about family — and how far a person will go for their loved ones. 

After the conclusion of Uncharted 3, Nathan settled down, got married, and walked away from further treasure hunting...until Sam returns. Family — and the tension between family old and new — is the core of Uncharted 4, and that is what holds the game together.

But what a game it is. I’ve taken more screenshots of landscapes in Uncharted 4 than any other PlayStation 4 game to date. Once you know where and how the game wants you to climb around the environment, it becomes second nature. The same is true for the gunplay and combat. The game’s beautiful and varied environments also allow for some bombastic action-movie moments: swinging from a chandelier into an aerial takedown happens only in most games’ CGI sequences, but it’s an accessible move in Uncharted 4’s combat. 

Previous Uncharted games have been described as great games to show console-gaming newbies as they feel and look more like Indiana Jones offshoots than the product of the one-time Crash Bandicoot developers. But between the series-best exploration and gunplay and the powerfully grounded adventure story, Uncharted 4 is an expert blend of creativity and polish.  — Doug Bonham