The makers of Crash Bandicoot have come a long way from developing platformers where you jump from one platform to the next, beat up some bad guys, and then go back to jumping through a series of platforms.
Well, it seems that Naughty Dog has been making the same type of games over and over again, adding a fresh layer on top of each new title, and then refining them as it expands into a series. Take Crash Bandicoot for example, before it dove into a massive shit storm that nobody wanted to have anything to do with. At least, Jak and Daxter has maintained a steady pace, before getting yanked to the bottom by its terrible spin-offs.
Uncharted has power. One that kept on pushing gaming experiences higher up. Admittedly, Uncharted 2 was my first PS3 game and it fucking rocked my world, setting my standards for the PS3 hardware a little too high. (Only The Last of Us and God of War 3 have satisfied my eye candy.)
A Thief's End is beautiful. It is a video game art, a masterpiece that will go down in gaming history, and one that made Naughty Dog damn rich.
The story is fantastic. It leaves no plot holes, loops, or whatever shenanigans that would make us think that there is going to be another game. Naughty Dog has been adamant about it. And with good reason. They are afraid to mess it up. After three games with kickass acclaim, it is so easy to slip up and take a crash. Especially, when everything is the same thing.
The cutting-edge cutscenes give us hope about how video games can be powerful mediums for storytelling. It gives you a really messed up sensation after being so overly engrossed in the story for the next 10 to 15 minutes and then all of the sudden, you're wrapped back into an idle Drake, reminding you, that you're playing a damn video game and not watching a damn movie. It's like failing to reach orgasm at the final second. It's that frustrating.
A Thief's End may have the most wonderful digital vistas to set eyes upon. But there is little difference from the older games. You run around, jump on platforms, pull a lever, make something fall, and shoot bad guys. You get a grappling hook though, which, adds something new, at least.
That isn't to say the game has never been so dynamic, so intense, as it ever was, because Naughty Dog here did not pull any strings.
It is for this very reason, that Naughty Dog's decision to end the series now, is the wisest decision. The standards they have built for their fans have become so high it's scary. It is indeed time for Naughty Dog to move on with newer IPs that can capture a new audience and satisfy the old ones.
The gunfights in Uncharted 3 were overwhelming at times. They force you to become more aggressive by running around, blind shooting as you roll away from a barrage of AK-47s, grenades, and rocket launchers falling down on you at the same time, putting the total body count at about 60+ should Drake survive the first wave. Thankfully, this has been addressed in A Thief's End. Gunfights are shorter, less frustrating and more explosive.
Given that the PS4's hardware is-if I remember correctly, 16 times better than the PS3-Naughty Dog was able to craft a much larger map for both exploration and shootouts. The exploration itself is dull, and masked by characters getting into dialogues, or by surreal sights seen on paintings. However ultimately, there isn't much fulfillment in going around, no Soul of a Brave Explorer here.
For all we know, Naughty Dog is just making an investment, buying enough time until the series ages, so in the future, if they should ever decide to make a new game-which honestly, I hope they don't-you can bet your Â ass it's going to make epic headlines.