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See How UNCHARTED 4 is Changing Pace with Free Roaming

There was a horrible April Fool’s joke that surfaced last Friday, claiming that Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End had been pushed back until mid June. This was horrifyingly believable given the game has seen its fair share of delays over the course of the last year, but was luckily, simply a joke. Thank God!

What isn’t a joke, however, is the fact that Uncharted 4 seems to be taking the series in a different direction from a gameplay standpoint. We’ve always known Uncharted games to be captivating, but linear, experiences. The next game will be getting away from that linearity a bit, offering open-ended sections that players are free to explore. But let’s not get too carried away here: this does not mean this is an open-world game as many are speculating. The style is more so reminiscent of how the rebooted Tomb Raider titles approached their main campaign—there’s a little bit of open exploration, but for the most part, the game is on the rails. From what I’ve played thus far, that appears to be where we’re heading with Uncharted 4.

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We got to try one of those open-ended sections last week at a special event thrown by PlayStation here in LA. The demo put me in control of our favorite petty thief Nathan Drake, who’s accompanied by his mentor Sully and brother Sam in the beautiful landscapes of Madagascar. We started off in a jeep, with which I was able to freely navigate the environment’s muddy hills. There’s an obvious course to follow, but you are able to veer off of that path and search for clues, treasure, and different items littered within the play area.

As I progressed through the hills of Madagascar and solved a few environmental puzzles (one of which had me utilizing a winch to get my jeep up a steep hill), I ran into a mercenary camp packed with about twenty armed guards who were told to kill Drake, Sully, and Sam on sight. From here, you can either go in guns blazing and clear the area the way Drake has been known to do, or you can take more of an MGSV approach, taking your time, marking enemies (who now have alert indicators over their heads), and dispatching of them without firing a bullet. I completed the area both ways, but you can see me mix a little bit of both approaches in the video above.

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Even though this area in particular is a change of pace for the series, you can rest assured that all of the action-packed set-pieces for which Uncharted has been known will also be included. The areas we’ve tried thus far—like the set-piece heavy tank chase scene from E3—have streamlined sections of the game that will hit close to home with fans of the franchise. That said, it’s good to see that Naughty Dog deviating from their typically linear formula, even if for only a fraction of the game.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End leading up to its release on May 10, 2016. Do you want more open-ended sections to the game like this one? What’s your favorite Uncharted game in the series thus far? Zip line down to the comments with your thoughts below, and check out some screens from last week’s gameplay in our gallery below.

As a true Uncharted fan, there are some things I want to see. Here’s my wish list!

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Image Source: PlayStation

Malik Forté is the Gaming Editor of Nerdist and the badass fearless leader of the White Pants Illuminati. Find his ramblings on Twitter: @Malik4play.

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