NOTE – Despite everything else I say in this article, Uncharted 4 is an awesome game that everyone should play.
Uncharted 4 is a massive step up in terms of writing and directing quality compared to the previous three Uncharted games. More than that, in terms of sheer cinematic excellence, there are probably only a handful of game ever made which can match U4, one of which is director Neil Druckmann’s previous Naughty Dog game, The Last of Us. Note that this doesn’t mean that I think U4 and LoU are the greatest games of all time or even have the best video game stories ever, but I do think their story presentations are nearly unmatched. I truly hope that the success of these two games will lead to something of a revolution in cinematic game design so that video game directors actually start paying attention to basic cinematic craft when stuffing half-baked movies into their otherwise functional video games (as discussed here by Film Crit Hulk).
Yet as much as I admire the cinematography, writing, motion capture, voice acting, pacing, and story control which contributed to U4’s quality, I can’t help but get hung up on a single plot point. This one story event is of such abysmal quality that it very nearly sunk the whole experience for me until U4’s superb ending changed my mind.
Everything about Sam’s imprisonment is nonsensical. Some of the problems with it are simple contrivances where the logic of the story is stretched beyond its expected parameters (despite the Uncharted games having a pretty loose sense of plot logic to begin with). Other problems are outright plot holes which break the story entirely.
****SPOILERS AFTER THIS POINT****