Game Review: Drake’s Fortune 4: A Thief’s End – PS4

Title Drake’s Fortune 4: A Thief’s End
Platform: PlayStation 4
Genre:Action/adventure, 3rd-person shooter, puzzle, action
Date completed:January 2020
Information on game

Summary review: A very good experience overall. Highly recommended.
Graphics: Texture details is quite impressive, a showcase of what a PS4 could do (back when this game came out, anyway)
Music: Very impressive with surround sound system, audible cues work flawlessly
Controls: No issues with controls, and this corresponds with perfect camera coverage
Replayability: Having just finished it I don’t see a reason to replay it. I may feel differently after playing through the first three games. On its own the plot just isn’t compelling enough.
Total score: 90 / 100 – This is truly a cinematic masterpiece in every way I can think of. The story is compelling enough to get through to the end and complex relationships and voice acting are second to none. The game only loses points for the few areas that drag out and some bugs I ran into.

I only recently purchased a PlayStation 4 for the first time (black Friday 2019) and this is one of the games I got with it. I should perhaps mention from the outset I payed on this on the second to lowest difficulty and it still took me 22 hours (I think the typical estimate is 15 hours). Take that as you will.

This is also the first Drake’s fortune game I ever played to the end (I started the first one on PS3 around 2012 but never finished it).

For this reason I don’t have anything to measure it against or any particular perspective on how the story might measure up. All I have to go on is this game as it stands on its own.

The controls are all perfect and I never felt like the camera was working against me. The era of forced perspective fixed camera angles, it would seem, is over. All the typical tropes and stereo types of a Drake game are here: jumping from one climbable mount point on a wall to another, swinging on ropes, jumping or throwing the grappling hook at the exact right time before falling over a cliff, it’s all here. There also some vehicle segments and one set piece involving being dragged behind a vehicle by a rope while shooting at bad guys on motor cycles and different kinds of jeeps.

There are also several different kinds of puzzles, some more difficult than the others. I don’t think I had to look any of them up so they must not have been that horribly difficult. More just arbitrary.

One thing I really loved about this game is the complexity of the relationships between the main character and the other characters. I’m not sure I’ve seen this level of complexity in a game before. This is at least partially due to how well the faces are rendered. I don’t think this could have been delivered without the level of detail in the faces. And of course the voice acting to go a long with it.

Story commentary (no spoilers)

I actually liked the story. It wasn’t anything especially compelling or intriguing. But then I was also starting to think the story was more of a backdrop for the real star of the game: the metaphor of Drake’s relationships.

For instances there’s once relatively long sequence in the third act involving a long trek through a creepy pirate cave. And all I could think of is that line from the show Archer: “Horray for metaphors…“. It wasn’t supposed to be comedic. But I couldn’t stop thinking of Archer.

The story I think is about at the level of the second Indiana Jones movie: more a series of set pieces and actions with occasional breaks, not necessarily especially memorable.

There is also some combat involved. I don’t know about the prior games, but this one at least provides the option for stealthy approaches to getting through areas. In fact there’s trophies from getting through an area without killing any enemies and none of them even suspecting someone was there. Too time consuming for me but I like the option. You can make like Danny DeVito and just start blasting too, of course. I usually at least attempted to stealth my way through, doing stealth kills through an area to end. Most of the time I didn’t make though. But I found it a lot of fun.

I also appreciated the variety of guns dropped. A bunch of different kinds of hand guns, including pirate-era guns with only two shots and a few other fun ones. You only get one handgun and one rifle, though so it was for me to conclude I wanted to switch a two shot flintlock. Still fun.

Towards the end of the game I started realized the play loop: really this game is a variation on the old adventure games like Monkey Island: it’s either a literal rotate and/or push a thing to activate a thing to get to the next area or it’s a less direct puzzle of just finding the thing or right place to push triangle to activate to get over the wall or climb the tree or climb the cliff in the right order. The portions of the game with actual combat is relatively little compared to the whole. Which is fine really. If you wanted non-stop action you’d be playing Wolfenstein: The new blood or God of War. The puzzles just got kind of old after a while and I just wanted to move to the next thing already.

One thing about this game is the nearly constant presence of a secondary character. Sometimes two other characters. This wasn’t really as bad as I thought it would be though. For instance if you’re trying to stealth through the other character(s) don’t alert enemies and if you’re not paying attention the game doesn’t end because the AI character got killed. The other character is just of…there. Sometimes for indirect assistance sometimes for hilarious banter.

Sound/Music: I liked the sound track but I couldn’t recite any of the tunes. It was all background and that is how it is supposed to work.

There were a few instances where subtle audible cues were used: sometimes when combat was about to start and continuing if there were still enemies left and coming to a logical ending when all enemies were completed.

Final thoughts:

I think this can all be boiled down to a few basic questions:

Would I play this game again start to finish? No, I don’t think so. (Or maybe if I feel like it after playing the first three).

Would I go back and play the first three? Yes, in fact I already bought the re-master of the first three on PS4.

Would I buy a Drake 5 or other spin-off game? Yes, probably.


Metadata

Method of control used Standard PS4 gamepad
Controllable via both one analog stick or digital four-way (“HAT”) n/a
Hardware requirements: n/a
Supports 21:9 aspect ratio screens?n/a
Device(s) tried on standard non-pro PS4
TVregular old 1080p, nothing special
Initial setup required I did turn on sub titles
Sound setup5.1 surround system/receiver
Total time to completion~22 hours 45 minutes
difficulty levelsecond easiest
Random assortment of meta data

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