With Naughty Dog‘s latest release in the beloved Uncharted series, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, comes a slew of gameplay improvements over the previous games. The PlayStation 4 offered Naughty Dog more freedom to evolve the gameplay, and evolve it did – the guns finally feel like guns, controlling vehicles has been streamlined, and the stealth got some much-needed updates.
Those stealth updates, in particular, reminded me of the Assassin’s Creed series while I was sneaking around and quietly breaking necks. In fact, it felt like Naughty Dog directly looked at some of the Assassin’s Creed games for inspiration (not to mention, Uncharted 4 and the similarly-numbered Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag are both centered around pirates). Here’s a look at why Uncharted 4 might also be a great Assassin’s Creed game. We’ll use Assassin’s Creed IV and most of the prior games for comparison.
How They Are Similar
Assassin’s Creed and Uncharted are both third-person action platformers with puzzles and combat, but they also both feature sections where you can remain in full stealth without initiating a fight. In these areas, there’s usually a lot of enemies, which means you’re better off trying to stay in the shadows.
Both Assassin’s Creed and Uncharted 4 feature “threat indicators” that tell you how suspicious each enemy is. They also both have high grass that you can freely walk in while remaining hidden.
What Uncharted 4 Does Better
For a series of linear adventures, Uncharted has always featured intelligent AI. Uncharted 4 is no exception, and the AI improves the stealth here dramatically. Enemies will patrol their assigned areas in a very “human” manner – instead of pacing along a rut, they diverge from it and vary their paths each time they walk them. In addition, some guards are aware of others’ patrol routes, and if they notice a guard is missing, they’ll rightfully investigate instead of ignoring it. This is still in its infancy – it’s the exception rather than the rule – but it’s a major first step.
Adding in a quick comparison to other stealth games like Sly Cooper – which feature some guards who are blind to all but their flashlights – enemies in Uncharted 4 with flashlights or sniper scopes are not blind outside of them. All of these changes and additions make Uncharted 4‘s stealth sections feel very human and very realistic.
What Assassin’s Creed Does Better
That doesn’t mean Uncharted 4 got everything right. Should the series continue, there are still more stealth updates that they can take from the Assassin’s Creed games. The biggest missing feature in Uncharted 4 was the ability to whistle from cover and draw a guard’s attention to you. You’re almost always at the mercy of the guard’s patrol paths in Uncharted, unless you can make a distraction with explosives.
Another aspect that Assassin’s Creed gets right is being able to loot the guards you kill while in stealth (depending on the stealth method). If you kill a guard while in tall grass, for example, you can then take his ammunition and not lose your stealth status. In most cases, this didn’t seem possible in Uncharted 4; some guards either couldn’t be looted at all, or you’d have to break your stealth to loot them.
Of course, nothing says that Naughty Dog isn’t going to continue making action-adventure games, whether in the Uncharted series or not. Hopefully, their stealth mechanics will continue to improve upon those from Assassin’s Creed and similar games.