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My Journey to Platinum in Uncharted 4

hello world!
Lizabeth Phoenix
| May 29, 2021
hello world!

The Platinum Trophy is the most coveted award PlayStation games offer. It is the mark of achievement certifying that you’ve earned every single trophy in your favorite game. Serial Platinum earners shoot for this in every game they play. 

When my friend first introduced me to the Uncharted franchise, I was not what I would call a “gamer.” I never expected to earn a Platinum trophy in my life. In fact, I couldn’t even control the camera and character at the same time. Meanwhile, my friend has played the Sly Cooper games since their inception and is that franchise’s biggest fan, so they’ve had years of valuable gaming practice. There I was, watching them show me the controls like a smooth criminal… and I was bumping into tables, cars, trees, people, lemurs. You name it; I couldn’t maneuver around it. 

Sony PlayStation's Platinum TrophyBut Uncharted 4 has everything I love in a franchise: charismatic and morally grey characters, sweeping vistas, history, lore, and (almost above all) pirates. Ask anyone I know, and they’ll tell you I adore just about anything to do with the swashbuckling misfits of yore. So, when my friend decided to institute what is now known in our family as the Fandom Wars, I knew Uncharted was my choice. 

To provide you with some context, the objective of the aforementioned Fandom Wars is to share your passion for your favorite franchises by competing with friends and family through gathering rare collectibles, achieving accomplishments, or creating presentations to demonstrate why you are the most dedicated to your respective fandoms. Obviously, we decided it must be majestic and planned a whole afternoon of themed awesomeness, complete with individual fandom T-shirts and an award ceremony. The winner gained bragging rights for being the top fandom in the house, and I’ve learned that healthy competition encourages us to achieve things we otherwise may never have thought possible. Is my family the coolest? Probably.

Nathan and Elena playing Crash BandicootFor Uncharted, I pulled out all the stops. Homemade music video? Check. Slideshow presentation? Check. A friendly reminder that Jeremy Jahns gave Uncharted 4 a rating of Awesometacular? Absolutely. I’ve even completed all the Uncharted games on Crushing, excluding Uncharted: Golden Abyss (on PlayStation Vita), which I haven’t played. However, I didn’t have a single Platinum trophy to show for it, so I decided that had to change. Even after the Fandom Wars concluded until next year, I wanted the bragging rights that I completed my favorite game in its entirety, multiplayer add-ons excluded.

So, I went to work. After my initial play-through, I printed out the trophy guide and dedicated as many hours as possible to working through each objective. At one point, I spent at least two days in Chapter 13: “Marooned,” as I grappled with “Shoreline” mercenaries. Then, I boated for hours around an island in search of dolphins (which are well worth the trouble, by the way) and nearly hurled my controller at the television after sending Crash Bandicoot falling through a hole for the thirtieth time. Nevertheless, one brutal, quick-time sword fight later, and I’d earned my Uncharted 4 Platinum Trophy. I’ve never been happier with a gaming moment in my life. In addition to the priceless experience, I learned a few things after completing the game nearly seven times and–needless to say–gathered some takeaways to share.

Crash Bandicoot trophy in Uncharted 4
Nathan beating Elena’s high score on Crash Bandicoot.


TIP 1: Download a guide.

Find and print out the Platinum trophy guide. Several websites offer a guide like the one I’ve linked here, which offers additional instructions for each trophy, and it saves so much time. The guide features a description of each trophy, including the hidden ones, and it provides resources and directions for how to get them. I’m not ashamed to say I wrote all over my printout.

Young Nathan Drake at an orphanage
A young Nathan Drake


TIP 2: Trophy hunt on Normal difficulty first.

Play the game through on normal first. Take your time, and collect as many trophies as possible during your initial run. Cross off every trophy as you earn it so you have a clear list of which trophies you’ll have to earn to complete the Platinum. 

TIP 3: Choose your Platinum screenshot mission.

Possibly most important, if bragging rights are your motivator, choose which mission you want to be your Platinum screenshot. Depending on settings, PlayStation can automatically capture your screen when your Platinum pops. If this is something you want to have framed or share, it’s best to make sure it looks great. 

Sam and Nathan on a motorbike
The Brothers Drake.


TIP 4: Choose how to complete your hunt.

You can work through your trophy list in several ways. If you’re interested in growing your skillset as a gamer, you can progress from easiest to most difficult. If you want to put the work in early for a more effortless final sprint, you could complete the most difficult trophies first, then complete the easiest. Or you can wing it and finish whichever task you feel like based on the day. 

TIP 5: Keep a checklist.

Whatever your gameplay style, I found it very helpful to keep a running checklist. As you’re progressing, you can mark off each trophy as you earn it. Be sure to keep a resilient mindset. It can take a while to complete the longer trophies, such as gathering all the collectibles. In fact, you’ll probably play the game through more than once. Use both Chapter and Encounter Select to save yourself time, and leave your chosen screenshot trophy for the last one.

TIP 6: Be diligent and patient.

As far as tips and tricks, the most important thing is patience and diligence. Many gamers can progress through Platinums very quickly. Others take time. Mentally prepare to spend an extended time gaming, and don’t rush the process.

Sam and Nathan in Libertalia


TIP 7: Optimize your trophies in each playthrough.

Try to complete as many trophies as possible in one linear play-through. Do not wait to do this on the higher difficulty settings; that’s a whole lot of extra work to do while trying not to die repeatedly. Instead, earn as many trophies as possible on your first Normal play-through. 

TIP 8: In the speed run, be efficient, not rushed.

This next tip may sound counterintuitive, but it is helpful: don’t rush through the speed run. Instead, focus on being efficient and mitigating unnecessary risks. When you rush, you make errors…like dying a whole bunch in the last chapter racing through the mountains because “I have to fight Rafe RIGHT NOW!” No, you don’t. Am I speaking from personal experience? Maybe. Did my friend have to tell me to stop being ridiculous and focus? Also, maybe. Did not rushing work? Why yes, yes it did.

Nathan and Rafe face off in Uncharted 4
Come on, Legend.


TIP 9: Slow motion isn’t “cheating.” Use it.

Some think you shouldn’t use slow-motion cheats when earning a time-dependent trophy like the Best Score trophy with Crash Bandicoot. However, as someone who struggled for days to complete this particular trophy, activating this perk enabled me to finally complete the run, gain all the necessary apples and extra life points, and reach the end of the track. If you can’t hack the Bandicoot trophy at regular speed, don’t worry about people judging you for using the Slow Motion modifier. 

TIP 10: For that final trophy, don’t use Encounter Select.

My final and most important tip is, above all, do not complete your final trophy using Encounter Select. It will destroy your priceless screenshot. I repeat: I don’t care if you have to play through the whole game again just to earn that trophy without using Encounter Select–you better do it. Because in the time it takes the Platinum trophy to pop, the encounter will time out, and your hard-earned trophy will be sitting directly atop an ‘encounter complete’ dimmed screen instead of that epic action shot you planned. Not very aesthetic.

Don't use Encounter Select for your final trophy in Uncharted 4

With all that said, I loved earning my Platinum on Uncharted 4. Not only is it my favorite game of all time, but I am also deeply invested in these characters, the gameplay and controls are the smoothest in the series, and the vistas are visually stunning. I had to do the speed run twice, and each time I truly missed watching the cutscenes (you have to skip them to make it through the game in time), especially the fight scene in Chapter 15. At the end of the day, a Playstation Platinum trophy is an achievement in your fandom that no one can take away. Even if your system crashes (yikes-always back stuff up!), you’ll always know you earned that coveted goblet of gaming, so print that thing out and save it!

What Platinum trophies are you proud of or hoping to work toward? Any tips for Uncharted 4 that I may have missed? Share your stories and suggestions in the comments!


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