- The "Heads or Tails" TV spot, with Nathan somberly overlooking another pile of treasure, wondering how many chances at a normal life he's thrown away and if his adventuring has really all been worth it.
- On a meta level, the fact A Thief's End is the finale of the Uncharted storynote . Whether or not Naughty Dog goes back to an earlier point to add another installment remains to be seen but with the insane attention to detail, Scenery Porn/Visual Effects of Awesome the game has achieved, and the quality of storytelling (fixing the plotting problems 3 was accused of having with well-planned story threads), it is a fairly painful goodbye to this series if 4 is really meant to be the true end of Nate's adventure — the game had set the bar higher than ever for both itself as a series and every other PlayStation 4 game.
- When Elena confronts Nate about lying to her and risking his life again. Even though the trailers meant that most people saw it coming, the pain in her voice and eyes still manages to be heartbreaking. She later rescues Nate on Libertalia but says she almost decided against it, driving home that Nate really screwed up this time but love still triumphs. Nate even kicks himself later in monologue as he watches her scale cliffs and handle a gun, saying that he very nearly ruined his relationship with the best girl he could ever find.
- When they find the corpses of Libertalia's founders, Nate's childlike enthusiasm and joy of discovery bubble back up in a way that seems very uplifting at first, until the camera focuses on Elena's face, as she sees him once again get swept up in the adventure. You can see on her face the realisation that, even without Alcazar's threat looming over Sam, Nate's passion for this life is too great to just leave behind. The superb facial capture and voice acting mean every flicker of emotion is right there for the player to see. It's the little smile, however, that tells you that this is her also realizing why she loves him, and it's what leads to Nate apologizing for everything he's done.
- When Nate and Elena barely escape falling down a waterfall, Nate tells Elena the real reason why he lied to her before. They had split up multiple times due to his hunger for treasure hunting, and after the promise he made to give up that life, he couldn't bear to lose her again (possibly for good). He wasn't protecting her; he was protecting himself from that pain. You can hear it in Elena's voice that she's fighting back tears upon her own realization that, despite everything Nate's done, she still loves him.
- Evelyn's story. Nate and Sam find Story Breadcrumbs about her life: she was an adventurer and archaeologist in the early 20th Century, and dismissed by her peers because she was a woman. The only sympathetic ear was a Japanese archaeologist, who faced similar prejudice because of his race. They collaborated and shared their findings on artifacts they recovered, fell in love, married, and had a son named Edmund. But given their busy, adventure-filled lives, they were absent from their son's life for months at a time, which strained their marriage, leading to divorce. She was a completely absent figure in her son's life, and was so consumed with treasure hunting that she missed both his graduation from university and her ex-husband's funeral. Her last letter from her son is a brutal denunciation for her absence in his life, and she spends her time in an empty house filled with treasures from days gone by. Then she fell ill, and her protegé, Cassandra Morgan died, leaving her to die alone. The only things you can examine in the final room, other than Cassandra's journals, are a picture of Evelyn's family from long ago, showing clearly that she misses them. Once she realizes that Nate and Sam are Cassandra's sons, she's actually excited to be able to share her theories with someone one last time before she dies, because it's all she has left. She's a reflection of what could happen to Nate if he put his love of treasure hunting above Elena: dying alone in a house full of relics, with no family wanting anything to do with them.
- Consider how her son's bedroom is left exactly the same as when he was a child, and the Toy Soldier treasure you find on a bench outside. How many times did Evelyn walk around the grounds of her mansion by herself, clutching one of the toys of a son she desperately wanted to reconnect with?
- The revelation to Nate that Sam was lying this whole time on "owing" a big crime boss and had been spending two years helping Rafe with his search. Nate is utterly stunned that his brother had been using him, dragging him out of the good, quiet life he'd long wanted, and blindly following his obsession with Avery's treasure, regardless of the danger to Nate.
- Throughout Nate's journey, he finds clues and letters detailing the quest of Burnes' grandson, how he wanted to honour his family, as well as his love for a woman named Claire. But, the more we find, the more we see him being consumed by his journey. Bad decision after bad decision finally culminated in his crew abandoning him and becoming fatally wounded. However, unlike Nate, his beloved wasn't there to save him and the last note you find is on his skeleton, which shows him still being determined to finish his quest, but that a part of him probably knew this was it. On the back of it is a sketch of Claire with the words "Forgive me" that he had drawn in his final moments. The worst part is that he was only a short distance from the treasure he had risked everything for.
- If you're a Monkey Island fan, finding Guybrush Threepwood's skeleton along with the other founders of Libertalia (who were all poisoned) might be upsetting.
- While he hardly has any redeeming qualities, one has to feel a little bit sorry for Rafe Adler. Unlike the previous Uncharted villains who are Obviously Evil warlords, mercenaries, or members of ancient conspiracies hellbent on finding the treasure to suit their evil agenda, Rafe is just another treasure hunter who's only wanted to prove his worth, albeit in all the wrong ways. His Motive Rant during the final battle tells us that he's just a miserable rich man with everything in his life handed to him, who's Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life and finding it in Avery's treasure. Rafe takes it upon himself to finish this lifelong quest, no matter the cost. He is a darker reflection of what Nate and Sam could've become. Unlike the Drakes, Rafe doesn't get to walk away alive, as his obsession with the treasure eventually drives him mad not unlike the Founders of Libertalia, and the Villainous Breakdown that follows becomes his undoing.
Tear Jerker / Uncharted 4: A Thief's End