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The Uncharted Series

Uncharted Drakes Fortune

Uncharted started life with the incredibly demeaning label of “another Tomb Raider clone”. But went onto to produce some of the finest gaming moments of the PS3 and PS4 eras. Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect if you’re looking to dive into Nate’s globe-trotting adventures.

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

Naughty Dog introduced us to Nathan Drake and his adventures with Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. It was revolutionary at the time, with it’s perfect mix of climbing, puzzle and shooting elements. Sure, it hasn’t held up quite as well as its sequels, even in the remaster, with controls that aren’t quite as responsive as you’d like. But the building blocks of Uncharted’s greatness are there from the get-go. Arguably Drake Fortune is a little slower paced than the others in the series. It has more focus on puzzle elements and it gives little to no hints and how to complete them. But ultimately it would be a crime to not see the humble beginnings of this iconic series.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Heralded as one of the greatest action games ever made at the time. Nathan Drake’s triumphant return to the PlayStation is a fantastic AAA experience. Everything that made the first game great has been improved upon, especially the writing. Don’t get me wrong, the dialogue between Sully and Nate in the Drake’s Fortune was excellent, as was the story, but it just lacked subtlety. Among Thieves weaves an action-packed story that charges forward at breakneck speed. But between the explosions and mass murder, there are plenty of heartfelt moments that show the more caring, human side of Nate.

Among Thieves throws you in at the deep end from the very beginning. It opens with a battered and bruised Nate waking up in a train car, which just so happens to be dangling off a cliff. Thankfully climbing mechanics improved greatly from Drake’s Fortune, making things much smoother. Naughty Dog also introduced more hints on where to go during the title’s many climbing sections, which keeps the game moving forward. Puzzle difficulty is also dialled back for Nate’s return and, if you’re stuck for too long, Nate will start thinking out loud to provide hints on what to do. All in all Uncharted 2 raised the bar for videogame action and narrative and is so much more than a sequel.

Uncharted 3

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

After the incredible success of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, the third title had a lot to live up to. And it didn’t disappoint. The entire adventure is filled to the brim with unforgettable set-pieces. The visuals were head and shoulders above the previous two titles. Environment design had such incredible levels of detail that every section of the game became a character itself. Sadly the script wasn’t up to the same standard as Among Thieves. Puzzles also took a hit in favour of explosions with almost all of them almost solving themselves. That’s not to say that Drake’s Deception is bad, it’s still an Uncharted game, and it stands toe-to-toe with the previous titles. It’s just clear that Naughty Dog set out to make an action blockbuster of a game. And to say they succeeded is an understatement.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was another tonal shift for the series. The action-heavy nature of Drake’s Deception faced criticism from long time fans (much like everything does) who felt Nate had become a one man army.

Naughty Dog were riding high on the success of The Last of Us and looked to take what made that title great and see what could work in Drake’s fourth and final adventure. Combat was refined, with melee combat packing more of a punch. Graphics received a complete overhaul. Naughty Dog toned down the supernatural elements of the previous three entries. Lost cities and treasures are still there. But character relationships and the strain these adventures have put on them take centre-stage. This is clearly illustrated with the opening - Nate isn’t dangling over a cliff or fighting pirates - he’s playing Crash Bandicoot with his wife.

Nate’s treasure hunting days are behind him until a visitor drags him back in for one last score. This time around Naughty Dog steered away from the summer blockbuster and went for a much more believable story. It still has the staple fantastic set-pieces, explosive action and everything that fans want from an Uncharted game. But this time the story is at the forefront with Nate at war with himself and torn between a happy home life and a life of high adventure. Puzzles make a very welcome return and the hints for climbing sections, although still there in abundance, are much more nuanced and subtle... just like every other aspect of A Thief’s End.

There’s no doubt about it, the Uncharted series is fantastic. From its humble beginning on the PlayStation3 to it’s grand finale on the PS4, every game is a must play. Each focusses on a different aspect for a refreshing experience every time. All of this culminates in the perfect send off of one of gaming’s greatest adventurers.