Take a Journey Back to This Widely-Celebrated Series
Over the past 40 years, there have been tons of video game franchises. Whether it be because of the fun gameplay, amazing graphics, memorable characters, etc, gamers keep coming back. One franchise that has excelled at this is the Uncharted series. The series has been praised for being fun adventure games with an engaging story. Many say the games almost feel like interactive movies, with some even saying that they are better movies than the actual Uncharted (2022) film. With all that in mind, here is a ranking of all five canon games.
5. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (2007)
The one that started it all, this game follows Nathan “Nate” Drake (Nolan North), Elena Fisher (Emily Rose), and Victor Sullivian aka Sully (Richard McGonagle) as they work together to find El Dorado based on the notes left by Nate’s “ancestor,” Sir Francis Drake. This game has everything that would make these iconic: an engaging story with likable characters, a fun combat system, supernatural enemies that are a pain to deal with, debatably easy puzzles, and climbing. Lots and lots of climbing. While this game overall is fun to play and holds nostalgic memories for most fans, Drake’s Fortune isn’t all that great.
It’s clear that NaughtyDog, the game’s developer, was still trying to figure things out with this game, since there is sort of a clunky feeling to it. The controls feel a little stiff, and the graphics, while okay for the time, have aged quite a bit. The camera can be a little annoying, mainly when having to perform platform jumps, and the writing for the characters is decent but a little cheesy. Now, this game isn’t bad. As mentioned before, it’s a fun time overall. It’s just that everything taken from this game will get vastly improved upon in the sequels, so much so that many people forget what the original game was like. The story is easily the best aspect since, while the writing is a little cheesy, it still has players heavily invested and wanting to know more. In the end, this is an enjoyable adventure from beginning to end that will surely get gamers hooked on this series.
4. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (2017)
A spin-off of the original series as well as being the first and only Uncharted game not to have Nathan Drake, this game follows Chole Frazer (Claudia Black) and Nadine Ross (Laura Bailey) as the two team up to stop a warlord from obtaining the Tusk of Ganesh. One of the best parts of this game is how it expands on two side characters from the previous games. Players were so used to following Nathan Drake, and yet the side characters were just as, if not more, fun. It is nice to see more development with each of them, although the game gives more focus to Chole, especially since she is the character gamers play as. Still, Nadine gets her fair share of moments and serves as a great AI against enemies. One thing the Uncharted series gets right is having helpful AI companies which, for an action-shooter, is impressive.
The graphics are easily the best of the series. Just all-around beautiful. The gameplay is just as addicting as ever. Treasure hunting is a little grinding but rewarding. The story is a little weak, but it makes up for it with its characters. One main issue is how short it is compared to the rest of the series. The campaign is just 7 hours long. The game kinda feels like an “in one ear out the other” type of game, but for a short game, it’s still quite enjoyable. Also, it doesn’t cost too much either, so that’s good. Ultimately The Lost Legacy is a nice epilogue to the series that still has the charm of the other games.
3. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (2016)
The final game in the main series and the first one on the PlayStation 4, this game follows Nate, who has now since retired from treasure hunting and is enjoying married life with Elena. That is, until his long-lost brother, Sam (Troy Baker) shows up and asks to help him to find a treasure they’ve been after since they were children. This game gets some flack with the amount of dialogue, as there are so many instances of characters just having conversations even during gameplay. The thing is, these games have always focused heavily on their story and characters, so seeing this one giving more time for the characters to interact and flesh out isn’t a huge issue, especially for this being the last of the main series. It’s not the most nuanced or deep, but there’s more intrigue to Nate, Elena, Sully, and Sam than many characters in movies or shows. Nadine makes her debut here as an antagonist that players get to fight at one point.
The graphics in this game are visually stunning. This game was the first to have a more open world that players can get lost in, with jaw-dropping detail in the landscapes. The gameplay introduces some new features, such as Nate having the ability to throw a hook on walls, leading him to swing across areas, and drive vehicles, which are also present in Lost Legacy, dialogue options, and mini boss fight brawls. The hook is very useful in climbing parts and does lead to some fun moments, such as a chase scene on a bridge. The driving is alright but not perfect. The dialogue options have no impact on the overall story and could have been taken out. The mini boss fights are kinda weak. Final battles with the main antagonist have unfortunately been a bit of a mixed bag in this series, ranging from good to cheap, but this game’s mini boss battles feel very staged. Obviously, with this game being linear, characters aren’t going to die unless they are supposed to at that particular time, but even then there’s just something off about it. When all is said and done, A Thief’s End is a satisfying conclusion to Nathan Drake’s tremendous adventures that will leave fans smiling. Especially that one scene of Nate and Elena in the beginning that will have older PlayStation players grinning from ear to ear.
2. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (2011)
The last game to be on the PlayStation 3, this follows Nathan and Co. as they once again look at Sir Francis’ notes to this time search for the lost city of Iram. This game came out at the height of Uncharted’s popularity and thankfully, it delivers. The campaign is pretty cool, focusing this time on Nate’s relationship with Sully. There are even parts of the game where players see a young Nathan Drake and his early years as a treasure hunter… of sorts. This is quite possibly one of the most challenging games in the series. The enemies are more ruthless, the climbing has some nail-biting moments, including the infamous plane sequence that was recreated in the Uncharted movie, and the puzzles, while still not the most complex, are a little more head-scratching.
Drake’s Deception also introduces two new things involving grenades. One is an action where Nate can now throw grenades back at enemies, which comes in handy in tight situations where dozens of guys are firing at the player. The other is a character animation where, during a melee fight, Nate will pull a grenade pin on the enemy and kick them back before they explode, which never gets old. One slightly annoying part of the game is in the first part; Chloe and the new character Charlie Cutter (Graham McTavish) are two of the main supporting characters that help Nate try to find this city. But then at the halfway point, they leave and are never mentioned again. Lost Legacy is the next time fans see Chloe, and Charlie is only mentioned in the fourth game once after this. It’s not a huge problem, but it is unfortunate, as they are enjoyable to watch. Another thing about this game is that it has online multiplayer. Technically, the second game had some multiplayer, but it was only a few missions, whereas this game and the subsequent ones are more expanded, with team deathmatch and survival modes. The multiplayer is fine overall, so if fans want to experience that, it can lead to a fun time. All in all, Drake’s Deception is a well-made experience that builds upon what came before in an amazing fashion.
1. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009)
Set two years after Drake’s Fortune, this game has Nate teaming up with new friends and old as all set off after the Cintamani Stone and Shamblaha by using the notes of Marco Polo. If there was one game in the series that was the best representation of everything great about Uncharted, it would be Among Thieves. The puzzles have a nice variety to them. The gameplay is entertaining, with new mechanics being introduced, such as the ability to pick up riot shields and throw propane tanks that the player can shoot to explode. The climbing is the most intense, with one sequence on a train that will have both gamers and Nathan himself on the edge of their seats. The graphics, while still looking a little awkward, look a lot better than the first game.
The story and characters are just as lively as ever. Chole makes her first appearance in the series and leaves a memorable impact. It is very understandable as to why she became a recurring character. This game also has a love triangle between Nathan, Chole, and Elena that isn’t focused on a ton but is more pleasant to watch than a lot of romantic comedies. If there is one aspect of this game that can be frustrating is the supernatural enemies, known as the guardians. They are extremely difficult to fight. Imagine the Terminator but bigger and there are, like, four of them. Or at the least, that’s what it feels like. Drake’s Deception may be the most challenging, but this is overkill. In the end, Among Thieves is a fantastic game that tops the original in every way and is the perfect example of why this series will never be forgotten.
Players can buy all Uncharted games for either PlayStation 4 or 5 in the Nathan Drake Collection which has one, two, and three, as well as the Legacy of Thieves Collection which has four and Lost Legacy.
Uncharted 2 (2009) Official PlayStation E3 Trailer