Is Uncharted the greatest game series of all time? Well, across four games, we have seen great writing, memorable characters, jaw-dropping set pieces and the occasional laughs. It is a series that set itself apart from everything else with its story-telling and beauty.
With all that being said, with Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, a standalone expansion for Uncharted 4, being released in a few days, we thought we would revisit our favourite moments from each of the preceding console games.
UNCHARTED: DRAKE’S FORTUNE.
Drake’s Fortune was the game that started the revolution. However, to suggest it was as good a game as its predecessors would be looking back on it with the rosiest of rose tinted glasses. While it introduced us to the loveable characters we know today and gave us a glimpse of the true graphical power of the PS3, the gameplay left a lot to be desired–no Uncharted game has ever gone back to the jet skis, thank the Lord.
Drake’s Fortune did have a bevvy memorable moments, but none more so than the “submarine”. Having spent the last hour in a more enclosed jungle and a claustrophobic tomb, exciting to watch as the landscape widens to show a beached German U-Boat perched on a waterfall was quite something. From this vista, it was clear Uncharted was not the game we thought it would be.
Working his through the sub, only to discover more than he bargained for, and setting a torpedo timer, Nate emerges to even more intrigue. The whole section culminates with an introduction to the main antagonists, Gabriel Roman and Atoq Navarro, before Sully is killed. The torpedo then explodes, and Nate is forced flee the scene.
It’s an incredible moment, not just for the imagery and the beauty, but also for the sadness of losing a friend and the shift in the momentum of the game. Suddenly, more was at stake than El Dorado.
UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES
The best start to a game ever. It’s that simple.
When you start a game, you expect to be eased in. In fact, these days we expect the start of all big games to be a boring plod until you are let off the leash to go mad. In Uncharted 2, that particular chapter of the rule book must have been missing–or they burned it in some sort of ceremony.
Starting the game with the loveable main character sitting in a train that just happens to be hanging vertically off a cliff is something to behold. Add to that, the player has no idea what’s going on, and Nate seems to have a stomach wound that clearly needs attention, and you have a high octane start to a game.
Making his way around and having to climb the train was exhilarating. The sense of panic and confusion as Nate can feel the train shifting underneath him is almost paralysing for us. The section really does a good job of transporting you into Nathan Drake’s shoes (for better or worse). Oh, and this time there was snow rather than water to marvel at.
As he makes the final leap onto terra firma, and the train falls away into the abyss below, we immediately catch your breath and then want to know what happened, only for the game to transport us to the very beginning. It’s the perfect start to what many people believe, is the best game in the series.
UNCHARTED 3: DRAKE’S DECEPTION
When we first played the “nautical” portion of Drake’s Deception, we found it boring. We also felt it was, somehow, tacked on to the original game, a sort of artificial extender for an already long game.
However, we have come to not only change our minds but do a total 180, believing it to be the best chapters of Drake’s Deception. Being captured by a pirate, who claims to have also captured Sully, we really feel Nate’s desperation to find his great comrade. Moving through the ships graveyard really sets the mood–for all we know Sully could already be dead–and the tantalising glimpse of the cruise ship destination ploughs us forward.
Eventually, Nate finds his way to the cruise ship, and three games in, we know where this is going. The ship ends up capsizing and flooding, and Nate has to scramble to survive. It is an excellent set-piece that throws our semblance of whats up and down way off. Doors are ledges to hang onto, and windows are floors. It gives us nausea just thinking about it. The platforming is clever, and by this point in the series, near perfect, and the pacing makes us really feel exhausted once we finally make our escape from our sinking coffin.
UNCHARTED 4: A THEIF’S END
It’s in the title. This is the last game starring the charming Nathan Drake, and the whole feel of it is that of borrowed time. Nate is noticeably older and, realistically, as he mentions throughout the game, too old for this sort of thing. The game does an excellent job of propelling you to a finality, even if that meant death.
The spectre of the death of a main character surrounds the game, and as we venture deeper, that spectre becomes bigger and more visible. While not the most impressive set-piece, the Elena “death” troll is a standout moment.
Outrunning explosions, the adventuring couple takes a rather large tumble. While Nate is OK, and even finds time for a quip, Elena is motionless. Nate, with panic spreading through his voice, attempts to see if Elena is OK, and for that split second, it seems the grim reaper has taken Elena. However, with a giggle and a joke, Elena proves she is totally fine. Thus causing every player to skip a couple of heartbeats.
It’s a really impactful moment considering the tone of the game, and, not unsurprisingly, extremely well acted by both Nolan North and Emily Rose. Sometimes it’s the smaller moments in big games that are the most memorable.