Uncharted is a franchise that I hold dear to my heart. It’s one of those consistently amazing games that drops you in an interesting world with equally as interesting characters. Each character is unique and, I think most importantly, fun. Uncharted satisfies something inside of me that has an innate love for swashbuckling adventures, for the charismatic hero who comes in, finds the treasure, gets the girl, and drives off into the sunset. There’s a beautiful simplicity to it that a lot of games and movies just don’t have anymore because it’s so simple. Most games want to straddle the line between a characters morality and their deep flaws to establish some study on the world, the situation, the characters, or broader themes on humanity and mortality. Now, I’m not saying that any part of what I just said makes for bad games. In fact, it makes for fantastic games. Three years ago Naughty Dog gifted us with The Last of Us, which by many is considered one of the best games of the previous generation of consoles and is held in high esteem among the pantheon of some of the greatest games of all time. The Last of Us is bleak and dark and scary at times. It’s a harrowing tale tackling concepts like the flimsiness of human morality, that the loose constructs of law and order and humility may be the only defining lines between us and the savages. There’s a real beauty there.
Uncharted isn’t really interested in all of that and that’s a breath of fresh air. At times I’ll want to watch The Road but that doesn’t mean I only want to watch The Road, it’s too god damned depressing for me to keep watching on repeat. Sometimes I’ll just want to sit back and watch Raiders of the Lost Ark. Nothing too depressing there. A lot of fun, not too deep, but just deep enough to keep you fully invested throughout. Something like The Road and The Last of Us are fantastic pieces of art that tackle grandiose concepts… but none of that is fun. There’s nothing inherently fun in traveling the ruins of society and witnessing death and decay the costs of that. There is inherent fun in going to find a treasure. Whatever treasure that may be is, all in all, irrelevant. I just need something to get me going and the Uncharted games have always been great at that. Nathan Drake is one of the greatest video game characters of all time, at least in my opinion. And, his colorful cast of companions are equally as witty and exciting to follow.
Uncharted 1, 2, and 3 all provided you with a final goal, great writing, and some above average shooting to mow down all the bad guys and it’s fun. Simple? Absolutely. Fun? Indubitably. And yes, Nathan Drake is for, all intents and purposes, a stone cold murderer but so is Indiana Jones and John McClaine. They’re action movie characters, they’re going to shoot their way through scores of baddies and bustin’ goofy one liners the whole way through. Uncharted harkons back to a simpler time, a time that gives me heaps of nostalgia because dumb 80s and 90s action movies are my passion. Uncharted scratches that itch and I love it for it.
Uncharted 4 is similar, in style, than the last 3 games but there’s something different. It’s like watching those 80s and 90s action movies and seeing a sequel that has noticeably matured the characters and the story, while raising the stakes. I don’t want to say a lot about Uncharted 4 because I really believe you should just play it. I honestly believe that Uncharted 4 is one of the greatest games I have ever played and is a fitting conclusion to a series that I treasure.