In 2007, Naughty Dog created UNCHARTED: DRAKE’S FORTUNE, an Indiana Jones-like adventure across the world that put players in the role of Nathan Drake. It was a critical and commercial success and spawned one of the most beloved game franchises ever. But why, almost ten years later, do people still care about it? Even popular franchises like FALLOUT or the ARKHAM series have seen fans and critics alike start to long for older entries, claiming that the latest installments have lost what once made them so great.

Naughty Dog, however, has found away to make each game bigger and better than the last, and if critical reception to UNCHARTED 4: A THIEF’S END is to be trusted, they’ve topped themselves once again. Here’s why the UNCHARTED games are still great after so many years.

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  1. Evolving characters and bringing in the new crew – Naughty Dog has always had a knack for characters, and their talent shines through in these games. From the very beginning, players fell in love with the extremely funny and flawed Nathan Drake. He was cool, he was hilarious, and he was totally relatable. He’s scared, he makes jokes, and he makes a lot of mistakes. Beyond that, the game boasts an impressive cast of supporting characters. Sully and Elena were great from the beginning; they were funny and helped Nate in his quest without being annoying or burdensome like a lot of video game allies are. However, the games never solely relied on them. Each entry of the game has brought in awesome new friends and foes for Drake. Whereas some franchises tell new stories with the same characters, UNCHARTED grew its cast with each installment. AMONG THIEVES introduced the amazing Chloe and the sinister Flynn, both of which stole the scenes in many ways. DRAKE’S DECEPTION brought in Charlie Cutter and now, A THIEF’S END is introducing Nate’s long lost brother to help complete its story. It’s refreshing to know that a game will grow, and that the cast continues to expand into such a massive world. uncharted, train, nathan drake, uncharted 4, naughty dog
  2. Bigger and better set pieces – One thing that sets the UNCHARTED games apart from other first person action adventure games is the feeling that players get when the enter the world and discover the next big place to explore. From the very beginning, the game boasted “set pieces” on the same level as a movie. A film builds a set to house a scene. In a similar vein, a game builds a set to house either an epic action sequence, grueling gunfight, or creative puzzle. Naughty Dog kicked off the second game with a brilliant train sequence, and somehow topped it (or came close to) in UNCHARTED 3 with a massive airplane & desert sequence. There’s no telling what UNCHARTED 4 has in store for fans, but it’s a safe bet to say that it’s something incredible.
  3. Improving mechanics – As any video game sequel should, the UNCHARTED games continually improved on what is arguably the most important aspect: the gameplay. The original game had clunky gunplay, awkward climbing mechanics and felt like it was on-rails at times when it guided players through climbing sequences. It continued to improve with each game until UNCHARTED 3 had some of the most fun and challenging gameplay in the industry. NAUGHTY DOG took a giant leap forward in its mixture of open world/linear gameplay with THE LAST OF US. It looks as if UNCHARTED 4 will somehow find an incredible balance between the two franchises and continue to up its game with creative puzzles, smooth gunplay, a bigger and more open world with tons of new ways to explore.
  4. The stellar cinematic feel – As the music builds and Nathan Drake runs for his life from the crumbling ruins of a long-lost temple, it’s hard not to pause the game, sit down your controller and say “wow.” The cinematic feel to the UNCHARTED series is found nowhere else in gaming. From the beginning, through clunky mechanics and buggy enemies, its what kept players hooked. Now, gamers feel like nothing less than the action superstar that is Nathan Drake. From the sweeping score from Greg Edmonson, to the lush landscapes and to the small, emotional character moments, there’s not a game quite like UNCHARTED. uncharted 3, drake's deception, elena, nathan drake, naughty dog
  5. Naughty Dog’s commitment to the fans – The developers behind this series never settle. There are many games that only seem to update their graphics and add some new toys (like FALLOUT), or just recycle old material (like CALL OF DUTY) when making a new title. UNCHARTED isn’t like that. Each game is bigger, cleaner, and sharper than the last. There’s no pesky DLC model that leaves less-fortunate players feeling left out. There’s no holding back on content to sell later or crazy and unnecessary pre-order bonuses. There is only the game and the player, two things that go hand-in-hand and clearly, Naughty Dog realizes that. They have a constant social media presence, are grateful to their fans, and aren’t afraid to delay their release date to ensure that they are putting out the best possible product. In a world when so many games get shipped with broken mechanics and game-ending bugs, this is, sadly, a rare quality a developer can have.

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UNCHARTED 4 releases on May 11th on PS4. Let us know your thoughts on it in the comments below and tell us which UNCHARTED game was your favorite!

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