ThisGenGaming’s Uncharted Week continues with our top 5 moments in the series.
The immense talent of the team over at Naughty Dog started the creation of one of the biggest well-known franchises in gaming in 2007 with the release of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, which quickly became one of PS3’s earlier ‘must-have’ games. However, like many entries in a franchise, the first entry in Uncharted had a fair bit of room for improvement but thankfully Uncharted 2: Among Thieves really grabbed the attention of the whole industry as the sequel was significantly improved over the original in almost all categories, and was considered by many in the industry to be 2009’s Game of the Year.
The third mainline entry came in 2011 and was unsurprisingly the biggest hit yet for the series (commerically) and many wondered if that’s where Naughty Dog would end Nathan Drake’s story. However, in 2013 at the PS4’s reveal, Naughty Dog and Sony revealed there would in fact be one more, final entry to Nathan Drake’s story. And with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End now set to release this April (Yes, we can’t wait either) there’s really no better time than now to pay homage to our top 5 moments in the series that embody the success and popularity of the Uncharted series and that have helped to make it one of the best action-adventure experiences in all of gaming.
5. Plane Crash
One of the scenes truly representative of the cinematic action set pieces of Uncharted is the plane crash scene in Uncharted 3. The scene probably takes a cue from the 1987 James Bond film The Living Daylights but in true Uncharted nature, the action is cranked up to the max. Drake has to dispatch of a series of goons thousands of feet above the Rub ‘al Khali desert and at the same time snag an unconventional parachute as the plane begins exploding mid-flight. Unfortunately, unlike the plane scene in Fast and Furious 6, this scene was over far too quick for my liking. In all fairness to logic, it can’t take too long before a plane being blasted by that many bullets must crash but it’s a scene that I wish was longer just to savour this great moment even more but if you want a 5 minute scene that encapuslates the soul of the Uncharted series then this scene does just that.
4. Horeback Riding
The horseback chase in Uncharted 3 is one of the moments that stands out as one of the most memorable in the series, and you will understand why if you’ve played through this scene. Similar to the ‘plane crash’ scene in Uncharted 3 that took cues from the 1978 James Bond film, it’s clear that this horseback scene takes cues from Indiana Jones’ Raiders of the Lost Ark like Indy’s pursuit of the Nazis in the Ark of the Covenant but that’s received the Uncharted amped up treatment. The sensational visual design of this scene alone is enough to secure its place in my top 5 moments in the Uncharted series. The amalgamation of everything in this sequence from the visuals, the sound design and the action just comes together to make one of my favourite moments in any game series ever. Unless we’re counting Uncharted 4, I haven’t seen visuals of this fidelity in the Uncharted series before and it truly is an amazing scene.
3. Nepalese Village Tank Pursuit
One of the most significant areas that Uncharted 2 improved over its predecessor was the dynamic setpieces. Fittingly, the chapter is titled “Cat and Mouse” and rightly so, since this tank will cut you to pieces if you expose yourself to it for even a second or two. This is definitely one of the most difficult missions that I’ve played in the Uncharted series but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most intense sequences I’ve ever experienced in gaming. True to Drake’s witty one-liners, we hear lines like “how am I supposed to take out a tank?!” which echoes the exact same thing that was running through my head the first time I played through this sequence. It feels like one long boss battle but the satisfaction you get when the last RPG finally destroys the tank is such a victorious feeling that it’d feel wrong not to include this in the top 5 moments of the Uncharted series.
2. The Train
Widely considered the best moment ever in the Uncharted series and a fan-favourite on 99% of lists and rightly so. This train sequence is arguably one of the best sequences in the gaming industry as a whole. It’s an intense sequence from the gameplay and the near-death experience that makes this a stand-out moment in the series. In order to make this sequence, Naughty Dog even had to create their own technology. Naughty Dog’s Co-Lead Designer, Richard Lemarchand, says:
“We really wanted to create … a fully-playable version of a big summer blockbuster action/adventure movie which kept the player in moment-to-moment control … as drama exploded around them,” says Lemarchand.
In order to realize this dream, Naugty Dog had to pursue one of what he considers the most important, and never-before-achieved design elements: fully traversable set-pieces.
Naugty Dog calls the result their “Dynamic Object Traversal System,” and it’s what makes it possible to conduct a running gunfight across the top of a moving train, for example, or duck and roll through an open window while the hotel you’re standing inside of comes crashing down around you – both levels that Naughty Dog dreamed up very early in the game’s production cycle, and what Lemarchand calls “a handful of ideas that [were] simply too good to not include in the game.” Lemarchand warns developers who might be inclined to follow in Naughty Dog’s footsteps that such levels are “amazingly complicated.”
If you play through Uncharted 2 just to get to experience this moment… it’s worth it.
1. The Collapsing Building
One of many memorable setpieces in Uncharted 2, you find yourself not only having to battle a bunch of thugs but you’ll also have to deal with a helicopter taking shots at you. To top it off, you also find yourself on the other side of a collapsing building. Taking out a bunch of thugs is something that takes place in Uncharted and helicopters show up often enough but instead of firing rockets at you, this one attempts to take you and the building down. The floor shifts violently and you find yourself sliding helplessly as the entire structure begins toppling to the ground. Typically, we’re also treated to another one of Drake’s witty one liners “we were almost in that” and that just rounds off one of the best setpieces, if not the best, I’ve ever played in an action game. This scene is a genuinely ‘holy shit’ moment and you need to experience it.
There you have it, our top 5 moments from the Uncharted series. How many do you agree with? Did I miss one of your favourite scenes? Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below.