It’s over. The final shot has been fired, the last treasure unearthed, one more joke cracked, the credits have rolled and I’ve just bid farewell to Nathan Drake and the Uncharted series. I knew as I was playing through this amazing final game in the series that I’ve loved for so many years that I needed to write something for Mega Dads about it. I had ideas of a series retrospective, maybe our first ever review, but as I shut off my PS4 last night it hit me that I wanted to shine a light on what made Uncharted special to me. That is Nathan Drake himself.
When I think of my all-time favorite games like Final Fantasy VI, Silent Hill 2 or Life is Strange, I think of the characters. Games like these make you forget that you’re playing because they speak to you through their characters. These are the ones that make you care and they stay with you forever.
The Uncharted series has always been of the highest pedigree when it comes to its characters. Whether we hate the six axis grenade throwing of Uncharted one, or groan at the supernatural twists some of the games stories had along the way, we always wanted to follow Nate wherever his journey took him because he is the greatest video game character of all time. Save your hate mail. I’ll explain why.
Other characters may have more complicated back stories, fantastic powers, or cool design, but Drake is human. He truly is, and that is an amazing feat. I’ve never believed in a game character more. His nervous quips, his flawed motivations, his struggle to stay true and in the end his desire to do right by his life make him more endearing and real than any character I’ve ever controlled. Even when I’m leaping through the air at impossible heights and escaping explosions by the skin of my teeth time and again, Drake has always kept me firmly footed in reality because he’s just like the rest of us.
As I played Uncharted 4 I felt like I was visiting one of my friends for the last time. It was a mix of sadness and also extreme happiness because Drake and I have had some of the best times together. While all the gun fights and explosions were thrilling in the moment, it always was about a more personal journey, and that’s why Uncharted 4 is the perfect ending.
Naughty Dog really hit the bullseye with this game by making Drake’s final journey all about finding the real riches of life. As Drake talks about what things in life are worth chasing and what is worth letting go of we reflect on our own lives and how as we get older we come to understand the importance of shedding our skin in order to grow into someone better. It’s a powerful message to come from a game character, but Drake is human after all.
So as I close I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to the people at Naughty Dog and Nolan North for giving me this friendship that I’ve appreciated so much for the last 10 years. I’m sad to see you go, but it was a hell of an adventure that we had together. Thanks for the memories.