There’s a lot of excitement going on at the moment around the recent release of Naughty Dog’s Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, along with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End coming along in 2016. Rather than just reviewing Nate’s adventures and how his new releases look, we decided to see how our favorite adventure hero shapes up next to our favorite adventure heroine, Lara Croft, as she also sets out again in the new game, Rise of the Tomb Raider later this year. It’s one of the industry’s biggest rivalries as we pit Naughty Dog against Square Enix, and, of course, PlayStation against Xbox.
Firstly, we have Nathan Drake, the face of Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series. As far as adventure-bound protagonists go, Drake is the epitome of what we would expect. With a manly and rugged image, a backstory that makes your heart bleed (five year old orphan raised by nuns after his mother committed suicide leaving him simply known by the name “Nate”) and a mission that all started with him trying to reclaim an object belonging to his family name, our hero appears to be ready for anything. Having delved in mysteries involving demonic spirits, amulets and other stereotypical adventure-related expeditions, Nate appears unafraid and this gives us, as gamers, a vision that when it comes to new Uncharted games, the potential plots and missions are endless.
Next we have Lara Croft. Despite the fact that she plays a very similar role to Drake, she does it very differently. Initially, with her edgy, pixelated appearances, Ms. Croft won much attention through her never-say-die attitude, tough character and that trademark British accent and she is now an iconic character recognized around the world by millions. Her backstory is very different from Drake’s, beginning life raised in London, UK by a wealthy family and attending a posh boarding school. Lara survived a plane crash leaving her in the Himalayas, where her taste for adventure began. Her light blue vest top paired with the brown short and boots image is world-famous and Lara’s a dab hand at pretty much anything when it comes to weapons and flexibility. This girl has climbed the Sphinx. Twice.
There are currently five Uncharted games available for purchase ranging from the standard PlayStation games that began in 2007, to the PS Vita’s own Golden Abyss and the brand new Nathan Drake Collection until the fourth installment arrives next year. Each of these games pay close attention to story-line with thorough intent on keeping gamers on the edge of their seats. Gameplay is gripping, exciting, strategic and occasionally even frightening in places. Interestingly, Naughty Dog have kept the Uncharted series a PlayStation exclusive and dare we say we imagine it will definitely have helped to secure more customers for Sony. Unless the only game in the series you want to play is the Uncharted: Fight for Fortune card game, you’ll definitely need to grab yourself a PlayStation.
Tomb Raider graced our TV sets much earlier back in 1996 as an Eidos Interactive release before their acquisition by Square Enix. In what’s regarded as the ‘original’ series, there were also five games, until it attempted a modern twist and slightly redesigned Lara, along with a playable male sidekick, Kurtis, with The Angel of Darkness in 2003. After gamers retorted with negative reviews, developers got their thinking caps on and revealed another generation of Tomb Raider in 2006, Legend. Legend received moderate success along with Anniversary (a remake of the 1996 Tomb Raider) and Underworld and the three games even ended up being released as a trilogy collection. Then, in 2013 came the Tomb Raider we know now. The newest generation revealed Lara Croft as a much more ‘human’ character with gameplay not too far away from that of Uncharted. This series has been received very well so far, appealing to classic Tomb Raider fans as well as attracting many new ones, resulting in spin-offs being made including Relic Run available on mobile devices.
The plots behind both games are very different, yet have the same level of intrigue and mystery that keeps both audiences interested. Tomb Raider has had its original plot slightly expanded, with the plane crash into the Himalayas now including Lara’s mother, Amelia Croft. While each game has its own side plot, the main gist is that while Lara started off as a bit of a nobody; searching for the three pieces of the Scion and managing to defeat the world famous Jacqueline Natla (who makes several comebacks as a repeat antagonist for Ms. Croft). Lara becomes well known for her skills as an adventurer and this becomes her profession. In the newer series, we see Lara as part of a crew, forming bonds with people who work with her, rather than the ‘lone wolf’ we often saw in previous titles.
The stories behind Uncharted don’t particularly link, although the relationships formed by the people that Nate encounters do subtly develop, which is quite humbling to the player. Through the first game, Drake is unintentionally brought into an adventure involving a golden statue and his interactions with other people are frequent, including characters such as Elena and Sully. These characters return in the games that follow and almost play more relevance to the plot than the missions you complete as Drake. While we initially see hints of romance for our protagonist in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, with Chloe, yet a love triangle blossomed to include Elena. His alleged relative, Sir. Francis Drake, is another name often brought up in the franchise, even extending to the Uncharted motion comics, that take its plot and character bonding even further.
Who’s The Best?
So, there we have it. Ms. Lara Croft: An upper-class young woman, feeding her appetite for adventure since 1996, who you most certainly do not want to mess with. She might be the very definition of ‘independent woman’ and maybe it’s the British dry wit but she will rarely display emotion as she tears into a wolf’s fur or shoots a T-Rex in the head. Or we have the young orphan, Nate, who discovered himself from a young age, found his feet, and headed for an answer to his family name. He’ll let you in on a little more of his personal life, his feelings, and his thoughts, but will he convince you to buy Uncharted 4 or are you leaning more towards his rival? We’ll have to wait until 2016 to see who comes top.
Many people that have played only one of the franchises often find themselves hearing “you’ll love it, it’s just like Uncharted/Tomb Raider” when being recommended the other. While the games truly are very different with unique features, they both have the ideal combination of strategy, action, logic, and character that keeps us as gamers engaged and coming back for more. You could say they are two of the most competitive titles on the market – but maybe they actually just compliment each other perfectly.
So who is your favorite adventurer? Or do prefer them as a dynamic duo of sorts? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.
This post was originally written by Claire Pulpher.