Welcome Back (Uncharted 4’s Prologue and Chapters 1-2)
Uncharted 4’s tale begins with the Prologue, as most masterpiece novels do. The player takes control of a boat driven by the Nathan Drake and we’re joined by his brother, Sam. A crazy storm is happening all around them and it’s quickly clear that they’re being chased by a ton of other boats. Finally, at the end of the chase, a crash sends Nathan Drake plummeting into the sea and we’re taken to a flashback. He’s a kid now and is being scolded by one of the nuns at the orphanage. Nate got into a bit of trouble when he got into a fight with some bullies, but they’re not really seeing his side. After the nun walks out, Drake notices his brother trying to get his attention with a flashlight from outside on the rooftops. He sneaks out of the orphanage to meet up with Sam who says he has a surprise for him and couldn’t wait until Christmas. Once they parkour through the rooftops to make it to Sam’s new motorcycle, Nate guesses correctly that his brother’s only doing this because he’s making up for something– the fact that he’s going to have to go away for a year on a job. The gift ends up being that Sam managed to track down their mother’s stuff.
Flash forward years later and Nathan Drake is in a fist fight in a Panamanian prison. Officers break up this fight and one Vargas takes him to solitary confinement. Some time afterwards, he takes Nate back out and sneaks him to the back of the prison through the sewers. Once outside, Nate points out that the old, rundown tower in view is what he’s been looking for. It turns out Nate and Vargas had a deal, but Vargas now wants a cut of whatever Nate is trying to find in there. Nate calms him down and says that if there’s anything in there, he can take it up with “Rafe.” This eases Vargas and Nate begins to make his ascent up the tower.
Turns out the tower was the cell of an old pirate, Henry Avery, and he finds a sculpture of St. Dismas in there. Once he makes his way back to Vargas, he lies and says nothing was there. Vargas handcuffs him and takes him back to the prison’s yard. Nate meets up with Sam and “Rafe” who are both also playing prisoners and explains that Vargas wants a cut, as well as what he found. However, this cross is hollowed out and contained nothing inside, so it must not be the original. In order to speak privately about this, they try to go to an isolated part of the prison only to get jumped by prisoners. A fight ensues and once it’s broken up by Vargas, he finds out that he was lied to by Nate because he confiscates the cross. Taking them back to his office, he tries to negotiate a cut of whatever they find, but our lovely Rafe isn’t having any of that and shanks him unexpectedly. They have to high-tail it out of the prison and make a break for it. Running through the prison all the way to their getaway car, Nate reaches out to Sam so that his brother can make a large jump. Nate grabs him, but unfortunately an assault rifles shoots right through Sam. He lets out a clot of blood and falls below. Nate, in an absolute panic, is told by Rafe that they need to leave now and there’s no hope for Sam.
In a daze, Nate makes it to the getaway and escapes the prison.
Nate’s New Life (Uncharted 4’s Chapters 3-5)
Flash forward 15 years, and it turns out ol’ Nate is working for a salvaging company, plundering city rivers for less extravagant treasures. After his scuba diving, his new boss, Jameson, approaches him with plundering job in Malaysia job. They don’t have the legal permits to do so, and Nate is determined to live a danger-free life, so he refuses. He’s left his fast lane lifestyle behind him, and is settled down with Elena.
Later at home, Nate and Elena talk about work over dinner, and it’s clear Drake is distracted as he stares off into a tropical paradise painting instead of listening to his wife. Elena, now working as a low-key journalist, seems unfulfilled as well, turning her “fluff” piece assignments into more hard-hitting global stories against her editor’s wishes.
Elena asks if Nathan is happy, and he says yes. She brings up the “Malaysia job” and how it might be a good idea for him to go, to get himself out of this banal rut. She says it’s not that dangerous, and that she doesn’t want to be the reason he avoids it. He still refuses, though. Oh, and then Nate plays some Crash Bandicoot, in the best Uncharted 4 easter egg by far. The scene ends with them kissing, everything seemingly okay.
The next day, Nate works late, filling out paperwork at the salvaging company’s office. There’s a knock at the door, and it’s Sam. Nathan is shocked to see him, previously convinced that his brother died back at the Panamanian prison. Sam says he was patched up and thrown right back into prison, blamed for the death of Vargas. He tells Nathan the story of his escape, how he befriended the dangerous drug lord (and his cellmate) Hector Alcazar and told him stories of Avery’s treasure. Alcazar stages a prison break, freeing himself and Sam. Quickly after their getaway, Alcazar turns on Sam, violently persuading him to find Avery’s treasure and bring him back a cut. Alcazar gives Sam a three-month time limit, along with the promise of harsh consequences should he fail.
Nate fills his brother in on his past adventures and invites him to dinner to meet Elena, but Sam says he needs his help finding Avery’s treasure, or Alcazar will have him dead. Nate assures him that he and Rafe spent years looking for Avery’s treasure after the Panamanian prison, scouring St. Dismas’ cathedral in Scotland to no avail. Sam disagrees, believing the treasure was never at that cathedral. He’s found a new lead – a black market auction in Italy for another St. Dismas cross, one that hadn’t been hollowed out. Nathan is hesitant at first, tells Sam to call others for help, but there’s no one Sam trusts with his life like his brother. At this moment, Nathan gets a call from Elena. He answers, and tells her he’s decided to take that Malaysian Job.
Cut to Sam and Nate in Italy, wearing jumpsuits over fancy tuxedos. They’re pulling a bit of a heist now.
Stealing the Cross (Uncharted 4’s Chapters 6-7)
The brothers overlook the elaborate mansion hosting the auction, catering to the wealthiest and most corrupt people in the world. They’re waiting for a signal from Nathan’s best friend, Sully, who was to enter the party (being a corrupt business man himself) and open a window for them on the upper floor. Sam questions Sully’s loyalty, and becomes jealous when Nate calls Sully family. Sam’s doubts are proven wrong when they receive Sully’s signal from within a random room. They parkour their way over there, remove their jumpsuits, hop inside, and Nate is reunited with his one true love, Sully.
After blending into the party, they learn the cross has been moved up in the auction rotation, so it’s out of storage and already on the showfloor, not what the team had anticipated. Plan B: they decide to knock out the power and make the swipe, but they have to be quick. Nate pickpockets a waiter’s keycard and he and Sam make their way through the back rooms and onto the balconies of the mansion.
Sam will be the one grabbing the cross from the auction’s showfloor, so he knocks out a waiter for his uniform. Nate is left alone to find the lighting’s breakers. Meanwhile, Sully encounters an old acquaintance, Nadine, and her new partner, the one and only Rafe. Turns out those two are working together and want the St. Dismas cross. Rafe instantly recognizes that Sully is after it, as well, and threatens him should he try to bid on it. Once they walk away, Sully warns Nate and Sam of their presence and Nadine’s backstory as the owner of Shoreline, a private army-for-hire.
Back to Nate! He’s making his way through vents and the layout of the mansion. He reaches the maintenance room housing the circuit breakers just as the auction for the cross begins, but the door to the breakers is locked. He pushes Sully to buy more time, and a reluctant Sully begins a bidding war with an increasingly furious Rafe. The oh-so-likeable Rafe puts an end to the bidding with a sky-high €500,000 bid, but Nate pulls the lights just in time. Sam swipes the cross, and they all high-tail it out of there across gunfire-filled rooftops. Rafe and Nadine are, understandably, pissed. Nadine even comes to blows with Drake inside the mansion, but he manages to escape.
Once they’ve gotten away from the madness of the heist, our team opens up the cross to find a map and letter pointing to Avery’s grave at St. Dismas’ cathedral in Scotland. Nate lies to Elena about his whereabouts again, and Sully is disappointed in this. When Drake walks outside to talk to her on the phone, Sully turns to Sam and notes that the reason he’s even there is because, “Someone’s got to look out for him.” Sully doesn’t approve of Sam bringing his brother back into this life, but Sam remarks that Nathan was born for the world of adventure.
Nonetheless, Sam, Nate and Sully make their way to Scotland.
Finding the Towers (Uncharted 4’s Chapters 8-11)
Nate and Sam make their way to Scotland, where Rafe, Nadine, and her mercenaries are blowing through the cathedral grounds with dynamite. Sully waits in the airplane while the brothers head to the cemetery, fighting through Shoreline thugs on their way. They soon locate Avery’s grave, which opens down into a crypt. Traveling through, they find a clue leading them to a cave closer to the cathedral. After more mountain scaling and thug-beating, they reach the cave and must pass a number of trials for “Those Who Prove Worthy.” They come across a series of deadly traps, more references to the penitent thief (Dismas), and signs of Thomas Tew, the Rhode Island Pirate. From the skeletons along the way, it’s clear that Henry Avery was recruiting and testing various pirates.
Having made their way to the underbelly of the cathedral, the two find themselves directly under Nadine and Rafe, who are arguing over Shoreline’s invasive search procedures. Nadine wants to continue with the dynamite and give up on the search if it doesn’t yield results soon. She even accuses Rafe of trying to draw out the Drakes because he needs them. It’s also clear there’s some sort of romantic entanglement between these two.
Moving on, Nate and Sam continue through the trails, reaching a large room with a scale holding a jeweled cross on one side and a handful of coins on the other. They realize the trial pertains greed and so they wisely pick up a single coin. This triggers a large light projection that reveals a map of Madagascar on the floor, specifically pointing to King’s Bay, an old pirate haven.
Except Nadine has been stalking them and heard everything. Her and her goons hold Nate and Sam up at gunpoint, but the brothers trick them into taking the jeweled cross from the scale, causing a sort of self-destruct system for the room. Nate and Sam make a break for it at this point, reaching Sully’s plane in the nick of time. They head for the King’s Bay volcano depicted on the coin they took, with Nate stopping to chat with Elena again along the way. His lies have made her suspicious, and she appears hurt and distraught at the end of the scene.
Cut to Nate, Sam, and Sully on a jeep in Madagascar. Twelve different towers surround the volcano, each one representing a famed pirate captain, presumably Avery’s recruits. In one of the largest towers, the trio finds a map of all twelve locations. They narrow their search down to two possible towers, their sigils closely resembling an image on the other side of the trials coin. Noticing traces of Rafe, they decide to split up to save time. Nate and Sully go to one tower, and Sam goes to the other.
Nate and Sully’s travel through a crowded market place towards their goal, a massive clock tower. They chat along the way, Nathan joking that after all this, he’ll get a dog and name it after Sully. They quickly realize their tower is the right one, and call Sam to let him know as Nate begins scaling the bells and solving puzzles. After the collapse of the entire bell structure, Nate and Sully head under the tower and meet a pirate sigil puzzle. Nate sends photos of the puzzle to Sam, who is much better versed in pirate history, for help. Solving the sigil puzzle leads them to a map revealing “Libertalia,” an island off the coast of Madagascar and home to the legendary pirate utopia.
Unfortunately, all this time, Rafe has been hacking into their phones and knows everything. He and Nadine send their henchmen to both towers to corner the two brothers. After a crazy escape trailing through town and countryside, Nate, Sam, and Sully meet up again at their motel. Upon walking inside, Nate sees Elena, and she is definitely not happy. Caught red-handed, Nate tries his best to explain, but his lies and a brother she never knew of are a bit too much for Elena, and she bolts out the door. Sully tries to get Nate to go after her, because, you know, she’s his wife, but he’s already too focused on finding the treasure and saving Sam. After snapping at Sully, Nate tells him to go after her, effectively straining two of his closest relationships.
Things are left a bit tense in that shitty motel room.
Island Paradise (Uncharted 4’s Chapters 12-15)
Cut to Nate and Sam rolling through a beautiful, pristine island paradise on a boat. They make their way to the main island that’s before them and assume it’s Libertalia. Unfortunately, there’s too little of anything man-made for that to actually be the case. Upon finding a giant statue of the very humble Henry Avery, Nate climbs it to see what the statue’s telescope is pointing towards. Peeking through it, they figure out where the true Libertalia is located, and they see their friends Nadine and Rafe have already got goons all over.
This is where the scene from the Prologue comes into play. The weather gets worse as a storm flies over and Nate and Sam are steering their boat ahead to the correct island. The goons have all taken notice, they’re shooting, they’re bashing into the boat, and we get to where the prologue leaves off. Nate awakens from that massive crash, marooned on the island, all banged up, and without his brother. He weakly makes his way forward, saddened at the loss of those closest to him.
He makes his way around the island and finally meets back up with Sam. Nate argues with his brother, telling him it’s too dangerous, that they should steal one of Nadine’s boats and leave the island while they can. Sam won’t walk away though, not when they’re so close.
They press on, despite being completely marooned on the island at this point. After some exploring, dealing with Nadine’s men or sneaking away (up to the player), they reach the true Libertalia, a secret utopia founded by Henry Avery, Thomas Tew, and 10 other pirate captains. A safe haven. A place where they can all be pirates, together. Yeah, turns out things weren’t so perfect in Libertalia.
Strewn about the land are hints that some big, civil war kind of shit went down. The founders had horded away the riches of Libertalia’s people, and the people struck back, overtaking the treasury. They find no treasure here, only destruction and “THIEF” painted across the founder portraits. On the ceiling, they see a map of the colony, discovering a founders city called New Devon (Devon being Avery’s hometown.) They figure this must be the location of the pirates’ treasure, and set off to find it.
Of course, this is the cue for Nadine and her “blow shit up first, ask questions later” crew to pop in and start destroying everything. After some evasions and explosions, Nate and Sam end up fist-fighting Nadine. She pretty much kicks both of their asses. Rafe joins the party and the 4 of them end up in a standoff, with Sam holding Nadine at gunpoint and threatening her life. To Nadine’s surprise, and anger, Rafe dismisses his threat. Sam ends up pulling the trigger, but Nathan hits his arm upward just in time to spare Nadine’s life.
In an attempt to negotiate their way out, Nathan lets slip that Sam in indebted to Alcazar. With a laugh, Rafe reveals that Alcazar has been dead for six months. In fact, Sam never had to break out of prison. Rafe bailed him and he simply walked out the front gates two years ago. Rafe enlisted his help to find Avery’s treasure, but Sam gathered up all the info, bailed, and went to find his brother. Nate furiously realizes that Sam’s life isn’t in danger at all, and that his ruined relationships were just for the sake of finding an old treasure.
Needless to say, shit goes down, and Rafe decides he’ll only need Sam to find Avery’s stash. He takes a shot at Nate, Sam jumps in the way to get shot in the arm, and Nate is bumped, causing him to take a very long and hard tumble off the building edge to the ground below. Luckily, Elena finds him.
Making Amends (Uncharted 4’s Chapters 16-19)
Time for a flashback! We head back to a young Nate and Sam looking to steal back their mother’s possessions. Their target is a huge mansion filled with historical artifacts, from a sarcophagus to ancient samurai armor. Sifting through the cluttered rooms, they discover the home belonged to a professor and his adventurous wife, Evelyn, a pair that traveled the world discovering the artifacts now in the home. It eventually becomes clear that Evelyn could not quit her adrenaline-filled lifestyle, causing her divorce, a falling out with her brother, and a painful distance between her and her son. It’s a sad story that mirrors adult Nate’s problems pretty accurately.
After Nate and Sam find their mother’s notes and journals, they learn she was studying Captain Avery’s rumored treasure and the possible existence of Sir Francis Drake’s descendants. They’re then held up at gunpoint by an old woman, who inhabits the house and has already called the cops. Sam tries to talk her down, shielding his little brother. He mentions that they’re just “there for their mother’s stuff,” and it dawns on the old woman. Her name is Evelyn. She worked with their mother, Cassandra Morgan, who just so happens to have been an amazing treasure hunter. Like kids like mother, huh? Anyway, the lady tells them of their mother’s brilliance, her horrible illness and eventual death, and how she never got a chance to finish her hunt for Avery’s secrets. The old woman offers the kids Cassandra’s notes, and then dies from a heart attack. This is Nate’s first close experience with death, and though distraught, Sam pushes him away. They need to make a break for it before the now-arrived police catch them.
Sam and Nate narrowly escape the mansion and once they’re in a safe spot, discuss how badass their mother was. Nate can’t go back to the orphanage and Sam can’t go back to his job. Thus, from that moment, they adopt the surname “Drake” and decide to follow in their mother’s footsteps.
End flashback! Turns out Nathan has been telling this story to Elena while she patches his busted ass up. He thanks her for saving him yet again, but she notes that she really almost didn’t come for him this time. It turns out Sully had brought her to the island and he’s got his trusty plane landed right outside. There’s palpable tension between the two, but they set off to save Sam, who’s being forced to help Rafe and Nadine find the treasure. As they travel, shoot bad guys and solve ancient puzzles, there is a lot of talking about their relationship. Elena makes it clear that leaving her out of the team is a no-no. Nathan definitely knows he messed up. He slowly apologizes over the course of their journey, and eventually the two admit that they’re pretty good at this adventuring stuff.
Their relationship aside, though, their hunt for Sam brings them to New Devon. They discover a graveyard at the front gates, where the unsuccessful civilian resistance was put to rest. The founder’s city flooded and in ruin, though, with corpses of betrayed pirates everywhere. The founders and their families had turned on each other, forming alliances and distrust in wake of the civil war.
Finally, in Thomas Tew’s mansion, they come across a dinner scene, ten skeletons filling the seats. The Libertalia founders had been invited to Tew’s home to put aside their differences, and were all poisoned. All except Henry Avery and Thomas Tew, of course.
After this, Nate and Elena find the main room of Henry Avery’s mansion, where Sam has left clues leading them to an underground passage. Henry Avery had used these tunnels to move the treasure to getaway ships with his crew. The passages are really terrifying, filled with bones, traps, and exploding mummies. They find the ears, arms, and rib cages of Avery’s enemies hung from the ceilings of various rooms like undead chandeliers. Henry Avery wasn’t exactly all that sane.
The two also come across the bodies of Tew’s men. Seems Avery was looking to take the treasure and leave his partner behind. Henry Avery also had no friends.
After solving puzzles through the caves and escaping from grand mummy explosions, Elena pretends to be dead. Nate freaks out and she laughs, saying that they’re even. This opens up a lot of playfulness between the two, and they come away from it all the better.
Crazy Treasure (Uncharted 4’s Chapters 20-22)
Finally, Nate and Elena make it to Sam, who’s escaped from Nadine and Rafe. Sully meets up with all of them to lead them to the getaway plane. Sam is reluctant to leave, being so close to the treasure he’s pined for since childhood. All they need to do is go to the middle of the island where Henry Avery’s boat of treasure is likely hidden. Though they all try to convince him to leave while he’s alive, Sam’s stubbornness gets the best of him, and he makes off towards treasure alone. Nate, Sully, and Elena all know that he’ll get himself killed, and so head after him. Unfortunately, a large fence leaves only Nate able to proceed with chasing Sam down.
Nate makes it to the docks hidden under the mountain, where he overhears Nadine and Rafe having a confrontation. Sam stole one of their boats to sail to Avery’s ship, and Nadine, believing the ship to be rigged with traps, says it’s time to call it quits. Almost all of her henchmen have died, they’ve already retrieved a good deal of treasure, and she kind of feels Sam deserves the damn treasure for his tenacity. Rafe, on the other hand, isn’t having any of that shit. They pull guns on each other, but it turns out that Rafe has bought off Nadine’s men. Mercenary loyalty lies wherever the money is. Reluctantly, she agrees to continue on and they hop on a boat to head to Avery’s ship.
Nate legs it to where Avery’s ship himself, and he hears a massive explosion come from within. Making his way inside, he finds all of the treasure from Libertalia, as well as Rafe. Rafe points out that Sam, still alive, is buried under a wooden beam. He confiscates Nate’s weapons and, as he’s pointing his gun right at Nate, suddenly gets held up by Nadine from behind. She takes his gun and walks out of the room. She then points out, being a beacon of reason, that Avery and Tew are dead right in that very room. Their greed led them to kill each other over their treasure, and anyone that seeks it gets what’s coming to them. Nadine walks off with their guns and locks the door behind herself, not giving a damn what happens to them.
Rafe bangs on the door to no avail, and in turn, Nate says that they can all get out of there, he just needs help freeing Sam. Of course, being insane, Rafe grabs one of the dead pirate leaders’ swords and brandishes it at Nate. His jealousy of the “legendary Nathan Drake” has driven him off the edge. Despite being born into massive fortune, Rafe’s always just wanted the adventurer fame, and now, he just wants to see both Drakes dead.
A fierce swordfight ensues as the ship burns up around them, and Nate gets cornered on the ground. But, being the clever guy that he is, Nate slashes a rope that’s holding a giant net of treasure right above Rafe’s head, instantly squishing his psychopath opponent.
Nate runs to Sam to try and get the beam off of him. It seems hope is a little lost, though, because it’s impossible for them to move. Sam asks Nate to go on without him, because all he ever wanted was to find Avery’s treasure with his brother. Nate suddenly gets an idea, heads over to a cannon in the room, aims it at the floor, and lights it. The shot rips open a massive hole in the ground which in turn fills the room up with water. This gives them the ability to lift the beam, and they both make it out of the ship and off the island with Sully and Elena.
Once back in civilization, the team parts ways. Nate and Elena give Sam a loving goodbye, and head back to the States on a normal, commercial airline. Sully and Sam, meanwhile, partner up for a job Sully has planned.
Flash forward a bit of time to Nate, back at the salvaging company’s office, toiling away at paperwork. Jameson walks in and is smiling from ear to ear. He’s decided to retire and informs Nate that he’s selling the business. When Nate asks who the buyer is, Jameson replies that it’s Nate. Elena shows up, and it turns out she’s behind all of this. They’re buying the company using treasure that she found in her jacket pockets (placed there by Sam). And she even managed to get the permits needed for the Malaysia job. Things end on a high note for their relationship and future as legal treasure hunters.
The End (Uncharted 4’s Epilogue)
Suddenly, we’re playing Crash Bandicoot again. The level ends, and a young girl is revealed as the player. Nate and Elena’s daughter.
She realizes her parents have been missing for a while, and as she searches for them throughout their sweet beach house, we see peeks into their life over the years. They had their surfer daughter, Cassie (named after her grandmother), got a dog, Vicky (named after Sully), and have adventured all over the world with their salvaging company. The wall is covered in newspapers and magazines, lauding the amazing archaeological discoveries of D&F Fortunes. The family keeps in touch with Sully and Sam, who are still travelling together. Sam has become a great friend of the now-retired Sully, as well as an uncle to Cassie.
Nate and Elena have concealed the darker, illegal, and supernatural aspects of their past behind an armoire that Cassie sneaks open. Upon seeing all of this crazy stuff – including a picture of her parents and Sully standing over Spanish treasure with firearms – she’s a little bit freaked out at what her family has been keeping from her. Nate and Elena return and Cassie can’t hide what she saw, which leads to the pair deciding whether or not they should “fill her in” on their past. They agree, after a bit of pestering from their daughter, and the game ends with them getting on their sailboat and recalling their crazy stories.
A happy ending for the family of adventurers.