With Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End literally days away from blowing us all away with its alleged conclusion to the story of Nathan Drake, I wanted to do something for the game’s release. Having already briefly covered the gameplay in a recent article, I decided instead to do a big recap on the story so far. Just a nice and simple cover of the game’s fantastic plot up to this point. To save the article from being ridiculously long I’m going to split it three ways, and fair warning here that big spoilers will be littered throughout from this point on.
First things first, it’s worth taking a quick look at the series mainstay characters, just for reference during the story recap.
Nathan Drake – The face of the series and titular character. Main protagonist Nathan Drake is an ambitious minded explorer, a treasure hunter and highly skilled thief. Nicknamed “Nate”, he has become the man he is today due to having to fend for himself from a very young age (his mother took her own life and his father handed him over to the state) it is revealed that Drake met long time friend and mentor Victor Sullivan as a young man, Sullivan has since taken Drake under his wing and the two have been inseparable ever since. Nathan adopted the name Drake as he holds the belief that he is descended from famous English explorer, Francis Drake.
Victor Sullivan – Victor Sullivan is the protective father figure to Nathan Drake that has not only taught him so many skills in their time together but also kept him grounded at times when Drake would become reckless. Before his life as a thief he served in the United States Military, by his own account he had a lousy father and miserable childhood, and once he had completed his time in the military, he became a free-lance thief, accepting contracts and jobs that would pay a handsome sum for his services. He discovered Nathan during his time working with past love interest Katherine Marlowe.
Elena Fisher – Elena Fisher is an independent and persistent investigator, her first glimpse of the spotlight was when she came second on a popular reality show, she jumped at the opportunity to host her own adventure show after that, but with such a small budget, it was left to Elena to produce and fund the show, as well as operate the equipment by herself to. Having seen her on TV and discovering her methods, Nathan Drake decided to con her into paying for an expedition he had planned to recover Francis Drake’s coffin, with the promise of letting her record the events for her show.
Chloe Frazer – Chloe is an Australian treasure hunter who has had some form of relationship with Drake in the past, apparently together for a long time before the events of the Uncharted series, not much is known about her personal history, only that she is highly skilled at her work, and is considered to be the best driver in the business by multiple sources. She is unpredictable however, and has been known to struggle with her own morality at times.
Now with that out of the way, here is a story that does an excellent job developing it’s characters and making the player genuinely care about them. Naughty Dog are second to none in their ability to tell a story and we begin with their first foray into the world of Nathan Drake with his journey that would see him in search for the historically infamous El Dorado.
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
Playstation 3, 2007
The story begins with Drake uncovering the tomb of supposed ancestor, Francis Drake from the ocean floor off the coast of Panama, by using coordinates etched into the ring that Drake wears on a string around his neck. He returns to his boat with investigator Elena, who has joined him to record the events of his discovery for her documentary. The coffin only contains a diary however, written by Francis Drake himself and revealing the location of the mysterious and fabled city of gold, El Dorado. After being attacked by Pirates and having to ditch the ship, they are rescued by Victor Sullivan. The two then conspire to go in search of El Dorado themselves, with Victor convincing Nathan that it would be beneficial to leave Elena behind so that they can conduct a proper search. The two leave the port and begin their journey, and Elena watches on, amusingly agitated by their action.
Drake and Sully travel into the Amazon, and after traversing a well hidden underground section, they discover a chain of clues, and come to learn that El Dorado was actually a statue, stolen long ago by Spanish Conquistadors. Furthering their search, Drake and Sully find an abandoned U-Boat, Drake explores it and finds a page from the diary of Francis Drake that marks a southern island in the Pacific where the statue was taken. Drake returns to find Sully being held up by a small group of ragtag Indonesian pirates led by Eddy Raja (an old rival of Drake’s) and wealthy treasure hunter Gabriel Roman, who himself has hired the pirates and mercenary Atoq Navarro, a great archaeologist who has knowledge of the statue. Drake is forced to hand over the loose page to Roman, along with the rest of the diary. Roman scours the pages before shooting Sully, he is about to shoot Drake until a torpedo explodes inside the boat (accidentally set off by Drake earlier) which gives Drake a window of opportunity to escape. He runs into the path of Elena, and pulls her away with him. The two use Sully’s plane to fly to the Pacific island documented by Francis Drake’s diary page.
The plane is shot down near the island and leads to the separation of Drake and Elena. Nathan finds a fort that has Elena’s parachute draped across it and spots her from afar, unable to connect with her. Nathan enters the fort and finds a message from Francis Drake that shows he made his way to the forts tower. When Nathan arrives at the tower he is captured by Eddy, who threatens his life unless Drake cooperates. Elena rescues him and they manage to choreograph an escape. The two make their way through a decaying city and discover a log book that shows the statue has been moved further into the island. Elena shows Drake evidence that Sully is still alive, and working with Navarro. They follow his movement north, and a brief moment of danger forces Elena to sacrifice her camera. The two enter a monastery and find Sully who reveals he had survived after the bullet was blocked by Drake’s diary. He played his captors in order to buy Drake time to locate the statue.
Nathan leaves Elena with Sully, and travels through the monastery where he discovers the location of a treasure vault mentioned previously in the diary, he overhears a heated discussion between Eddy and Roman, Eddy shares his concerns in the belief that the island is cursed and his men are being killed by a mystical force. Roman dismisses Eddy as superstitious. Nathan returns to Sully and Elena, and they explore passage that leads them to Francis Drake’s body. Nathan leaves the ring behind. Eddy, being chased by unidentifiable creatures, forces the group to also run, but Eddy is killed while struggling with one of them. Drake and Elena escape and find themselves in a base built into the island. Nathan later finds out that the Germans had been searching for the statue during World War II but were wiped out just like the Spanish before them. Drake learns that the statue is cursed and the creatures are mutated forms of their human bodies. Francis Drake wasn’t trying to steal the statue but keep it on the island as he knew the dark powers that it possessed.
Nathan returns with the news but finds Elena captured by Roman and Navarro. Drake and Sully find out that Roman has the statue. Roman reveals the mummy of El Dorado inside. Roman inhales the dust of the decayed corpse and Navarro shoots him before he can mutate. Navarro reveals that he knew about the statues properties all along and was planning to sell mutagenic weapons. He has the statue air lifted by a helicopter, but his people are attacked once more by the creatures. Drake jumps onto the net and hangs as the helicopter makes its ascent, Elena being held in the helicopter causes the pilots death, and the helicopter crashes onto a cargo ship. Drake incapacitates Navarro, rescues Elena and knocks the Helicopter which is attached by a rope to Navarro’s leg and the statue in its net, into the sea, dragging them all to the depths of the ocean. Sully arrives in a speed boat with boxes of treasure he had discovered in the cave, and the three of them head off into the sunset, as Elena reminds Drake he still owes her a story.
So that was Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, a perfect start to a wonderful series. Check back tomorrow for part 2 of this Story So Far recap
Image – Naughty Dog