Action-adventure stories focusing on exploring ruins and retrieving artifacts all while thwarting some sort of sinister organization have been well-received by the public thanks to the likes of Indiana Jones in film, and Tomb Raider in video games. Another gaming series took those tropes to new heights when it arrived on the scene a decade ago – Uncharted.
The first game in the series, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, first released for the PlayStation 3 on November 19, 2007. The game introduced the character of Nathan Drake, a treasure hunter (and supposedly the descendant of the explorer Sir Francis Drake) who seeks to uncover the history and mysteries behind the places he explores. Areas that Drake explores over the course of the games and other stories have included the Amazon, Tibet, China, France, Italy, Madagascar and more.
The gameplay combines action with 3D platforming via a third-person perspective. The platforming elements are primarily exploration, as Drake climbs his way around a given area. The action is focused on combat – Drake only carries a sidearm, a larger gun, and some grenades, though, so he has to be resourceful and cunning in how he takes down enemies.
Drake’s Fortune saw Drake seeking out the legendary lost treasure of El Dorado – said to be made entirely of gold – alongside his mentor Sully and the journalist Elena. However, he must thwart rival treasure hunter Gabriel Roman as well as a group of mercenaries and pirates led by Eddy Raja. Drake also eventually learns the truth behind El Dorado itself, in particular regarding the seemingly supernatural forces that protect it from outsiders.
The game saw universal acclaim from the critics, especially with regards to the production values; many in the press compared Uncharted to a Hollywood film production. Drake’s Fortune sold more than well enough to kick off the franchise, which has since included three direct sequels (the most recent, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, releasing in 2016) as well as a handful of spinoff gaming titles. There have also been comic spinoffs, and a feature film starring Tom Holland as a young Drake is also in production.