Uncharted has always felt hollow to me; a film trying to masquerade as a video game with mediocre gameplay and poorly developed characters. It was inspired by so many different sources, at the very least Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider. The Uncharted series is heralded as this incredible franchise, but when looking at a series such as the latest Tomb Raider reboot right beside it, it becomes abundantly apparent how overrated Uncharted really is. It’s a good game, but definitely not a great one. The puzzles are poor, the characters are boring, the story is like a soap opera, and the gameplay feels rudimentary. The series has even been described by Naughty Dog as being Indiana Jones-esque, which is actually laughable, and ironically Uncharted seems to take most of its inspiration in the video game world from the early Tomb Raider games. In turn, though, it helped inspire the Tomb Raider reboot. While the series isn’t horrible and the game isn’t awful, Uncharted tries to be so many different things and Tomb Raider has its own identity and simply does it all better. Tomb Raider is better than Uncharted. Characters/Story Nathan Drake is an Indiana Jones wannabe who cracks the cringiest jokes with a smug smile on his face. He tries to be like Indiana a little too hard and it doesn’t work. The dynamic in the last game doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. A long-lost brother appears out of nowhere, the crew gets together, and you go for a soap-opera esque ride. Nathan Drake is obviously the weak point in the cast and is one of the most overrated characters in gaming history. On the other hand, Lara Croft is an intelligent, fierce, vulnerable, and a full-fledged character. She wasn’t a half-baked idea to attempt to rip off a famous film series; she was revived, but was given a great deal of depth and is a relatable character, and her relationship with Jonah drives the reboot. There’s no relationship in Uncharted, in my mind, that matches that intensity and realism. Her journey of self-discovery during Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a very personal, spiritual journey. There’s nothing that matches that in the Uncharted franchise. Gameplay Uncharted is barely a video game. A Thief’s End is a film that, for the most part, masquerades as a video game; it merely tries to mimic, not innovate. The game is completely linear and although it has some interesting set pieces, the gunplay feels rudimentary and you’ll be climbing walls for hours. The puzzles are mediocre at best and the mythology isn’t incredibly interesting. The Tomb Raider reboot, on the other hand, has a completely open-world full of an abundance of exploration with upgrades, materials, tombs, and crypts to be found, among other things. Following the main story is great but the real highlight of the games are the tombs. The puzzles are some of the best in modern gaming and the narrative of the games, while fantastic, is not the focal point of the gameplay experience. Uncharted 4, on the other hand, lacks this creativity and innovation. Fun Factor At the end of the day, every game comes down to fun. Shadow of the Tomb Raider should’ve been considered for Game of the Year 2018. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was awarded a number of GOTY awards, but it’s a hollow, empty game, though not terrible by any means. It’s a technical marvel, but it doesn’t function like a true video game. Shadow of the Tomb Raider and the rest of the reboot does everything Uncharged should have done and more. The combat is some of the most enjoyable in any current generation title with a multitude of different perks and options, allowing you, for instance, to hang enemies in trees or blast them with nerve gas making them attack their comrades. Uncharted is unnecessarily straightforward. It wants to be a film but tries to be a video game at the same time and fails at both, while Tomb Raider gives you an abundance of choice with superior characters, a superior story and mythology, and puzzles that shine. It doesn’t try to imitate, it innovates, as opposed to Uncharted. I’d much rather have the choice, freedom, and innovation of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which is not only the definitive Tomb Raider game but outshines one of the PlayStation 4’s “alleged” best games.