After playing through the fourth installment, I have come to realize that Uncharted 4 is the perfect send off for Nathan Drake. For those of you that have not finished this fourth installment or any of the previous games, I advise you to stop reading because this will have spoilers. If you are interested in playing this, you can download the game on PlayStation 4 here.

Spoilers

Naughty Dog’s final installment of the Nathan Drake storyline is one that is heartfelt, compelling, and full of adventure. But, what else can you expect from the Uncharted series? The game opens with the main protagonist, Nathan, working a normal 9 to 5 job, but still yearning for adventure. Suddenly, his brother, Sam, comes back into his life after being presumed dead for years. He pleads with Nathan to help him find Henry Avery’s treasure in order to pay off a looming cartel leader that is out to kill him. Nathan is reluctant to agree, but he lies to his wife, Elena, saying he is doing a work-related job that is off the coast of Malaysia.

Uncharted 4 explores life after that world of adventure. The ups and downs of a simpler life. Nathan Drake is obviously very happy with his marriage and being able to live soundly, but that thrill of exploration is still hanging over him. We, as the player, can see the internal struggle that lives within Nathan throughout the first few chapters of the game. Naughty Dog does a fantastic job of exploring the character that we have all come to know and love. Showing this struggle makes gamers view the protagonist through a more humane and realistic lens.

As the story progresses, Elena catches on and confronts Nathan after a high-intensity chase scene. This sequence really shows what Nathan Drake must put on the line if he wants to continue this adventure. Would he rather risk his marriage or continue his quests for discovery? This life of thrill has its consequences and we, the gamers, are able to see this for the first time. Later on, she comes back for him, but Nathan Drake’s decision still looms over the two. The chapter where Elena reappears provides the most interesting character development in the series. The two characters examine their relationship, but it is not until then that Nathan Drake truly understands what he would have to give up in order to continue this pursuit of adventure.

As the game enters its final few chapters, Sam Drake is rescued and the group of explorers begins to head back home. However, Sam refuses to do so and instead would rather continue his search for Avery’s treasure. He looks to Nathan in order to persuade him to come help, but at this point, he is already a changed adventurer. He wants his brother to come home and forget about this treasure because he knows that this is enough and it is not worth the risk. Sam Drake, still having the characteristics that Nathan carried throughout the first installments of the franchise, ignores this and heads back. Once all is said and done, Sam explains to Nathan that even though they found the treasure and the lost city of Libertalia, he still feels empty and craves more. Nathan understands but tells his brother that this feeling will never go away and that there are more important things in life than risking it all for this.

Throughout Uncharted 4′epilogue, the player takes control of Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher’s daughter, Cassie. She explores her own house searching for her parents, but also allowing the gamer to take a few trips down memory lane, while also seeing what happened after the events of the last adventure. The two had been touring the world as great archaeologists and authors that made a name for themselves. They also have a closet filled with memories of the entire series. It is the perfect send off for the main protagonist, as well as the franchise as a whole. Gamers are able to have their last sense of exploration and their last bit of world building that Naughty Dog helped to create.

 

Seeing Nathan Drake come full circle and find his safer alternative to something he loves is one of the best moments of the series. It is also one of the best moments in gaming. Playing as Nathan since 2007 has been a great journey through the eyes of one of the most fun, charismatic, and thrill-seeking characters that video games have to offer. This final installment is the cherry on top of it all. Looking at him as more than just an adventurer, but as an individual that struggles with the aftermath of adventure, it allows for a more in-depth analysis and view of the protagonist. We as gamers tend to view main characters as action heroes with charisma or fictional images of one’s self. Uncharted 4 splits off from this stigma and is able to develop its beloved central character into a more down to earth and natural character than what had previously been established.

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