Pretty Much Everything You Need to Know About Uncharted

May 9, 2016

Uncharted 4 is nearly upon us! Catch up on the story here! WARNING: SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST 3 GAMES.

Who are the main characters of Uncharted?

This one’s easy… Nathan Drake is the central character, or at least the one you take control of throughout the series. There’s also Victor Sullivan, but you might as just remember him as Sully. Sully and Drake have been working together since the nineties, traveling the globe, stealing precious artifacts and plundering treasure. Sully’s a lot older than Drake and acts, in many ways, as a father figure. There’s a lot of great scenes throughout the series where this is particularly evident and tend to make up some of the greatest scenes in the entire series.

The third main character is Elena Fisher, who acts as Drake’s love interest throughout the series. She’s a plucky television reporter who, in the first game, is kinda-sorta ditched by Drake and Sully before they head to find El Dorado (more on that later). However, she manages to follow the duo to the Amazonian rainforest.

Alright, well, what’s the first game about?

Well it depends how you want to look at things. Technically speaking, the first game released was Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, but chronologically speaking… Uncharted: Golden Abyss is first (hell, parts of Uncharted: Drake’s Deception are really first…). For simplicity sake, a brief overview of Golden Abyss is all that’s necessary because, while the game is cannon, it’s much less popular than Drake’s Fortune and will likely never be referenced outside of obscure winks to the weird few that owned a Vita.

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Golden Abyss is about Drake’s attempt to locate the lost city of Quivira in Panama. Of course, he’s joined by a lady (remember this is before Elena…) named Marisa Chase, grandaughter to a dead but well-respected archaeologist. Confrontation comes in the form of a group of rebels led by Roberto Guerro. If you can rely on one thing (of many) in Uncharted games, it’s that Drake will likely be betrayed at some point. Enter Jason Dante, who has a super on-again-off-again relationship with Guerro.

Quivira is ultimately the host city to something called the Golden Abyss, a room made entirely of gold. Unfortunately for treasure hunters, the gold is highly radioactive. Of course, villain Dante knew about this, and his plan was to litter the black market with radioactive gold. Why? Villainy things. Chase and Drake blow up the Golden Abyss, trapping and killing Dante. Upon narrowly escaping the collapsing Golden Abyss, Drake is confronted with Guerro who, naturally, he kills. Roll credits.

Easy enough. What’s the next one called?

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Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was the first game released, and opens with Drake and Elena discovering the coffin of Sir Francis Drake (guess where Nate got his name?) in the middle of the ocean. Before being attacked by pirates – because of course they’d be attacked by pirates! – the duo find that nothing is in the coffin but a diary, revealing that Francis faked his death and knew the location of El Dorado. Following a lengthy shootout with the aforementioned pirates, Sully flies in on a plane and saves Drake and Elena.

After a brief conversation about their plans to get to El (“God Damn”) Dorado, the guys decide that Elena, as badly as she’d like to go, would ultimately slow down their jungle expedition. They fly away, leaving her on her own.

Nate and Sully end up in the Amazon Rainforest. Ultimately they discover that El Dorado is actually a giant golden statue and that it’s already been removed from the jungle. Sully, in frustration, reveals to Nate that he’s in some serious debt and the treasure was going to be his ticket out of it. Nate hands Sully the diary for safekeeping while he explores an old German U-Boat. On the U-Boat, Nate discovers a missing page from Sir Francis’ diary and a map pointing to an island, where the statue is expected to be found. When Nate leaves the U-Boat, he and Sully are attacked by Gabriel Roman, a British criminal, and Atoq Navarro, a rival treasure hunter.

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Not surprisingly, Sully’s debt is to Roman. Sully made the mistake of telling Roman he’d be able to repay his debt with treasure found at El Dorado, and Roman decided to follow up on Sully’s lead and find the treasure for himself. Roman takes the map from Nate and attempts to kill him, but Sully gets in the way and is shot. Nate narrowly escapes with his own life and runs into Elena who has followed him up until this point. The two get to Sully’s plane and fly to the island marked on the map found aboard the U-Boat.

As they approach the island, their plane is shot down. Nate and Elena jump out of the plane with parachutes, becoming separated. After exiting a dense jungle, Nate spots Elena’s parachute hanging near an ancient fort. Upon arriving at the fort, Nate is attacked and taken prisoner by a group of pirates led by Eddie Raja, another rival treasure hunter. It’s clear that Nate and Eddie have a storied history. Elena saves Nate and they escape to a flooded city.

Elena spots Roman and Navarro from a distance with – wait for it – Victor freakin’ Sullivan (twist!). Elena shows Nate the footage, believing that Sully is a traitor and has been working with the bad guys. Naturally, Nate is hesitant to believe this theory. Nate and Elena decide to follow Sully to an old monastery, where Nate finally catches up with Sully and confronts him. As it turns out, the diary that Sully was keeping safe for Nate stopped the bullet fired from Roman’s gun. The bad guys decided to keep him around to help find El Dorado and he’d been feeding them misinformation to stall them for as long as possible!

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Eventually it’s revealed that Eddie was hired by Roman to capture Nate. Nate overhears a conversation in which Roman doubts Eddie’s abilities and dismisses his claims of treasure being cursed.

Nate and Elena eventually discover the body of Sir Francis, assuming he’d never found the treasure and died instead. This is when Eddie comes running into the room panicked, talking about the aforementioned curse. Some zombies attack –

– Wait, zombies?

Yeah, as it turns out the treasure kind of is cursed. It contains a virus that infected the Spanish colonists that came with Sir Drake and… hell, it doesn’t really make a ton of sense. Needless to say, this scared the hell out of Francis and he sacrificed his life attempting to keep the treasure well hidden on the island, flooding the island (remember the flooded city from earlier?) and sinking ships. Eventually the Nazis discovered the same thing.

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These mutants attack Nate, Elena, Eddie, and his pirate friends, killing the bad guys and leaving Nate and Elena to escape. They eventually find that Roman and Navarro have already found the statue. Navarro urges Roman to open the statue. Roman does, revealing the mummy of El Dorado, and inhales some mummy dust. The mummy dust begins to mutate Roman, Navarro shoots and kills him, revealing that he knew of the mutagen all along and that he’d planned to sell it as a biological weapon. Things happen and Nate kills Navarro, sinking the statue into the ocean in the process. Nate and Elena go in for a kiss, Sully shows up on a boat full of treasure, and the team escape, alive and ready for their next adventure.

And their next adventure is?!

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Uncharted: Among Thieves opens in a really cool way called in medius res, meaning it starts at the beginning and through flashbacks we work our way back to the beginning. Nate’s been shot in the gut and is hanging off this train that’s hanging off a cliff, and has to climb his way up while things are beginning to fall.

That sounds really cool…

Oooh, it is.

Things start to flashback now, and we find Drake working with Chloe Frazer and Harry Flynn. If there’s a fourth main character in the series, it’s definitely Chloe. The trio break into a building housing an old lamp. Drake agrees to help because it is believed that the lamp will lead them to finding Marco Polo’s lost treasure. The lamp in fact contains a map which says that Marco Polo’s fabled lost fleet was carrying a treasure called the Cintamani Stone from Shambala (a.k.a. Shangri-La).

Surprise! Flynn double-crosses Drake, steals the map, and leaves Drake to be arrested (remember, they broke into this place). Drake sits in a cell for THREE MONTHS, before Sully shows up to get him out. Turns out Chloe took THREE MONTHS to get to Sully to get Drake out of prison. The duo discovers that Flynn is working with Zoran Lazarevic, a Serbian war criminal who has been long presumed dead. Chloe agrees to work alongside Flynn and Lazarevic as an insider for Drake and Sully, as everyone travels to Borneo.

There they locate a tomb with the bodies of Polo’s passengers as well as a ceremonial dagger and a letter from Polo himself, stating that the crew never actually had the Cintamani Stone and that a clue to it’s location was in a Nepalese Temple. Flynn shows up, steals the letter from Drake, who then escapes with Sully by jumping off a cliff into water. Sully then decides that he wants to sit this one out, the mission’s too dangerous. This is the first time we’re introduced to a theme that remains relevant in the third game as well, and based on trailers, the fourth as well. Drake’s missions are getting more and more dangerous, and in the future he’ll likely have to choose between a life of adventures and danger or a life of safety and domestication. If you remember anything going into the fourth game, it is this.

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Drake and Chloe leave Sully behind and head for Nepal. From a tall hotel, the two are able to locate the temple and head that way. Along the way, they run into Elena and her cameraman Jeff! Elena and Jeff are attempting to track down Lazarevic to prove he isn’t actually dead. The foursome arrive at the temple and Elena mentions something not making sense. Why does Lazarevic want to find the Stone? He doesn’t need the money… Inside the temple, Nate and Chloe discover that the Stone and Shangri-La are in the Himalayas. Upon leaving the temple, Nate and Chloe are attacked by Lazarevic’s men. Nate runs to help Elena and finds that Jeff has been shot. When Nate and Elena attempt to help Jeff out, Chloe pulls a gun on them because Lazarevic is there and she doesn’t want to blow her cover. Big ol’ bad guy Lazarevic kills Jeff and leaves, ordering Flynn to kill Nate and Elena.

“Not this time!” says Elena and she pops him in the face, giving the would-be couple a chance to escape.

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Though Elena does not trust Chloe, she agrees to help Nate “save” her. They steal a jeep and chase after Lazarevic’s train. Nate boards the train, kills some bad guys, and finds Chloe. They get into an argument when BAM! Nate is shot by Flynn. Chloe puts herself between Flynn and Drake, Drake is able to get away, but is chased by soldier. Corner, he has no choice but to shoot some propane tanks, causing a series of events that leads right back to the beginning of the game because –

In medias res!

In medias res! Fast forward a bit, Nate recovers that ancient dagger from the wreckage before passing out. He awakens some time later in a Tibetan village, reunited with Elena. A German guy name Karl Schäfer tells Nate that the dagger he has is the key to Shangri-La. Nate says he’s not interested anymore, it’s too dangerous, but Schäfer convinces him to go with the village leader to find the bodies of the expedition he’d lead 70 years earlier.

Nate finds the bodies and discovers that they were Nazis. Turns out Schäfer was hired by the Nazis to find the Cintamani Stone, but upon learning of it’s power, Schäfer killed the Nazis and escaped. Oh, and there are some Yeti monsters that are there, too. Nate and his new buddy return to the village to find it under attack by Lazarevic and his cronies. They eventually get to Elena and discover that the dagger and Schäfer have been taken.

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Nate and Elena track the bad guys to an old monestary as it’s being destroyed and find entrance into the mountains where Shangri-La is located. Here they find Schäfer, mortally wounded. He tells Drake that he must destroy the Stone because of it’s mysterious power. Things happen and eventually Lazarevic takes Nate, Elena, and Chloe hostage (whose cover has been blown by Flynn). Lazarevic makes Nate choose to help him or watch one of the women die. He agrees to help and uses the dagger to open the gates into Shangri-La. The gate opens and the group is attacked by those Yeti monsters from earlier. It’s revealed that they are actually humans with semi-super powers drawn from the Stone whose purpose is to guard the Stone. Lazarevic kills the Guardians, no problem. As Lazarevic prepares to kill all the good guys, a wave of more Guardians appear, allowing the good guys to escape.

At the central temple in Shangri-La, Nate discovers the truth of the Stone. It is in fact made of a blue resin which, when ingested, gives the person near invincibility. The resin comes from the Tree of Life, which resides in Shangri-La. Lazarevic’s true intentions are thus revealed. Lazarevic catches up with our heroes, drinks some of that life-giving blue goo, and fights Nate. And Nate wins, leaving him to be brutally killed by the remaining Guardians. Nate, Elena, and Chloe escape the city as it implodes. In a moment of rest, Nate looks at Elena, begging her to stay with him. Things don’t look good.

Cut to the village, where Chloe and Nate are alone. She asks if Nate loves Elena, and duh, of course he does, Chloe. She says goodbye and leaves as Sully and Elena join Nate. Sully chases after Chloe, leaving the two lovebirds together. After saying good bye to Schäfer, Nate and Elena smooch on the mouth and watch the sun set.

And that’s the end of the second game?

It is.

The third game is called Drake’s Deception… right?

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Yeah, Drake’s Deception opens on a bar fight. Drake and Sully are set to meet a man named Talbot who is interested in purchasing Drake’s old ring. Drake and Sully accuse Talbot of trying to purchase the ring using counterfit bills. A fight ensues which eventually leads Drake and Sully outside (to escape) where they come face to face with a man named Charlie Cutter. Cutter pulls a gun on them. Talbot’s boss, Katherine Marlowe shows up and steals Drake’s ring. When Drake attempts to get it back, he’s shot and presumably killed by Cutter.

FLASHBACK to when Drake was but a wee lad. Basically he spots Sully – whom he has yet to meet – and follows him, eventually stealing a key from Sully that will allow him to steal Francis Drake’s ring (the one from before). This scene serves to show the early days of the relationship between Sully and Drake, but also show that Sully and Marlowe go back as well.

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Marlowe catches Drake and wants him to hand over the ring. Young Drake escapes and is pursued by Marlowe’s henchman, but Sully eventually saves Drake and the two become best buds.

Going back to present day, it’s revealed that Cutter is actually friends with Drake and Sully, and the entire exchange was a set up so that they could follow Marlowe back to her secret hideout. Joined by Chloe from the previous game, the four break into Marlowe’s hide out and steal T.E. Lawrences notebook (like, Lawrence of Arabia) and a map showing Francis Drake’s expedition to find Ubar, a lost city mentioned in the Quran.

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Using his detective skills, Drake uncovers that two clues exist, one in a French chateau and one in a Syrian citadel. Drake and Sully go to France, while the other two go to Syria.

In France, Drake and Sully uncover half of an amulet. To the surprise of absolutely no body, the bad guys show up and Talbot snags the amulet from Drake and sets the chateau on fire. The heroes escape and head to Syria, assuming that Chloe and Cutter are at risk as well.

In Syria, the four meet up and discover that Marlowe is the head of an old order with plans to control their enemies through fear. Cutter is shot with a dart containing a toxin which causes hallucinations. He ends up handing over his notebook and weapon to Talbot (who kind of just disappears…). They end up discovering the second amulet which reveals to Drake that they’d need to head to Yemen to find the next clue.

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The bad guys intervene again and, following a shootout, Cutter breaks his leg. Chloe assists him, leaving Drake and Sully to go to Yemen without them.

Drake and Sully need a way into Yemen that won’t cause much attention. In comes Drake’s WIFE, Elena. That’s right, they got married and are currently separated. Elena’s an international correspondent in Yemen, so… well, that’s a pretty convenient in for the heroes. It appears the couple is separated because Drake wants to continue raiding tombs while Elena wants to settle down. They argue for a bit before Elena agrees to help.

Nate and company eventually find the location of Ubar (the “Atlantis of the Sands”) along with evidence that something there caused Francis Drake to abandon his mission from Queen Elizabeth to find the city.

Nate is shot by Talbot with a hallucinogenic dart. He stumbles around a bunch and eventually finds himself seated at an outdoor cafe with Marlowe and Talbot. Nate overhears Talbot being told that “they” have captured Sully. Talbot runs away, Nate chases him before being knocked unconscious.

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He awakens to find himself aboard some big boat. Pirates interrogate Nate about the location of Ubar and when Nate doesn’t cooperate, the pirates tell Nate they have Sully. Nate escapes, discovers the location of Sully, and attempts to save him.

When Nate gets to Sully’s location, it is revealed the pirates never had Sully. Nate shoots the pirate leader, throws a grenade, and sinks the ship. He barely escapes.

Following this narrow escape, Nate is reunited with Elena, who informs him that Marlowe’s men have captured Sully and that he’s being kept on a convoy in the middle of the desert. Luckily, a cargo plane is making it’s way to drop supplies off for the convoy. Nate and Elena go to sneak aboard the plane, but Nate forces Elena to stay back due to the danger.

Nate gets caught by the bad guys aboard the plane, a shoot out happens, explosions… Nate falls out of the plane and lands in the middle of the desert. Nate wanders through the desert (in a very extended sequence), and eventually stumbles upon a deserted village. Marlowe’s men also happen to be there and attack Nate. Nate is saved when a group of men ride in on horses and kill Marlowe’s men. The horse men are led by man named Salim, who tells Nate that Ubar was doomed centuries earlier when King Solomon imprisoned evil Djinn (bad genies) in the heart of the city.

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Some of Salim’s men spot the convoy, and Nate and Salim rush to stop them. They end up destroying the convoy and saving Sully. As a sand storm approaches, Salim tells Nate and Sully to follow him, but in the storm the get lost. When the storm clears, they find themselves outside the gates of Ubar.

Once inside, Nate and Sully find a fountain, which Nate drinks from. Talbot appears and shoots Sully, killing Sully. No seriously, Sully dies in Nate’s arms.

Nate freaks out and begins killing bad guys, who are actually Djinn and are covered in flames.

Man, these games really love them some supernatural twists, huh?

Well, kinda. Drake kind of snaps out of his fog and finds Sully alive and kickin’! Turns out the water he drank is tainted. As it turns out, when King Solomon threw the urn with the djinn into the water in the heart of the city, the water became tainted with some hallucinogenic toxin. This caused the people in the city to go mad and destroy the city.

This is what the Queen was after, and is what Marlowe is after now. When Francis Drake realized what that the Queen was after this fear toxin, he abandoned the mission. Nate and Sully realize they have to stop Marlowe from finding the urn and decide to search the city.

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They find her and her men using a winch to pull the urn from the water (it’s a big urn). Nate and Sully end up breaking the winch, causing the urn to fall and cause some explosions. The city begins to collapse into the sand (like, it’s built over some quicksand or something). During their attempt to escape, the heroes find themselves face to face with Marlowe, who takes a tumble right into some quicksand and dies, taking Nate’s ring with her.

Bummed out, Nate and Sully escape the city, but right outside of the gate is Talbot, pissed at Nate for killing Marlowe. They fight and Nate ends up shooting him, causing him to fall into a massive pit and die. Salim shows up to lead Nate and Sully to safety. At the Yemen airport, Sully gives Nate his wedding ring, which he’d kept secure during the breakup. Elena shows up, they smooch on the mouth, and the three fly away.

And that’s it! That’s the entirety of the trilogy and the Vita game! Uncharted 4 looks to –

-Wait! Don’t spoil anything!

Okay, fair enough. Uncharted 4 is released on May 10th, 2016 and is expected to be Naughty Dog’s FINAL Uncharted game.

About Tyler Nope

Tyler lives in the Portland, OR area with his wife and cat. He loves pizza, comic books, and video games.