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Uncharted Games Ranked From Worst to Best

It was a difficult journey putting together this Uncharted games ranked article. Naughty Dog has earned their stellar reputation for telling complex, personal, and compelling stories. I was first introduced to their games with the PS4 remastery of The Last of Us, which quickly became one of my favorite current-generation games. I wasn’t familiar with the Uncharted series at the time, so I wasn’t sure how Uncharted 4 was going to measure up to my expectations.

I shouldn’t have worried — the varied gameplay, intense action sequences, and adventurous story made the game into everything I hoped it would be. I’m currently working my way through the rest of the series to get the full story, and I thought it’d be an excellent time to take a deep-dive into the world of Uncharted.

Since you don’t need to play the games in order to fully enjoy the series, I’ll be ranking the series from worst to best. If you’re a fan of the games (or looking for a good place to jump in), read on for our recommendations!

All Uncharted Games Ranked From Worst to Best

Starting with our least favorite, let’s work our way through the releases to discover the best Uncharted games ranked.

6. Uncharted: Golden Abyss

Uncharted Golden Abyss Game
  • Platform(s): PS Vita
  • Developer: SCE Bend Studio
  • Release Date: February 15, 2012

Starting us out in my Uncharted games ranked is Uncharted: Golden Abyss, This is a PS Vita title that serves as a prequel to the main series. The story takes place before Drake’s Fortune and follows treasure hunter Nathan Drake as he seeks out the lost (and presumably cursed) city of Quivira.

The gameplay is relatively standard for the Uncharted series, revolving around platforming, third-person combat, and puzzle-solving. New mechanics are introduced with the PS Vita’s motion and touch controls, allowing players to aim their weapons, balance Nathan on tightropes, move through the environment, and perform melee attacks with dynamic commands. The touch screen can also be used to adjust mechanisms and take pictures that can make puzzle-solving a bit easier.

The game was relatively well-received, garnering praise for bringing the Uncharted series to portable systems. Its status as a spin-off title (and a few issues with the PS Vita mechanics) means it didn’t receive quite as much attention as its main series siblings, but it still boasts decent quality. The console titles managed to do a bit more in terms of scope and story, pushing Golden Abyss to the bottom of our list.

5. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

Uncharted Drake's Fortune Game
  • Platform(s): PS3, PS4
  • Developer: Naughty Dog
  • Release Date: November 20, 2007

I’ll be honest when I say that the only reason Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune ranks so low on our list is because the series’s later installments just kept getting better. Drake’s Fortune is responsible for the tried-and-true Uncharted formula, introducing us to now-staple characters and mechanics that define the series and keep us coming back for more.

The story is about Nathan Drake, a self-appointed descendent of Sir Francis Drake, on his quest to discover his ancestor’s true fate. After an empty coffin reveals Drake’s diary and clues to a yet-undiscovered treasure, Nathan and his companions set off to find the city of El Dorado and finish the infamous explorer’s final adventure.

The gameplay of the Uncharted series is varied, though still relatively straightforward. As I mentioned before, this title contains elements of TPS combat, platforming, and puzzle-solving that speak to the game’s exploration and adventure themes. The combat has earned the game some criticism regarding its ludonarrative dissonance (a complaint that’s received a cheeky nod from Naughty Dog themselves), but I find that it keeps in spirit with other action-packed adventure stories like Indiana Jones.

4. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

Uncharted 3 Drake's Deception Game
  • Platform(s): PS3, PS4
  • Developer: Naughty Dog
  • Release Date: November 1, 2011

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception takes fourth place on our list if only because the two other main series titles stand out so much in terms of storytelling. This game is Naughty Dog’s first attempt at showing some of Nathan’s background, flashing back to his early days as a treasure hunter and how he got to know Sully amidst a present-day search for the lost city of Ubar.

Although most of the gameplay remains unchanged, a few combat features are expanded on. Players can now engage in hand-to-hand combat with multiple enemies, perform a greater range of melee attacks, and carry numerous weapon types at once. 

The game also included both a cooperative and a competitive multiplayer feature, adding free-for-all modes and a buddy system that allowed players to enter matches with friends. The servers were shut down as of September 3, 2019.

Upon release, Drake’s Deception received multiple “Game of the Year” awards and general critical acclaim. Marlowe’s character was especially well-received, being praised as one of the best female antagonists in video games in terms of both power and personality.

3. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

Uncharted The Lost Legacy Game
  • Platform(s): PS4
  • Developer: Naughty Dog
  • Release Date: August 22, 2017

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is a story expansion released shortly after Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Nathan Drake isn’t among the handful of returning characters, making this the first Uncharted title to not feature him as a protagonist. The story instead follows Chloe and Nadine, Nathan’s former companions/rivals, on their quest to find the legendary tusk of Ganesh.

Players control Chloe throughout the game. Since she’s a treasure hunter of similar caliber to Nate, the gameplay doesn’t change significantly — she can still fight and platform with the best of them. The game is linear, but the larger maps allow for multiple, branching paths for players to follow as they progress through the areas. 

The expansion is interesting enough on its own to warrant a higher ranking on our list, and paired with the gameplay quality offered in Uncharted 4, it easily takes a top spot.

2. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Uncharted 2 Among Thieves Game
  • Platform(s): PS3, PS4
  • Developer: Naughty Dog
  • Release Date: October 13, 2009

I know it’s a little controversial to put Uncharted 2: Among Thieves in the number two spot. A lot of people consider it to be the best title in the series, and I can’t entirely argue that — there are a lot of truly unique things in this game that makes it well-deserving of the highest possible ranking.

I’ll expand on why it’s only second place a little later on, but let’s first focus on why it’s such a stunning title. If Drake’s Fortune was a hit, Among Thieves was an explosion — it took everything good about the first game and made it even better, trimming up the places where its predecessor fell a bit flat. 

The story follows Nathan’s quest to find the lost city of Shambhala. With the help of Chloe Frazer, Nate must piece together clues and uncover a decades-old mystery surrounding the city, all in a race against a war criminal seeking the sinister power contained within.

The gameplay is relatively similar to Drake’s Fortune, but manages to be far more streamlined. Combat feels smoother and more compelling, and the enemies feel more challenging while still being balanced.

Among Thieves was the first installment to introduce multiplayer — like Drake’s Deception, it offered both cooperative and competitive modes where players could team up to complete missions or face off in team deathmatches and other modes. Again like its successor, the servers were shut down in September 2019.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is still considered one of the best video games of all time. It really speaks to the series’s overall quality that fans hold the other games in nearly as high regard. It takes our second-place spot, but only by a narrow margin.

1. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Uncharted 4 A Thief's End Game
  • Platform(s): PS4
  • Developer: Naughty Dog
  • Release Date: May 10, 2016

Topping off our list is Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Some of you may balk at this, but my reasoning is simple — the series evolved with the new console generation. With the PS4’s graphic capabilities in tow, Naughty Dog created a visually-breathtaking adventure that explores not only the hidden mystery of a lost pirate society, but the past and personal relationships of its main character. A Thief’s End focuses on a more grounded story of brotherhood and betrayal, showing Nate’s earliest calls to adventure and the constant, alluring pull of the life he can’t quite leave behind. 

The gameplay improves with the PS4 as well — although there’s still a substantial focus on shooting and melee combat, A Thief’s End takes some lessons on stealth from The Last of Us, creating a balance that makes combat feel more dynamic, urgent, and engaging. The game also introduces dialogue trees, allowing players to influence the course of in-game conversations. Although the choices don’t affect the story’s progression, they do give players a bit more control over Nate in a way that deepens our connection and immersion.

A Thief’s End received critical praise on multiple levels, from its incredible campaign to its pseudo-open worlds to its multiplayer. Although some fans were disappointed with the ways it deviated from the formula, others (myself included) enjoyed how Naughty Dog refreshed elements of the series while still staying true to what made Uncharted so phenomenal in the first place.

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Thanks for checking out our ranking of the Uncharted games ranked from worst to best! If you have any feedback about our list or suggestions for future rankings, please feel free to leave a comment — we love to hear from you.

Happy gaming!

 

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