Character Analysis: Nathan Drake from Uncharted

Disclaimer: Possible spoilers ahead

Everyone at some point has the fantasy of travelling distant lands and experiencing this crazy journey full of action, danger, and adventure. The Uncharted series, one of Naughty Dog’s most well-known franchises, allows us to fulfill those lost childhood fantasies through Nathan Drake, the bold and daring, devil-may-care protagonist.

Nathan Drake is the great-great-great-great-you get it grandson of the famous explorer Francis Drake. Now according to history, Francis Drake did not have children, at least not with his wife, which is how our hero Nathan begins to tell us about his family tree. Nathan’s sense of adventure drives him into extreme situations, such as hanging off a derailed train that’s dangling from a mountain while also being shot in the stomach. And he’s still able to thrive beyond belief. Nathan definitely does not lack in the luck department.

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Aside from being fearless and impossibly lucky, he is the amalgamation of douche bag and friend; he’s simultaneously the guy we want to be and the cocky guy who thinks he can do anything. Not only is his character designed to be ruggedly handsome and well built, but we also see him as being level-headed and calm despite whatever situation he is faced with. Think Indiana Jones with a healthy scoop (or two) of Johnny Cage.

But how did our lovable hero get to the position he is now? While nothing ever seems to go his way, he always discovers a way to overcome the adversity and come out on top of it as well, saving not only himself, but his friends too. Well, my answer to that lies in the qualities that Nathan has that makes us never want to put the controller down.

Resilience: Nathan shows resilience in both mind and body. If it were up to me and someone sent an entire fleet of guerilla thugs at me, I’d probably step out of the treasure hunting game. But little things like that don’t stop Nathan. Yetis in Tibet do not stop Nathan. Hallucinogenic drugs do not stop Nathan. The dude gets thrown out of windows, survives plane crashes, and harsh days out in the desert. I mean, you can’t say you’re a real treasure hunter unless you can face those kinda situations and then some.

Mean Upper Body Strength: My entire God of War experience consisted of me wondering how much Kratos lifted in order for his arms to be able to withstand the force of gravity for that long. Same thing applied to Nathan. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s just a video game, but I think that’s the fun of it. By controlling the character, we are them and seeing as I’m never going to be able to get myself out of being on top of a speeding train, Nathan can be the brawn of the situation. He has insane strength capacity.

Humanity: When you boil down Nathan Drake’s character, it’s apparent that the guy is a thief. Even at the tender age of 15, he attempted to steal an important artifact from a museum. But pushing the thieving and cockiness aside, Nathan demonstrates to us many times his sense of humanity. He is the definition of a “ride-or-die” guy; no one is left behind. Although it may appear that Nathan’s intentions are for himself, he protects those who are important to him, even in life-or-death situations. He sets aside his self-interests and will do what is right for all.

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Yet, when we dig a bit further into the Uncharted series, we notice a specific game pattern: Nathan sets out to find an artifact. Artifact ends up being more than just an artifact. Nathan saves the day instead of getting the artifact. Let me say what I mean by this. Whatever artifact Nathan sets out to find never really ends up with him after all the trouble, but Nathan never seems frustrated at this. I think this all has to do with his backstory, which I’ll explain a little here.

Nathan is orphaned at a young age and is infatuated by the explorations of Sir Francis Drake. Because he was raised without parents, who are the first people we meet to give us a sense of our background and identity, he invents one via the Drake name and finds meaning in his existence. At the end of each of his adventures, he gains something much more valuable than simply the artifact.

At first, we are introduced to Nathan Drake as just a young guy who cares about little other than exploring, much like his ancestor.  As his story progresses, we see all the sides of Nathan Drake that also works to awaken the explorer within ourselves that was all but forgotten once we hit 12. I have to hand it to Nathan. His passion for exploring and conquering the unknown is unlike the rest. Despite things rarely ever going smoothly for our protagonist, you can definitely say that his life is far from boring.

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Overall, the Uncharted series is definitely for those who enjoy suspenseful adventuring gameplay along with well written plots and great humour. Nathan Drake’s character is one of endurance and resilience and is the reason I continue to revisit the Uncharted series.

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