I’ve wanted to talk about do a side by side comparison of Uncharted 4 and Rise of The Tomb Raider for a little while now but I wanted to wait until I had some time to sit on both games and really think about them. I have broken the games down into 15 categories which I will be comparing the two games and finding a winner for each category at the end, I will add up the scores and find out who the winner is.
With that being said, major spoiler alert to the following games…Uncharted 4 and Rise of the Tomb Raider.
1). Main Character
Uncharted 4: Nathan Drake is arguably one of the most likable video games characters ever created. First and foremost, he’s a bad ass. He takes on thousands of enemies and mows them down like nothing. He’s a treasure hunter, he’s incredibly intelligent and most importantly, he’s witty smart ass. Some companies create characters who are trying to be cool, he’s not trying…he just is.
Rise of the Tomb Raider: Lara Croft is the best representation of a female character that I have ever seen. She is not overly sexualized with monstrous titties but at the same time she stunningly beautiful. But its not just about her looks, she’s tough, mentally strong and very motivated. She doesn’t back down from a fight and will always come out on top. She’s the type of woman that little girls should look up to. With that being said, my one gripe is that she takes herself very seriously. I would like to see her lighten up a little bit.
Winner: Uncharted: I’m sorry, this is a tough choice. I like Lara as a character but Nate has this wittiness and banter that make him such an enjoyable character.
Uncharted 4: The shooting in Uncharted is not great, its serviceable but at average at best. Its the one thing that I always hated about the Uncharted series. Plus it always annoyed me when I finally find a gun that I like but then the next chapter starts and the gun is gone.
Rise of the Tomb Raider: I don’t like the guns in Tomb Raider either, I think the guns in Tomb Raider might be worse than the ones in Uncharted. With that being said, using the bow and arrow in Tomb Raider is extremely satisfying. When you get that head shot using a bow and arrow, it feels like you’re on top of the world. The game also has a simple RPG game mechanic of experience and leveling up. Its very basic but its nice to get experience for kills, it just gives the kills a little more meaning.
Winner: Tomb Raider by a long slide.
Uncharted 4: Uncharted has very basic combat and combo system. Its just Square, Square, Square (or maybe Square, Triangle, Square) but the combat animations have been improved and they do look a lot better. For Stealth, the game does add some stealth features where you can actually tag AI. The stealth is still really basic but does work well.
Rise of the Tomb Raider: The combat in Tomb Raider is primarily revolved around her axe, she stabs people with that and it just feels gruesome. The stealth works really well and I have no doubts that some people can beat entire levels by stealthily sneaking around.
Winner: Tomb Raider, Each levels like its designed to give you multiple options and allow the player creative freedom to play the way they want to play.
Uncharted 4: The platforming in the game is extremely refined. I didn’t find myself dying too often while climbing, jumping or traversing which is always nice. As well as the platforming works there is too much of it. By the end of the game, you are completely sick of it.
Rise of the Tomb Raider: Unfortunately its not quite as refined as Uncharted, there were a couple instances where I died and it felt like it was the games fault. The one big bonus I really liked about the platforming was, there seems to be more variety. The climbing arrows was a very nice addition.
Winner: Tomb Raider-Oddly enough, it just never gets sickening.
Uncharted 4: There are 109 treasure to collect in Uncharted so there is a decent amount to look around and try to find. The problem is, there really is no reason to unless you want the PlayStation trophies.
Rise of the Tomb Raider: The game has a lot to collect between coins, relics, documents, murals, the list goes on. What I like is, they all have meaning. When you pick up ancient relic such as a cup. There is a story behind the cup,text pops up telling you the history. Lara is talking about the item or reading the document, its a nice little touch. Plus there is an added bonus getting experience for everything you collect.
Winner: Tomb Raider, The games makes it so you want to collect everything.
Uncharted 4: Out of the 4 uncharted games, 4th installment certainly has the largest playable area. The problem, there really isn’t a reason to go exploring.
Rise of the Tomb Raider: There is more to explore, there are secondary missions. Hidden Tombs, caves with hidden items or maybe wolf dens. I spent a good 10 hours just walking around and exploring the nooks and crannies of each world.
Winner: Tomb Raider, there is not much to say.
Uncharted 4: The puzzles in Uncharted are easy enough you won’t be stuck for hours but at the same time, tough enough to get you to stop and think about it for a second. Some are memory based and some are kind of tricky. The Cross Puzzle comes to mind where you have to match the 3 crosses with the 3 lights, that one took me a little while but once you stop and think about it,its not too difficult.
Rise of the Tomb Raider: There are a lot more puzzles in this game over Uncharted but its nice because if you don’t care about the side quests then you can avoid most of them by not going into the ancient Tombs. There is one puzzle that stands out to me and thats the Orrery Puzzle. You not only have to solve the puzzle but there is this element of platforming where you’re jumping from platform to platform but nothing is stationary, everything is rotating around in a circle.
Winner: Tomb Raider because the Orrery is the coolest puzzle I have ever had to solve.
8). Voice Acting
Uncharted 4: Uncharted has the two biggest voice actors in video games right now, Nolan North (Nathan Drake) and Troy Baker (Sam Drake). I can’t just compliment them though Emily Rose (Elena Fisher), Richard McGonagle (Sully), Warren Kole (Rafe)…the list goes on and on. Everyone does a spectacular job and there wasn’t a single moment in the game that made me think, “that feels unnatural or just poorly scripted.”
Rise of the Tomb Raider: Lara Crofts voice actress Camilla Luddington was one of the best performances that I saw all year. I know this is very subjective but I love the way her voice sounds and her accent certainly helps. The problem is some of the supporting actors and actresses had small moments where things did seem somewhat forced.
Winner: Uncharted, the three main voice actors just have this chemistry with one another so everything just feels natural when the three (Nate, Sully and Elena) are talking.
9). Character Development
Uncharted 4: A lot of the character development winds up happening in the 2 flash back chapters. In the 2 chapters you play as young Nathan Drake where you meet an old woman and she talks about Nate and Sam’s mother. The other big moment of character development in the game is at the very end in the epilogue. I won’t go into too much detail about that right now but specifically Nate and Elena really have changed for the better.
Rise of the Tomb Raider:If you look at both games (Tomb Raider 2013 & Rise of the Tomb Raider), Lara has developed so much in these two games. She went from being a scared young woman and she’s slowly turned into the Tomb Raider. I’m excited for the future of this franchise for this reason alone.
Winner: Uncharted, the epilogue pushes this game to the top. If you’re a fan of the franchise then the epilogue is everything you want in an Uncharted game.
10). Secondary Characters
Uncharted 4: Uncharted has 3 main secondary characters and they’re Sully, Sam and Elena. Sam is the new character of the franchise and probably the least likable but as the game progresses he starts to wear on you a little bit. Sully is much older in this iteration but still a fan favorite and Elena is the love interest of the game. Elena and Sully are both such strong support characters for Nathan himself, sully being the father figure and Elena being the rock who ends up being there for Nathan when he needed her the most.
Rise of the Tomb Raider:The two big secondary characters in this game are Jonah and Jacob. I liked Jonah in the first game but his character seems to take a step back in this game and he’s just less prevalent. Jacob is a new character in this game and he’s not going to be in another one but there isn’t a lot about him thats overly that great. Tomb Raider is more about Lara going off onto her own where Uncharted has Nate is almost always working with someone else.
Winner: Uncharted, Tomb Raider is Lara Croft where Uncharted is Nathan and his team.
11). Cut scenes
Uncharted 4: This game flawlessly transitions from gameplay to cut scenes and then back to gameplay extremely well. In the one chapter there’s a sequence where Sam, Sully and Nate are at the auction. As Nate is platforming from building to building, Sully is also talking to the games antagonists Rafe and Nadine, the way it the game cuts back and forth between the 2 sequences is something special. It honestly felt like a movie.
I do have to mention my favorite cut scene in the entire game. It’s towards the end when Nate and Elena are in the house of Thomas Tew. This is where they discover there was dinner among pirates, Henry Every (Avery) and Thomas Tew wound up poisoning all the other pirates in Libertalia so they could keep the treasure for themselves. I know its not historically accurate but I still loved this scene.
Rise of the Tomb Raider: The cut scenes are a little less are a little less memorable in this game but there is one that stands out to me. Its towards the beginning when Lara is captured by the main villain organization, Trinity. The next thing you know, Lara wakes up and she discovers that not only was she capture but her step mom, Ana was as well. The games main protagonist starts to strangle Ana so Lara will divulge information. Lara doesn’t know anything but thats when one the big plot twist of the game happens, you find out that Ana actually works with Trinity. Also, Ana is a bitch.
Winner: Uncharted, the game is driven by the cut scenes.
12). World/Stage Designs
Uncharted 4: There is a wide variety of different environment and landscapes in this game. You encounter the ocean, a city market place, graveyard in England, Auction house in Brazil, Panamanian jail and Madagascar. You bounce around so much but it all works flows together so well.
Rise of the Tomb Raider:You spend a little bit of time at Croft Manor, you spend a little time in Syria but spend 90% of the game in Russia. Although there is less variety, there is more to do and the seems to be more creative freedom.
Winner:Tomb Raider– I love the variety of Uncharted but different locations don’t really offer up any new gameplay.
Uncharted 4: The two main Antagonists who are working together are Rafe and Nadine. Rafe is a rich kid who is a spoiled rich kid who is really looking for a legacy. He wants to go down in history as the man who discovered Henry Avery’s great treasure. Unfortunately he has lost some of his sanity in the process. Nadine is his partner but shes just a mercenary who doesn’t really care about the treasure. To her, its just another job.
Rise of the Tomb Raider: The two main antagonists are Konstantin and Ana who are actually siblings. Ana is dying so her and Konstantin go to Russia to acquire the Divine Source. The Divine Source is this biblical artifact that grants immortality and so they simply want to save Ana from dyeing. They also wanted to give the Divine Source to Trinity and then Trinity would become all powerful and take over the world.
Winner: Uncharted, I liked Rafe better as a character and his motivations seem less stereotypical and it wasn’t all about world domination. He was just a normal guy who became a little too obsessed with a treasure.
Uncharted 4: The Uncharted series has always been about fictional history. They take these fictional places of mystery and a create a story of how Nate and the others discover these magical places. The 4th installment is no different but this time, its literally all about pirates from the golden age of piracy. I’m a big history nerd so these kinds of games are going to interest me. No to mention, who doesn’t enjoy a good Pirate story?
Rise of the Tomb Raider:The story concept is similar to the Uncharted series but its a little more biblical. I don’t mean that the game has heavy religious tones and pushing a Christian agenda, I just mean that the game has more of a biblical historical feel. The story isn’t awful but it felt a little stereotypical with the Villains wanting to create a super natural army and wanted to take over the world.
Winner: Uncharted, for a very simple reason…Pirates.
Uncharted 4: The epilogue occurs about 15 years after the games ending so when the scene begins, its a little confusing. All you know is, you’re a young blonde girl (about 15) and you have to piece together who you are by walking around a house. As you walk around the house you discover that you’re Nathan and Elena’s daughter, Cassie. The ultimate fan service though is the moment when you find out what Nate and Elena have been up to in the last 15 years. They continued to do what they love but found a way to do it safely and legally.
Another little detail that I have to bring is, some place in the middle of the game where Nate is walking through a city market place. In the market there is an option to play with a monkey. If you chose to play with the monkey, Sully will come up and tell you that we don’t have time and you have to go. Nate basically calls him a kill joy and makes a joke that he’s going to get a dog and name it after Sully. Flash forward to the epilogue, Nate has a dog and names her Vicki. Vicki is of course short for Victor which is Sully’s first name. Its the little things in this game that make it so great.
Rise of the Tomb Raider: The game ends with Lara destroying the divine source and saving the world. The epilogue is where is gets more interesting, Lara and Ana are outside talking about Lara’s father. Then out of no where Ana is shot by a sniper and killed on the spot. You cut to the sniper and he asks a man about Lara and wonders if he should take her out and he of course says “Not yet.” This ending was about a cliff hanger and to get you thinking about the future sequel.
Winner: Uncharted, Best way to end a franchise.
Uncharted 4: 8
Rise of the Tomb Raider: 7
Its a very close call and to simple put it Rise of the Tomb Raider has better game mechanics and overall gameplay but Uncharted has a much better story and the characters are more likable. If Tomb Raider sticks with formula for gameplay but comes up with a better story, I have no doubts that a Tomb Raider sequel could become one of the best games in the history of gaming.