Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

I love action-adventure games — games that take you through exotic places and breath-taking environments where you satisfy your appetite for adventure. So I’m going to walk you through some of my all-time favorite action-adventure video games and game series.

Note that “action-adventure” is a broad, vague term that often gets applied to many different genres, but I’m going to use the simplest definition possible: video games that contain both action and adventure. I’m talking about compelling, action-oriented gameplay coupled with stories that draw you in. That’s still kind of vague — and the vagueness means that many of these games can be filed into other genre categories — but I think that at least gives you some idea of where I’m coming from.

So here are my favorite action-adventure games of all time.

Prince of Persia (1989)

Prince of Persia

Prince of Persia (1989) introduced me to the world of action-adventure video games when I was a child, and I’m sure I’m not the only person with this experience — after all, the swashbuckling adventure has won hearts all over the globe. Whenever a new Prince of Persia game comes out, it gives me sleepless nights and mixed feelings of nostalgia for the original game in the series. While there has been a Prince of Persia hiatus in recent years, a remake of Prince of Persia The Sands of Time has been underway for quite some time. My fingers are crossed that it can bring back the magic of the original.

Indiana Jones (series)

Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine

“If adventure has a name, it must be Indiana Jones.” How true that is!

Indiana Jones, in case you somehow aren’t familiar, is a witty and clever archeologist who travels the world to look for hidden treasures. Audiences were first introduced to him with the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, but Dr. Jones is still popular with many fans to this day. And through the years, he’s starred in a number of video games.

What I love the most about Indy series is its hand-to-hand combat and adventurous rides throughout various exotic locales, which is as perfect a fit for the video-game medium as it is for film. The first Indy game I played was Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, which came out in way back in 1999, and it looks like I might get to play another one soon. As it turns out, Bethesda and MachineGuns are working on a brand new Indy title, which is slated to release in 2023. I just can’t wait for it.

Uncharted 4: A Thieves End

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

The last true Indiana Jones game was Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb, which came out way back in 2003. Since then, there have been multiple entries in the LEGO Indiana Jones series and some mobile games (along with the educational Adventures of Young Indiana Jones series), but nothing that would really scratch the itch for another full adventure in the series. This means there’s been an Indy-shaped hole in the hearts of action-adventure fans for almost two decades now.

Naughty Dog saw an opportunity here, and they crafted an action-adventure game titled Uncharted: Drakes Fortune in 2007, which was very clearly a modern take on Indiana Jones. The series protagonist, Nathan Drake, is a young, witty, and passionate adventurer who explores environments to find hidden treasures. Sound familiar?

Uncharted 4: A Thieves End is supposedly Nathan Drake’s last adventure, and in my opinion, it’s also his best. It has an emotional touch, as it shows Drake start to realize he’s a family man now, no longer the young, scrappy treasure hunter of his younger years. It’s a satisfying conclusion to Drake’s multi-game story arc.

At the same time, I can’t help but wonder why Naughty Dog chose to end Drake’s journey instead of continuing it. I do get the sense, though, that Nate might still be a part of future Uncharted games in some way or other, even if he’s not the main character. If Indy can make a comeback in this day and age, then why not Nathan Drake?

Heavy Rain (2010)

Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain is the brainchild of David Cage, who founded Quantic Dream. The game came out back in 2010, but it still fresh in my memory. I would even argue that it’s one of the best interactive adventure games of all time.

Throughout the game, you control four different characters, each with their own background. These threads are woven together into a compelling storyline with multiple endings and scenes based on the choices you make. This truly shows the power of the butterfly effect within a choice-based video game.

Quantic Dream went on to make Beyond: Two Souls (2013) and Detroit: Become Human (2018) but neither even comes close to Heavy Rain in my humble opinion. I wish David Cage could create that Heavy Rain magic one more time and give us a true sequel after all these years. Oh, I can dream!

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (2013)

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a BAFTA Award-winning game developed by Starbreeze Studios that tells the story of two children in a fantasy world of orcs and monsters. It features co-op gameplay and a very emotional storyline, which grabs your attention right from the very beginning. In my opinion, the art direction is superb, even though it’s clear the game didn’t have triple-A budget. But bigger budgets do not guarantee success. No, it’s immersive gameplay and engaging storylines that will make or break any action-adventure game, and Brothers excels at delivering both of these things.

Resident Evil (series)

Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil coined the term “survival horror” back in the 1990s, and it has been a staple of the games industry ever since. Though I was a huge fan of the third-person entries in series (Leon S. Kennedy is my favorite character out of them all), the first-person perspective in the newest Resident Evil games has given the franchise an all-new look.

My favorite game in the series is Resident Evil 4, which features Leon S. Kennedy as the main character, but the latest outing in the series, Resident Evil Village (featuring Ethan Winters in the lead role), continues the legacy of this long-running series. The Resident Evil franchise has been going great guns, so it’s great to see that Capcom has redefined their game formula rather than milking the same stuff over and over again.

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