Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End has proven to be one of the series’ high points and a grand way to send off one of the most iconic characters in gaming. For years, Nathan Drake has defined what an action hero should be; brave, fearless, strong, and grounded in reality. Even though Nathan and his counterparts share the limelight, it is the diabolical villains that truly elevate a story about friendship and romance into a story about overcoming very harsh odds. The following list takes these powerful antagonists and pits them against each other in the ranking of the evilest Uncharted villains. To qualify the twelve evil doers either had to be leaders of coalitions fighting against Drake, or ancient species who guarded the world’s most irresistible treasures. Anyone from the game’s “main” four games will be counted. Seeing as Golden Abyss was not really developed by Naughty Dog, villains from the Vita hit will not be included. The most important aspects I’m analysing here are; how deep their narrative is, the danger they pose to Nathan Drake, how well they are acted and how they impacted the Uncharted series as a whole.

Spoiler warning; some strong plot spoilers ahead for every Uncharted game on the Ps3 or Ps4.

13. Uncharted 2: The Guardians

The guardians in Among Thieves were some of the most unthoughtful pieces of lore in Uncharted’s four main staples. The beast was introduced while you led Drake into a cave system with a non-English speaking guide and your cocky attitude to accompany you. While the initial scene was eerie and quite scary when the yeti looking monster finally shows its hide, it’s the way the monster is “justified” that earns it a spot so low on this list. An ancient guardian race was sent to protect the fortuned city of Shambhala. If somehow their purple, bullet reflecting skin did not scare off adventurers like Nathan, the ancient race decides to dress up as full blown mountain monsters. It is a weird choice to back up mysterious cave-dwelling ferocities with more outlandish creatures. The event that unmasked the hideous monsters and showed, well, hideous monsters, was supposed to be a jaw dropper (easy to tell with all of the deep sounds and gasps) but was really just the only major hiccup in Uncharted 2’s great story.


12. Descendants

Like the Guardians, the descendants were tasked with protecting the spoils that Nathan and his cohorts were chasing. Unlike the Guardians, these zombie-like acrobats actually had somewhat of a background. After the Spanish Armada had found “El Dorado” they opened the gigantic golden sarcophagus (plural is pronounced the same way little Drake) and were gifted with a long life, and the need to eat humans who wandered near the sacred vessel ever again. These bloodthirsty demon spawns littered the original Uncharted’s last couple of scenes and created a bit of a horror feel while wandering the catacombs near El Dorado. These creatures managed to kill one of the people on this list as well as the Nazi adventurers who tried to best the monsters years before Nathan and his motley crew did.


11. Talbot

Imagine that one annoying cousin. The one always flicking your ear and running away, somehow always alluding you and hiding behind mum. Now imagine this same cousin is armed with poison that makes you believe your best friend is dead and relentless demons are after you, that’s Talbot. He almost exclusively served to annoy Drake and to do Katherine Marlowe’s dirty work. He has a few lines but none of them amount to much, making his story one which plainly serves to cause a conflict for Nathan Drake. His “boss fight” was quick, required little skill and caused no impact on the story whatsoever. While he was one of the more sneaky and cunning villains, Talbot had little impact on the grand adventures of Nathan Drake.


10. Rameses

As far as pirates go, Rameses is pretty tricky. He manages to secure the right to kill Nathan Drake, a VIP in Katherine Marlowe’s disposable party. He uses this as a potential business opportunity because every mercenary who hears about endless riches has to be involved somehow. He tricks Nathan into thinking he has Sully (even though this might’ve been easy considering Nathan’s absence while unconscious) and actually had me fooled for a minute too. While Nathan hunts for him, he escapes through parkour and having some great reflexes. Every time I inched closer I thought I had little ole Rameses, but before you know it he slipped out of sight. He died a rather honourable death if you’re a cash-crazed mercenary. He tried taking Nathan’s life while also taking his, single-handedly causing the gigantic ship him and Nathan were on to plummet to the bottom of the ocean.


9. Gabriel Roman

The main antagonist of the original Uncharted and one which was put on the bench for the likes of a few others on this list. Roman was a dangerous man; much like Lazarevich, and Katherine, and just about every other villain in the series. What set Roman apart is that he came first. Before Naughty Dog made great characters like the ones mentioned before, they had to start with someone like Gabriel Roman. He was ruthless in the way he went about business. He stopped at nothing to get to El Dorado but was, fortunately, unsuccessful in claiming the treasures real value. If you thought he was terrifying as a regular person, you should see him as a flesh munching monster.


8. Eddy Raja

One of the more refreshing and fun characters of the first Uncharted was this bucket of bad, Eddy Raja. With a golden desert eagle and a knack for laughing in the face of Nathan, Eddy successfully captures the orphan although he quickly loses that upper hand when a violent journalist comes to the rescue. Eddy is the typical villain, long speeches and gun waving make him one of Nathan’s most stereotypical enemies. This behind, he was truly the only character other than Drake, who did not take himself too seriously. He met Drakes sarcasm with even more reflected the adventurers way. Eddy ultimately had a gruesome and somewhat sad ending, but you know Nathan. When one enemy dies, it’s on to the next criminal dirt bag.


7. Lazarevich

Horrid flashbacks of that final Uncharted 3 boss battle rot in my brain. The whole fight was little more than running in circles and shooting at trees. While the overall ending of Drake’s Deception was okay, the Lazarevich fight was one of the worst moments in Uncharted’s (and possibly Naughty Dog’s) entire run. Other than this the Russian terrorist was demonic and cast a grey shadow over the chase for Shambala. This is the first time a villain has planned for world domination and other cynical motives. Before it was “I need money” but with this war criminal, it was dictator-like chaos in the works, Lazarevich actually refers to Hitler in the game, and says that his work will be nothing compared to his. This made Lazarevich one of the most fearful and capable villains in the series, even if his final moments bored even the most die-hard Uncharted fan.


6. Atoq Navarro

Uncharted 2’s real winner. Navarro fell silent behind Gabriel Roman while secretly plotting his master plan; take Eldorado for himself. The obsession that Roman had with the treasure was unhealthy, and Navarro used this as an advantage. Once you think the search is over and Gabriel is going to claim what he wrongfully earned, Navarro encourages him to open the tomb. This reveals Navarro’s real motives and turns his boss into a crazed Descendant. This theme of betrayal would go on to become a prime driving force behind some minor storylines in Uncharted 3 and 4. Although Naughty Dog did not master the role of scheming villain in Uncharted 2 with the mischievous Navarro, they certainly got close to creating the eye opening moment this next character made.


5. Rafe Adler

Rafe Adler was probably the only main antagonist (out of Katherine, Lazaravich, and Roman) that was played extremely well. You could see how much he hated Nathan throughout the whole experience of the last Uncharted. He hires his own private army, employs Drake’s brother, and even resorts sword fighting to try and end Nathan’s life. He changes from a somewhat competitive rival to an all-out maniac obsessed not with just receiving Henry Avery’s mass wealth, but also killing his only running mate in Nathan Drake. Some might argue that his personal story wasn’t as deep as some of the other people on this list, but remember story is not my only critique here. Rafe is one of the only villains on this list who actually pulled the trigger on Nathan Drake. There was no long speech and no drawn out plan, he plainly and clearly pulls the trigger right in front of Nathan’s chest. If Sam wouldn’t have heroically taken the bullet for his brother, our hero would be dead. It is this reason, combined with the amazing acting of Warren Kole to make Rafe into something other villains in an Uncharted game were; desperately dangerous.


4. Harry Flynn

What a backstabbing, manipulative copy of Drake this one was. Flynn made his debut as an original partner of Drake. He makes a pitch to Drake that the handsome man could never resist; the path to Shambhala. He tells Drake of the key, and helps him obtain it by breaking into a museum. Before you know it Flynn is betraying Drake and taking the key to the real mastermind, Lazarevich. Flynn is not only interesting because of the backstabbing he commits to his chum, he is intriguingly deep. Not so much that he deserves more spotlight or anything but enough to warrant a little more screen time. He is an archeologist like Drake, and his sense of curiosity is less inspired by natural wonder and more motivated by cold hard cash. He competes for his crush, Chloe, so much so that when he loses her for good he tries to blow up Drakes only true love; Elena Fisher. Flynn was an interesting conversation starter, and because he managed to steal the spotlight from main antagonist Lazarevich for a little while, he earns a place all the way at number four.


3. Katherine Marlowe

Finally, an actual character. Katherine burst onto the scene in Uncharted 3 and immediately made an impact on how the story played out. Her history with Sullivan and Cutter made her a great villain for Nathan to pair up against. Her tactics were ruthless, her heart was cold, and like Rafe she was one of the people that really genuinely hated Nate. She saw a young boy grow from a “street rat” to a grown man with the help of her ex-love interest, who both stole her keys to the lost city. Katherine Marlowe had a major attraction to power and getting into the lost city was her first concern, which made her believable. What real life treasure hunter would waste their time and resources on an orphan, an old man, and a shabby journalist? She’s even got the danger aspect down, creating a drug that almost had Nathan killed by the hands of his own ally. Katherine was fierce and most importantly an important step in Naughty Dog’s ability to create hateable antagonists.


2. Nadine Ross

Nadine Ross may not be the most terrifying person on this list, but her bite is a lot bigger than her bark. Nadine is also complex, thought out and extremely capable. Leading her mercenary troops to defeat the four aging archaeologists, Nadine is all business and if it was not for Rafe’s constant interruptions, could have killed Drake a lot easier in A Thief’s End. Nadine grows from a paid killer to a rounded person aware of the destruction going on around her. She realizes that this whole chase for a treasure is not worth anyone’s life, including hers. For this she earns the prize of life. Once again we have a character in the top three that defies all of Naughty Dog’s attempts at a sophisticated antagonist. Nadine is twenty times more enhanced than Drake in terms of hand to hand combat too, the suave swashbuckler begs for his life on several occasions showing Ross’s advanced moves. If you think Nadine is the prime example of Nathan’s worst counterpart, you’re dead wrong. Number one is going to blow the lid off of this list.


1. Drake’s Curiosity

I know, cop-out. When I initially thought of who defines the greatest villain in our titular heroes adventures I did not have a person in mind. Instead I had this feeling. You see it in Nathan’s eyes, the glow, the magic, the pure adrenaline rush he gets from treasure hunting. Each clue stabs at him just telling him that if he doesn’t go further, he will fail himself. This constant pull of adventure is the hero’s biggest fault, and it makes him more human. We all have our imperfections and with Uncharted’s hero it is no different. Uncharted 4 captures this sense of growing danger being faced no matter the cost, in exchange for the rush Nathan receives from all of it. If it was not for these adventures it could be argued that Nathan would still be in his orphanage or worse, stamping paperwork in a boring office job. No matter how far Nathan runs he cannot escape the grasp of the spirit of curiosity and it is only in his final adventure that we see our hero overcome this inner conflict. The biggest enemy of Nathan Drake is no mere mortal, but instead the thought that the world’s next great discovery could be lurking behind the smallest beginnings.