Tomb Raider Will Not Be “Better” than Uncharted

The word is out: Lara Croft is apparently going to have a better game than Nathan Drake. The genius predictors cite things like her games originally innovating the genre itself and the beautiful new game she is set to star in, simply titled Tomb Raider, as proof of her triumphant return and domination of the witty protagonist from Sony’s blockbuster exclusive this generation. I agree with everything these people are saying…except for when they say it will be objectively “better” than Uncharted. Of course, just like this theory I am arguing against, this is simply one lone opinion. However, I hope that after reading this, you might see things a bit differently.

I have decided to break down this article into different arguments that people make for why Tomb Raider will be better and answer each of them individually.

Argument #1: Tomb Raider Inspired Uncharted.

Correct. Anyone that knows a bit of gaming history knows that the original Tomb Raider came out in 1996 for the Sega Saturn, eventually releasing for other platforms, such as the PS1. The Tomb Raider franchise has never really disappeared since then, seeing multiple releases throughout the years, but in the past decade or so Lara never really reached the same heights she did in her heyday.

Fast forward to 2007 and you have the release of the original Drake game, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. Comparisons were immediately drawn – you were looking for treasure, there were puzzles, there was platforming, etc. They key difference though, was Uncharted’s focus on storytelling, action and large set-piece moments. This was at a contrast to the slower-pace of the Tomb Raider games and their focus on puzzle-solving for the most part. Now, just because something inspired something else, that isn’t really relevant to the quality of either product. Uncharted isn’t a copy of the original Tomb Raider games and the new Tomb Raider isn’t a copy of Uncharted. It’s called progression and innovation. Both franchises are different and have always been different.

Now, on to the fundamental argument here: Since Tomb Raider originally inspired Uncharted, that means the revival of Tomb Raider will automatically make it a better game than Uncharted. This is false, primarily because no one has played the final version of Tomb Raider yet. Just because that franchise has been around longer, does not mean a new entry will automatically be better than the Uncharted franchise. Developers innovate and franchises progress over time, you’re looking at the game industry with too narrow of a lens if you’re expecting it to work that simply.

Argument #2: It Looks Like a Better Uncharted.

This is another one of the more popular arguments I have heard on the topic and if you think this, then you aren’t really understanding either franchise. Anyone that picks up the controller and plays a bit of an Uncharted game will immediately understand that it’s a game full of action, cover-based shooting and epic adventures. You’ll fight your way across the top of a speeding train, battle ancient curses and tumble out of a plane in mid-air. While the game’s are beautiful to look at, the situations that Drake find himself in are anything but “realistic.”

This is compared to the new Tomb Raider. While I have not played the game myself, based off of developer interviews, gameplay trailers, demo footage and the like I can conclude that their focus is not on any of those things listed above. Instead, this new Tomb Raider is going to be about immersion instead of intense action, personal character development instead of epic adventures and gritty survival tactics instead of cover-based shooting mechanics. Of course, it will probably have hints of those things as well, but those things aren’t the focus. For those reasons, it would be foolish to simply say that “Tomb Raider is a better version of Uncharted.” That just isn’t the case – they are very different experiences.

Argument #3: It’s Style is Better.

The three focuses that I listed above (immersion, character development and survival) seem to be employed incredibly well. Stated as being similar to Batman Begins in that it’s an origin tale of an established character, the new Tomb Raider promises to be one of the stand-out gaming experiences of 2013. However, just because it takes some of the experiences that Uncharted made so successful and mixed them with a different focus on gritty realism and immersion, does not objectively mean Tomb Raider will be a better game. You can hunt for food in Tomb Raider. You cannot hunt for food in Uncharted. However, you can play multiplayer in Uncharted. You cannot play multiplayer in Tomb Raider. Does this make either game better than the other? No.

Look at it this way: Nintendo essentially created the 2D side-scrolling platform genre with Super Mario Bros. Hundreds (maybe thousands) of games have came out since then that employ a similar mechanic, but let’s look at Rayman Origins for example. That game is fantastic and is easily one of my favorite games this generation. Now, New Super Mario Bros. U came out recently for the new Nintendo Wii U – would you say that game is objectively better or worse than Rayman? Probably not. Everyone has their own preferences and tastes, just like when it comes to Uncharted and Tomb Raider.

Just Enjoy Both!

While this is PlayStation University and I think Nathan Drake is one of the greatest male protagonists to ever grace my television screen in a video game, I’m not going to sit here and blindly state that his games are the best ever created. Instead, I’m going to ask that you enjoy both franchises, or if you have to pick one, choose based on your personal tastes. Would you rather play as a witty treasure hunter that travels to all corners of the world on epic adventures? Or would you rather explore the personal side of a young and tough woman that’s in way over her head fighting for survival? These are two very different experiences, although they may have been born from similar ideas.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Do you think one is just “better” than the other and I’m simply wrong?

About the author

David Jagneaux

I am The Dean (Editor-in-Chief) of PlayStation University. As a lifelong lover of both playing games and communicating, I knew that gaming journalism was the perfect fit. Over the years I have honed these skills in order to distinguish myself as an ambitious and creative writer passionate about gaming and the games industry.

Readers Comments (15)

  1. I agree with some of your opinions, that Uncharted is, in other words, the natural successor of Tomb Raider. CMIIW. 🙂

  2. Looks great, Uncharted is great, Lara and Drake are both great. Crossover game one day?? A bro can dream…

  3. LMAO.. says a one-sided site PSUNI.. *coughs
    Off course only sony idiots like this author would prefer playing games made in sony as a marketing scheme for readers to open their wallet for $ony.

    No thanks but fucking thanks you!

    • Lol nice name you have there. I guess you didn’t bother reading any of the article, but thanks for the comment anyways!

    • “No thanks but fucking thanks you!”???

      What a fantastic grasp of the English language you have there, your choice of words and sentence structure are positively illuminating.

      Thank you for proving that 360 fanboys are the most ignorant, uneducated retards on the face of the Earth.

      Back to the topic at hand, I doubt anybody with a brain expects Tomb Raider to outperform Uncharted. Uncharted 2 won pretty much EVERY end – of – year award on the planet, Tomb Raider would have to perform the same feat just to be AS good, nevermind better. I don’t see Tomb Raider getting too many GOTY’s in 2013 to be honest. Much like the trash that passes for an exclusive on the 360, Tomb Raider isn’t even in Uncharted’s league.

  4. Yoshida Shunhei December 21, 2012 @ 18:52

    hahaha all of sudden journalism is spot on. You know why! Childish minds never stop to cease.

  5. I’d rather playing boobs simulation, it’s waay more attractive to real men like me, any day any time.

    • Perfect Imperfection December 21, 2012 @ 20:56

      If you need to play a video game with breasts to feel like a man, then you sir need to get out more. I can download a porn video and play Uncharted and feel like a god, if that’s the case.

      • Why need to get out more when i am the ladies man? They come at me without me asking. Your logic is just pathetic to say the least. Playing boobs games is just a filler between my dates. Now go back playing your UnFarted boy or watch your homo porns like a gay god.

  6. You know what, you’re right in so many ways. It’s easy to gab about which of two games will be or is better simply because they share similarities, but at the core of each games is a unique design that their respective developers deserve to call their own. And we as gamers don’t deserve to knock on off and commend the other one as being universally better simply because of our bias towards it.

    Good writing. Pissing in the wind to a degree, but I still think it’s good writing. Keep it up.

  7. I never cared that much for the Uncharted series. I think the first one was alright. It had nice graphics and some cool exploration. The game was short and story was kinda blah.

    The second Uncharted game was pretty amazing. It had a good story, good acting and some fun set pieces. It probably deserved GOTY, but over the years it’s been a little overhyped if you asked me. Some people talk like it was the second coming.

    The third game wasn’t that great at all. The controls were a little off on aiming. The enemies, especially the snipers with laser sighting were annoying as fuck. I got real frustrated with the placement of enemies in this game. Being chased by hordes of beetles got old quick as well. Also the story wasn’t that great either and the ending seemed like a rehash of the UC2. Run away from the crumbling floor again? Really Naughty Dog? The fact IGN gave it a 10. Made me really question whether IGN reviewers aren’t being paid off by developers to give positive reviews.

    So why will Tomb Raider be better than Uncharted? Because it’s not Uncharted. I’m sick of Uncharted! I’m sick of Nolan North’s voice. I’m ready for something new. Hopefully this new Tomb Raider game delivers. So far I love everything I’m seeing. That said I can only speak for myself of course. The number one reason though I already like it more than Uncharted…BOW & ARROW!!!

    • That doesnt mean it’s going to be better though. I think to a certain extent David agreed with this in the article (though i’m not convinced that you read it). He said in his conclusion, “I’m going to ask that you enjoy both franchises, or if you have to pick one, choose based on your personal tastes.”

      That is to say Tomb Raider may be a better choice FOR YOU, but uncharted might be a better choice fr someone else. Neither indicated that either one is necessarily a better game.
      With this i agree.

  8. As a longtime fan of TR I wished that it didn’t have to ape uncharted but whatever it takes to keep Lara in business I guess. Not that I hate uncharted. Well, I DID hate it because I’m an avid fan of classic TR and Gears of war, but turns out expecting it to be a cross between those two was wrong, Uncharted actually plays more like a Die Hard movie.

  9. Uncharted was a Tomb Raider ripoff to begin with. Only 2 was good, the rest pretty mediocre after the hype. Sony overhype and underdeliver. A site calling itself a university that writes such dumb articles and caters to such a retarded community can never be taken seriously.

    • You should probably read the article next time before you comment. It will save you the energy it must have taken to write this. The author literally addressed basically everything you said in the article.

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