The Uncharted franchise has graced us with many memorable characters. It’s given us many incredible women, whether they’re good, bad, or both. Let’s take a look at some of the best female characters in Uncharted.
Note that the following may contain spoilers for the games.
5. MARISA CHASE
Unless you’ve played Uncharted: Golden Abyss on PS Vita, you might not be familiar with this character. She was Nathan’s sidekick in Golden Abyss, which was only released on PS Vita back in 2012 (2011 in Japan). She was essentially a fill-in for Elena Fisher, the events of the game taking place before Drake’s Fortune.
While Chase can be compared to Elena, they have their differences. Chase is a pretty capable woman, but she is young and lacks in experience. She’s more likely to need rescuing than any other sidekick you work alongside in Uncharted. She also refuses to use a gun (at least until towards the end of the game), so you’ll find yourself having to protect her a lot of the time.
Don’t mistake her for not being tough though. She’s quite a gutsy young woman, not afraid to stand up for herself or speak her mind, even to the scary Roberto Guerro, the main villain. Even when she’s being held hostage, she puts up a fight. She also starts a fire in a building as a distraction so she and Nathan can escape. It might not have been the best idea, but at least she was trying.
During the events of Golden Abyss, you learn more about Chase’s backstory as she opens up to Nathan. She was raised from a young age by her grandfather, an archaeologist, and they were very close. Sadly, her grandfather developed terminal cancer and went missing. Although she was expecting it, it’s tragic when Chase discovers his body. She’s determined to finish his work, demonstrating a lot of passion and emotion. It’s this that ultimately fuels Nathan’s motives to help her with finding the treasure.
The story in Golden Abyss becomes as much as Chase’s as it is Nathan’s, even if she’s not playable. She might not be Elena, but she’s still a likable character. It’s a shame she only appears in the one game, although it’s a nice touch having her name mentioned in Uncharted 4. Perhaps we’ll hear from Marisa Chase again one day?
4. KATHERINE MARLOWE
Marlowe was the very first female antagonist in Uncharted, appearing in the third game, Drake’s Deception. Marlowe is sinister and cunning, not to mention ruthless. She is the leader of an ancient secret order, with an army of agents working under her. She is aided by Talbot, her right-hand man. Together, they create a lot of trouble for Nathan and his allies.
Nathan first encountered Marlowe when he was just 15. After Nathan steals Sir Francis Drake’s ring, the same one Marlowe was after, she slaps him and orders her men to kill him. He most likely would have ended up dead if Sully hadn’t saved him. Marlowe will spare no one, not even minors, to achieve her goals.
Marlowe is someone who shows no mercy. She attempts to kill Charlie Cutter, one of Nathan’s allies, when he’s ousted as a mole. She strands Charlie at the top of a tower by setting fire to it, forcing him to jump. He survives, but it could have been more serious. She uses a hallucinogenic drug on her enemies, which causes confusion and paranoia, as demonstrated on Charlie and Nathan. She even threatens to drag Elena into things if Nathan becomes uncooperative.
Marlowe can also be cunning and manipulative. She attempts to get into Nathan’s head by taunting him about his relationship with Sully, trying to make him doubt his old friend and mentor. She also reveals that she knows about Nathan’s past, including the fact that Drake isn’t his real name. Marlowe’s powers are more than just her men’s muscle. She plays with your mind as well.
Marlowe’s ultimate goal is to travel to Ubar to recover the brass containing the Djinn (evil spirits), so she can control her enemies through fear by hallucinations and ultimately rule the world. If you’ve seen what her hallucinogenic drugs do, as well as what happens when Nathan drinks the water at Ubar, you know this is something very bad. If Marlowe got her hands on the Djinn, she could have ended up the most feared and powerful woman in the world.
Marlowe’s death is an interesting one. When she gets stuck in quicksand, she begs Nathan for help. She once again tries to manipulate him into “proving his greatness”. Nathan does try to save her, but his efforts are futile as Marlowe meets her demise. Although we don’t have a boss fight with her, her death angers Talbot into a final fight.
Marlowe is the reason Nathan loses his precious ring from his “ancestor”. She takes it from him after he is drugged and kidnapped. The ring is important in the third game, as it is how Nathan unwittingly met Marlowe and made an enemy out of her. When Marlowe takes it, it’s like she’s stolen a part of Nathan. It’s lost forever after it sinks into the quicksand with Marlowe. By then though, Nathan realizes it’s not that important anymore. It seems that Marlowe didn’t have hold over him after all.
3. NADINE ROSS
There’s no one quite like this fiercesome woman, who makes her debut in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. She is the leader of a ruthless PMC, and while she is technically a villain, she’s not evil.
In Nadine’s first ever scene, she is amicable with Sully, even buying him a drink. She doesn’t appear to be a grudge holder. She trounces Nathan in a hand-to-hand fight a bit later, but only because he stole an important clue leading to the treasure from her employer, Rafe Adler (the main villain of Uncharted 4). Things only get personal once Nathan and Sam start killing her men. Unlike previous villains, she cares about her men. Their deaths contribute to her growing wariness about getting the treasure.
While Rafe and Nadine do make a strong force to be reckoned with (Rafe for his money, Nadine for her muscle), it’s clear there’s a struggle for power. They disagree over how to proceed with finding the treasure. Nadine wants things done quickly, but Rafe wants to do things “cleanly”, annoyed with the recklessness of the mercenaries he’s hired.
While Rafe does make a valid point, Nadine retorts that their lack of progress has attracted competition (Nathan and Sam) and she doesn’t believe that Rafe knows what he’s doing. Since Nadine and her men continue with the use of explosives, it’s obvious that she prefers doing things her way and disregards Rafe’s leadership and his abilities.
Although she is working against them, Nadine does come to grudgingly admire the Drake brothers. She wonders if Rafe purposely lured the brothers to find the treasure, as he’s clearly struggling to make head-way himself. She admits to Nathan that he and his brother have proven to be the better treasure hunters, adding proof to this theory. When Nadine sees Sam stealing their boat to board Avery’s ship and claim the treasure, she doesn’t attempt to stop him. She points out that Sam has earned the treasure far more than Rafe – and she’s not wrong.
Nadine does not put up with any nonsense from anyone. When fighting Nathan at the auction to recover the cross, she refuses to be swayed by his charms and is rough with him. When Nathan and Sam are cornered, Rafe enjoys rubbing it in when Sam’s betrayal is revealed, but Nadine wants to shoot them and get it over with. She’s also impatient with finding the treasure and wants results quickly. She’s not going to let anyone or anything stop her or slow her down. She’s going to achieve her ends whatever it takes.
There’s one thing you must never do, and that’s betray Nadine. Rafe bribes her surviving men to turn against her, threatening to kill her if she doesn’t board Avery’s ship. Rafe might have temporary victory over her, but Nadine has the last laugh, betraying him and leaving him to die. In The Lost Legacy, Nadine is betrayed by her former lieutenant and her surviving men as they take over Shoreline. She decides to teach them a lesson. Nadine also feels betrayed when Chloe lied about Sam working with her, almost destroying their partnership.
Nadine’s lack of obsession over Avery’s treasure is very impressive, considering that she’s a ruthless mercenary who desperately needs it to bring her floundering PMC back to glory. It’s shown early on that she’s not as enthusiastic as Rafe or the Drake’s, suggesting to Rafe that they give up if it’s obvious they won’t find the treasure soon. It wanes as the story goes on, until Nadine refuses to grab the rest of the treasure from Avery’s booby-trapped ship. She’s desperate, but she’s not willing to lose everything, including her own life, for gold or glory.
Nadine’s got a lot of sense, refusing to risk her life (including her own men’s) for treasure. She understands what obsession and greed have done to all the pirates of Libertalia, not to mention anyone else who pursues Avery’s treasure, pointing this out to Nathan and Rafe before she bails. This allows Nadine to be the only villain to ever survive and walk away, because she knows when something just isn’t worth dying for.
That’s not the end for Nadine Ross. She is a central character in the follow-up game, The Lost Legacy. We get to learn more about Nadine, seeing a different side to her. She’s still tough and no-nonsense, but she does show a softer side. At first, she only wants to get her PMC back, which she’s lost control of, but by the end of it all, she decides it’s not worth it anymore and ventures down a new path. She earns her happy ending.
2. CHLOE FRAZER
Introduced in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Chloe became one of the biggest stand-out characters in the series. She makes a big impact, right from her entrance. She’s cool, feisty, and fun.
Chloe works with the bad guys in the second game, but only as a mole for Nathan. She cares about him, but gets annoyed when he jeopardizes their safety. Nevertheless, she does everything to protect him. Even after arguing with Nathan on the train, she stops Harry Flynn from killing him, standing between Nathan and Flynn’s gun. At the climax, she’s against Nathan trying to stop Lazarevic, pointing out the dangers. Chloe doesn’t want to risk her own life, or let Nathan risk his. She changes her mind though after some persuasion.
Chloe’s not a bad person, but she has her flaws. She shamelessly flirts with Nathan despite being in a relationship with Flynn, and plans for them to go off with the treasure together, leaving Flynn. Nathan fears Flynn will be angry, but Chloe dismisses this. This may have been the cause for Flynn’s animosity towards Nathan, fueling his jealousy. She also implores Nathan not to drag along Elena and her cameraman Jeff, fearing they’ll slow them down. While she does have a point, her willingness to leave people behind doesn’t put her in the best light.
As the game goes on, Chloe starts to think more about others. When Elena is badly wounded at the climax, Chloe willingly escorts Elena, and seems genuinely concerned that Elena might not make it. When it looks as if Elena has succumbed to her wounds, Chloe looks just as saddened as Nathan.
Chloe serves as a love interest for Nathan, but she realizes how much he cares about Elena. She selflessly decides that they would be better together. She takes it very well, not acting jealous or turning against them. She even encourages Nathan to tell Elena he loves her. In the end, they stay good friends.
Chloe returns in Uncharted 3 for further adventures with Nathan. She doesn’t play as big a role this time, but she has one significant scene. She stops a drugged Charlie from killing Nathan. If it hadn’t been for her, Nathan may have ended up dead, or Charlie, as Sully nearly shot him. After another hairy encounter with the bad guys, Chloe decides it’s not worth it and drops out. She’s someone who knows when it’s time to walk away.
Chloe returns in The Lost Legacy, becoming the playable character in place of Nathan Drake.
We finally get to learn about Chloe’s sad backstory. You can almost feel her pain whenever she starts talking about her dad, who went missing while pursuing the Tusk of Ganesh. It gets even worse when you learn of his fate. He motivates her to go after the treasure, finishing what he couldn’t. This is the first time we see Chloe being vulnerable.
Chloe and Nadine’s pairing in The Lost Legacy is very interesting. They seem like an unlikely match. Nadine is initially irritated by Chloe’s relaxed attitude. However, as they continue to work together, Chloe’s lightheartedness rubs off, and Nadine begins to lighten up too, showing another side to her. They ultimately make a great team, and it’s great to watch them work together.
1. ELENA FISHER
Of all the female characters in Uncharted, Elena is number one. She’s been around since the very beginning, and is one of the core characters.
Elena’s a journalist with a passion for history and travel. Her career is what leads her to meeting Nathan Drake, and the rest is history. Throughout Uncharted, her journalism career often coincides with Nathan’s treasure hunting exploits. Elena has useful contacts, one of the perks of her job, which she uses for others, not just for herself, including Nathan. This comes in handy several times throughout their adventures.
Elena may be more of a journalist than a treasure hunter, but she’s no dead weight. She’s very capable of looking after herself, as well as helping others. She can keep up well with Nathan, and can use a gun without hesitation. When she first uses a gun, while nervous, she can hold her own, not relying on Nathan to protect her.
Elena isn’t one to constantly need rescuing. The one time she gets captured, she manages to stop the villains from winning by causing their helicopter to crash, leading to Nathan being able to have a final showdown with them to stop them for good. She also manages to trail Lazarevic without getting into trouble (until she teams up with Nathan), and also somehow tracks Nathan down at Libertalia while evading mercenaries.
Elena has some pretty awesome moments. When Flynn prepares to kill her under Lazarevic’s orders, she gives him a good hard punch in the face, giving her and Nathan the chance to escape. She also bravely yells at Lazarevic to back off after they are cornered. Elena Fisher is certainly not one to be underestimated. She might not look like it, but she’s a fiery person with no fear.
Nathan and Elena’s relationship throughout Uncharted is a central theme. While they’re ultimately a strong loving couple, they do suffer some stormy moments in their relationship. They marry between the second and third game, but become separated. While they do reconcile, their marriage is at breaking point again in Uncharted 4, when Elena discovers that Nathan lied about going after the treasure and the existence of his brother. Nathan’s lying and obsession for treasure is usually the cause for their relationship straining.
In the end though, Nathan and Elena can’t be torn apart, as their love for each other is too strong. In Uncharted 3, Elena is visibly relieved when Nathan turns up after being abducted. She also keeps wearing her wedding ring, despite them being separated. She claims it helps in the part of the world where she works – or is it really because she still loves Nathan? In Uncharted 4, after their big fallout, Elena comes to Nathan and Sam’s rescue, unable to leave them behind, forgiving Nathan.
Elena does understand Nathan’s passion for history and adventure, even sharing it. In Uncharted 4, Nathan and Elena have retired from illegal treasure hunting, attempting to have a “normal life”. However, Elena can tell that Nathan is longing for adventure, concerned that he isn’t completely happy. She even encourages him to take on a not-so-legal job, which Nathan stubbornly declines. It’s only when Nathan lies and gets obsessed that she gets exasperated with him.
Elena eventually comes to accept Nathan’s lust for adventure, as well as her own, realizing where their passions and ambitions lie. Elena takes over the salvage company where Nathan works and also revives her old TV show. That way, she and Nathan can embark on the careers they really love doing. It’s Elena who makes this realization and makes it happen. She’s the key to her and Nathan’s happily ever after.
Although this list only features five of the greatest female characters, all the women in the Uncharted series serve as positive role models for video game characters. Every one contributes something important to the games, even the more minor characters. They’re part of what makes Uncharted so great.