When it comes to modern gaming, I waffle between love and indifference, with a lot of the newer franchises leaving me cold. I’m more apt to spin a disc in my Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, or go back to the truly retro treasures of my youth in the 80’s. That having been said, Uncharted has undoubtedly been one of my favorite franchises in the modern era. I was hooked the moment I started the first game and it was pure love ever since. The star of the series, Nathan Drake, was always perfectly suited to action figure stardom, but until now all we got was a Sixth-Scale Sideshow figure with a very unfortunate head sculpt. And as bad as it looked, I still came close to buying it a few times. Fast forward to now and NECA has secured the license from Sony/Naughty Dog and have worked their usual magic on this figure of my second favorite globe-trotting treasure hunter.
We should all know by now what to expect from the packaging. I’ve Featured a dozen of these Ultimate figures now and the presentation has always been top notch. They did step away from the game box style branding a little here. If you remember, the Ultimate Kratos package actually looked like a box to a PS3 peripheral. Here we just get some great artwork on the front, the name of the figure and series on the side panels, and a front flap, secured by velcro, which opens to reveal a printed map interior and a window to show off the figure. Everything is collector friendly and Nathan comes on a single tray with all his extra goodies surrounding him. And the best thing? THIS FIGURE DOES NOT NEED YOU TO DOWNLOAD A 5.5 GIG LAUNCH DAY PATCH LIKE THE F’CKING GAME DID!!!!
As a character, Drake only dabbles with a signature look, usually making due with a grunge-encrusted T-shirt with a button down collar. In the case of Uncharted 4, it’s blue, but I recall it being white in the previous games. From the waist down, he doesn’t stray too far from the Indiana Jones path, featuring a pair of khaki pants and brown boots. The clothing here is perfectly reproduced though some detailed sculpting and some expert paintwork. The blue top has a wet sheen to it, reflecting a mix of sweat and water from whatever river Nathan just dragged himself through. You also get some general dirt and grime, and some blood stains, hopefully mostly from the bad guys. The paint wash on the pants reflect the mud from miles of jungle, and of course a few more patches of blood. Other beautiful little details are included in his belt, the stitching on his pants, and the pouch he wears behind his right hip.
Drake features a functional brown shoulder holster, permanently laid onto the figure. The wear and tear on the holster itself is absolutely fantastic and it holds his gun beautifully. The right side includes a pair of sculpted magazine pouches. You also get a grappling hook, sculpted in a coil that tabs right into Drake’s left hip and offers a very obvious wink and a nod to that certain other intrepid adventurer.
You get two head sculpts with the figure, which continues to be one of my favorite things about NECA’s Ultimate line and also continues to tempt me into getting doubles sometimes to display both options. So far, I’ve resisted! First, you get a portrait with a rather neutral expression. NECA did a beautiful job on this likeness from the sculpt, right down to the paint. I can’t move on without once again pointing out how ironic it is that NECA was able to produce such a great portrait in a $25 6-inch action figure, while Sideshow totally shit the bed on their $160 12-inch Drake. And believe me, I love Sideshow and I think they’re products are overall fantastic. I’m not trying to pick on them, but NECA deserves some real kudos here. I also love how the shirt appears to be laid onto the buck, which adds a lot of convincing depth to the top buttons and collar.
The other noggin option is Drake’s “I’m sick of this shit, and I’m going to kick all your asses,” expression. When it comes to displaying my figures, I’m usually one to go with the less expressive portraits, but here’s one that might be an exception. Slap this head on the figure, get him in an action pose with one of his guns, and you’ve got a great display piece. Dammit, now I’m talking myself into picking up a second one to go with both options.
The articulation here is overall pretty standard for NECA’s Ultimate line, with just one noteworthy exception. As for the usual stuff, you get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, and ankles, and there are swivels in the biceps. The big departure here was the decision to go with double hinges in the knees, rather than rotating hinges. I think it was a good choice, as it does allow for that extra deep leg bend. The sacrifice is some pretty chunky looking hinges exposed on the backs of the legs. It doesn’t bother me much, but some might take issue. You also get a ball joint hidden under the shirt, just above the waist, and a ball joint in the neck. The range of motion in the elbows is a little restrictive, but if you own any of the Ultimate T-800 figures, than you should know what to expect.
Moving on to accessories… In addition to the coiled grappling hook that I’ve already shown, Drake comes with a second grappling hook, an automatic pistol, an AK-47, and a pair of accessory holding hands to swap out with the fists that come on the figure. The right hand is designed to hold the guns, while the left one can hold the grappling hook, or cradle the AK. The pistol is a solid sculpt, cast in matte black plastic, and has a satisfying size to it. It also fits perfectly in the shoulder holster.
The AK-47 is another wonderful sculpt with black and brown paint. It comes with a carry strap, which can be un-tabbed at one end to help secure it to the figure. Of course, if you own the Ultimate Terminator figures, you have access to a plethora of other armaments for Drake to use.
And lastly, the extra grappling hook features the prongs deployed and is attached to a short rope. Let’s face it, if there’s one thing Drake likes to do more than shoot people, it’s climb!
I’ve been anxiously following the progress of this release ever since it was first revealed and now that I have him in hand, I have to say he doesn’t disappoint. Indeed, Nathan Drake epitomizes everything about NECA’s Ultimate line. You get a great figure, quality craftsmanship, lots of extras, and all at a great value. The prices on these tend to waver a bit, but I picked up mine from NECA’s Ebay Store for about $31 shipped. If you’re lucky enough to find him at a retail store, you’ll more likely only pay around $24.99 and you sure as hell can’t beat that. And hopefully this figure will sell well, because I’d love to get a Sully to go with him. A bit of a stretch? Probably, but with NECA, anything is possible!