Drake and his bro Sam
(Naughty Dog)

The 10 Best Naughty Dog Video Games

You know, The Last of Us wasn’t the only game these people made.

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Naughty Dog has been pumping out great games since the 90s. Eons ago. While every gamer worth their virtual salt knows about Naughty Dog and the work they put out, the company is now having their moment in the pop culture sun following up on the success of The Last of Us on HBO. So to celebrate that success, I’ve compiled a list of the 10 best Naughty Dog games ever made.

10. Crash Team Racing (1999)

Crash beating Tiny in a race
(Naughty Dog)

Hot take: this game was better than Mario Kart. I mean, to be fair, it was a clone of Mario Kart. Naughty Dog totally ripped off all of the mechanics and reskinned it with their own Crash Bandicoot characters. But boy, was it a Crash Bandi-HOOT. Tired of throwing weak-ass red shells at Yoshi? How do you feel about launching a HEAT-SEEKING MISSLE at Dingodile instead? Crash Team Racing was a beautiful, maniacal joy ride. Plus, it had a whole single player STORY MODE. Did Mario Kart have that? No, it did not.

9. Jak II (2003)

Jak and Daxter engaging in Grand Theft hoverbike
(Naughty Dog)

This was the grim and gritty reboot of the adorable platformer Jak and Daxter, which will appear further down this list. Jak II was a risk that Naughty Dog didn’t need to take, but my god it was worth it. After an interdimensional portal opens up on Jak’s island home, he is dragged into a nightmarish, futuristic, dystopian police state run by a power-mad autocrat named Baron Praxis. The silent protagonist is captured by the police and tortured by scientific experiments for TWO YEARS. When he comes out, he has a lot to say. “I’m going to kill Praxis” is the first of them.

8. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (2007)

Nathan Drake in action
Nathan Drake in action

The first installment of Naughty Dog’s OTHER greatest series, Uncharted 1 was a groundbreaking modern platformer. Set in the jungles of Borneo, the story follows the devilishly charming Nathan Drake as he attempts to find the long-lost treasure of El Dorado. It’s basically an Indiana Jones movie that you get to ACTUALLY PLAY. And like an Indiana Jones flick, it even features Nazis. Dead nazis! The best kind!

7. Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped (1998)

Crash Bandicoot looking cooler than I ever thought possible
(Naughty Dog)

The series that started it all. Crash Bandicoot is as videogamey as it gets. You play as a literal bandicoot named Crash who resembles a bandicoot in the way that Sonic resembles a hedgehog. Which is to say, not at all. Your mission? Stop the evil-but-loveable scientist Dr. Neo Cortex from bringing his evil plans into fruition—by traveling through time! You even get to fight a half crocodile/half dingo monstrosity named Dingodile. Who has a FLAMETHROWER. The stuff great games are made of.

6. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

Drake looking pretty deceived
(Naughty Dog)

The Uncharted games kinda went like the Mass Effect trilogy. They started solid but with a few kinks to work out. In the sequel, they worked those kinks out and made ONE OF THE GREATEST GAMES OF ALL TIME. Then the third game was better than the first, but somehow not as good as the second. Uncharted 3, while a barrel of fun, falls just shy of the greatness that the second and fourth games of the series achieved. You play as Nathan Drake in his hunt for the lost city of Ubar. Still pretty cool.

5. Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (2001)

Jak and Daxter in Precursor Legacy
(Naughty Dog)

The Playstation’s answer to The Legend of Zelda, Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy was an absolute romp to play. You take control of Jak, a young silent protagonist who is accompanied by his loud-mouthed talking ocelot, Daxter. What’s an ocelot? Basically a weird little weasel. You embark on a glorious platforming quest to save the world from two evil scientist-wizards who want to harness a dark energy source and subjugate the planet.

4. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009)

Uncharted 2 Among Thieves drake hanging off a cliff
(Naughty Dog)

Uncharted II is probably one of the top ten games of the 2000s. It’s just incredible. Nathan Drake returns! And he is racing against an evil Russian mercenary to find the lost city of Shambala (AKA Shangri-La) and the treasure that it holds inside. The game is a high-octane thrill ride from start to finish. It begins with you having to platform your way out of a train that is hanging off the side of a cliff, and it only gets better from there. Fun gameplay, gorgeous graphics, and a twisty action-adventure story solidify this title as video game royalty.

3. The Last of Us: Part 1 (2013)

Joel and Ellie in TLOU Part 1
(Naughty Dog)

The first-ever video game that deserved to be nominated for The Oscars, The Last of Us elevated the video game medium into the realm of high art. This game is a film that you play through. Or I suppose an HBO series. I would be shocked if you didn’t know the plot already, but I’m gonna remind you anyway. After a mutated fungus has turned most of the world’s population into ferocious fungal zombies, the smuggler Joel ekes out a living running contraband supplies in and out of cities controlled by the last remnants of the US federal government. He is tasked with delivering a young girl named Ellie to a mysterious paramilitary group called The Fireflies, because she harbors a secret that may save humanity.

2. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (2016)

Drake and his bro Sam
(Naughty Dog)

This game was the swan song of the Uncharted series, and oh, what a beautiful tune she sang. It chronicles Nathan Drake on his final adventure to find a legendary pirate treasure! Well, his brother’s adventure. See, Nathan Drake is out of the game after settling down to marry his longtime adventuring companion, Elena Fisher. His long-lost brother Sam suddenly appears in his life and tells Nathan that he is in debt to a ruthless drug lord. The only way he can pay off the debt is by finding the treasure hoard of the pirate Henry Avery.

1. The Last of Us: Part 2 (2020)

Ellie pointing a gun in TLOU Part 2
(Naughty Dog)

Soon to be adapted into the second season of HBO’s The Last of Us, this game is about Ellie as a young woman who embarks on a brutal revenge quest. Brutal is an understatement. This game is a “dark as the void of space” kind of tale, dealing with themes such as hatred and vengeance. The story is as good as, if not better than, the original game. The combat sees improvement as well. Enemies feel smarter, more dangerous, and more human. It makes fighting them all the more harrowing and killing them all the more complicated.

(Featured image: Naughty Dog)


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Author
Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.