Uncharted 3's Talbot Boss is an Essential Video Game Boss Fight

The announcement of the Uncharted movie starring Tom Holland as the iconic swashbuckling treasure hunter Nathan Drake has led to Naughty Dog's beloved action-adventure series receiving newfound attention, especially with Sony's announcement of the Legacy of Thieves Collection on PC. The series is famous for its cinematic style, showcasing a memorable cast of characters as they go through many trials and dangers in exciting, fully controllable set-pieces. A modern-day Indiana Jones, Drake has battled a massive rogues' gallery of pirates, mercenaries and would-be conquerors in his many journeys into lost ancient cities.

While hailed for its stunning presentation and hectic, explosive gunplay mixed with fist-fights and platforming, the Uncharted series has often struggled with boss fights that befit the series' larger-than-life villains. If they aren't military vehicles that require explosive weaponry, then they are either annoying bullet sponges that don't play to the cinematic strengths of the game or are lame quick-time events that take the player out of the game. It wouldn't be until Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception that the series finally nailed down how to do a final boss fight in a game like this one.

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Throughout Drake's Deception, Nate and his friends face off against a secret order of British spies and assassins led by Sully's old lover, Katherine Marlowe. Marlowe's right-hand man, Talbot, acts as her field leader and is the direct instigator of many major events and set-pieces in the game. Talbot acts as a dark mirror to Nate more so than any other antagonist in the series. Not only is he a capable hand-to-hand fighter and free-runner like Nate, his extreme loyalty to Marlowe strongly resembles that of Nate's own loyalty to Sully.

Talbot contrasts with previous villains of the series, who would either be taken out in a cutscene or are only directly fought at the very end of the game. Talbot has a major presence throughout, being encountered multiple times, not only in cutscenes but in gameplay as well. While Marlowe is the big bad with a plan who has history with Nate and Sully, Talbot possesses far more agency in the main campaign and comes closer to earning Nate's wrath. Talbot's hallucinogens strike at Nate's friend Charlie Cutter and later, Nate himself, making the hero think Sully has died.

The preceding final bosses in the Uncharted series were rather lackluster at best and annoyingly frustrating at worst. Navarro in Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is accompanied by a horde of minions which must be slain until Nate chases him down into a boring quick-time event that takes control away from the player. Lazaravic in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is only marginally better for lacking the sudden QTE cutscenes Navarro had, but the only way to defeat the madman is by shooting at explosives near him until he dies while running away; this repetitive and "video game-y" solution takes much away from the cinematic presentation that most other combat encounters had.

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Talbot, however, is a massive improvement to the previous two final bosses on most fronts, acting as the final threat of the game after Marlowe's death. The melee combat in the third game was greatly improved, sprinkling in context-sensitive QTEs that make fights far more cinematic and impactful without taking control away from the player. This makes one-on-one confrontations with bad guys much longer and more intense in melee while still making the player feel like they're a part of the fight, something that plays greatly to Talbot's advantage.

Fighting atop a platform sinking into the desert sands, Nate's final battle with Talbot plays out like other melee fist-fights, but with more involved QTE prompts. Many of the blows Nate and Talbot exchange are quite brutal, appearing to borrow cues from Metal Gear Solid 4's final duel between Naked Snake and Liquid Ocelot. When Sully finally comes in to make a last-minute rescue, the platform crumbles apart and sends Nate hanging off a ledge as Talbot tries to kill Sully, forcing Nate to deliver the coup-de-grace on Talbot with a glorious headshot after a tense climb.

While Talbot doesn't have the suave charm of Navarro or the scary hamminess of Lazarevic, he makes up for his lack of personality with his actions and a far superior final boss fight, a feat that often goes unnoticed among fans of the series. The picturesque and tense melee fight with Talbot is extremely well-executed, a step in the right direction for Naughty Dog's approach with one-on-one melee boss fights in later Uncharted entries, such as the greatly acclaimed sword duel against Rafe.

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Vladimir Olivares (139 Articles Published)

Vladimir Olivares is a writer, illustrator, and short film-maker based in the United States. Fond of comic books, manga, movies, video games, and TV shows of various different genres, he is knowledgable in classic comic book history and is well-versed in other forms of graphic novel media of varying genres, ranging from fantasy, noir, and science fiction, both from Western authors to that of Japanese manga. Vladimir is currently working as a freelance writer for Valnet, Inc., covering Comic Book Resources. Follow him on Twitter at @valolivares123. and check out his art page on Artstation.

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