It's a good question to be honest. Well Nathan Drake may be easier on the eye to look at for the ladies, but he packs a punch when it comes to exploring labyrinths and caves in search of Francis Drake's lost treasure.
Like Lara, Drake can tackle ravines, canyons and forests/jungles with panache. He comes equipped with similar tools too. No Indiana Jones Bullwhips in sight but Nathan can use a wide variety of firearms here, but cannot dual wield pistols all-a Lara.
Anyway let's take a look at the plot. Nathan is set to go on a trip with his mate Sully to go after riches galore after a map has come into his possession, passed on through his father's will. Drake though, is not too happy to learn that a journalist has been invited along to join the voyage and has exclusive rights to interview Nathan. However it becomes apparent that she is no shrinking violet and indeed when separated from Sully, she is more than capable of dealing with bad guys herself.
Right at the start, it becomes apparent Drake is not the only one hunting down this treasure either.
His boat is attacked seemingly by pirates but as the adventure progresses, Nathan and buddies realise that they are a well trained mercenary army.
There are secrets to be uncovered here, least of all is the legend that the treasure is in fact cursed. Here we go into Indiana Jones territory but I am not going into details here, spoilers and all that.
I'll leave you to explore the environments and find out what's going on for yourself.
OK so what do we have here? We have gunplay aplenty, some dramatic set pieces and cut scenes. An engaging and thrilling tale and some genuinely suspenseful moments. Throw in a very unexpected plot twist in a bunker (those that have played it will know what I mean!) and you have a thrill ride indeed.
Controls are very intuitive and watch out for the button sensitive controlled sections. At first these may be challenging but you will soon get to grips with them. There are also sections where the pad has to be moved in a certain way rather than button presses. Combat is fluid and even on easy gunfights are challenging but I will cover that more in the pro's and cons section. Drake responds well to button input for the most part but again that will be looked at in the pros and cons.
Whether teamed with Sully or the young lady, I am pleased to say that they have your back reasonably well covered. There is a wide range of weapons and bonuses to unlock as rewards for playing through it again, and hidden extras like developmental videos and photo albums.
The soundtrack is worthy of mention, very dramatic and cinematic and would make a suitable background track for a table top RPG session. The music matches the mood of the situations confronted by Nathan very nicely indeed. OK so here we go for a breakdown.
Controls: Responsive for the most point (see below).
Animation/physics: Very fluid, movement is smooth and targets respond well to being impacted by bullets, and explosions etc. Lighting effects are top notch, water and other elements are well portrayed. Grenade explosions are a little weak though, with a reasonably big explosion, but the small ball of smoke that rises skyward looks a little weak.
Music: see above
Acting/voice over: Top notch. Drake is a suitably likeable rogue, with a tongue in cheek sense of humour. He comes over as more a Han Solo rather than an Indiana Jones. But lip sync, facial animations are pretty darned good. OK it;s not L.A. Noire quality, but remember this was a PS3 release title. Even so, it would/should quieten critics who said, where are the decent games for PS3 on release? Look at this and Resistance Fall of Man, and Motor Storm and I say I rest my case.
Cons: Movement fluid yes, but there are times when Drake doesn't always go to cover against a wall when you'd like him too.
Seemingly even though the mercs at the start don't wear body armour, it does seem that they can withstand more punishment then seems plausible. A guy without kevlar may take three shots to drop. Head shots don't always seem to register either.
And yes I understand that a guy with a laser sight has an advantage, but there seems to be times that even when you feel you are under cover they can still take you down. Mind you when you get the Dragon Sniper rifle to use, it is a one hit kill BUT you don't get the laser sight, just a scope.
Enemy A.I. is sharp so even on easy you are going to find this a challenge, raise the level and be prepared to be really tested.
So to sum up, you have a really good roller coaster of a thrill ride here. Bold, cinematic and full on good fun, laced with humour and challenging this is a cracking little game, that kicks off a quartet of what is so far, a class act series of games; so much so rumour has it that Nathan Drake is going to be converted to the cinema screens.
Does Lara have a rival? Yes. Try it and see for yourself. Not a perfect 10, but as you will see I still rate it highly.