Some moments in gaming are so iconic that they become part of the cultural heritage, enriched by the verve of the participants who experienced it. It could be the death of a character, the defeat of an enemy or that hard fought victory you remember with distinct clarity. At times many of these pivotal instances are significantly personal, a subjective view and an attribution to you’re own individual preferences. Something benign, subtle or perhaps even marginalised by the conventions of more ostentatious moments. For you, despite the inert dynamics it imparts something more refined, more identifiable, more you. Nothing illustrates this point better than one of the less dramatic scenes in Uncharted 4. It’s not a relevant plot point, it doesn’t advance the story, it isn’t even that important. Hell it’s only an optional conversation that can easily be missed. But to me this innocuous scene of brotherly companionship is one of the more endearing moments of the game. It’s just two brothers taking a brief rest to reflect on what they’ve achieved, what they still have to accomplish and just how similar, yet different they are as siblings. Though the entirety of the conversation transpires in a long since absent tavern on a deserted, Utopian pirate island (yes I’ve just realised how absurd that sounds) the discussion they’re having is so disarming, so mundane that you could almost imagine it occurring in a pub garden on a tranquil Sunday afternoon or at the end of a family Barbecue. NaughtyDog realise the futility of generating repeated interference’s of hostility. That the continued escalation of danger can sometimes have the opposite effect on the player. They understand the limitations of the violent conduct perpetrated by the ensemble cast of murderous psychopaths can be offset by customary bouts of tranquillity, and that articulation can be just as potent as any deadly conflict. Of course that’s just my opinion. If you haven’t played Uncharted 4 (quite frankly I think it’s time you left if you haven’t?) then this short segment probably isn’t going to make much sense. But I guess you’re here now so you may as well take a look while I make you a drink. Is a beer OK?
I’ve been patient. Very patient as it happens. Applying a rigorous discipline to my naturally agitated mindset. Enduring years of resigned vacuity, two delays and possessing enough games in my library to play so I wouldn’t be thinking about so much until finally, FINALLY, Uncharted 4 was mine! But I’ll admit that’s it’s release coincides with my own self doubt about its credentials. I’ve been complacent with my quality control before when it comes to purchasing new games, estimating something great and getting Destiny. Anticipating a unique new IP and getting Watchdog’s, taking a metaphorical dump in my PS4. There are multiple considerations that go into concluding whether or not to purchase a game. Stylistically does it meet you’re specific requirements? Is it a genre you’d feel comfortable participating in? Does the developer have a good track record of producing exciting, compelling games? Is it developed by EA or Ubisoft? In which case let’s mock and jape their squandered self respect. But from a consumer perspective you don’t want to have to research every conceivable facet. Posturing the distinguishing characteristics, calculating the differentiating variables that roughly determine the ratio of good and bad. If we did that then buying games would become more convoluted than the previous sentence! It’s difficult to evaluate a games quality without diminishing the mystique of an unreleased game. The unknown variables that determine whether or not a game is a good, surely that’s part of being a gamer?
Uncharted 4 is a game I would’ve purchased regardless of general critical consensus. It could’ve been lambasted to the seven circles of Hell and it still would have received my financial backing. It’s a pretty ignorant (and hypocritical) philosophy to have I realise, to buy something regardless of it quality. It’s the one issue I believe consolidates all of the acrimony distributed by major developers, who fail to produce worthwhile content because people such as myself will routinely buy it despite everything to the contrary advising you not too. This kind of preferential prejudice is indicative of people who just want to play something good, something they hope a developer has dedicated time an effort to coordinate a game of substance. And you can’t blame gamers for being passionate and wanting a game to be good. But developers ignorance is a discussion for another time, this is about my fears for Uncharted.
I deliberately initiated a separation between myself and any commercial endorsements, trailer’s, previews, reviews, fan speculation or coverage of any kind as much as I possibly could. Not easy when so many people are discussing it. I’ve had exposure to very non specific sequences that really only clarify how exhilarating the games excerpts are, the overall structure of the narrative and the tension the game is looking to evoke. At the same time I’ve derived my own conjectural theories, constructing inaccurate hypothesis concerning the recipient of the suggestive “Thief’s End” title for one (I’m hoping its still a reference to Drakes ancestor, Sir Francis. But now that I’ve played it, or at least a portion of it I can say with absolute certainty that my fears were completely baseless. From the diverse environments, the rich engaging dialogue, the self referential nostalgia, characterisations and even a very unexpected, inception like reference to Crash Bandicoot, or “Drakeception” if you will–that had me cackling like my drunk mother at a family barbecue, Uncharted 4 is everything I could’ve wanted. The game is a little more mature than previous instalments, yet retaining much of the levity and gratuitous cinematic fluency that has made it so endearing to fans. The thing is is that I’m invested, I’m concerned and I truly care about these characters. I’m always concerned for their welfare. The anxiety I felt was so potent though that it prevented me from playing it for a whole 5 hours after obtaining it! Which really is a credit to the creators for constructing a game series of such immeasurable pleasure, that I genuinely feared that I was going to lose some of my best friends. I’m only about half way through, currently pillaging a Scottish cemetery but can already tell this is going to be one emotional journey, one that I know I’ll finish and go right back to the start to play all over again.
*AhhGuhhrarr!* I was almost ready to drop a completely different article tonight. It was set, constructed, vaguely legible account and then this sexy beast comes rasping at my door, begging me to acknowledge it’s beautifully rendered vista’s, broad verdant pastures replete with hidden dangers and Drake’s vascular physique and grizzled features again confusing my stringent heterosexual orientations! But damn it if you aren’t one handsome devil Nate! I don’t care how long it takes, how much time off my newly acquired parental duties I’ll require to play this. I don’t even care if consent for the hours I’ll inevitably dedicate to Uncharted 4 is forthcoming from my disgruntled partner; I’m playing, exploring and generally “charting” my way to completion! Nothing is going to stop me. Unless, oh god! Unless NaughtyDog delay it again?!
Stop teasing me NaughtyDog and just hook it to my veins!!!!
Having thoroughly exhausted the Nathan Drake Collection, earning 3 platinum trophies in the process (that’s not sad. It’s not. No you shut up!) I do what I always do once a void like this has generated such a chasm in my nocturnal proclivities: conduct a protracted article concerning various fleets of conjectural pandering and motivate some articulate relevance from fictitious events so absurd that it may as well be written in Klingon! But rather than discuss the events perpetrated in a series most are already well versed in, I thought I’d concentrate my convoluted abstractions on the considerably tumultuous union of Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher. Amongst all the theorised mythology and jutted architectures that no normal human being is dexterous in strength to ascend, belies two characters united by severely compromising conditions. Now let’s first establish that their relationship isn’t one of banal convention, but one based of intense emotional circumstances. Your more likely to see these two exchanging gunfire in some desecrated city than chocolates or flowers. They epitomise the contrasting similarities of traditional character relations, stymied in this instance by their respective desires. They really are the Ross and Rachel of gaming, emphasising the conflicting parabolic depiction of yin and yang, just a little less platonic. Their together, their not together; honestly the perennially shifting attempts at marital reconciliation is a little jarring, especially considering there’s little to no context that explains their subsequent division throughout the series. Their relationship is potentially volatile, exacerbated by the continual abstinence from each other, but the facile levity these two exchange in dialogue is seldom obstructed, even by the increasingly precarious circumstances they endure.
It’s a relationship that from the casual observer has been intermittent at best, structured around combustible circumstances and a rather dangerous liaison of two clashing enigmatic individual’s. You first encounter these two on a ship excavating a submerged crypt, with Elena documenting the empty burial casket from the Panamanian brine-waters they aren’t permitted to be in. You soon discover just what exhilarating affiliation these two have with each other. Everything they do is wielded with such intuition that’s it’s difficult to tell whether their actions are impulsive or suicidal! Which is only further complicated by the discordant correlation between them. Both are seemingly apprehensive of the other, yet they soon coordinate a naturally complicit alliance that punctually develops into something more substantial. The bond of their companionship has never been clarified beyond the suggested alienation between games, interrupted smooches, affectionate glances and tender gestures but that’s all the clarification you need really. The acrimonious departure that transpired in the interim and the emblematic band of a wedding ring entangling Elena’s finger are suggestive of something significant occurring between them, particularly considering the strangely absent jewellery on Drakes respective finger. The specific particulars of their confusing relationship is often dismissed as developments we are already aware of, despite its purported absence. Your continually apprised of their separation through expository dialogue but only witness the stunted attempts at marital reconciliation. Despite our adherence that we know these two, the surreptitious contraction ascribed to their congressional union remains a succinct mystery, with thinly veiled distinctions that adorn the tumultuous problems they face. But considering the multiple questionable motivation’s of Drake its small wonder that a woman of such reputed decisiveness is still attempting to distance herself from Drakes increasingly destructive personality. His multiple altercations with pugnacious minorities in some far-flung pocket of the world is nothing in comparison to his dereliction of matrimonial decency and nothing more exacting than his curious incredulity deserves. The dangerous sabbatical’s that invariably lead to such liaisons merely compounds the scrutiny, especially as he seems to attract hostility like Katie Hopkins on a trip to, well, anywhere!
Drake relishes plundering some palatial fortification, prioritising the accumulation of some gilded statue, studded in runes and ancient biblical curses rather than bracing his own marriage. His incorrigible adventurous nature is fun for us, but is interjected with a melancholic irreverence as if blindly ignoring the issue. Because of his wilful abandonment of his betrothed obligations, his immobilized empathy reflects a man stunted by emotional trauma to almost narcissistic levels. Drakes sociopathic tendencies seem rooted in his morose childhood. During one of the more poised moments in Uncharted 3, Katherine Marlow, the cantankerous antagonistic grants confidential insight into Drakes mysterious past. Absent, presumed dead parents, an assumed name are likely triggers, with absolutely no mention of a brother listed in Marlow’s resume of Drakes existence, making this reclusive sibling a baffling precursor to very interesting explanation in “A Thief’s End” (well hopefully). Considering his very Dickensian upbringing it’s no wonder that he has developed an associative disorder and lack of empathy, instead generating keen industry when dealing with assailants, such as discharging witty, often crass one liners after plunging a guy to his grizzly demise. So deftly does he supply inventive vocal humour that you could understand why he treats marriage with such elusive conviction. Yet his seemingly improvised provocations belies a man studiously loyal to his friends and dedicated to his historical causes. They say inactivity breeds complacency, well I guess the opposite applies to Drake. Yet Elena is probably the most important steward of Drakes humanity, exemplifying his own nuptial resistance with a more grounded perspective. Elena is endowed with all the nuanced knowledge that Drake simply doesn’t possess, reading situations with attuned nutrition and acting accordingly. She is also tough and assured when engaged, even surviving the adjunctive explosion of a grenade! In many respects she posses many of Drakes beneficial characteristics without many of his impetuous flaunts and obsessive predilections. She isn’t merely a complicit foil to Drakes reckless endeavours, but someone who can determine the outcomes with explicit provision, with a tenacious pragmatism that is both cogent and practical to almost every variable. With a sophistry that promotes tolerant representation of femininity without the expressed necessity to show off some cleavage or apply make-up, not only is Elena the perfect love interest, but probably the most fair representation of an independent woman, without having to literate it.
There’s an organic legitimacy to their fluctuating propinquity, punctuated by the maturity of Elena who seeks refuge from Drakes destructiveness. Of course their on off relationship provided ample fodder to exchange humorous observations of each others lives, but this is merely the conduit expounded by two individual’s that care very much for each other, even if it isn’t expressed with succinct sensitivity. Whenever the subject of their split is broached in conversation however it’s quickly lanced by Drakes defensive neurosis, further highlighting his permissive attitude towards relationships. It’s evident from his basic lack of empathy that their relationship will continue to deteriorate further, listlessly dwindling into inert spousal abuse. How they sustain any kind of relationship under such frenetic circumstances is beyond me, yet somehow this erratic instability, coiled and stoic as it is almost symbolic of the monogamous ambiguity their lives project. Whether the intended severance of normality is congenial to the combustible rigidity of their dubious companionship, or alternatively curtailed by the uniquely farcical circumstances they sustain, Drake and Elena will endure. If not, there is always the wizened intervention of Victor Sullivan. I can almost hear him, the surrogate paternal tutor attempting to amend Drakes marital complacency, bristling with stout ruminations in the shadows and bleating “kid, just remarry the damn broad will ya?!”
Who is your favourite gaming couple? Let me know in the comments. Cheers.
I “was” formerly conducting an existential dissertation on the jutted abstraction of formulating light and dark in a more centralised and contemporary setting in gaming. I had also begun preparations on the systemic intuition that fly’s, amongst other insects derive so much pleasure from sitting on the television screen when a game is commencing, as well as the pragmatic approach you should take to prevent such an intrusive spectator. Then I decided that none of that made any sense at all and instead sought to eradicate militarised minorities in a jungle with some much needed frivolity. In Uncharted of course. I’m not a vengeful dictator…..yet? And so plots my week ahead too as well obtaining further rewards in the Nathan Drake Collection.
So check out just how awesome (and humble) I am as I complete the final chapter on Drakes Fortune on its Crushing difficulty.
I just can’t wait any more. I can’t! I’m getting a little tired of scaling over car bonnets and leaping over modest sized shrubs in an attempt to emulate one of Drakes many misadventures, you know like the time he leapt over a small fern in the middle of the desert. I used to be more patient, preserving those moments of whimsical delirium with superseded rationalizations. Not now though, ugh, just release Uncharted 4 will you! I crave the dynamic levity of the many cinematic’s reserved to expedite the dramatic tension. Nolan North deploying his organic sundry of composite, barely perceptible quips. The numerous bellows of “Oh crap!” I’ve analysed every texture in the extended trailer, scrutinised every facial animation, evaluated the definitions of the rendered inhabitants. How they function, move and react to the passive coercion as Drake meanders through the congested crowd of perusers. Every instance has been cleansed of its undisclosed attributes into a more conspicuous interpretation. I’ve swooned at the way the singular grains of rice deplete from the sack, riddled by the exhuming penetration of gunfire and the washing line entangled in on the hood of the 4×4. Yeah that’s right, grain and a severed washing line?! This purely platonic dalliance has exceeded all reasonable neutrality on my part now. There’s little conservation of emotion any more, this is the nurtured bias that will fulfil my heightened expectations. Its worrying I know, but forgive me for being just a little less pessimistic than I’d otherwise be expected to be. But I’m determined to reprise my auspicious role as the worlds greatest (luckiest) adventurer. Like right now!
I just can’t take it any more! (I may have mentioned this before?) I need to play this game. I need to know more about the unspecified exotic location that has suddenly provoked aggressive hostility towards Drake and his growing contingent of continually destitute companions. Discover how Sully, Drakes paternal father, even in advanced senility possess the vascular dexterity of an energetic monkey? Is there discernible reduction in manoeuvrable sensitivity when cruising over unstable terrain in a 4×4? Will the potentially destructive union between Nate and Elena finally be superseded by Drakes promiscuous fortuity? Should I stop asking rhetorical questions to which I won’t receive definitive answers for until its finally bloody released?! Probably. I could speculate to the origination of such errancies until I’ve exhausted all possible estimates, and regrettably will. Its even getting to the point that I’m beginning to construct fraudulent theories on how this adventure will likely be concluded, notably influenced by the highly suggestive subtitle (A Thief’s End), thereby establishing the most obscure context that explains the series of events depicted in the trailers. Granted the tonal liberties I’ve taken are speculative inferences, grounded in as much reality as a Fast and Furious movie, with notions that suck any lingering integrity like a maelstrom of pure vacuity. But damn it if it isn’t the greatest game ever made, in my head. Uncharted is like that best mate that emigrated to the other side of the world, leaving you with the mitigated fragments of your past collusion’s.
I can’t wait any more! (seriously, I’m getting the weirdest sense of de ja vu here?). I had noted the games original availability with perfunctory caution, aware that the purported release date was likely conjectural, or at very least vacillating in its accuracy. I thought I could wait, merely bolstered by the confirmation of its existence. That my patience and moderated expectations would endure for any length for NaughtyDogs adjusted development phase. I am after all a tireless advocate of intricate modifications distributed to content to provide the eventual user with a more cathartic experience, rather than derivative serialisations devoid of cogency or annualised for regular revenue. But I’m also an exponent for demanding Uncharted 4 right &*$%**£”! now! NOW!! I need it. I feel like I have a narcotic dependency that can only be sated by exhilarating injection of N.A.T.E. I don’t want to be slinking down grubby back alleys for Uncharted supplements and substitutes, rubbing my teeth with my fingers to taste every last ounce of Uncharted drugs into my system. Its been almost 2 years since Naughty Dog officially announced Uncharted 4. 1 year 8 months and 20 days! That’s 629 days! Close to 90 weeks! 905760 minutes! And…..well you get the idea, don’t you Naughty Dog. I see what you’re doing guys, very funny. But enough is enough! Do you realise how difficult it is waiting for this game. The torture I’ve endured. You don’t even care about the ramifications of me informing my girlfriend that I have requested more time off from work to play the Nathan Drake collection, a series I already own on the PS3, than I have for her Birthday! Its inhuman!
What games have made you wait too long? Let me know. Cheers.