Tags

, , , , ,

Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Significant spoilers for the end of Uncharted 1, some spoilers for the beginning of Uncharted 2

Butch:

I got nothing. I’m at chapter 2, but I’m gonna replay chapter one just so I can imagine it with Alistair and Morrigan, which, basically, makes me so very happy.

But if you caught up, we got something.

Feminina:

Got something!

Finished UC1, started 2, got to chapter…5? 23% done according to the save file. Flynn does come up again, so if you’d rather wait for him to reappear than replay the first part, you can always imagine Alistair and Morrigan then.

So the ending of 1. Yeah. I kind of liked the twist that the TRUE villain (who, again, we didn’t really know so his betrayal of the euroscum dude didn’t particularly resonate, but hey, whatever) wasn’t even interested in the gold, he wanted the virus or whatever that caused the curse.

I mean, makes sense: sure, a giant gold statue is worth a lot, but an airborne biological weapon that can turn someone into a semi-immortal (assuming those things really were the original Spanish explorers) frenzied monster in a matter of seconds? Now that’s something to really get the bidding going.

I felt it was left unclear whether or not this was in fact a supernatural curse (though it certainly had an “opening the Ark of the Covenant” look) or was just some sort of very powerful virus or bacteria or prospector in a sheet that perhaps the natives were immune to but the explorers were not. I DID think that perhaps it would at least make Drake think “hey, I HAVE seen some weird stuff before, remember those things on that island” next time he hears about a cursed something-or-other, but we’ll see.

Anyway, I thought it was reasonably satisfying, though it took me way too long to work through the last couple of fights on the ship. Again, I was kind of overthinking it, trying to figure out if there was a way to kill Ramirez at each stage (maybe if I race over there! No…maybe over here!…no…) rather than just settling in to wait out the waves of dudes until I could get to the final confrontation. Oh well.

And 2 definitely started with more of a hook–I quite liked the time shifts between the presumably-present-day crashed train and the set-up to it. Also, props for integrating tutorial bits into the game…as new skills come up, they seem to have done a really good job of fairly seamlessly showing how they work with a few practice tries that get the point across without really slowing the action.

Butch:

I don’t want screenshots of HIM, dammit. I mean, uh, hmm. Moving on.

23%????? DUDE! I’d say pace yourself but you have plans next week. I guess you like it then. I’ll try to catch up. M’s working late tonight, though she is between classes (finally). Good time for you to have a kid! We’ll both slow down! Nicely planned!

Yeah. When Euroscrum got it, I was sort of disappointed, not cuz I cared about him but because I didn’t. So much for the whole “Maybe they’re setting up for later in the series” (although, with 2 being all over the place in time, ya never know). (if you do know, spoil not. I still haven’t figured out if I’m before or after the events of 1.)

Though they pretty much stole THAT idea from Raiders. Indy and Belloque were both looking for the ark for history/museums/whatever, the Nazis wanted it to win the war.

Dude, it was so much Ark of the Covenant. There’s Elena tied up, the slow open, I think I actually said “Marion close your eyes. Don’t look at the ark.”

Hmm, I didn’t even think of bacteria. I just assumed “curse.” That’s a neat twist on it though. The evils of Imperialism.

So as for Drake learning from this experience (and, again, spoil not), that also has me thinking 2 is a prequel. Because a) he doesn’t say that in 2 and b) when he DOES see the film there (how was that playing? I mean, nice creepy touch, but really….good timing….) he isn’t really fazed by the fact it was playing…I mean the curse/ghouls/etc. I mean, he’s a LITTLE taken aback, but he DOESN’T go HOLYSHITWAZZAT? And, as we’ve discussed, he is the type to freak out.

At least you figured out that WAS Ramirez in the last fight. I thought it was just a dude with a laser site, so I spent SO much ammo trying to kill HIM, as he was the guy who kept killing me. Took me forever to figure out “Oh, shit, if I kill the OTHER guys he’ll run!” Like, FOREVER. Like, after I walked away from it for the night.

So it took me too long cuz I’m too dumb and you too long cuz you’re too smart. Figures.

I did find a TAD cheap that they ended it on a QTE, especially as there were so few QTEs. Seemed out of place.

The beginning of 2 is a very good hook. MUCH better hook. I hope it stays strong.

Another bit of ending before we charge ahead with 2: Elena. I was very nervous that, after all that, they would smooch, and they didn’t. Indeed, not only does she not give him the kiss/romance/implied sex that the hero “earns” in so many other movies/games/whatever, it ends with HER telling HIM “You owe me one.” Talk about flipping stuff. That was a very, very nice touch.

Gotta say, this playing things back to back is a cool exercise in thinking about games. Sure, we’ve played franchises, lots. But usually, no matter how much we think we remember, we don’t remember them all that well. This is the first time I’ve played sequels back to back like this, and it’s cool just in terms of how I think about it.

Feminina:

Well, it’s 23% at the beginning, when there are still practice bits and tutorials. I feel like the beginning of 1 moved faster too…towards the end I was at 80-some percent FOREVER trying to work my way through hallways full of demon Spaniards and so forth.

Good point that he isn’t particularly fazed by the old video of the raving guy tied to the statue. You’d think at that point he could have made some sort of comment…”oh my god, those weird things are Drake’s crew?!” or whatever. He does later tell Sully “they never left,” so he’s clearly putting two and two together (he’d have to be pretty damn slow not to, of course), but he doesn’t seem to find it as odd as, say, I would, were I to encounter an island full of 400-year-old deformed Spanish explorers. I mean, many a person–especially looking at you, Elena-the-reporter–would start to think “wow, this is a huge story, there’s some biomedical/supernatural something or other going on here that should totally be investigated by a well-equipped crew.”

I guess Drake, like Indiana Jones and many another adventurer before him, is of the “better to leave this stuff alone” mentality…to the point that he doesn’t even bother to speculate in his own head.

Butch:

Elena wasn’t there at that point. She had been kidnapped, remember? So by the time she COULD say “Hey, this is a STORY” it’s at the bottom of the ocean and gone.

But yeah, Drake DOESN’T say it. It dawns on him, and he’s far more ok with it than he is with, say, a bunch of regular old dudes trying to kill him. If anything, he seems more confident with the ghouls (they’re feral ghouls, and I’m sticking with that) than the dudes with guns, at least by his ambient speechy reactions. It was almost like knew that, once we were in the realm of spooky cursed shit, that he was prepared better than the bad guys, like “Ok, I’ve seen this one, THEY’RE going to open the ark, I’ll be cool.” Which means he saw Raiders, or he’s seen another metaphorical ark.

Though, on that, Drake had been into Francis Drake a long, long time. He was almost obsessed. And yet Nathan thought he was going after a gold thing. Did Ramirez know that the thing was a cursing weapon machine? Or did Ramirez think “gold statue” until it was obvious it wasn’t? And, if the former, how’d he know?

Overthinking?

And if you’re avoiding talking about Elena cuz she comes back, she was in trailers for later games, too, so that won’t be a spoiler.

For there is always a sensible counterpoint to the BEBHBB.

[Later]

Ok, so I replayed up to Chapter 2, played with photo mode, took pictures, got a few treasures I missed and I’m glad I did cuz I missed something germane to today’s discussion:

So in hottie cutscene #2, in Drakes bedroom, when we learn of their history, Chloe walks in and heads over to his dresser, where she picks up and briefly flips through a book that looks just like the notebook Drake was following his clues from in 1. Without a bullet hole.

Maybe he got a new one, maybe not. Buuuuuuut….

Feminina:

True, Elena didn’t see everything, but she surely saw enough of the hideously transformed Spaniards to be like “SOMETHING is going on here.” I guess that’s the narrative reason she lost her camera…if she’d had it, she’d have been documenting stuff and prompting ill-fated expeditions later. As it is, maybe she subscribes to “pics or didn’t happen” and just figures she’ll get another chance on another Drake adventure later. He does owe her one!

I assumed that Ramirez knew about the curse (although I don’t know how…ancient family lore? Drake’s not the only one who can have old legends to guide him). I mean, he very clearly told Euro dude “the BEST treasure is inside”–which I figured meant he was planning for him to open it and be affected by the whatever. He seemed quite unfazed by the transformation, and to be standing ready to shoot his former boss as soon as he’d seen that it worked.

Interesting note that Drake may be using his same notebook, unperforated. You’re right, we haven’t seen any indication as to how 2 is chronologically related to 1, and since 2 is already jumping around its internal timeline, it could easily also be earlier or later than 1.

Butch:

AH! Good call about Elena! Forgot about the big deal about losing the camera. That’s gotta be the narrative reason. Especially as there was no gameplay there. She just had cutscene/camera. Makes sense.

True, Ramirez did seem unfazed, though maybe that was just narrative convenience. I mean, every single adventure everything ever has a few threads you can pull around the edges. (Seen the very compelling argument that Indiana Jones didn’t matter? That literally nothing he did affected the outcome of the story? It’ll ruin the movie.) It may well be impossible to write a story that doesn’t implode without a “Well…..um…..BECAUSE!” moment. We’ll give it a pass. Or it will be explained later.

Well, I haven’t seen any indication of the chronology of 1 and 2, but then, 4%. And Chloe didn’t say anything like “Still looking for Drake, huh?” It might have been a room service menu for all I know. But there it was.

You know, now that I know it’s Claudia Black and Steve Valentine (Alistair) there, it’s a little distracting. But then, it took me a while to be ok with Drake as the only other time I’ve seen that actor (Nolan North) he was a cannibal trying to rape Ellie. Hardly a jaunty dude.

Feminina:

It’s true, you always have to gloss over some bit of the plot somewhere.

“But why did–”
“Shut up, that’s why!”

(“Shut up, that’s why!” is one of the best Simpsons quotes ever. Works in so many situations.)

Heck, even in TRUE stories sometimes it comes down to “somebody felt like doing something and who knows why but therefore xyz happened.” We’ll let it go.

I do like to imagine that Ramirez had an ancient family legend fully as detailed and fascinating as Drake’s, and that he’s been working tirelessly to finagle a trip to this island for years, conning Euroscum into paying for it, coming SO close to riches on the international biological weapons market, only to be thwarted by some random other guy looking for gold. Siiiiigh.

Although then it does rather become a case of “whose family legend will triumph by guiding its surviving scion to fame and fortune?!” and the fact that the answer is “the white dude’s family legend, duh” becomes…not unexpected, but somewhat troubling. (Not that we could exactly be rooting for Ramirez to succeed in unleashing this deadly curse-virus on the world, but…)

Speaking of being OK with voice actors, does Drake’s face look slightly but distractingly different from 1 to 2 on the PS4? For me, there’s a noticeable difference, undoubtedly largely attributable to the upgrade in graphics (2 definitely is prettier and has more detail), but nevertheless faintly disturbing in that “wait, this isn’t the character I’m used to” way.

I probably wouldn’t have noticed if I’d waited more than 15 minutes between games, and I’m sure I’ll eventually get used to him.

Butch:

Ha! “This close….”

And think if the poor idol. Left alone for centuries and then TWO dudes show up in like a day of each other. And I’m sure he was getting ready to sit down to watch something on tv all “I’ve been looking forward to this for 200 years…hey, what’s that? Oh, come on! Today?”

I’m not sure the white dude was catapulted to fame and fortune. Lost camera, lost idol, not even a kiss. And sully is going to use the loot to pay off debts. Big whoop.

Drake looks the same. I’d send you a screen shot but I can’t cuz your using archaic tech. I looked pretty closely too for clues as to age.

Feminina:

That’s true, Drake’s story didn’t exactly end in fame and fortune. He wound up in more or less the same position he started in that respect. Sully probably gave him a bit of that treasure, but it probably didn’t go that far in the end.

I guess it might make more sense to talk about whose family legend was validated by this adventure, and in that case, they’re both winners!

Drake found Francis Drake’s body by following Francis Drake’s clues, so even though he turned out to have died unsuccessful in a forgotten cave rather than cleverly having lived many more years in comfort somewhere after faking his death, or whatever, at least that’s a kind of proof that the story Nathan Drake’s family told themselves about his travels was true up to this point.

As for Ramirez, his family legend about the terrifying curse was also proven correct. “We always told you there was a giant gold statue that turned European adventurers into feral ghouls! And there it is!”

So in a sense, this was a happy ending for everyone. I feel so much better…I’m glad we had this little chat.

It makes sense that they would have made sure the faces matched when they redid things for the 4. One thing they apparently redid between 1 and 2 even for the PS3 is that ‘balancing on logs’ mechanic we discussed previously. I’ve walked across a couple of logs so far, and not a hint of a challenge to it. Interesting. Someone REALLY must have hated that.

Butch:

You just don’t do tragedy do you? Tremendous sense of justice.

That’s kinda awesome about the logs. Write it out if the remaster, too! Makes you wonder if a remastered Mass Effect would have planet scanning.

Feminina:

It better! I LIKED planet scanning!

I just want everyone to have a satisfying ending, even if they’re dead. I bet all those feral ghoul Spaniards were psyched to finally die in an exciting finale!

Even better if they all love me. Pretty sure Ramirez was secretly into Drake. (I just made that up this second. But hey, I’m going with it.)

Butch:

I, too, liked scanning but we were in the distinct minority. We must accept this.

Poor, poor ghouls. Some must be Nazis as well.

I wonder if the gratuitous presence of Nazis was a nod to raiders. They didn’t have to be there and played no real part in the story.

You just gotta be loved.

It occurs to me that in three out of the last four games you’ve played you, or your character, has banged a BEBHBB. Piper, Yen, now Chloe. And there was no opportunity in UC 1, so it doesn’t count.

You’re coming around you are. Welcome to the club.

Feminina:

Your basic summary of the situation is accurate, but I’m dubious as to whether I’m really coming around to specific appreciation of the BEBHBB, so much as flinging myself on anyone that will have me. Because of the deep and cavernous existential loneliness that consumes my soul, you know.

It’s true, the Nazis didn’t do much, but they were a handy bridge between Francis Drake’s time and the present day. It certainly didn’t have to be Nazis, though: that felt very Raiders. Could just as easily have been the Allies, if they wanted to stick with WWII, or some non-war-related expedition from any country one could care to think of.

Butch:

You’ll come around. You will.

You so will.

Feminina:

Just don’t ask me to limit myself. I need to be free to have 6 lovers if the opportunity arises.

Don’t try to tie me down, man!

Butch:

Hey man, I turned down Yen for Triss. You’ve banged more BEBHBBs in the past four games than I did. And I MARRIED Cait! Sorta.

Feminina:

Um…pretty sure you also got with Piper, Yen and now Chloe. Just ’cause you dumped them later (in some cases) doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. We’re even, at best.

Also, does it even count if it’s not a choice? I mean, it’s not as if we DECIDED to get with Chloe. It was a cutscene.

Speaking of…things, there’s a bit later on in UC2 where a comment suggests that it does come after UC1, chronologically. So there’s that.

Butch:

Oh yeah, I did bang Yen, didn’t I? But that was because of a spell. Yeah. Going with that. Triss bought it, after all.

Cutscenes count. And spells make it not count.

Really? 2 is definitely after 1? Hmm. Then I guess that’s all of it, then, because right before the sewers I am in with Alistair take place four months before the snow train, and there’s no way that all of one happened in four months.

And I thought my pick up on the notebook was so slick.

Feminina:

Yeah, there’s no way we left the sewers-with-Alistair to jaunt off chasing Francis Drake and then ran back to wind up on the snow train in the course of four months.

Literally no way, as will be made clear at a later point, but even without having that time explicitly otherwise accounted for, it would strain credibility.

‘Spells’ is a cheap cop-out, man. The spell made you LOVE Yen. It didn’t force you to get busy with Yen on a stuffed unicorn. That’s on you. (I know, because I missed the unicorn bit entirely. IT WAS OPTIONAL.)

Butch:

Indeed, that timeline wouldn’t work. Even in adventure games, one can only strain stuff so far.

Speaking of sewers with Alistair, a mechanic I noticed (besides the swinging which is gonna take some getting used to) is that Drake seems to run much faster in this game. I find myself flitting around like a moth. I’m not sure, though, if that’s for real or it’s because I’m still getting the contrast between healthy Drake and wounded snowbound Drake. You noticed anything?

Dude, I reiterate: I told TRISS “spell” and she STILL took me to Korvir and gave me warm cakes. If she didn’t think cheap cop out, it wasn’t a cheap cop out.

And really, who, among us, when under the magical yet false impression that we are in love, HASN’T gotten busy on a stuffed unicorn?

It was the spell, man.

Feminina:

Hmm…I haven’t really noticed him moving significantly faster. He seems to move a little more cautiously, so it does look different (he looks a little sneakier, where in 1 he’d just be sort of sauntering casually around no matter what), but I didn’t notice the speed.

But then, I’m probably continuously comparing every game to ones where there’s absolutely no possible way to make Manny sprint, no matter what you do, and that makes them all seem delightfully speedy.

Triss will believe what she needs to believe: she’s in love. You and I, in the hard light of day, have to take a more objective stance and recognize that the unicorn nookie was on you. OWN your unicorn nookie, dude. These are the choices that make us who we are.

Butch:

Maybe it’s just an illusion contrasted to snow Drake. Once I get away from snow Drake for a while, it’ll wear off.

The swinging thing, though. There was a bit there where I jumped and was hanging, and it took me a whole lot of looking around for places to scoot to before I figured out “swing.” I’m not sure I like this. That, and I don’t seem to be very good at it, and I’m very sure there will be at least a couple, and probably far more, times where I’ll have to do it quick and timed. This will not go well.

And in games like this, it’s those moments that scare me from a reaper moment perspective. A fight? No biggie. You can turn down the difficulty (oddly, on that, this game defaulted to normal, unlike the last one that defaulted to easy). But the mechanical bits? I don’t think difficulty affects them, so I either can do it or I can’t.

Nice call back to Grim Fandango. THERE WAS A WAY TO MAKE HIM SPRINT! Sigh.

“OWN your unicorn nookie, dude.”

T SHIRT!!!!!!!

Feminina:

Yeah, snow Drake is definitely impaired. Which is kind of a nice mechanic as well…lets you get a sense that he’s genuinely messed up.

Butch:

He is impaired, which plays with another game convention. Usually there’s the whole “You’re not badass!” bit around 60% through a game. You lose your weapons, whatever. We’ve talked on this. It’s weird to LEAD with that. Interesting. I mean, ok, sure, in sequels you have to start over re skills and gear, but to start with the artificial gimped character is a change. And a neat one.

Advertisements