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Some serious plot spoilers for the almost-end of Uncharted 3

Butch:

Well, played. And got to 95%, which is the “Let’s end this, once and for all” bit, and I got tired. So consistency.

That was trippy, wasn’t it?

I knew he wasn’t dead. And I figured out it was the fountain.

Interesting. I mean, makes slightly more sense than dressed up not yetis. WE are the prospector!

But I can see your emotional cheat idea there. And an ineffective one, as I didn’t buy it. (Of course, one reason I didn’t buy it is that I know he’s in 4, therefore not dead. Had we played this when it came out, we wouldn’t have known that).

Your thoughts on this sequence?

Feminina:

So trippy. The dudes who burst into flame were extremely trippy. Kind of a nice touch that they showed up before that fuzziness that let you know that Drake is definitely messed up, so at first it seemed at least possible that these were some sort of weird yeti-style thing taking over the Secret Order dudes.

On reflection, of course, it made more sense that he was just messed up before he realized he was messed up, but the brief uncertainty was kind of cool.

As for the cheat with Sully’s “death”…I sort of half bought it for a while, unlikely though it seemed, because it wasn’t immediately obvious that Drake was messed up. I was thinking “maybe his appearance in 4 was a flashback?” Then once it became clear that there was a lot of hallucinating going on, I figured his death was also a hallucination.

I didn’t mind the hallucinations themselves, that was an interesting sequence, but it did feel like kind of a cheat to try to get us all worked up about Sully and then say “surprise, he’s alive!”

I did find it interesting that this game pretty much backs off the whole idea that there’s anything supernatural going on. As you say, we are the prospector in the sheet! And while the explanation is weird, it’s presented as natural: some toxin in the water, we don’t know exactly what it is but it’s certainly not magic.

This makes me retrospectively think that the zombie Spaniards in 1 were also supposed to be explained by a weird but natural toxin (say, something like the fungus in TLOU) rather than an ancient curse, and of course the not-yeti turned out to be just dudes mutated by resin and wearing masks…way to take the mystery out of everything, game.

Still, I kind of loved Atlantis of the Sands. Cool environment.

Butch:

They did seem plausible as real-life weirdness. Especially as, if you’ve played the first 2, you know that once you get to the secret city place of COURSE weird shit happens. And, I mean, makes sense for Tibet to have cold yeti things, makes sense of the desert to have fire demons. Makes PERFECT sense.

It was a good moment of doubt about whether he was messed up or things were genuinely weird. And it was a nice way of getting the “late game harder thing” in without resorting to “Well of COURSE there’s weird hard supernatural things.” Because, from a gameplay perspective, it is kinda good to have a harder, different thing to shoot in the late game, and they managed to give us that without resorting to “weird city=weird monster.”

I did have a “maybe flashback” moment about Sully, too. But it didn’t last. It was all just too weird.

I agree completely about the hallucinations. They were a nice “make gameplay different” late trick that wasn’t just “Now it’s hard!” and they did refresh some mechanics. I thought the water puzzles, where you had to follow your own reflection, was extremely creepy.

And the callback to the childhood chase scene, where you had to do the exact same thing, only with spiders was pretty damn perfect. I JUST read our post about me saying “Oh, here’s the point where he becomes a killer and he didn’t, what a shock,” and here’s me redoing that scene shooting SULLY in the late game. THAT was one of those “Ok…THAT was nice” moments. There’s some themes. Why do I have a feeling that that particular theme of trust, and “Who makes you you” bit is gonna come up in the next game I play? Bravo on that.

Now here’s a thing: back to that puzzle where you followed yourself, then the sparkly thing became you: You think ND was making some point about games themselves? We’ve been talking about the ease in which we switch from “me” to “you” to “Drake,” and how PC and character blur. There’s no doubt ND has pondered that, as the weirdest, most interesting blur of that line was the bit in Left Behind where you and Ellie are “playing a video game” in the arcade there. Do you think this was some sort of proto line blur? Like, here’s game Drake, who follows your commands. You move the stick, he moves. But now, here’s a picture of Drake guiding you. He moves, then you, the PC does what HE does.

I’m not sure if that fits into the game itself, but then, we’ve talked about proto-TLOU shit all throughout. Am I reading too much into that?

True that this does suggest there’s nothing supernatural. I like, though, that we seem to be harder on “real” explanations. “Magic shit? Of COURSE!” versus “wait, how would they distill out a toxin? How would they use it? Seems so impractical. Why not just use LSD? Can’t they synthesize it? Why don’t they just look for magic shit like NORMAL people?”

But well, most adventures do try to add some sort of wrinkle to their weirdness to make it more than just “magic.” I mean, if magic were a thing, then we’d all have it. So what to do? Indiana Jones used religion, with the ark of the covenant and the holy grail. Of COURSE we all don’t have grails (“I told him we’ve already got one!”) so it makes sense we have to have an adventure to get one. This game is going for “Well, the ‘curse’ probably isn’t one, which is why we don’t all have them.” Of course, that glosses over why these curses make everyone immortal, and why entire CITIES that are hidden seem so damn common, but hey. What can you do?

Atlantis of the Sands is quite cool. And very pretty in the remaster.

Feminina:

Seriously…guys, just use good old fashioned LSD like everyone else!

One is a little curious about what this mystery water toxin brings to the party that they don’t already get from the mystery dart toxin they already have–that seemed to mess up Drake and Charlie just fine. But hey, maybe it’s really expensive to produce or something, and they’re hoping the Sandlantis water will be somehow cheaper despite having to be pumped from deep underground and then hauled hundreds of miles out of the desert. I’m sure they have a perfectly rational plan that they simply don’t bother to share with us because we keep shooting at them.

I did like the puzzle where you have to follow your own reflection. They were definitely playing with our expectations there. And the recreation of the early flashback, only chased by our old nemesis, giant spiders. Good, freaky stuff there.

Butch:

Ah man! I forgot about the dart! You’re right! Who’s tugging now?

Maybe they only have, like, ten darts left, and they need another source of darts. Or something.

And what was interesting about that flashback part? Did you die? Cuz if you get caught by the spiders, or go the wrong way or something, the fade to black death scene is you as a kid being caught by the security forces.

Cool.

Feminina:

Ooh, interesting…I didn’t die from the hallucinatory spiders, so I didn’t realize that the fade to black was the same as when he was a kid.

I guess they’re clarifying that this really all comes from his mind and memories…nice touch.

And I’m not tugging loose ends–I’m helping them tie loose ends up with my plausible explanations!

Butch:

Of course you are.

The flashback ‘death’ was a very nice touch. And a missable nice touch, too, which I always give props to.

He really did become a bit of a haunted hero. I’m interested to see how the last 5% goes. Is it quick? Or is controller throwing, going on the internet to cheat rage about to happen (like in 2)?

Feminina:

There’s a final fight with some of the usual “now hit square! Now fight! Now triangle!” It wasn’t really that bad, though, at least when I did it.

You’ll be fine. Done in no time.

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