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Spoilers for early-game story of Uncharted 4

Butch:

Dude, I take it back, I love Pokemon Go!  And now we’ll talk about character, setting, gameplay…….
Oh, wait, shit.  I left some sentences out of that and it became misleading.  Silly me.  I apologize.  Let’s try that again.
Dude, I take it back, I love Pokemon Go!  Why, you ask?  Well, last night, after Baby and Middle Child McP were asleep, that’s usually the time where I have to calm Butch Jr. down, make sure he’s not fighting with Mrs. McP, make dinner, do chores, do all sorts of crazy shit, etc.  But LAST night I said to them “Hey guys.  Why don’t you guys go for a walk? Check out that Pokestop? You’ll get some exercise, have some quality time.  It’ll be great.”  And off they went!  And they had all sorts of fun.  And Mrs. McP burned enough calories that we could have rum drinks later on! 
And while they were doing that, I played Uncharted.  And now we’ll talk about character, setting, gameplay……..
There.  That’s better.  That’s really how it went. 

So, busted out of prison, lied to Elena, took off to Italy, met Sully, picked a pocket, met Nadine, now I’m looking for a waiter.

I’ll go in order.

1) Liked the breakout a lot. I mean, it was ALSO a nice little line blur: I remembered the layout…some….but I still got turned around a couple of times. Much like, oh, I don’t know, someone who had done it, studied it for real 15 years ago. Sam probably would have been like “Yeah, that’s it, there’s the rail, and the ladder is, fuck where’s the ladder, is it THERE it is!” and I was the same way. NICELY done.

And I like that the big ol’ baddie isn’t a) after Nathan and b) isn’t trying to find the thing himself. Nice twist. He’s more of a specter.

2) Lying to Elena sort of sucked. I felt bad. But cool that there was a whole chapter called “The Malaysia job” and it turns out all that is is an excuse to do the real game.

3) Sully you dashing rascal. We need more cool grey haired dudes in games. And balls. This setting is fucking awesome.

4) If there’s gonna be a game mechanic that makes me stare at asses put Chloe in it, not some waiter.

5) Nadine, huh? The fact that she seems to be the anti-Evil Helen Mirren yet still British and very probably evil makes me think this is the bad guy you mentioned back when we were talking on women bad guys. She’s gonna be an important character, yes?

6) If you ever find yourself waiting tables at a big fancy gala with crooks and stuff that crooks might want to steal, never, EVER get separated from the pack. No good will come of it.

Feminina:

Yay! Excellent progress.

That does sound like something that’s fun to do with kids, and while getting some exercise. Maybe I’ll have to buy a new phone and do it with O’Jr.

I also liked the way “The Malaysia Job’ was actually just set-up. Also the way that whole underwater expedition turned out to be a boring salvage job on a murky river. It was kind of a “work/life is what you make it” moment…because when we first get to that scene we don’t know where we are (could reasonably be Malaysia given the chapter title we just saw), and the water looks all blue and mysterious, we’re hunting for some mysterious lost thing…it completely fits with his previous life of adventure, and so when we find out it was just a blah job in a blah river, it’s kind of both a slap in the face (THIS is what the great Nathan Drake is reduced to?) and a suggestion that it’s possible to have fun with your work even if it’s not some wild adventure.

We don’t know, when he first comes up, whether Nathan is really satisfied with his life or not, and the way the scene opens gives us a way to think he could be. Hell, I almost wanted to take up salvaging myself after that–it looks so exciting!

It also prompts interesting comparisons with his usual activities. All the adventures we’ve been on with him before have been, in practical terms, the same kind of work/gameplay…only now he’s not getting shot at, and the pay is more reliable. It’s not particularly clear that he’s in the wrong place now, which makes his hesitation at taking the actual Malaysia job, or joining Sam when he shows up, seem a bit more poignant. I mean, yeah, we can also see that he misses the adventure (he’s clearly an adrenaline junkie, plus he probably misses all the casual murdering), but it’s also clear that he knows staying is a smarter choice, and it’s not TERRIBLE for him, so his being torn feels very real.

Nadine–yes, we will talk more about Nadine. Not because of any outrageous treatment or behavior of the character, so don’t think you have to be watching for something egregious to happen, but just because as a female character and a black character, neither of which are common in this series, she’s worth noticing.

Speaking of female characters, I did kind of feel that the whole lying-to-Elena bit was…meh. I mean, the whole setup is a trope (retired something pulled back in for one last job, deceiving the loving-but-disapproving spouse to do it), but that part FELT way trope-ier to me. As I said above, I thought they did a good job with the familiar retired-almost-satisfied-dude-now-has-to-go-back-for-one-last-job story: it had some genuine meaning and heart because you really see both the good and bad of his current mundane life.

I didn’t think they did nearly as good a job making it make sense for him to feel he had to follow the lie-to-your-wife-and-sneak-off part of that story. The very fact that they’ve done a pretty good job up to now making Elena a real and well-developed character makes it feel implausible that he would believe he couldn’t tell her about this. She’s adventured with him repeatedly and always held her own! She’s actively encouraging him to take more interesting jobs! She’s plainly not the stick-in-the-mud boring housewife you often see in this story, whose main purpose is to sit around worrying about her reckless husband, and yet that’s kind of what the game turns her into at this point.

I guess at least she can play Crash Bandicoot while she does it.

That aside, I liked the castle setting, liked all the climbing, liked the dashing Sully (it’s cool that they’ve made the characters visibly older), and liked the ball (it’s like we always say: more games should have a ball scene). Beautiful settings.

Are you finding treasures? I kind of liked the way they have that list in this one, but on the other hand it did just taunt me with all the ones I missed. “Damn it, there must have been another one under the water, and now I can’t go back!” Ah well. Finding all the treasures has always been a hopeless goal for me.

Butch:

Thank you, thank you. Good to be healthy again.

But no no no.  Make MR. O’ do Pokemon with O’Jr., so you can play with the PS4. 

I have taught you nothing with my story.

I thought it was Malaysia. I suckered. I mean, that was the title of the chapter. And in the end “It’s copper,” and the response “Hey, you get good money for that!” Is it treasure? Drake thinks not, but the other guy does. All relative.

That and the way the dude who WANTS him to the job is set up. I really thought that dude was going to be a major character, the boat captain or some shit. But now I think that’s that for him. Maybe not. But probably.

It does make you wonder. Very well written, very well acted. I also bought that it broke HIS heart to lie to Elena. He did not do that casually. It made one think a little harder about why, in 3, we know whatever they had in the first place fell apart. Perhaps he’s not only being dragged back into stealing, but being dragged back into being a dick to Elena. I got that he was choosing between her and Sam, and he thought it was a shitty choice, and he’s not at all sure he did the right thing.

As for the adrenaline, I thought it was interesting that through the whole scuba scene, he keeps getting reminded that he’s almost out of air. Then he says “Don’t drop it on me.” I felt myself kind of rushing (“Is this level timed?” and rushing out from under the truck (“Is going to fall? Be a QTE?”) even though there was never any danger. He made it, for him and the player, far more “dangerous” than it was. Here’s me being all on my toes, when, really, it was just a chore.

But as for the Elena-housewife thing, again, we have that gap where they were fighting. We also have him, repeatedly, protecting her, or trying to. Wanting to quit in 1, telling her to take the jeep in 3, etc. So his lying to protect her, even if, or ESPECIALLY if she doesn’t need protecting is still part of a larger pattern. He still doesn’t get it.

We also know he has lied, by omission, to her the whole time. He says to Sam “Come to dinner! Meet her! I can tell her all about you!” which implies he hasn’t. As there may well be some history of lying (see broken engagement in 3), perhaps what he really wants to hide isn’t the fact he’s going adventuring/stealing, but that he’s kept this very, very important thing to himself despite the fact they’re married and have been through so much together. He’s avoiding the awkward of saying “Honey, yeah….uh….so I have this brother…..”

As for the ball: such graphics. And the throwaway “Of course they play douchey Euro techno music” was great.

Heroes go to balls to mock them.

As I, too, am mocked by the question marks. But I do like how they used treasures early on. The first one I found was right at the start of the scuba chapter, and it was pretty obvious, which reinforced the whole “And now we’re finding the cool shit!” aspect of that level, which was a fake out.

And did you find the one on the salvage boat? It was “Antique arcade token,” a rusted piece of worthlessness. Like “Here’s where we are now. This is treasure.”

Good on ya, game, for making silly pointless collectibles have at least some point.

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