Some spoilers for early plot points and characters in Uncharted 4
Ok, played Chapter 7, which was getting out of the auction and getting a cutscene and now I’m in Scotland.
Today’s theme: Being protective and overprotective.
So two things:
Nadine, huh? Now…here’s the thing. Part of me wants to think that whole bit was kind of progressive. I mean, weren’t we just talking about games making women fightable baddies? And it was rather ironic that it started with him a) flirting and b) saying “Good thing I’m a gentlemen” only to lead to a fight. But…here’s the thing: I don’t think you could win that fight. I think she was going to kick your ass, and you were going to fall out the window, and things would go on. Right? So really, she WASN’T a fightable woman, at that point anyway. That was basically a big interactive cutscene with a strong woman in it. The “you’re fighting a woman” thing was an illusion of gameplay.
So what to make of THAT?
Second: That wonderful, wonderful cutscene.
Here’s them all planning, and scolding Nathan about lying to Elena. And then….Nathan LEAVES, and we see Sully and Sam being PROTECTIVE. Sully saying “[I’m here because] Someone has to watch out for him” and Sam showing the guilt that that someone hasn’t been, and isn’t, him.
Nathan’s the hero of the damn game, right? The HERO. The PLAYER CHARACTER, and here we have two NPCs essentially protecting him, being paternal, and treating him like a big, careless child.
Dude. When was the last time that the HERO was sent out to make a phone call while NPCs talk about how to take care of him?
And here’s the line blur of the day: I found myself kinda agreeing with Sully. “Yeah, he DOES need someone to take care of him…yeah, he was a dick to Elena…yeah, you’re too old and you’re Sam…” which of course leaves you, the player. You, the player, are in on that conversation, too. You’re listening, nodding along, about keeping Nathan safe. And then the cutscene ends, and the game gets going, and you’re off to spend the next ten hours or so TRYING TO KEEP NATHAN ALIVE.
Playing these games in order, and playing TLOU recently, has been an interesting experience. You can pretty much see ND trying out new ways to use games to tell stories, how to blur lines, all the time. And they don’t always matter much to the game at hand, but I always get the sense that, someday, when we’re playing the next game of theirs, we’ll be going back to these posts and linking them.
That was a good cutscene. As you say, it’s interesting how you as the player are sort of allied with the other characters rather than with the PC. We’re all there thinking “Nathan, you’re being a doofus. Call Elena.”
It’s also interesting that even though Elena isn’t in this part of the game, she’s still present as a character. In this sense, she does avoid being totally the stock Worried Waiting Woman that you often see in this type of story (as I complained the other day.)
As you pointed out the other day, maybe he does have reason to think she’d flip out and leave him if he told her the truth: we know they did split up once already, and we sort of assume it’s because of his danger-seeking ways (although this is mostly because his danger-seeking ways are pretty much all we know about him…maybe they actually broke up because she voted for Trump and he was a die hard Hillary supporter).
Here, again, we’re with Sully and (to a lesser extent given he’s never met Elena and hasn’t seen Nathan in 15 years) Sam: WE find it obvious that he should just freaking call his wife, but we don’t know what their relationship is like from the inside. Only they know, and sometimes what looks like a great relationship to an outside observer can be a toxic mess.
Maybe he’s right to lie! Maybe it’s the only way he can keep himself safe from her terrifying rage!
I do think that this “there are probably good reasons we don’t know about” excuse is cutting the game a bit more slack than it really deserves, though. I mean, you KNOW that what we have to go on is only what you’ve shown us. You know this is a work of fiction and by convention, we trust you to show us the important things and leave out the stuff that doesn’t matter to the story. If you don’t show us a good reason to lie to Elena, it’s not really fair to expect us to just assume there is one.
The main conclusion I draw is that they don’t actually think the reason is important enough to show, which is fine if we’re going with “this is an action game, story is just an excuse to get to the shooting” but which is a little disappointing if you’re looking for a bit more than that from the story.
It’s not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, it’s just kind of unsatisfying to me from a character development standpoint.
Anyway…Nadine. Yeah. I also had those mixed feelings about that fight. I mean, yes, she’s a total badass, and that’s cool. But also yes, that was a fight we couldn’t win. We got beaten up by a woman, so that’s a sign that woman can be super tough–but we couldn’t have beaten up that woman, so is the game saying women have to be protected from a “fair” fight? (Not that there’s anything fair about a fight where one person can come back from the dead unlimited times until they finally win…)
I think this might be something the game couldn’t really win on: whatever they do, nitpicky people like us can ask these questions.
And in the end, I asked myself if the scene would have been significantly different if Nadine were a man, and I’m not sure it would have. There’s a long tradition of major opponents being unbeatable in early fights to show how tough they are. If a man had beaten up Nathan and thrown him out a window, the story could have proceeded exactly the same way. (And props to Nathan for not getting all wounded male pride and freaking out about being beaten by a woman: in his mind, apparently, she was tougher/better prepared than him and that’s all that matters).
Any stray thoughts about how Nathan and Nadine are almost the same name? Is she a kind of mirror version of him, with all the danger-seeking genes but more of an inclination to work with/command others?
And this is so rare. We’re ALWAYS on the PC’s side, right? We ARE the PC! But no, not this time.
And the friends aren’t the stock “Hey, man, let’s go be men and ditch the ladies” either. Hell, here they are, smoking and drinking and heisting, and what are they doing? Saying “Call your wife.”
But man, don’t even joke on this election. We do this to get away from reality, man.
It was interesting that Sully said exactly what I said: “She’s been through all this with you and you still don’t trust her?” I was like, “Hey, Sully, way to read the blog!” Sully gets it! Sully knows she’s bad ass.
As to what it says on Drake’s character development…Hmm. I’m tending to think that it is just a reflection on Drake’s selfishness. We had some of this going on in 3, the whole “Why are you DOING this?” questioning. The ideas that all these adventures are really just about his pride, something in him, in his personality. We get a sense he likes having walls. He doesn’t want her to be a part of this, and that’s that. There’s no other reason, except the ones he has in his head.
I do find it interesting (and maybe this is because they changed writers) that we still don’t know what happened to them the first time.
The Nadine fight was strange in that regard (women/villains…). Especially when it dawned on me that I couldn’t die, or couldn’t win. I really was trying to both win and not die, but about two thirds of the way through I figured it out, and then it felt kinda cheap. It was both “protecting” Nadine, but it was also avoiding the inevitable ending of Drake winning, that is, standing victorious over the knocked out woman. I mean, that’s an image one doesn’t see much, for all sorts of reasons, and making this fight predetermined, they pooched out of having to show it.
And that scene, yes, would’ve been the same. Now, I suppose you know and I’ll find out if there’s gonna be a scene without a predetermined outcome later on, because, as you say, the whole “You’re gonna get beat by this strong baddie early” thing is usually followed by “You’re gonna kill said baddie much later in the game.” Right?
We’ll talk. Later.
Their names: Hmm. Didn’t notice that. She is a bit of a mirror, but also younger. I mean, this game has Nathan and Sully get on in years. She and Raef are younger versions, the next versions. The young badass and the young dude in the suit. (Well, Raef is the same age as Drake, but I’m comparing him to Sully here.) Maybe a dynamic of the old guard trying to hang on for one more score when the new guard is trying to take over? Tale as old as time, that.
Ah, so your take is that there IS no good reason for the lie (and that’s why they didn’t show it to us) and that Nathan is really just a doofus. I could get behind that.
It is true, though, that they’ve actually broken up twice before, between 1 and 2 and between 2 and 3, so there’s got to be something going on. Maybe it was the fact that he keeps freaking lying to her!
Anyway, we’re agreed with Sully and Sam that he’s being a doofus.
New blood taking over IS a classic story, and Nadine is new blood…Rafe not so much, since he was already involved with Sam and Nathan when they were first in that prison, and that was 15 years ago–but as you said, it’s true if we make him the Sully figure to Nadine’s Nathan/Sam.
Though it’s also interesting that both Rafe and Nadine have inherited their fortunes (a bunch of money, a private army). The brothers Drake have only inherited a name, which they actually stole. So maybe it’s an insiders/outsiders thing.
Lots of classic stories!