Some spoilers for Uncharted 4
Well, that was a spirited car chase, wasn’t it?
Very exciting. Only really frustrating moment was the town square there, where I kept going around in circles, dying, before realizing that I had to go up the stairs.
They really do work the rope in well. Hanging while it pulled you over a bridge? Being dragged and shooting at motorcycles? That’s cool shit that is.
And then, after all that cool “I AM THE BADASS KING OF ALL BADASSES EVERYWHERE!” stuff, when you’re grinning right along with Nathan…..Elena.
I swear, my facial expression was identical to his. Absolutely perfect timing, great scene. Still not sure how she ALWAYS seems to show up at the PERFECT time in the narrative no matter WHERE we are, but hey. What can you do? Worth it, because that contrast between adrenaline and guilt in both him and the player is too perfect. I won’t pull strings. I’ll just leave it there.
That scene was so good. The acting, everything. And here’s a thing: Blocking. Even great games, such as TW3, tend to block their cutscenes with a a static camera, like they’re blocking a stage play. The characters move on one plane, you, the player, look at it from one angle. ND doesn’t do that. That scene, I went back to check, has SIX camera angles. SIX! Including three pans! The characters moved through the apartment the way PEOPLE would, not stage actors, and we got to see them interact like PEOPLE, not actors. It’s a small thing, but it really makes a difference. Again.
People who are being shits to their wife and best friends.
But I will look a little funny at one bit there: you’re arguing with Sam about who’s going to jump to which vehicle, you crash, and there’s that weird, WEIRD little interlude where you’re trapped under the car, and it’s burning, and you have to scootch out of it. What WAS that? I mean, it was telling that after all of that chase bit SAM saves YOU, but that was a weird way to drive it home. Did you take something away from that? Cuz my takeaway was “HUH?”
And then I spent a little time sailing around the Jackdaw looking for Animus fragments. I mean, I toodled around in the boat finding treasures and journal entries and climbed the tower.
Once, I decided to swim to a place I thought had a treasure, cuz it was right over there. I did, and Sam followed in the boat, saying, like, “Dude?” My pirates never did that.
Showing up at exactly the right moment is Elena’s superpower. And yeah, it was a nicely done moment–you’re all high-fiving Sam after your narrow escapes, just like old times, and then…oops.
It was an interesting kind of mood, though…when we first saw Nathan and Sam being reckless and badass as kids, we were eluding nuns, and there’s a little bit of that “oh no, the prim authority figure caught us!” thing now…interesting that Elena is sort of the nun here. Again, she’s in something like the stock disapproving spouse role, as well as the no-fun authority (even though I totally sympathize with her).
And the tension between all the characters was very well done, all those awkward looks, and, as you said, good, fluid cameras (I didn’t consciously notice this, but immediately know what you mean) so we feel as if we’re kind of one of the group, but not necessarily the PC. Because Nathan, seriously, you’re acting like a doofus.
Being trapped under the car was interesting. I wonder if it was supposed to recall for Nathan/create for the player a kind of feeling of youth, of needing to be saved that’s tied in with a child’s feeling of helplessness in the face of the larger world…I mean, Nathan has needed to be saved all kinds of times in all kinds of ways, but this did feel weirdly claustrophobic and different, and maybe it meant to suggest that kid who really needed his big brother to help him because this is too much. Even the way you escape from under the car, sort of crawling slowly instead of your usual running, swinging, freely-moving self, is a bit like the way he wasn’t as tall or fast or strong as his brother when they were kids.
Elena really does embrace the trope of “Female who is prone to convenient conveniences.”
It was a good oops.
You read it as stock no-fun-spouse? I read it more as a) she was upset about being lied to but it was mostly cuz b) he should know she could handle herself. I said in today’s post that Elena seemed, when at home, to WANT to get back out there. In this scene, she even picks up a gun, and I read it as wistful. Like “You didn’t need to lie because I would have come, too. I WANTED to come, too.” It echoes Sully’s urging that Drake didn’t need to protect her.
Indeed, it’s an interesting juxtaposition because, in the chase, we have Sam saving Nathan (again). He’s the powerless one in the end. It’s SAM driving him away. And here, he sends Elena away, and then, when it’s suggested he go, too, he ANGRILY (which I also found interesting) snaps at Sully to go “keep an eye on her if he wants to help.” He wants SULLY out of harms way, too. HE wants to be the protector, even though he knows he’s the protected.
And it’s been that way all along. Elena wanted to stay in one, when he wanted to leave. Chloe saved his ass many times (It IS an ass worth saving) and Chloe was the one who dragged Elena out of Shambala, not Drake. Chloe was also the one who grabs his arm has he’s falling in the final scene. And, while Drake does save Sully in three, he FAILS to save Evil Helen Mirren.
He’s really rather terrible at protecting people, and keeps needing to be protected. He’s uncommon as a hero in that way.
They started playing with this identification stuff in TLOU. They also do cool stuff like pull focuses (they did that a lot in the boat ride after the scene we’re discussing). Very cinematic. And rare. Usually, in cutscenes, everyone’s in focus, bad hair and all. Not in ND’s games. Neat.
The burning car also reinforces the powerlessness, as it lets him (and you) contemplate how fucking wrong he just was. This happens after he’s telling Sam that HE should do the saving (Get in the jeep! No way, I’m faster! C’mon Sam I’m BOOM!) He’s wrong. And now he, and you, have to ponder that as you, rather pitifully, crawl out of the car you THOUGHT was the best option of escape. Doofus.
Yeah, Drake is an interesting hero. I think it was Feminist Frequency where one video pointed out that his body language also differs from a lot of leapy-jumpy heroes: many times they’re all smooth and suave, just hopping calmly and gracefully from one precarious handhold to another, while Drake in practice does all the same stuff, but the presentation is much more “this is hard work” than in, say, Assassin’s Creed. He often lands heavily, looks slightly off balance, or seems to almost lose his grip while climbing (not in a QTE “grab on, grab on!” way, just in the normal course of moving). It takes EFFORT for him to do this stuff. We also hear him say things like “whoa” from time to time, and of course there’s the frequent “oops, this handhold is about to crumble” thing where we have to quickly regroup from something that’s not exactly a mistake, but that throws him a little off balance in a way that a lot of heroes rarely seem to be.
He’s presented as much more of a ‘regular guy’ than a lot of heroes, even though he obviously is NOT a regular guy (what with all the superhuman adventuring skills, and the continual casual murders). His frequent failure to rescue others, and need for others to rescue him, ties into this…he seems more believable because he’s not perfect and we see this. Thus, we also can buy that he’s a doofus from time to time.
Maybe it’s a nod to aging gamers. We relate more. I mean, when Geralt is staring down the Doppler saying “man I look old” I so relate.