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Spoilers for the end of Uncharted 4

Butch:

So the sword fight…….

From a theme perspective it was great. Mocking Drake, saying he’s nothing. Spot on. He’s read the blog. Drake has no fame, no riches, no recognition. We’ve done three games, almost four, and have nothing to show. Drake has nothing to show. Which both puts us, the player, in our place, and amplifies Drake’s “victory” in the epilogue (which we’ll discuss later, as we have to draw this out, as I won’t start Gone Home before sun and rum and whatnot).

That said…

The FUCK is with the QTEs in the end of these games? TLOU didn’t have that. And this was ANNOYING in the QTE department. It’s cheap. I like that this was a pirate sword fight. That metaphor was cool, and they couldn’t just introduce that. But QTEs….and having all those damn prompts up FOR the QTEs was intrusive. Not cool.

So for story? Great. For actual game mechanics? Not great. And I’m not sure how I feel about that, because, as said, the reason they couldn’t just make it a gun fight was because the sword thing, the metaphor, worked with the narrative and themes. But that made it a QTE fest. So is it ok? Am I being overly annoyed? Should I accept because metaphor/themes/etc? We often talk about how story/theme/metaphor etc. is the important thing, right?

I’m still gonna be mad about the prompts in this game. The rope thing….but that’s been done.

Feminina:

The QTEs were kind of annoying, I’m with you there.

But the sword fight was kind of cool, and kind of perfect for a bratty character who’s full of himself like Rafe, with not only a tie-in to the pirate story, but also a hint of class conflict: “haha, let’s swordfight, because I’m rich and have had the leisure time to get good at something a penniless orphan like yourself would never have had the chance to learn.” And they did a good job with the animation, with Rafe smooth and practiced in his swings and Nathan kind of flailing.

And they also did a good job, with the mechanics as they were, giving it an interesting sense of being a different kind of skill than the shooting we’re used to: you had to watch your opponent’s movements and predict where a hit was coming and which way to block, and since it was all repeated each time you had a chance to try to remember the sequence of blows and be ready, which, while not similar to an actual fight, did make you use your brain a little differently and therefore, again, contributed to that sense of doing something different.

But the repeated prompts and the QTEs did get a bit tiresome, and I was so ready to be done when I finally got done. Mercifully, they did save a couple of times in the middle, at least.

Butch:

Ooo! I even missed that about the different ways the characters move! Good point!

And generally the sense of doing something different was pretty great. I wish they could have found a way to do it without QTEs (and prompts). I’m all for different, but…. Maybe if they had introduced it once earlier? I don’t know.

And thank GOD for the fact that it saved in the middle for you. Cuz I died a bunch. Like, a BUNCH.

Which goes back to the whole “We don’t really want a hard fight at the end” bit. I mean, this wasn’t a hard fight in the traditional sense. It wasn’t waves of darkspawn and an archdemon. It wasn’t hordes of husks and collectors. It wasn’t even weirdassed samurais. It was just a dude with a sword…..BUT it was hard. Many deaths. Almost…ALMOST too many. So does this count as a “traditional” hard end fight?

Feminina:

Yeah, I died a bunch in that fight too. Which does make it an interesting question…it doesn’t really ‘read’ like a Giant Final Battle, but I probably died just as often as I would have in a Giant Final Battle. Is it more or less annoying to do this than to fight a horde of reapers?

I don’t know. But I guess I basically liked this ending in general, so there’s that. It was clear that Rafe basically brought everything on himself at the end: Nathan is ready to just call it a day and move on, not exactly friends but whatever, but Rafe can’t let go. A metaphor for how Nathan is becoming a grown-up, while Rafe can’t move past his childhood pirate fantasies (and grudges and insecurities: you get the sense he always wanted to be as cool as Nathan and Sam but never felt he measured up).

And there’s Sam, who kind of also couldn’t move past those pirate fantasies, but did in the end finally let them go (not until Nathan dragged him bodily out of the burning wreckage, but at least he wasn’t clinging to the doorframes on the way out, so…partial credit).

Butch:

I think this ending is somewhat better than reapers, as it gave a chance for some dialogue there. But still…..ain’t nothing that breaks momentum like dying over and over. Hell, there were a couple times when Raef interrupted his own dialog to gloat.

“See? The Great Nathan Dra—that was easy.”

Dude.

I, too, liked the ending in general. I mean, I harshed the Nadine bits, and there are flaws today, but I will heap praise tomorrow. And yes, it was nice to see that theme extended (more on THAT tomorrow, right?). And really, it IS just immaturity that doomed him. I mean, he doesn’t NEED the money (we think). He’s doing this just to WIN, to prove he’s BETTER. It is whiny and stupid.

(That said…..in the epilogue we learn that Nathan decided to…..wait….wait until tomorrow.)

But Nathan dragging Sam out–Wait wait wait wait wait. Wait. That isn’t how it happened. Indeed, I was struck that the last thing you do as Nathan is swim out of the wreckage AFTER Sam. Sam is STILL leading you. Nathan busts Sam out with the cannon there, but it ends (or that particular bit of it ends) with you/Nathan FOLLOWING Sam, still, after all that time. There was no dragging. Just following.

Now, I think some of that was gameplay. They do use NPCs to show you which way to go so you don’t get frustrated, but still. I don’t think it was just that.

And it wasn’t the last thing we see of Sam. With Sam taking Nathan’s place at Sully’s side, does that mean that Nate has grown up and Sam has taken his place as the “kid?” (Sully does call Nate “Kid” all the time), or has Sam GROWN into being the star of Sully’s sky?

Feminina:

Ha! Yes, him interrupting his own taunting was pretty funny.

OK, you’re right, it was exaggeration/misrepresentation to say that Nathan dragged Sam out. I was thinking of the fact that Sam, trapped, says “go, leave me” and Nathan refuses to leave and sticks around to free him…but yeah, the way I phrased it made it sound as if Sam wanted to hang out and loot, and Nathan pulled him away by the shirt tails. Inaccurate phrasing. My bad.

Perhaps, given what ACTUALLY happened, it suggests that not only has Nathan grown up enough to save Sam, he’s inspired Sam to grow up enough to know when to quit (when the boat is burning up all around you!) and to take the lead in the SMART direction for a change (since pretty much the whole game up to now has been him leading Nathan in the direction of trouble and danger and unlikely dreams of treasure).

As for how that relates to the relationship each of them has with Sully…interesting question. I thought it was interesting that Sully and Sam didn’t like each other at first, but came to be friendly by the end: this seems like another aspect of the “family is most important” thing, since they are both Nathan’s family. Learning to get along with family can be considered part of growing up, so maybe that was a maturing step for both of them, but in a different direction than Nathan chose to eventually go?

Butch:

Well, you did finish this game like four months ago, so one can forgive you if you’ve forgotten a detail or two.

Also remember: towards Elena. Sam leads Nathan BACK to Elena.

I’m still not sure how it fits in a ‘coming of age’ sense. I mean, Sully and Sam sure as hell seem VERY close in the epilogue. I mean, we see that as what Nathan probably would have been but for Elena (later. Talk on this later). Nathan sort of assumes that he’ll end up sipping espresso with Sully in Cuba someday when they’re old. And SAM ends up doing that.

And here’s the thing: I was happy for him, too. This was a game where I really thought it ended happily for everyone (well, the good guys). So here’s me thinking that Nathan’s domestic track was happy, and the track he didn’t take (that Sam did) was ALSO happy.

That’s an oddity in a narrative. Happy either way!

Are we so into the way games work that “alive” is happy?

Feminina:

I don’t think just “alive” is happy. Sam could have been back in prison, or free but estranged from Nathan, or free but pretty miserable and constantly badgering Nathan about pathetic schemes that Nathan wants no part of…it could easily have been bad, even if they were all alive.

They’re specifically shown to be not only alive but doing well by their own estimation: happy, healthy-looking, in contact with family (the idea of ‘family’ only more important now with Cassie’s presence). It’s happy for all of them because they all got what they wanted.

Sam and Sully get to continue being lovable scoundrels working outside the law, and Nathan and Elena get to be legal and lead a less dangerous but still adventurous life.

It’s saying that happy is different for different people, and we may not all have the same ideas about what makes a happy ending, but we’re still family. We can accept each others’ different ideas about happiness.

Butch:

Yeah, I suppose. They do seem very happy, all of them. And they stayed family. It’s nice that Cassie wants to see Sully and Sam.

We’ll talk. Later.

Alive helps, though, ya gotta admit.

Feminina:

Alive is definitely a good start. Hard to do much without that basic foundation. But seriously, it does all come back to the importance of family!

A heartwarming moral for us all.

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