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Spoilers for Uncharted: Lost Legacy

Butch:

Where was I? Ah, yes.

So did a fight by the facade there. Died a bunch, because they kept being all “reinforcements!” which would appear behind me and I’d be all “What? Where? How? I’m dead.” Figured out that sneaking was the way, specifically sneaking to the truck, opening the box and getting the silenced pistol. I love the silenced pistol. Then, no reinforcements, done!

Left off with the line “Back to shotgun,” “I can drive too, you know,” “I know, honey, I just like to be in charge.” I mean, they comment on how the PC always drives in games, and they throw in a “honey.” I love Chloe so much.

Which got me thinking: Yes, I love Chloe cuz BEBHBB and Claudia Black, but she’s different than any other cool female character in games (at least thus far, which is why I’m nervy about the whole backstory. More on that in a second.)

We’ve played a lot of games and met a lot of cool, badass female characters. But they usually fall into one of two categories:

1) The “I’m innocent but learning.” This involves a lot of “Ok..[deep breath] you can do this” to themselves. It usually involves overcoming self doubt. See: Aloy, Lara Croft.

2) The slightly crazy/maybe evil/certainly an outcast. These women are just plain not like other women. They’re outsiders, or bonkers. Maybe they’re part of a persecuted sorceresses guild (Triss, Yen), maybe they’re slightly evil AND persecuted sorceresses (Morrigan), maybe they’re bonkers (Leliana), maybe they’re straight up criminals (Sera). Look at the way MEA described PB and Vetra: “ROGUE academic.” “DRIFTER mercenary.” Different.

Chloe isn’t. She’s just badass. Sure, you can say “She’s a thief,” but not in the overt way that, say, Sera is. She doesn’t live alone in a tavern (we think). She doesn’t cut her hair weird. She’s just an unapologetic thief, like, say Nathan Drake. She’s just a bad ass who sometimes kills for a living, like, say Geralt. The “rogue,” “outsider” angle isn’t forced down our throats like it is in other games with cool women. You never hear her giving herself pep talks, wondering if she can (and Aloy falls into that trope, no matter how much we like Horizon). Shit, when Nadine is all “Do you have a plan?” and she says “Sure!” when you know she doesn’t, the next thing we see ISN’T her being all “Shit, I have no plan…you can do this Chloe.” Nope. The next thing we see is the fall of Kevins.

And that’s awesome.

And it’s why the backstory is even more disturbing. I will be very pissed if there’s a “I don’t know, dad, I don’t know if I can live up to your legacy” scene, thus plopping Chloe into category 1. I hope not.

Feminina:

I do like that about Chloe and this game. As you say, no apologizing, no little self-pep talks, no wondering quietly if she’s good enough, she just goes and does stuff.

I don’t have a problem with pep talks and self-doubt, necessarily, if they make sense for the character (Aloy: young and inexperienced, not unreasonable to occasionally have some nerves), but you’re right that that particular sort of character is much more commonly seen as a woman than a man, so it’s nice that Chloe diverges from it purely as a change of pace.

I mean, we hear her occasionally say “whoa” or shout if she falls, or whatever, but no more than a male character would (Drake yelled a fair amount on tricky climbs).

And I would personally be fine with a young, inexperienced male adventurer who had to give himself little pep talks occasionally and had moments of doubt about his ability to handle things, but you just don’t really see that (because it’s not manly, damn it!).

Even kid-Nathan Drake, back in the orphanage, was way more full of daring and (perhaps unrealistic) confidence than he was prone to nervousness and doubt. I think he expressed some trepidation about a couple of Sam’s big leaps and stuff, but if I recall correctly, even that was more stating a complaint about external circumstances: “come on, that’s a big jump!” than a doubt about himself: “come on Nathan, you can do this!”

Obviously, in real life unfaltering, unwarranted confidence is often not a great strategy, so we’re not holding up either Nathan or Chloe as role models. “Never doubt yourself! Be an international art thief and kill everyone who gets in your way!” is not advice I’ll be giving my children.

But given that it’s a character that works well for a fun action/adventure game, it’s nice that they recognize that there’s no particular reason a woman couldn’t feel just as confident about her legally and ethically dubious goals, and be just as bold and straightforward in their pursuit, as a man.

I’m into it.

I also liked that they’re not completely just “pretending she’s a man.” The fact that she’s a woman isn’t a complete nonissue, which would risk seeming dismissive of the existence of gender discrimination. There’s a small bit in there where she and Nadine talk about some of the times they’ve been underestimated or slighted by men who assumed they couldn’t do something because they were women.

So it’s not a non-issue, it’s just not the main issue. Yes, they deal with some things as women that men wouldn’t have to. However, the important thing is that they can climb ridiculously dangerous buildings and mountains, solve ancient puzzles, and murder the hell out of Kevin.

Butch:

That self-doubting role is ALWAYS seen as a woman. I can’t think of a single male character that fits that mold.

Still the funniest moment in all of those games was one time I drove off a cliff and Drake and Sam and Sully all were all “Shit AAA shit AAA shit AAA” all the way down.

Young man giving self peptalks you don’t see… Ever. Not ever.

I was thinking, a good experiment (that neither of us will do) is to see if the throwaway banter is different in a game where you can play as either a man or a woman. Take MEA. There, sure, it was in character for the pathfinder to have doubts. I figure that the cutscene dialog was the same for a man or a woman Ryder, but there were LOTS of times in the in game self talk was along the lines of “[breath] you can do this [breath]” for the female Ryder I played. I wonder if they included that, as we heard it, for the male Ryders out there. If they didn’t, or changed it to “Whoa, that’s a big drop” (like you mention, in UC4), that would be rather interesting.

Agreed about in-game exclamations… Here it’s far more similar to what we see even seasoned male characters do. Even Geralt, when doing a particularly difficult contract would, sometimes, be all “Shit that thing looks tough,” which, again, is more “Damn, man,” than “Damn it Geralt, you can do this!”

Really? You don’t give your kids that advice? I’ve been teaching mine that since birth.

I’m also into it. I hope they don’t fuck it up with this very unnecessary back story.

Gender discussion–Oh, cool! I look forward to that. Though I’ve already seen some underestimation. Right there, when we first meet Asav, he’s all “Come work for me,” and “You’re no expert,” sort of “putting these ladies in their place.” Granted, he’s a bad guy, but the vibe is the same.

Feminina:

Yeah, I can’t think of any male characters that fit that mold either, but I was hedging just in case someone came along to point out that “oh, well, in this one game this one male character was totally that way.” Because I haven’t played every game (by a long shot), so it could theoretically be out there!

But also, good point about that with Geralt, the difference between “damn that thing looks tough” and “come on self, you can do it.” It’s not that male characters are incapable of recognizing danger! Even, sometimes, when something is just TOO dangerous: sometimes you’ll get something like “I can’t get past these 500 armed guards, better try to find a sneaky alternate route.”

But, again, they tend to evaluate threats as a matter of the situation being too dangerous (“500 is just too many armed guards”) rather than as a matter of themselves not being skilled enough to handle it (“I’m not tough enough to defeat 500 armed guards”). They blame the situation, so to speak, rather than themselves.

Which in this imagined case is perfectly sensible, because it’s no-one’s ‘fault’ they aren’t tough enough to defeat 500 armed guards, it’s just one of those things that comes with being a single human being.

But it would be much less surprising to have a female character somehow blaming herself for not being that tough, than a male one. Or apologizing for it.

“Sorry, dad, I’m letting you down but I can’t defeat 500 armed guards!” Ha.

Butch:

That game could be out there, but I doubt it.

Blaming the situation, not themselves: Right. And even then, it’s not really linked to narrative. It’s linked to gameplay. That’s more the game saying “Hey player, don’t do this” than it is any sort of doubt manifesting from the character. And yet, still, they do things differently, as you point out, based on gender.

I really hope they don’t mess it up.

Feminina:

Oh yeah, 500 armed guards is almost invariably the game saying “now it’s time to sneak,” (which is great! I like sneaking!) rather than any kind of comment on how “there are some things even you can’t tackle singlehandedly so be humble” or similar character-related points.

And back to an earlier point, I’m definitely not going to play MEA again to compare, but you’re right, it would be interesting to know if the ‘throwaway’ comments are any different with a male Ryder than they were with a female one.

Somebody probably wrote that article, but I can’t find it.

Hm…this guy did a video on a few minor differences early on…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUzk40kX3-0

Butch:

Interesting. Not all that different in the strong/not front, or confident/doubtful front. But certainly….something.

Another thing for us to keep an eye on.

We’re doing well for a Friday.

Feminina:

Yeah, interesting. As the guy said, it’s an incomplete look since he hadn’t gone past the prologue, so who knows how things looked futher into the game. I did see a couple of other comparison videos, but it seemed like more of the same…relatively small differences, kind of a focus on Sara having more of a gung-ho attitude and Scott being a bit more cautious. Which is perhaps an interesting inversion of the traditional gender roles, where you’d expect the guy to be all full-speed-ahead and the woman more careful. But since the writers had to work with the fact that the player could be putting the character’s focus more in one direction than another, it obviously has to be very subtle.

Butch:

This is gonna be one of those things we can’t talk on because we don’t do multiple playthroughs.

Still not gonna do multiple playthroughs.

Nope.

Even if they had nudity.

PHEW! Friday gonna Friday.

Feminina:

Nope. Not gonna do it. If the game were shorter I might possibly idly consider it (I played ME2 twice), but as it was, I just don’t have that kind of time.

There are other games. There are even things to do that aren’t games, I suppose, if we want to get all technical about it.

Butch:

Many other games.

But on nudity (in general), Chloe, as good lookin’ as she is, is rather unsexualized, even more so (less so? whatever) than Lara Croft in the reboot, I think. In that game, we had the sexualized death scenes, kills, etc. Chloe just wears work boots, we don’t focus on her ass, etc. Even in the (rather creepy) load screens with Nadine and Chloe STARING at you (the first time I saw that it was a AAA! moment), they’re sweaty and not wearing make up and it’s just their faces, not their bodies. Even when you open the phone, her hands look like hands that have just punched dudes and climbed rocks. No nail polish, all calloused and bruised. We don’t often see that. Even Aloy looked pretty put together. It’s a nice touch.

Feminina:

True! I noticed the hands when you’re holding the phone. Chipped nails, scratches, dirty, etc. Which, as you say, matches the activities we see her engaged in. It would have been really weird and distracting if she’d had a beautiful manicure or whatever.

Also yeah, I did not notice a lot of gratuitous “hey, check out her butt while she climbs here, ooh, hey, cleavage!” camera angles or anything. Nadine either. They’re just people moving around, doing stuff, wearing clothes.

And, again I agree, the death scenes are pretty much just “crumpled body on the ground” with no weirdly suggestive poses such as the ones we found vaguely disturbing in the first TR.

Good points all.

I must say, it was all rather refreshing.

Butch:

You say a manicure would be weird, but not having it isn’t all that common, really. We’ve commented several times about how Morrigan always managed to find that eye shadow, even in the deep roads. You could even put make up on Ryder! Ok, Aloy wasn’t all made up, but that hair, man. She never had a bad hair day.

But this–Yup. Good stuff. Not the deepest game in the world, but that’s ok. Still good.

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