Why I stopped playing Uncharted 4

It’s 5 AM and I am up due to a thought that has upset me personally: I don’t like Uncharted 4.

For me, the Uncharted series was one of escapism and fantastic adventure that was the closest I was going to get to being Indiana Jones. It felt like you were in the middle of a giant action/adventure movie and the Uncharted series has shown that Naughty Dog are technical wizards. The character of Nathan Drake was one I could relate to and have fun with as he was the rogue with a heart of gold. Seeing that Uncharted 4 was coming out, I couldn’t wait to see what Nathan and Elena were up to next after Uncharted 3.

And after playing Uncharted 4 for a good chunk of time, I’ve come to this conclusion: Nathan Drake is an asshole.

It’s like this: We’ve had 3 games to play and witness Nathan grow as a character, as a person. In U3, we even thought about what’s the point of treasure hunting in the first place? A great question to ask, especially when the main character always finds himself in the middle of a massive mystery only to have everything crumble down around him. The release trailer for U4 painted a Nathan who is desperate and was definitely out of the game and was forced back in.

The game starts with Nathan having moved on to a life that is quiet. He clearly loves his wife and wants to move on but cannot let go of his love for adventure. He is even tempted by his salvage partner to head out to a shipwreck, but since the permits for the expedition aren’t cleared, Nathan passes. Elena even says for him to do it! She knows that he is distracted and missing something in his life; to which he declines.

Then Nathan’s brother Sam shows up and Nathan instantly lies to wife about heading off on an adventure.

Nathan Drake is an asshole.

Sam is a character that was shoehorned into this game. He was never mentioned before and in Uncharted 3 I liked how Nathan had an obsession with Sir Francis Drake to the point that it is implied he changed his last name, but in U4 that is even taken away. The backstory in U3 is messed with in order for the player to have a connection with Sam. We flashback to a catholic orphanage where he and his brother were dumped by their dickhead of a dad. This is done in order to establish two things:

-The sibling relationship

-And that Nathan always knew how to use a grappling hook as if it were a third arm

Both of these elements, added to the lying, really spoiled Uncharted 4 for me. The character of Sam is interesting, but adding such a central character to the life of Nathan Drake that was never mentioned before to either the player or Elena is a massive pill to swallow. I know its been done before, but Nathan and Sam’s relationship is established in flashbacks as being such a huge portion of Nathan’s life that the fact we, the player, have never heard of him just doesn’t make any sense. Even if you are guilt stricken, how can you never have told your wife that you had a brother? This makes him an even larger asshole, because he has also lied to the player, which is a huge no-no.

I am all for updating mechanics, I am even alright with the grappling hook, but the way the game presented it to us makes no sense. If Nathan had the ability to use this damn tool all the long, then why didn’t he use it in the previous titles? It even borrows the movable crate mechanic from The Last of Us, to a ridiculous degree; and that degree being when I am in a tomb that has had no one else in it for hundreds of years and a giant box on tiny wheels moves like it was put there yesterday.

I’m not asking for realism here, realism is the dirge sung when fun is dead, what I am asking is that the next installment of a series be true to itself and its audience. Uncharted 4 didn’t do that at all. Mechanical updates make sense, you have to do something new, but what I am pissed at is the characterization. I know Nathan is the a-typical rogue and he will lie from time to time and he has in fact lied to Elena a few times in this series already; but that kind of bullshit, if it hasn’t cost him the girl already, is gone when you marry her. You could argue that Elena knew what she was getting into, but she was also willing to work with Nathan’s love for adventure, and he repaid that understanding with lies.

I’ve grown up with this series. I played Uncharted 1, 2, and 3 when I was single, dating, and now married. I am soon to be unlocking the title of Dad and when I went to play Uncharted 4, it was like hanging out with an old friend who you loved to hang out with only they haven’t changed at all. And after a few hours you realize why you stopped calling them.

At this point in my life, I don’t have time to hang out with shitty husband’s or people. Fact is, I am not finishing this game and the reason why is I don’t care about Nathan and that thought bothered me enough to wake me up and not allow me to go back to sleep.

P.S. Let me be abundantly clear, the technical aspects of Uncharted 4 are amazing and truly a high water mark, but the story is the pits.

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Nick enjoys making things and drinking coffee, specifically the latter, for without it the former wouldn’t get done. He also wrote a book titled “Where Monsters Lie & Other Tales”