Uncharted 4 Spoiler Section With Shawn and Lara!
Join Shawn Andrich and Lara Crigger as they explore their very different reactions to Uncharted 4.
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[Intro/Outro] For Better or Worse - Uncharted 4 OST - Henry Jackman
I disagree with Lara. It seems like from the jump she was intent on disliking the game. She even says "it should have ended with Uncharted 3 walking into the sunset" - this shows she didn't want to give it a chance. If that was the case and you didn't want a 4, she could have just ignored the game.
I also think Lara is thinking way too deeply about this. It's a pulp movie game and a game about far off locations and treasure. I disagree that the series was all about Nate "learning things." It's not about this "emotional manipulation" stated. This gave a full view of Nate's life from the start, which was great since it's the last time we'll see him.
Sorry to pick on you so much Lara, but it does bug me when someone has an entirely opposite experience from me and berates a game I really liked. It's a gut reaction - I guess the same as you. I didn't want the game to end, because unlike UC3, we knew this was the last Uncharted (with Nate, at least).
1) My name is Lara, not Laura.
2) As long as we're talking about things that bother us, I'm bothered by how "You're thinking way too deeply about this" has become this go-to counterargument to any criticism that makes us uncomfortable.
It's a disingenuous argument in favor of intellectual laziness, and behind it is the same cynicism that lambasts people for showing too much enthusiasm over the stories they love. In both instances, it's assumed that some thought is good, but not too much; that detachment from a narrative is somehow intellectually superior to authenticity.
Screw that. Why shouldn't we think critically about the media we consume? Our lives are defined in large part by the stories we tell ourselves, and no story is so shallow or small that it fails to reveal who we are, in some way. If I fall in love with a story, then I can only further my understanding of my self by examining why that story speaks to me so. And if I don't like a story? Then I am likewise revealed by my distaste.
My life has been made richer and sweeter by good stories. And in my darkest hours, sometimes all I've had to cling to is a story. Story is everything. Our lives are a brief, violent jumble of nonsense and randomness until we organize it into experiences, reactions, memories -- that is to say, into stories. I'd argue that throughout history, our single unifying goals as a civilization have been to a) tell stories and b) think critically about them.
Anyway, before I get too off track: I'm not going to waste your time and mine by debating my motivations or preconceptions about the game going in, or your gut reactions, or whatever. Instead, I would encourage you to examine why you think it's a successful criticism of someone's arguments to say that they put too much thought into them, and to consider embracing emotional authenticity -- be it love or hate or any shade in between -- as wholeheartedly as you can. Doing so doesn't mean you have to like or agree with my opinion, only acknowledge that the same story will provoke different reactions in different people -- and, more importantly, that's the whole point.
"Today's Tom Sawyer, he gets high on you, Kat. You." - Haakon7
I understand you have your own opinion. Maybe it's because the entire podcast was colored almost completely by sighs and negative hems and haws on your side, especially by someone who purports to love the series to death. Any time I thought a good point was brought up by Shawn it was still negatively "meh'd" by you, almost as a continued narrative because you couldn't give it an inch. Maybe it was that this was billed as an Uncharted 4 spoiler section, but was mainly (80% at least) a vehicle to complain about a 10/10 game. Very odd. Shawn had almost no input it seemed - or maybe your input overshadowed massively. Mostly light commentary and just going with your opinions in order to not really argue.
It seems a bit unbelievable, even though I'm in no way saying you are being disingenuous - it's the vibe I got. It's almost the type of vibe I get from fanboys of a system who buy the other system and then rip on it, falling back on the "hey, I own both systems. I can't be biased." Similar to the "hey, I love the rest of the series. Can't be biased, and my opinion is more valid because of this." I loved 2 and 4, while 3 was very good but not great, and 1 was my least favorite. But I don't have a podcast to discuss it, so I guess that's on me. I think 4 may have surpassed 2 as my favorite but I'd have to play 2 again.
It seemed like your issues were mostly that you didn't like Elena's role (she is not the main character, and shouldn't be - it's Nate's story). Same as whoever Lara Croft may have as a support character is not the main focus and will never be. Elena could have been noted to be a current reporter, yet it wouldn't have changed the game play at all. You're letting backstory color your view of the parts of the game you actually played.
The story of brothers is an important story, and was a surprise out of nowhere which gave an actual motivation to the story - and a reason for an UC4.
Anyway, love the cast but didn't love this one. Take care.
P.S. already corrected your name before you posted. Sorry about that.
I will always be in favor of thinking more deeply and critically about things.
Words... are a big deal.Jill Lapore wrote:
Editing is one of the great inventions of civilization.
To the extent that it harms your enjoyment of a game series you love? Rather than just enjoying the ride?
Shawn says it well by ending 'Not because you feel validated, but because you got a well articulated perspective and that is incredibly valuable.'
I loved the game while I was playing it but was really fascinated by the points Lara made.
B_scott - you might consider taking your own advice to that if you didn't want something (in this case someone else's opinion) you were welcome to ignore it. If you want to engage with the discussion, focus on elements rather than how someone presents their opinion.
As I said, I really enjoyed playing the game. Rather than experiencing Uncharted over the years, I was exposed to them all in a relatively brief time after getting a PS4 and in large part because the first three are so pleasantly pulpy in an Indiana Jones way, I was just happy to be back in a world of puzzles and adventures. That said often the relationship pieces struck me as off. Particularly the repeated lie to his wife about what was going on when they'd not established any solid reasons for those choices. Your description of how Sam could be perceived as an abusive relationship was really interesting and broaden my perspective.
Thanks to both of you for your thoughts during the podcast. Really interesting.
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One separate note about the Nadine situation. When I first learned of that I was frustrated about the casting as well. I learned later that they recorded the voice and did the motion capture before settling on the design of the character. So while still a very weird thing, the responsibility does seem to lie entirely with the dev house rather than the voice actor in this case.
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I was bringing up the points in my own way. And I enjoy the podcast normally so I listened, fully thinking it would be positive or at least balanced, especially with Lara's love for the series. What I got was a beat down that felt like a calculated attack on my own enjoyment of the game.
The bolded part shows how a game can have a flawed character or characters and still be good. I don't and have never seen Nate as a great guy. If the player does, and is upset with him for how he acted, then I could see how they would not like that aspect. But have a flawed character or characters (as Nate has always been) is not a reason to hate a game. The entire point was that Nate was being an idiot - and then Elena got to call him out on it (as the audience would). I never thought Nate and Elena were great together in the previous games as a couple - why should the fact that it didn't change (at least until the very end) be a detriment? Heck they weren't even together at the start of 3. Obviously they had problems.
Maybe putting a disclaimer that this is going to be a one sided bad review of the game might have been better. I wasn't expecting the vitriol and it really put me off the review cast.
I can't remember the exact example, but they also pointed out instances where they have had black actors playing white in-game characters. Unsurprisingly, no one complained about those choices.
It is a weird thing. Should they have rethought the character design based on the color of the casted actor's skin? Should they have re-cast the actor after deciding on a black in-game character?
I need an "I'm with Dyni" t-shirt. -- Localgod54
I honestly don't know. On the one hand it seemed Nadine was just supposed to be an interesting, strong side character (as interesting as the bad guys get to be) and her race was irrelevant but on the other hand, exactly because of the order of things when producing a game, the choice to have her rendered as a person of color can only be intentional. It seems really odd that you haven't thought through one of your primary characters before getting started and that you could find the actress who you best think will present those choices.
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If everybody felt the same way about every experience the world would be incredibly boring. Someone else's experience/opinion doesn't invalidate your own and it's most certainly not an attack on it. Given how we framed the discussion right from the start I'd say you should have tended your own garden and shut it off rather than put yourself through the misery!
I know it's not easy listening to something you enjoy being forcefully critiqued, it wasn't even easy for me in spots, but I found I learned a lot even though it was uncomfortable having to look at something I love through a different lens.
Telling Lara (or anyone) their opinion is wrong if kind of like telling the sky it isn't blue because you don't like the color. Vive la difference and all that.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ― Howard Thurman
I never said her opinion was wrong. I did a search for "wrong" on the page and only came up with your sentence. I was just disappointed that the resident Uncharted lover didn't seem to give the series' last effort a fair shake, in my own (wrong or right) opinion.
Maybe I should have stopped listening. I like you both though, so I struggled through. I'm really glad I played it myself. I loved it and thought the game play, voice acting, locations and set pieces were among the best if not the best in the series. I'm glad that I wasn't affected by the same issues that Lara was.
You seem to have taken my difference of opinion very personally. But I can assure you, I did not take your enjoyment of Uncharted 4 into account at any point as I was forming and expressing my own opinion of the game -- only my own.
Someone not liking a game you love is not a personal attack on you. In fact, my opinion, right or wrong, has absolutely no power over you whatsoever. Hopefully that's a comforting thought.
"Today's Tom Sawyer, he gets high on you, Kat. You." - Haakon7
I really liked Uncharted 4. That said I really resonated with Lara's opinions on it. I felt she did a fair job of commenting on the relationships prior to 4 in comparison with how they were in 4. I even remember making a comment to a buddy prior to finishing the game about how the story in 4 seems to be about how much of an asshole Nathan has become. We've never been given any inclination that Elena would bar Nate from going on this adventure yet he lies to her repeatedly. It seemed at the time, and continues to seem really, really out of character.
Also, I disliked Sam. From the get go. He's a jerk. Straight up. The game tries to pass him off as wily yet lovable, and instead, to me, his constant dangling of his prison time over Nate's head came off as completely and totally manipulative. The whole "brothers" relationship struck me as profoundly unhealthy, and I believe it was sort of meant to be that way. It's got Druckman written all over it. Judging off of Last of Us he loves to explore the uncomfortable ways people treat/think about each other in real life. Last of Us is one of my favorite games because of that fact, but I agree with Lara in that exploring those kinds of uncomfortable truths within a series like Uncharted really misses the mark. Sam doesn't need to exist, and, in fact, it is ridiculous that he does. There are a lot of interesting characters that already exist in the Uncharted universe, and to draw up a family member from scratch this late in the, literal, game strikes me as a move a show runner does in the 6th season of a show that should have ended in the 4th to drum up some easy drama.
I enjoyed the set pieces. The voice acting is, as always, fantastic, and the combat/controls are solid. I'm also a sucker for an ending like the one we got (even with all of its flaws). I thought it succeeded more than it failed, but I also don't hate the thought that it should have never existed in the first place.
I just started listening to GWJ podcast about a month ago, and I've been really, really happy with it thus far.
I've never played an Uncharted game, and probably never will, so I listened to this out of curiosity because I do sometimes like to read criticisms of things I have no experience of. It sometimes leads me to new experiences.
So I found this discussion fascinating, more as a discussion of tropes and media rather than a discussion of Uncharted as such. Shaun definitely bought what the game was selling, as a lot of people have, while Lara didn't for a lot of well considered reasons. If anything Lara's distaste made the game seem more interesting.
One thing Lara mentioned that I found interesting, that could be read in a number of ways depending on context, was the setup of 'character is cold, has been too long in Panama/South Sudan' interplay. A mercenary who has been in the South Sudan for a long time is almost definitely a bad guy. So thinking about what, or if, that is a reflection of Sam is potentially a fun little thought experiment. As well ass being a sign post that you can happily kill these dudes.
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I respect that everyone has their own opinion, but I can't agree with a single point that Lara made. She has the right to feel the way she does of course, but it was very frustrating to listen to, because everything inside of me is disagreeing STRONGLY with everything she said.
This was a terrific end to Uncharted and Nathan Drake's adventures. This was all about giving him a TRUE and lasting ending where he and Elena find a proper balance in there relationship and their life. The ending of Uncharted 3 was fine, but it was just a typical walk into the sunset trope. The idea that because this series is basically pulp fiction doesn't mean it has to stay shallow and unsubstantial.
Personally I loved all the Uncharted games (including 3, which was my favorite before 4). Personally I would rank them as such: 4 > 3 > 2 > GA > 1
My issue was with the terrible one-sidedness of the podcast. It was dominated by Lara's opinions, instead of a balanced back and forth. For each point she made, I had a counter argument that popped into my head. Yet I heard very little to represent that point of view. It was basically a forum for Lara to voice her arguments, which I believe are deeply flawed. I respect that she has the right to her opinion, but could not agree with any of her reasoning.
I don't think Shawn was obligated to debate every opinion Lara offered. That ... would be kind of a jerk thing to do, wouldn't it?
Words... are a big deal.Jill Lapore wrote:
Editing is one of the great inventions of civilization.
FWIW, I thought the 'cast was really good and relished the differing opinions.
I thought Lara's views were very well-argued, in that they were explicitly linked to things presented in all the games and their cutscenes. It was based on a detailed reading of the entire series -- Lara had certainly had picked up more details than I had in my playthrough. The footnoting was sound.
Not just that, but I appreciated Lara pointing out and critiquing some of the "tropeiness", especially regarding female characters, that I, being a bloke, may not be as alive to.
Not that it particularly matters what I think; I just wanted to say I enjoy hearing a well-backed-up opinion, even if -- ESPECIALLY if -- it's different from mine. Shawn's closing line about hearing a good argument rather than getting validation rang really true.
That was an interesting view to gain an insight on. I disagree with a lot. Not so much in a "you're wrong" vein, but as in "that's not how I saw it at all" which is intriguing to me.
Elena was a villian? I was supposed to see her as an antagonist? I didn't see her as anything other than a hero. I grasp Lara's perspective. It makes sense. It's not outlandish. I just cannot attune my gaze to see it that way without it feeling forced. As postulation, maybe, but as a true reflection, not so much. I think you need to want it to look that way for it too stick. Conversely, that line could also be applied to my opinion.
Elena never done anything wrong. It was Nate choosing to keep her in the dark to protect himself. He didn't want to face up to (in his mind) letting her down. He was the villian of the piece. He took away her ability to decide. Elena was understanding and invaluable once she was on board, and when I say on board, it was begrudgingly so, out of love. For better, for worse. Elena was Superwoman. Nate was selfish and immature.
Did Nate view Elena as a ball and chain? I don't believe so. Could the player see it that way? Possibly. It's a matter of perspective.
What took place is that Nate and Elena agreed to leave that old life of adventure behind. It was dangerous. One or both could perish. They also (or so they thought) didn't need it anymore. Uncharted 4 has so many cues of such a life being filled with sorrow. Nate, because of Sam, because he feels partly responsible, feels he has to return to that old life, even if only temporarily. Nate cannot face going back on his word. That's the crux of it. Not that Elena would stand in his way. She wouldn't. She didn't (there was no ultimatum).
Why did she forgive him? For no reason? Come on! Love. Marriage. Respect (for his devotion to his brother). Endearment (for his thinking he was choosing what was the best course of action to save his marriage - you can only have the same argument so many times - whilst temporarily return to that old life).
Elena took the steps and the conversational lead in securing a new, a better direction for their life together. She missed the adventure, too. She put it in place so they could find a better balance, for the right reasons, above board, as a team. Much better than cold turkey to be just like everyone else. They went too far the opposite direction to counterbalance. They then found their middle ground.
When Elena and Nate were in the mundane together, we saw how they fit. When they were in the bombastic together, we saw how they fit. Where they struggled, and thus had friction, was in when to stop, and where to stop. She was ahead of Nate on that particular curve. Their motivations were also different.
We were supposed to like Sam? I didn't care for him much at all. He had a few moments, but I disliked him up until the very end. He was simply a tool to create an in for Nate to return to the adventure. They had some cool brotherly moments, but that was secondary to Nate's journey. Similar to Elena and her back story. It was all to tell the story of Nathan Drake. Not Elena. Not Sully. Nate. Elena was most important to the piece and came out looking the stronger of the two as a whole (a couple). Without Elena there may be no Nathan Drake past a certain point. She helped him become more, a better version of himself, and not just another lost adventurer. Anyway, point is I didn't like Sam, yet followed and appreciated the story.
Something about Sam choosing the Drake name, and not Nate? Nathan decided to run with it. Nathan continued to run with it after Sam was out of the picture. Nathan made it his own personal journey, up until he choose to close that particular chapter for himself.
Nate objectifying Elena, Chloe, and Nadine? Only there as a case of if he wants to sleep with them? Really? Elena and Chloe are love interests. Nadine is not and Nathan throws out a witty remark as she is beating him black and blue, maybe to irritate her, maybe to create an opening. Elena is so much more. So much. Chloe is difficult to place other than as a like minded adrenaline chaser who uses Nate as much as he her. So, I guess there is objectification there.
This gave me real food for thought. It had me question so much of the Uncharted journey. It had me reconsider much of Uncharted 4. Very good! Although I'm sure Lara may want to smack me upside the head.
I wish you had enjoyed Uncharted 4, Lara. The series up until 3 clearly meant a lot to you. It's no fun to see a favourite take a hit. It definitely changed with 4, no question, but I was receptive to it. Still, I can appreciate preferring it had went out with 3. You make me want to replay the original trilogy just to experience the wonder once more.
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I bought & started playing the remasters after finishing 4 because I'd like to remember what I found fun about them that seemed missing in 4.
Sam - repellent character, even on a voice acting level (for me).
Interesting how much stuff from the first five minutes of UC1 gets touched on in 4... scuba diving, permits or the lack thereof, video cameras, doubtful lineages...
Things I did like; Shoreline accents, Nadine, the way the piton would scrape down the wall after a long jump, taking out 25 dudes using the water beneath ruins for stealth, oh and Staley and Druckmann REALLY know how to do house interiors.
What a great summation of my experience. I just finished yesterday, and I was let down by it as well. The tone and characters were kind of drawn through what felt like a filter of cynicism and anger that didn't exist in the first three. What I found most remarkable about Uncharted 4, which was hardly touched in the cast, was the complete lack of the supernatural. I suspect those two things are pretty closely related: Uncharted was, for me, a fantasy "romp," like star wars. Once you take away the fantasy trappings ("this is literally not possible, so just enjoy the ride") and bring it into the real-world, it's just not the same thing. It's like it's literally a different genre. I didn't hate the game, I just went in wanting a fantasy escape, and so I was disappointed.
Note that about halfway through 3 and all the way through 4 I started getting hit by these waves of fear and deep sadness that they'll kill Sully. I didn't want my make-believe dad to die!
edit: it occurs to me that in a way, number 4 is basically a reframing of 1-3. Your point about the similarities of the first 5 minutes triggered this thought: 1-3 is Nate's *fantasy* about his life. Elements are true, but a lot of it--the fantastic parts, plus the parts where he doesn't really hurt anyone that matters--is just made up in his head. Kind of like how all the action sequences in 4 are slightly toned down from 1-3. Like if he were retelling the events of 4, they'd more closely match the tone of 1-3, including the relationships, which would have a more light-hearted feel to them. Ehhh, f*ck it, that's just me bullsh*tting. But it does really feel like they made a real change to the genre here. I think that's what I reacted negatively to. Possibly Lara as well?