Games You Probably Like, But Shouldn’t: Uncharted
Bruce Willis was dead at the end of Sixth Sense. I would have put a spoiler warning if the conclusion hadn’t become a pop culture reference the likes of which even The Lonely Island makes quips about. In a movie completely revolving around the dead, the ending may have come as a shock for most, but it held within the bounds of reason for that movie’s reality. That’s how M. Night mystified audiences worldwide, reasonable surprise within a set mode of reality.
What happened from there? In Signs, a movie about aliens hailed the power of God, a presence that had been non existent, if not shunned through the rest of the film. In The Village, not only were there no monsters, but a commune somehow existed in secret in America without a single fly over. M. Night strayed from the surprising, given reality and found his way into writing reality-jarring, even the false reality-jarring, endings that leave much to be desired.
Disclaimer: SPOILERS for the Jak series, and Silent Hill 2 in this paragraph.
But wait! Brandon! What does this have to do with games that I should or shouldn’t like? Everything. Game designers have gone down the same path. Initially, they understood the same reality-bound ideas. For instance, at the end of Jak 3, even though it was hinted at, it was great to see that Jak had sent himself through time. What about Silent Hill 2? James smothered his wife and I sat there with my mouth agape. Like M. Night though, the gaming community has fallen headlong through the rabbit hole, losing our sense within dramatic endings. Final Fantasy IX had an excessively unnecessary final boss that had no impact on the plot. The well accepted inFAMOUS had a weak, even poorly personalized ending that I won’t spoil. There is one game worse than any I can imagine though; heralded as a diamond in the next generation rough, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune has a conclusion as discordant from the rest of the game as The Crystal Skull.
Grab your whip and your brown- Wait, this isn’t Indiana Jones! This is Uncharted; though the similarities are staggering. Drake runs around hunting for treasure, shooting up bad guys, bumping into Nazis, and making sarcastic comments all while making a woman fall in love with him. Here’s the thing though; I was completely okay with it. In fact, I was enamored with the jungle treasure exploration genre, one that I thought had burnt out years ago. Aside from a few poorly designed Indiana Jones games, Pitfall was basically the culmination of such a game. Then came Uncharted.
I can happily say that I joyfully played the game with the same lens as everyone else: “This is absolutely fantastic. This doesn’t need a single thing added.” So, rather than allow me to enjoy the game to its completion, the writers of Uncharted decided we the gamers needed a twist. Why? Because apparently, there can not be any modern work of popular fiction these days that does not include some form of neo deus ex machina.
Zombie-monster-mutants, that’s how they pulled a M. Night on the gamers. They completely twisted the genre to butcher the treasure hunting action adventure much like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’s alien. I guess I should go out on a limb and say…
A statue that causes a mutation in people almost instantaneously, creating Spanish zombie monsters? I mean really Naughty Dog, who shot the writers and replaced them with idiot thirteen year olds trying to think of the coolest thing they’d want to fight? Let alone the fact that there’s no possible way to mutate every strip of DNA in a human body simultaneously, but to flounder so pathetically in writing? It’s amateur. On a side note, zombies (though Nazi zombies are much better) are up there on the greatest fantasy enemies list, right next to futuristic robot ninjas; however, there is a time and place for them, most likely in a game with Dragonforce playing in the background and Jack Black being a voice actor. There is no place for these low brow ideas within a seamlessly well done genre; once again, I present the recent debauchery of Indian Jones as an excessive parallel.
Where did we go wrong? “Nothing is new since Rome.” That quote began the downfall of creativity. Thanks to it, all artists and writers have started to fight against it, hence the rise of modernism in all creative forms. Films and video games were hit with this trend the latest due to their late blooming emergence; however, now that the technology is up and running full swing, every writer and director is out to out do the other. What’s wrong with writing a treasure hunting game that stays in that genre? What about a dramatic movie that doesn’t require a surprise science fiction twist to make it interesting? A word to all creative companies out there, film, publishing, and videogames: Your audiences don’t always need a twist. Even if it’s an old story, if it’s told well enough with a new breath of life, then we’ll love it.
So, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is a game you probably like, but… Oh no! Futuristic robot ninjas! I’ll have to fight them off rather than finish my sign off… Eat lead Metallic Jackie Chan!