Friday, June 8, 2012

Uncharted Disconect

Having  finally experienced the entire Uncharted trilogy (a video game mixture of Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile) I feel compelled to speak up about something that bothered me the whole way through.  What's with the huge body count?  Indiana Jones' personal kill scores (in his four movies) are chronologically as follows; 12, 21, 13 and 18 respectively.  That's a total of 54 individuals some of which were largely unintentional.  Compare that to Nathan Drake's most recent outing on the PS3 (only one game!) in which he ends the lives of over 700 people.  Yes, we are made to believe that they are pirates, mercenaries, thugs and other assorted bad men.  Regardless, how is it this mass murderer is not wanted internationally for crimes against humanity.  Is he going to claim it was all in self defense?

Granted, all video games have a degree of internal dissonance between cut scenes and gameplay, but these are usually lamp-shaded by the setting.  If your playing a battle hardened borderline psychopathic marine in some futuristic sci-fi war zone, butchery is a lot easier to accept than if your game is taking place in modern day well researched real world locals.  Add to this the fact that good old Nathan never seems to be phased by any of his acts of homicide.  He just makes wise cracks and keeps on going with a sympathetic light painting his difficult to justify methods.

What about the families of all the people he's slaughtered in the name of treasure hunting?  None of them seek vengeance?  No reporters or international agents trying to track him down?  Also, why don't any of the people facing off against Drake exercise an ounce of self preservation and run?  Especially after Drake and company have shown that they wipe out pretty much anyone or anything sent against them.  Don't tell me it's because Lazarovitch (or whoever the big bad is) is that intimidating because lets face it, fragging isn't exactly a secret among violent types.  Maybe Naughty Dog Studios should have considered making the main antagonists of each game robots, demons, zombies or a combination of the three.  Ironically, I think it would have made the series more plausible.

Obviously things really come down to suspension of disbelief.  Some people have higher levels of tolerance than others.  Genre conventions can only take you so far until narrative coherence breaks down though.  Especially when you consider that the ancient ruins Drake destroys constantly are far more valuable (from an archaeological standpoint) than whatever lost artifact everyone is so desperately searching for.  Not to mention the fact that orbital satellites have mapped every square mile of the Earth.  Which leads me to believe the main thing left uncharted in the Uncharted series is verisimilitude.

Dead men tell no tales...
I don't want to conclude mindlessly ranting about this though so let me toss one final thought out.  I am Alive tried to give a more humane take on the third person shooter, but for a variety of reasons didn't manage to pull it off.  Instead, lets look further back to Sir Fracis Drake, a real life person of history who is a playable character in Sid Meier's Pirates!  I can testify that this game lets you be a massacre inducing scourge of the Caribbean sea or a relatively peaceful trader.  Yes, that's right you can sail around with a small crew in a cargo fluyt exchanging goods while looking for buried treasure and do quite well for yourself actually.  So, what it really comes down to is if a 20+ year old game can have some choice over life and death why can't a highly polished "triple A" title in this day and age do the same?

1 comment:

  1. Choices and consequences. The same things clamored for in blogs and fora only to be met with genre conventions, glistening textures and overpaid voice-acting.