Trabia Garden
You May Have Seen A Million Entries About This, But This One Has Pokémon.
That's Not For You To Decide. 
20th-Jan-2014 09:16 pm
we'll be the darkness
If you've played The Last of Us and you haven't yet watched this video of the motion capture for an alternative ending, you absolutely must. I found it very moving.


It's very strange to go back to the Uncharted games after playing The Last of Us. The games share many elements, but they're utterly different in tone. In The Last of Us, killing people makes sense given the context and the character you're playing, and it's treated as brutal and horrific but unavoidable to survive. In the Uncharted games, you're loveable, good-hearted treasure hunter Nathan Drake and the fact that you kill thousands of mercenaries is cheerfully ignored.

(It's also bizarre that picking up twenty bullets at a time is a common occurrence in Uncharted. In The Last of Us, it's Christmas if you manage to find three.)

I suppose 'ha ha, Nate is such a charming dork, TIME TO KILL ANOTHER HUNDRED MERCENARIES' is the problem with trying to tell stories in a videogame. I'm a fierce believer in the narrative potential of games, but games do typically require some sort of gameplay, and sometimes that gameplay is at odds with the story being told. In lighthearted games like the Uncharted series, I suppose you sort of have to ignore the ridiculous amounts of murder you end up committing; it'll completely undermine the way the characters are presented if you think about it for too long. ALL THIS SHOOTING IS A METAPHOR FOR TRAVERSING TRICKY TERRAIN.

This is something that occasionally bothers me in Final Fantasy games, too; most of the games involve human enemies, usually soldiers of some sort, and it rarely seems appropriate for the characters to cut them down without a qualm. It's always a bit odd to think, Hang on, Snow Villiers seems like a really nice guy, but I just made him punch someone to death.

I'm sure there's a term for this clash between gameplay and tone/story/characterisation. Hang on while I look it up. Ludonarrative dissonance! That's it. Uncharted is ludonarratively dissonancing all over the place.

It's a tricky problem to solve. Not every game in which you fight people can be The Last of Us; The Last of Us is a wonderful game, but I wouldn't be able to cope with that level of bleakness in everything. So I suppose for the moment I'll just accept the fact that loveable treasure hunter Nathan Drake can punch some guys on a train to death and then quip, 'All right, boys, just needed to punch your tickets,' and I'll laugh and say 'Nate, you dork' rather than 'Oh, my God, what's wrong with you?'


After writing the above, I went off and finished my replay of Uncharted 2. I had forgotten how much I love the ending of that game! Nate/Elena continues to be one of my favourite pairings of all time, and their interactions continue to make me make absurd chirping noises. I also really like the friendship that develops between Elena and Chloe; I remember I worried when they first met that their dynamic would be rooted solely in romantic jealousy, so I was surprised and delighted that they ended up getting along extremely well as co-founders of the 'Nathan Drake Ruined Our Lives' club.

LET'S IGNORE ALL THE MERCENARIES THESE GUYS HAVE KILLED AND FOCUS ON HOW MUCH THEY DELIGHT ME.

(I had also forgotten how hot it is when Nate is stumbling around in the Himalayas, slowly bleeding to death. I'm an awful, awful person.)
Comments 
21st-Jan-2014 12:00 am (UTC)
I haven't played Uncharted, but your explanation of sudonarrative dissonance is brilliant. I've encountered the same thing across other games, and it's always a mixture of incredibly funny and deeply unnerving when it happens.
21st-Jan-2014 09:27 am (UTC)
'We need to show the Sanctum that being l'Cie doesn't make us monsters!' Yes, that might be easier if you hadn't killed fifty of their soldiers. It's strange that this never really hit me before I played The Last of Us, but seeing one's murderous actions treated with appropriate gravity makes 'la la la kill all these people it's fine' seem deeply weird in retrospect.
22nd-Jan-2014 07:44 pm (UTC)
I thought it was depicted fairly well in this parody comic of FFVII (kind of NSFW, animals humping), where Kunsel appears as one of the SOLDIERs that Avalanche fight in the Shinra building ... and consequently gets his head cut off in the next page.

Thinking that you're killing actual people is weird. Thinking that those could be characters you know is downright horrifying.

Edited at 2014-01-22 07:45 pm (UTC)
21st-Jan-2014 10:08 pm (UTC)
This is so weird, I've literally just finished the first Uncharted game (and am now going to jump on the sequels like they're gold dust) and loved it, but did think that the sheer number of people you gunned down with no acknowledgement was pretty crazy. Clearly I need to play these other games too (I just got a PS3 at Christmas, so I'm on the lookout for recs, so far I have played Uncharted, Flower and Journey, which I loved, and Little Big Planet 2, which I didn't... XD

(Long time no natter! *smish*)
21st-Jan-2014 10:25 pm (UTC)
It's been ages! Hello!

AND I AM SO EXCITED THAT YOU'RE PLAYING UNCHARTED. I really hope you enjoy the sequels! The original Uncharted is a solid enough game, but I love Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 3 much, much more. (If you have a PS3, you should definitely play The Last of Us. And I think you'd enjoy Portal 2. And Red Dead Redemption is also excellent. But, yes, jump on those Uncharted sequels first.)

(If you have any thoughts about the Uncharted games you'd like to express, incidentally, I would be extremely open to hearing them!)

Edited at 2014-01-21 10:26 pm (UTC)
23rd-Jan-2014 04:33 pm (UTC)
I haven't commented here in about ten thousand billion years, the perils of switching to Dreamwidths and plurks and tumblrs and such, but I do still look in fairly regularly because darn it if you don't always have such entertaining posts. The one you made recently concerning interpretations (and what does or does not qualify as a misrepresentation) was really great, and I almost commented but thought 'it's been a long time, that might be awkward!', and then you mentioned that you're playing Radiant Historia and THAT'S exciting because I personally think it's a really charming game with a lot of great features, and now THIS post and fine, darn it, I will leave a comment.

My comment is this! I completely agree with regards to that dissonance between gameplay and narrative (ludonarrative dissonance is a term I will have to remember!), and it's something I've looked at when replaying Final Fantasy games. Back in Final Fantasy VII, when you defeat a human enemy they just fade out in that red polygon haze the same way that any monster enemy would. But I think it's specifically from VIII onwards that it starts to get more ambiguous, with both human and monster units having animations consistent with falling down, collapsing, or. you know. otherwise dying.

It's not always clear exactly what that means for the humans, though! But it's definitely worth noting that in Final Fantasy X, when you defeat Guado while fleeing the Macalania Temple and such, your enemies are depicted as falling down and then fading from the field. No pyreflies are shown, which I absolutely take to mean that you are defeating these humanoids rather than outright killing them. It's not particularly hard to imagine the cast of Final Fantasy VIII killing Galbadian soldiers and such, being mercenaries and so forth, but I'd be inclined to believe leniency of the Final Fantasy IX cast as well, particularly when it comes to fighting Alexandrian soldiers and the like. But who knows! I do not remember the particulars of XIII to try and make a guess there, alas...

ANYWAY, I HOPE YOU ARE WELL, THAT IS MY COMMENT.
23rd-Jan-2014 06:46 pm (UTC)
I don't know what about this entry is drawing out the people I haven't heard from in ten thousand billion years, but I am delighted. Hello! I've missed you!

But it's definitely worth noting that in Final Fantasy X, when you defeat Guado while fleeing the Macalania Temple and such, your enemies are depicted as falling down and then fading from the field. No pyreflies are shown, which I absolutely take to mean that you are defeating these humanoids rather than outright killing them.

That's a very interesting point! Come to think of it, though, don't humans and Guado only turn into pyreflies when they're sent? Fiends dissolve into pyreflies on death because they were formed of pyreflies to begin with. I, er, think. It's been a while since I last played Final Fantasy X.

Of course, even if you are killing the humanoid enemies, they may well go on to do that thing where they trot around after death for decades, totally fine. I don't understand Spira.

I hope things are going well for you! And I think I've now added you on Dreamwidth, but it's possible I've just added a total stranger. WE'LL SEE.
23rd-Jan-2014 08:23 pm (UTC)
Oh no, that's correct, isn't it! About pyreflies, that is. So it might very well be that you are killing them after all, ahhh, all my careful consideration is foiled again hahaha. But no, of course you're right, Seymour didn't have any pyreflies there either and he was most certainly dead...

SO I HAVE REALLY CONTRIBUTED NOTHING AT ALL, but yes! The person you added on Dreamwidth was indeed myself, although I have to admit I don't really update a great deal on either journal website these days. If I were to update it'd be more likely there, though, so! I will gladly add you in return \o\!
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