Where is Nate Drake and What Have You Done With Him?!

March 27, 2012

This is not the Nate Drake I’ve known. Visually speaking, Nate and the exotic locales he travels through made the transition from console to handheld smoothly. A half-tucked shirt never looked so good on such a small screen.  But if you liked Nate Drake in the past three Uncharted games, you’re probably not going to like the twilight zone version of him that’s in Golden Abyss (and, well, you’re probably not going to like Golden Abyss itself, either).

Do you kiss to your mother with that mouth?
For starters, he swears like a sailor. Before he only swore like a bounty hunter—sparingly and when he didn’t have anything clever or wry to say. His new motto, “son of a bitch,” comes off as awkwardly projected anger, and his speech is peppered with “god damns” and “shit” and other inane phrases that make him seem like a gun-toting meathead, rather than intelligent, impulsive, thrill-seeking adventurer. I’m as much of a fan of cussing as the next deadline-burdened writer/editor, but usually Nate is more eloquent with witty comments always at the ready. You know your main character has had an inauthentic shift in dialogue when his opening line is a crass utterance of, “Son of a bitch. I’ll see you in hell.”

Not pictured: Uncharted Golden Abyss' unwieldy camera mode (Seriously, are there no screenshots of that online?). Pictured: Another lame implementation—touchscreen swiping to open a gate.

Bitten by the shutterbug?
Nate’s still quite the collector. To truly complete his quest, he must find more than 70 baubles scattered across the unchanging jungle forestry, each with its own historical explanation text, blah, blah, blah. He’s been bitten by the photography bug since his console game appearances, and, for an adventurer that flies by the seat of his stone-washed jeans, he is surprisingly a perfectionist. A snapshot that’s only 95 percent accurate to the target scene doesn’t cut it; a few pixels off will dash your hopes of 100 percent perfection, leaving you to fiddle with finicky zoom controls.

And we're saving her because... ?

Really? Save the princess?
Barreling through a some remote ruins and gunning down wave after wave of mercenaries, I stop and wonder, “Wait—why am I doing this?”

Something about a girl, who gets kidnapped by another one of Golden Abyss’ grating new characters. This girl has a lifelong passion for finding treasure and has bucked her true, effeminate name for a boyish moniker. Nate likes treasure (and, most likely, girls, too), so I guess the reason why I’m up to my eyeballs in gunfire, grenades and corpses is that… wait, seriously, give me a good reason for doing this.

Granted, the Uncharted series plot doesn’t always run on the most solid of pretenses. The suspension of disbelief is certainly key for the series, and the console releases pull it off flawlessly. Although Nate is the a pretty straight-shooting nice guy, I can’t really believe he’d go as far as he does for the tomboy snark machine—er, the girl.


And, as much as I wanted to like this game, it doesn’t get better from here, either. My full list of grievances will up on MyGamer.com soon.


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