From Across the Net – “Let’s Play: Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune”

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I love where the Uncharted series goes.

Josh, over at his blog Keep Thinking, writes on the character of Nathan Drake in Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. I credit the Uncharted series as one of the primary reasons I still game today. The mixture of humor, drama, adventure and platforming, set in a cinematic world, reminded me that video games could be fun. I’ve since loved Nathan Drake as a character, especially in regards to his relationship with Elena.

Don’t get me wrong. Uncharted 1 is not the most narratively deep or thought-provoking game. It’s a fast and furious treasure-hunting romp. Moreover, there is plenty of objectionable content (thankfully, nothing sexual) that players should be mindful as they play. However, despite all its flaws or over-used tropes, the game nevertheless offers a tidbit of truth worth remembering. In a world where it’s easy to be more focused on earthly treasure and pleasure, there are some things that are just more important. Friendship is a gift from God that should be treasured. Relationships where we give and receive love are worth more than anything that glitters or glows.

You can read more here

Thoughts on The Last of Us

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Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us is the antithesis of the Uncharted series. One game is built on stealth, scavenging, and nonviolent solutions; the other game on blood, ammo drops, and guns, lots of guns.

I happened to take a sick day this week. To relax, I fired up The Last of Us. Now I should note that this is a game I have tried quite a few times to get into. Somehow, someway, The Last of Us has failed to capture me, until now. The fact that it was daylight outside could have helped my bravery. Scary games and I do not get along.

The last time I played The Last of Us, I had left Joel, Tessa, and Ellie out in the rain. They were trying to make their way down a slick street, avoiding the military along the way. Years of Uncharted training told me to unload my gun on these goons, up the body count, and get along. Yet, The Last of Us teaches one that guns are bad. If you are going to shoot a gun in this game, you better prepare to deal with the consequences. You see, guns are loud. In a game all about stealth, enemies swarm towards gunfire like flies to fresh poo.

We soon came across two new enemy types: 1) Clickers: Infected that are blind yet have amazing hearing; 2) Runners: Infected that can see and rush one at will. I realized that each enemy encounter is like a puzzle. If you can distract an enemy with a glass bottle thrown into another room, you are golden. The Last of Us is all about misdirection. And bricks. Bricks are fantastic melee weapons. They also provide something to throw to stun or create a diversion. I cannot stress enough that the moment your gun clears its holster, you will be stringy flesh on toast.

Expect to die many times. Each encounter is different. Sometimes it is best to observe first, die, and then try a solution. Death isn’t the end, death is your friend.

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Further along in the game, we made it to the state capital building. The military arrived and surrounded the building. I tried at least 5-7 times to sneak around and out of the building. No good. So I then decided to move as fast as I could from one barrier to the next. Avoiding military patrols like the stealth professional I am not, I walked out of the building without a single shot fired. This game is good.

The Last of Us pushes for non-violence and yet is the most violent game I’ve played in a long time. I like how the non-infected humans are scarier than the infected. I love how the game is kicking me out of my comfort zone of running and gunning.

I ended my sick day entering the darkened corridors of a high school. My wife and son where out shopping for the evening. I was home, alone. Coming across a group of Clickers, I decided that enough was enough for the day. Could have been that my bravery left me when the sun went down or that I was just tired. But I’ll be back, brick in hand, to continue the journey. Not forgetting the quiet moments in the game, moments of utter wonder.

Beauty. Light. Darkness. Oh the world we live in, reflected in a video game.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. – John 1:5

Fridays with Nathan

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Awhile back, Nathan Drake and I set out on a whirlwind trip to discover some secrets related to a relative of his. We found an ancient temple, a submarine in a waterfall, and even back tracked through the same ancient temple just to escape with our lives. Exciting stuff huh? Not really. From there our relationship, and adventure, started to get complicated. You see, the difficulty, in Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, has suddenly spiked. I went from killing a handful of goons to small jungle legions of them. Certainly not cool. For now my adventures with Nathan have come to an end…but I am sure they are only just the beginning of a long and frustrating future. Cheers!

1:50pm Update:

There is that scene in The Matrix where the character Trinity suddenly finds herself in need of being able to fly a helicopter. Almost instantly, the knowledge is given to her via download, and she is ready to fly!

After posting earlier this morning, I now realize I was having a Trinity-like moment. My gaming skills had yet to adapt to the game, Uncharted, at hand. After spending a few hours playing, I finally have the feel of the game and am flying quite nicely. Massive gun battles, crazy stunts, and a love to rescue are just the order of the day. Good times.