Sunday, January 18, 2009

Breaking up with Uncharted at 45%

Enjoy this position, because when your tight-panted ass isn't jumping from ledge to ledge like a confused monkey, it's going to be smashed up against a wall, just like this, gun in the air, ready to shoot unnamed non-caucasoid number 54,395.

Oh, when I signed up for this little adventure, Nathan Drake, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought, my, this will be a lark, exploring the world, doing archeology, seeing the sights, sampling the cultures. Sure, maybe we'll get into a gunfight (or 15,000). Maybe we'll have to shoot a villain (or 64,395). Maybe we'll die and have to reload once (or ninety-thrice). The allure was so great that I never considered how angry you'd eventually make me.

I do so love exploring.

I mean, it wasn't always so frustrating, and I somewhat enjoyed the time we spent scouring dark caverns, looking for conveniently placed hand holds for you to leap, sprite-like from; how we'd turn the brightness and contrast all the way up on the TV in order to ascertain just exactly where we were supposed to be going; how the "hint" button would pop up, and after pressing it, I'd still be just as confused as before. The minute or two we'd share exploring before being "surprised" by another hour-long gun-battle was sublime.

It started out as a fine, rather contrived little tale...

Do you remember the flooded bowels of that fortress on an island in the Pacific (we sure had a time getting in; how did those 700 "terrorists" get in before us?), where you died 15 times in as many minutes and I began slamming my fist into my chair repeatedly and accidentally punched myself in the groin? Yes, I couldn't scramble for Easy Mode quickly enough. And then you still died another 15 times before we got through, mumbling to yourself about how ridiculous it all was, and I screamed at the TV that I couldn't agree with you more, that it was entirely ludicrous, one man with a pistol taking on 150 men with machine guns, absorbing hails of bullets as he played musical cover points, then happily trundling, briefly (unless we got confused), around a pretty environment before getting into yet another gun fight... dying over and over... even on Easy Mode...


Listen, Nathan, it's not you; it's me. You'd be a lot happier with some other boy, the kind with fast, twitchy reflexes who loves Gears of War and delights in homo-erotic gunfire and grunting, bleeding, dying and headshots. I'm into archeology, you know? Exploring the world! Oh, this beautiful world we live in, but you want to keep me in corridors shooting at black men. Our interests just don't seem to pan out. You told me we'd be doing archeology, but every time we find some little trinket, it gets soiled in the blood of the thousands we shoot along the way.

I wanted to spend more time taking in the sights...

...and less time taking it in the ass.

Really, Nathan, if we could've just kept all this killing to a minimum, like it was in the Incan temple, it would've been a fine, passionate whirlwind of a fling, doing our ledge-leaping and artifact-grabbing. It would have been over much too quickly, but it would have been rather more quality. In fact, I get the impression all this shooting is just here to extend our tenure, to keep me here longer. You can't keep me in a cage, Nathan.

The Prince of Persia won't die once, and maybe I won't put a fist through the TV.

I want to see other people. There's an Arabic Prince with an American accent restoring beauty to the Persian world, and he promises that if I play with him, he won't die even a single time! He's got a pretty friend, too, witty banter, and even a donkey! And frankly, I prefer girls. And donkeys. And witty banter. Who wrote your dialog, anyway, and why were they writing for 12 year-old boys when the box says it's for adults? Nathan, it would be better for both of us if we just moved on. Do you know how many times you've died since we met, even on Easy Mode? You're just not that easy at all, Nathan, and I have needs...

And I get to play with her, too!

I was completely taken in by your promises of seeing the world, but to be honest, I feel all I've seen is you crammed up against walls, getting shot repeatedly while the screen goes black and I swear at my cat. I should have known you'd be just as frustratingly obtuse as your older brother Jak, who made similar vows but just died over and over and made me do bike races that threatened my sanity.

Uncharted Waters 2: New Horizons, still the best "uncharted".

I think you belong with someone a little more sadomasochistic than I. Goodbye, Nathan Drake. Maybe we can try again someday, if you learn a little bit more subtlety.

Naughty Dog makes frustratingly difficult games, and whether it's Jak and Daxter (above), Uncharted or Crash Bandicoot, you'll always find at least one scene where you're running confusedly straight into the camera, like an actor with an unstoppable magnetic attraction to the cameraman's face.

Jesse Dylan Watson just wants to find his donkey and go home.

1 comment:

  1. My feelings exactly! Wish there had been a game mode that would turn the fight scenes into cut scenes that I could just watch and move on to more exploring.