With the Uncharted series being featured prominently last week, I thought I’d use today’s post to give my perspective on one of the things people sometimes fault the games with, namely the disconnect between parts of the game’s story and gameplay. In each Uncharted game, Nathan Drake kills about 500 or so people but he doesn’t seem to be affected by all the lives he’s taken. Normally we might think that someone with Drake’s bodycount would be a sociopath, but I think you’d have a hard time arguing that given how much he cares about his friends and all the times he puts his life on the line to save others. That’s not to say that Drake isn’t a deeply flawed person—I mean, you kind of have to be in order to be in his line of work—but he’s not the type of person that his games’ statistics might suggest. Still, there’s an undeniable break between the lovable, wisecracking Drake during some sections of the game and the Drake in other sections of game who (under your control) mercilessly kills the twenty guys standing between him and the next checkpoint. For some people, this disharmony as to the way Drake is written as a character and the actions he performs during combat is too great for them to enjoy Uncharted.
For my part, I have no issue with Drake’s gargantuan pile of fallen enemies. I think the main reason for this is because Uncharted is a video game, so I expect a ton of killing to begin with, but another reason is that the first Uncharted game made it clear from its opening chapter that it was a pulp-action story and not a serious look into the consequences of killing on the human psyche. If you’re looking for a game where the main character has to come to grips with all the blood on his hands, you’re in the wrong place and instead should be playing games like Spec Ops: The Line. To developer Naughty Dog’s credit, however, they took some steps to address the issue in Uncharted 4, wherein we got a deep dive into Drake’s mind and the conflicts within it. Also, Naughty Dog showed themselves to have a sense of humor about this problem, and in Uncharted 4 there is a trophy called Ludonarrative Dissonance which you unlock after killing 1,000 enemies.