Written by: Adam “ManKorn” Korenman, CC2K Video Games Editor
When We Last Left Our Heroes…
Nathan Drake has had a tough go for the past few years. We’ve been with him as he hunts for treasure, gets revenge on those who betrayed him, sinks into depression after failing as a husband, and nearly loses his father figure. He has taken huge risks in life, and all of it has caught up to him. Now, living once again with his wife Elena, he has taken a new approach to the world. He is reserved, relaxed, and optimistic about what could come next. He’s not searching for happiness, as he knows it is right in front of him.
Enter Sam, Nathan’s long-missing (thought dead) brother. Sam has been out of Nathan’s life for 15 years, and his return brings danger, calamity, and the hint of treasure. Nathan, taking on the mantle of responsible brother, has to help Sam escape his debts–and possibly find something valuable along the way.
The writing, as always, is top-notch. The interactions between Sam and Nathan (played marvelously by the incredible Troy Baker and Nolan North) feel genuine and never overacted. There is a reality in the exchanges between Nathan and his wife, Elena, that lends a weight to our hero’s decisions. There are consequences to Nathan’s adventures, and you really feel the burden of responsibility throughout the story.
Amazingly, the tale doesn’t rely on clichés or other overplayed tropes (with limited exception) throughout the narrative. Like The Last of Us before, Naughty Dog plays the story for its emotional weight rather than for punchlines. It is breathtaking and brilliant.
Many reviewers have noted a common theme running through the game: That of how we view our heroes versus the reality of their lives. Without a doubt, this is a core thematic element that Naughty Dog plays, and it serves as more than just the undercurrent of this story. Indeed, by the final hours of the game, you truly reflect on everything that has come before. This isn’t just another story to add into Drake’s journal. This is a culmination of all his experiences, a true denouement.