What’s in Your Box: Week of 5-14
Kalvin Martinez / May 14th, 2016 2 Comments
Each week, we here at Gaming Illustrated are always playing a number of different video games. However, we may not be talking about them in reviews or editorials. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth talking about, but for any number of reasons an avenue to speak on them doesn’t come up. To remedy the issue, we’re going to ask our staff (and you, honestly) what’s in your box?
What’s in Greg’s Box
Welcome back to boxes on boxes on boxes. Sadly not a lot is going on for me this week, mostly due to real life shenanigans. Luckily I have had a bit of time to relive some old flames while also knocking down my to-do list.
Off the to-do list comes Quantum Break as I finally finished it in all its time-traveling glory. There’s a lot of enjoyment to be found out of this Xbox One and PC exclusive title but replayability is iffy at best. There are certainly different choices to make, which will alter the game, but the story still ends the same way. This is a minor upset as the gameplay more than makes up for the light choices and Quantum Break succeeds at what it set out to do, forward the video game medium. As an experiment in interactive television Quantum Break is amazing. There is plenty of extra side story and upgrade points to track down and gameplay is both challenging and enjoyable. If you’re an Xbox One owner, give this game your attention.
For old flames I’ve mostly been dipping my toes into Uncharted as I finally sit down to conquer the series in its entirety. For PS4 owners, this series is a must, especially with the Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection available on PS4. This allows Sony fans the chance to enjoy all four titles all on one system and in stunning HD. These games are the Indiana Jones games we longed for were a great tide-over while many awaited Lara Croft to come back into the fold. Any gamer that calls themselves an action-adventure fan will be right at home with Uncharted.
What’s in Kalvin’s Box
What’s been in my box this week? It doesn’t take a genius to figure that one out. Nathan and Sam Drake have been double teaming and dominating my box in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. It was all I could think about the majority of the week, despite it being super busy for me. At one point I couldn’t sleep because I simply wanted to be up digging around in other people’s stuff with Nate and Sam. The game will leave you breathless (minus one issue, which I will go into in a bit).
It took forever, but Naughty Dog finally released got the triumphant conclusion to Nathan Drake’s story out to PS4 owners. Even with heists to get the game early and supply side issues, the finale is here. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is masterful. While previous Uncharted games had plenty of showy action set pieces, great third-person shooting, delightfully quippy dialogue, and a share of character moments, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End ratchets all these things up to the maximum and sustains a true sense of uncertainty the entire way. There are moments when you feel things aren’t going to go Drake’s way.
What was most impressive was the sheer quality of the writing and storytelling for Nathan Drake’s final adventure. It is miles ahead of any prior game in the series. Uncharted 4 feels like much more than a fun action-adventure romp with weight and depth to the characters and their relationships. The chemistry between Nathan and Elena is incredible. Also, the way the mystery of Libertalia and Avery’s treasure unfolds is suspenseful and deeply engaging. It feels like this is the culmination of everything established and learned in previous Uncharted games and The Last of Us.
Speaking of The Last of Us, there are many obvious influences from Naughty Dog’s PS3 crown jewel. Some are super spoilery given the ending of the game, but when you get to those parts, you’ll be like, “oh yeah, this has fingerprints of The Last of Us”. The story’s slightly darker tone is a more clear influence of the dystopian game (and certain AI/action elements), but Uncharted 4 doesn’t ever not feel like an Uncharted game. Even in the darker moments it still maintains its trademark humor, but it is given added effect through the juxtaposition. And once you get deeper into the game, you’ll see many of the ruinous aesthetics from The Last of Us make an appearance in a much more spectacular fashion.
There is so much to say about Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and we certainly will speak on it more. One very spoiler-y thing is that is has a climatic fight sequence that rivals the brutally, visceral fist fight between Old Snake and Liquid Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. It goes without saying that this is a must own for all PS4 owners even at full retail. Go buy it now if you haven’t already.
The Issue with Casting
The one glaring issue with Uncharted 4 is the casting of Laura Bailey. It isn’t that Laura Bailey isn’t a talented voice actress, but it is reprehensible for her to be the voice of Nadine Ross. If you didn’t know she was the voice actress you wouldn’t even bat an eyelash, but when you do it is all you can notice and it is wildly distracting (taking you out of the game). Bailey has stated she didn’t know the ethnicity of Nadine when she got the role and that may be true, but when she did find out, she should have said she was uncomfortable with voicing the character. Naughty Dog said that they auditioned many different voice actresses of different background and ethnicities and Laura Bailey was the best actress for the character. I find it hard to believe they couldn’t find a good black actress to voice a black character. If there really wasn’t a talented black voice actress to bring Nadine Ross to life then it speaks to a deeper problem of a lack of POCs in the video game industry, and Naughty Dog with its huge budgets and industry clout should be trying to remedy this instead of saying, “oh well, we tried”.
This is just another instance of white people having the privilege to do anything even if it is at the expense of doing the right thing. White peoples are allowed to play any role or assume any voice and be lauded for a bold choice, while POC don’t have that luxury. It is erasure of a POC perspective on a POC voice. Look at the time a non-white actor or character assumes the role of a popular (white) character. Nerds got angry at Miles Morales as the new Spider-Man, a lady Thor, or Idris Elba playing a Norse god. Not to speak on how the Internet lost its shit when even the idea of Donald Glover playing Spider-Man came about. While these are comic book examples, a literary example is when Chang-Rae Lee wrote from the perspective of a middle age white man in Aloft. It wasn’t as well received as his previous works because it didn’t have his “authentic voice”. POCs don’t have the same opportunities to do anything because when they do it has people seeing red and brings out the worst in people mainly nerd racism. It makes it especially upsetting to see a white person snatch up a role that should be voiced by a POC. Worse it hurts an otherwise amazing game.
tags: opinion , quantum break , Uncharted 4: A Thief's End , Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection , What's in Your Box