Warning: This post contains plot spoilers for all four Uncharted games. If you haven't finished playing them, and you don't want the story spoiled for you, stop now.
My boyfriend and I have started playing more games together, including single-player games. (We discuss what's going on together and take turns 'driving.') Our first gaming project of the year has been playing through the entire Uncharted series, and it's been interesting to play all four games back-to-back. The characters grow on you as time goes by, and you become increasingly engrossed in their stories.
This is probably why Uncharted 4 is really pissing me off.
I'm not saying that Uncharted 4 is a bad game or that I am not enjoying it, because it is a good one, and I am enjoying it. But after watching Nathan and Elena's relationship grow over the course of the first three games, I am very upset by the way Elena is being treated in the fourth.
Elena first appears as a plucky reporter in Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, the first game in the series and definitely the weakest (although it's still a lot of fun). She and Nathan have obviously become close by the end of the first game, but have drifted apart by the time they meet again in Uncharted 2. Elena continues to be adventurous, and she runs into Nathan while pursuing a megalomaniacal warlord who happens to be searching for ancient treasure. She and Nathan officially get together at the end of the second game, and they have an estranged marriage in the third. Once again, Elena appears partway through Uncharted 3, this time because she is working in Yemen and is willing to get press passes for Nathan and Sully (Nathan's mentor and father figure). In other words, throughout the series, Nathan and Elena may have a fluctuating relationship status, but Elena is an adventurer in her own right who pursues her own interesting work.
At the start of Uncharted 4, Elena and Nathan are happily married, although Nathan is still experiencing some wanderlust. Elena is still doing some travel writing, and she tries to support her husband's need for adventure by suggesting he take a treasure-diving job in Malaysia. Nathan refuses and seems committed to a calmer, more domestic life.
Soon, however, Nathan's long-lost brother, Sam, shows up and convinces Nathan that his life depends on the discovery of a lost pirate treasure. Nathan hasn't told his wife about Sam because he thought his brother was dead and because he felt partially to blame for it. Rather than actually talk to Elena about what's happening, Nathan is soon casually lying to her about his trip to "Malaysia" and leaving a trail of mercenary bodies behind him as he and Sam hunt for the treasure of their youthful dreams.
Elena hasn't reappeared in the story yet, but I keep wondering to myself: How can Nathan be so damn happy? He's enjoying his cute banter with Sam and Sully, blithely lying to his wife over the phone, and generally being a huge asshole. And both Sam and Sully—who at times seems to respect Elena—are going along with it. Why does no one care about Nathan's marriage? Why is Elena suddenly the "boring," "serious" one? WTF even is this?
I wonder how I will feel about Nathan by the end of the game. But even if this is just "growing pains" and he goes back to a calm married life in the end, why the hell does he still need to grow up?