Our Favorite Characters: What Makes Nathan Drake So Unique?

PlayStationLifeStyle’scharacter-focusedcolumnplacesemphasisononecharacter,suchasMetalGear’sRaiden.ThisentrywillspotlightUncharted’sNathanDrake,who,apartfromhisunnervingpenchantforrisk-taking,representstheeverymanfigure,someonewithwhomtheaudiencecaneasilyidentify.Sure,he’sunusuallyintelligent,giftedeven,andalittledangerousifhebecomestooobsessedwithonegoal.Thesearen’thismostinterestingqualities,though.

Mostintriguingistheadventure’spositioninPlayStationhistory,perhapsevengaminghistoryat-large.Amongstthepantheonofworld-famousPlayStationmascots,sotospeak,Drakearguablycountsasoneofthefirstrelativelynormalcharacters.Whyisthatexactly?Was2007therightplace,righttimeforsuchahero,ordidsomethingabouthimtrulystandout?Hopefully,we’llhavedeterminedasmuchbycolumn’send.

FromtheGodofWarto…TreasureHunter?

PriortoNathanDrake,PlayStationiconsweretypicallyofananimatedvariety,forlackofabetterterm.DuringmuchofthePlayStation1era,apurpledragonandbandicootweretotheSonyplatformwhatMariorepresentedforNintendo.Itseemsfairtoargueanothercharacterofthiscaliberwouldn’tcomealongforPlayStationuntilthePS2’sGodofWarin2005.WhileKratoslackedthecartoonynatureofSpyroorCrash,hisexaggeratedbehaviorandappearance,aswellashisexceedinglylowemotionalintelligence,ensuredhecouldn’tnecessarilyqualifyasrelatable.

2007sawtheadventofadifferentkindofPlayStationicon,anaveragemanwithanaverageappearance,build,andsoon,hismostuniquecharacteristicsbeinghisvastknowledgeofhistoryandremarkableluck.ButwhatnotablystoodoutwithregardstoDrakewashischarm,senseofadventure,andrelationshipswithothercharacters.Unsurprisingly,thesetraitsallfactorintohismeteoricgrowthinpopularity.

Interestingly,2007waspivotalforgamingbeyondUncharted’sdebut.BioShocklaunchedthesameyear,asdidthefirstAssassin’sCreedandMassEffectentries.Evidently,amoresubstantialnumberofgameswerebeginningtoaccentuatethesignificanceofcharacterandstory.EnterthelikesofNathanDrake,whosedynamism,inmanyrespects,remainsunmatched.

FriendlyNeighborhoodTreasureHunter

Fewcharactersingamesbehaveinamannerwewoulddeemnatural.Forinstance,ifDraketumblesfromacliffandmiraculouslylandsunscathed,he’llmutteranexpletive,thenquicklyvoicesurpriseatnotfallingtohisdeath.Sometimeshiswordsperfectlymirrorwhatevertheplayerismurmuringinfrontoftheirtelevisionscreen.Howmanyothercharactersreacttotheworldaroundtheminasimilarfashion?Atpresent,itseemsPlayStationexclusivesleadthechargeonthisfront,asGuerrillaGamesandBendStudiohaveapparentlytakenapagefromNaughtyDog’sbookwithHorizonZeroDawn’sAloyandDaysGone’sDeacon,respectively.Spider-Man(orPeterParker,asmuchofthegame’sfocusmaybe)inMarvel’sSpider-ManfromInsomniaccountsasanother.

Therefore,Drakeforseveralyearswasinaleagueofhisown,afullydeveloped,three-dimensionalcharacter,writtenandportrayedinwaythatoozedrealism,despitethebizarrenessofhisadventures.Perhapsthisconstituteswhatmakeshimsospecial.Heisn’tspecialatall.Toanextent,hebearsalotincommonwithPeterParker—normalandsimple,untiltheresponsibilitiesofbeingSpider-Mancrashin.Andeventhen,thequalitiesthatmakePeterParkeridentifiablemanagetoseepintothewebslinger.

DrakearguablyrosetothetopforthesamereasonSpider-Mandidinthe1960s,forthesamereasonRobindidbeforehim.Afteryearsofheroesinamediumthatnoonecouldpossiblyunderstand,itwashightimesomeonecamealongtoshowtheaudiencewhatthey’dbeenmissing.Avesselwithwhichtheycouldtrulyseethemselvesexperiencingadventuresthatcouldonlyeverbeimaginedon-screen.

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