"I don’t feel that Elena’s passion for history has abated—she does take a great interest in what Nate has discovered when he shows her the map and the decoder, which prompts him to ask her "admit it, you love all this as much as I do." And because of the way she was acting until he actually called her on it, I can’t take her denial at face value (it is a game about deception). She does have an interest … but the stakes are just too high. And how, after feeling the blame ("We did this, Nate!") for Lazarevic did to Tenzin’s village in Uncharted 2, could she stand by and risk things blowing open in Yemen?
The question is, where is UDF Nate in Uncharted 3? The Nate who was willing to walk away when things got too dangerous, Nate who looked at Francis Drake’s corpse and was willing to let it go. Elena has learned to have limits, but Nate forgot his. His quest in Uncharted 3 has consumed him and warped him in a way that is uncharacteristic for him. Sully calls him on this at the Chateau—“why are we doing this again?” And if it’s anyone who understands Nathan Drake and in particular this quest, it’s Victor Sullivan. He was there when it started. “You’re getting your pride all mixed up in this,” he says. And pride and validation is what Elena is alluding to when she asks (nearly begs) Nate “why can’t that be enough?” She sees the disaster that’s coming and is desperately trying to stop it by asking him to admit what he’s really after.
It takes being drugged and kidnapped by pirates for Nate to get the swift kick to the head that he really needs. He begs Elena to stay behind at the airstrip because he doesn’t want to put her in danger. Elena lectured him on putting Sully in danger when he arrived in Yemen. So now he’s thinking about the consequences of his actions for other people. When he finally rescues Sully, after wandering through the desert to the point of delirium, he has a characteristic moment of hesitation about pressing on to Ubar—he doesn’t think it’s such a good idea. He had at that point given up on that part of the quest. Sully was more important. And then when they finally reach the place, there is a long sequence of Nathan Drake literally fighting demons that may exist only in his own head, punctuated with his reflection tossing him back into reality which I don’t think is a particularly subtle visual metaphor. When Nate tells Marlowe that he “has nothing to prove,” I believe him. Furthermore, when he tells Elena that he has exchanged Drake’s ring “for something better,” I believe he believes that too.”
(submitted via beltsquid)