The whole "Nathan is an ordinary guy, really!" bit. He uses guns easily, doesn't have a qualm about killing mooks (except when it's dramatic), can jump ten feet forward and grab onto a ledge without falling off, can jump six feet up to a ledge while hanging from another ledge, and can hold on to ledges more or less indefinitely. Hanging from a ledge like that, let alone jumping, is freaking hard! Not to mention the whole car chase mission in Among Thieves... Oh, and he starts the second game climbing up a train after being shot in the gut! Then he fights of ten or so guys without the wound slowing him down at all. An ordinary guy? Yeah, right. Sure, he might panic when being confronted with hordes of baddies, but he should be used to it by now.
I never got the impression that Nathan was ever supposed to be a normal guy. It's fairly well established in both games that he makes a living entirely off of traveling the world, finding, and selling priceless artifacts. Hardly a ho-hum everyday career.
Except Naughty Dog is always going on about how ordinary Nathan is, about how he's not an action hero. They even claim that his character design was made generic to project the "everyman" persona onto. I can understand that he's a Badass Unintentional, but then Naughty Dog is significantly overstating his normalness. Plus, he's well-versed in firearms enough to imply that he's encountered this sort of thing before and has a gun as part of his normal outfit, not to mention that Flynn mentioned in the second game that he robbed a museum. After Jeff gets killed and he and Elena escape Lazarevic's men, he shakes off Jeff's death pretty quickly in spite of risking his life to save him, like it's happened before, while Elena sits on the floor in shock, like it's never happened to her before. He's like Indiana Jones - relatable and down-to-earth, but definitely not average or normal.
First of all, Nate is not, and can never be, a Badass Normal because there are no superheroes in his universe. Explanation here. Badass Normals can only exist in a world where superpowered, magical, etc. characters are commonly known. Batman is a Badass Normal because, in his world, there are superpowered characters such as Superman and Poison Ivy. However, in Kick-Ass, Kick-Ass and Hit Girl are not Badass Normals because no one has superpowers in that world; everyone just went through a lot of training. Second, I have no problem with him being a badass; it's Naughty Dog claiming he's normal that I have a problem with. That and the Action Survivor trope on the page, which is what ND says he is.
I don't think the attitude is anything to do with Drake's abilities, but his persona and outlook. He's not a grizzled commando or war hero, he's a pretty ordinary guy who himself seems incredulous at what is happening around him. It's not so much that he's "SO NORMAL", it's just that he is compared to most recent videogame heroes. The one flaw is that he guns down thousands of Mooks without batting an eyelid, but really, that's an acceptable side-effect of it being a third-person shooter, and Among Thieves likes to remind us that while Drake may be "normal", it doesn't necessarily make him "good" in the usual sense.
But ND frequently focuses on his abilities. And just because he can mow down mooks without blinking an eye doesn't mean it's necessary for a good shooter. In Iji, the titular character starts sounding a bit crazy after killing enough bad guys, and it's still a good game. Max Payne also incurs psychological damage over the days his game takes place (or so I heard). The main character in Shadow Complex even has military training, and still ponders the morality of killing mooks. They just need to remove Drake's Bond One Liners, and I'll take his persona as normal - if killing people is routine enough to joke about, well... But like I said, it's more ND's attitude towards him than the character himself - one liners aside, he's still pretty close to normal.
Iji isn't exactly the best example because it's making a point of not forcing you to kill mooks - it ties into the game's overall themes of violence bgetting violence and so on. Uncharted is more an adventure story; death-defying escapes, spectacular action, explosions, treasure, attractive people doing dangerous things, etcetera. I don't think it would do much for the atmosphere if Drake started having a genuine, realistically depicted psychological breakdown.
Nate's normal in the sense that someone like John McClane is normal. They're tough, in-shape guys that would much rather be somewhere else. They snark to take the massive pressure of combat off themselves. They're normal in overall outlook and in every day life, but exceptional when the shit hits the fan. In other words, normal is their default mode....until you start chucking hand grenades at them.
Naughty Dog actually lampshade this a bit in 4. The Trophy for killing 1000 guys is "Ludonarrative Dissonance".
Why is it that all of these ancient structures just collapse into the depths of the Earth immediately after Drake and his friends defeat the antagonist? I mean I understand that no structures last forever but it seems very convenient timing that they always collapse after the villain has died and the structure would be ripe for exploration. I mean Drake's fortune (pardon the pun) would go up immensely if he could get a television crew to come explore these locations with him, the scientific community gets valuable data on ancient civilizations and Nathan gets a reward of some sort. Hell would it hurt him to bring a camera so he at least has proof that the ancient city/palace/fortress/whatever that just disappeared forever ever existed?
I don't know why Nate himself doesn't bring a camera, but the one time he had a cameraman with him, the guy died. One of two good guys to die in the whole series.
Well the ruins on the island in the first game are still there presumably. However so are the Descendants. And top that off with the fact that El Dorado is unbelievably dangerous and people would naturally want to exploit/study it, which is likely dangerous, they don't really want anyone to find the island. It would be bad. The fact that they gathered enough treasure to make sure they're set for quite some time doesn't hurt: they don't really have a reason or a need for money after that haul.
As for Shangri-La and Ubar, they collapsed because Drake blew them up by igniting the sap causing a chain reaction and by destroying the fragile ceiling respectively. It wasn't convenient. It was cause and effect.
It was also wildly accidental. Nate was trying to do something else ( Kill Lazarevic and stop Marlowe) in both instances. The fact that he set off a chain reaction of destruction wasn't his intention, but given the massive consequences of the discovery of the life-giving Psycho Serum sap and the obscenely powerful hallucinogen, he probably doesn't feel too bad about it.
Why do Nate and all his friends get so obsessed about finding the treasure in order to achieve wealth? Don't they realize that the ruins they keep discovering again and again would in and of themselves be worth top dollar to the international science community? If it really is about the history of it all for Nate then he would contact someone and have them study these ruins so they learn more about these ancient cultures and how they lived, I think those ruins and all their various mechanical devices and traps would tell them a hell of a lot more about that culture than some treasure ever would. Having every reporter from East to West coming at you for interviews ought to produce some degree of revenue for Nate and his friends.
There are a couple reasons: First, Most of the really interesting ruins he finds wind up getting destroyed either by Nate's actions or by the people following him, and several of the others they'd rather leave sealed because they contain some horrible monster. Without anything to show a scientist, he doesn't sound any different from any other nutcase who has been raving about Shambala over the last few centuries. Second, Nate and Sully aren't exactly the most credible interviews. Neither really has a ton of education, and both are career criminals who have been in and out of jail most of their lives. Nate is living under a fake name. Third, considering the chaos they go through in the games, I wouldn't be surprised if there are open warrants for them in several countries. Two of the games feature high profile museum robberies. Considering all the corpses he leaves behind and the fact that he winds up killing the villains, someone's gotta answer for all that carnage. And fourth, as the third game showed, Nate and Sully have spent most of their lives laying low from a powerful and wealthy secret society that wants to find Ubar. Becoming an international celebrity paints a target on them.
Does Nate really kill as many people in canon as he does in the actual game play? In Uncharted 1 Eddy made a couple of comments about his men dying left and right but didn't seem to have much of a grudge over it with Nate as his behavior towards Drake seemed like more of a rivalry (Nate's journal says R.I.P about Eddy). Lazarevic in Uncharted 2 makes a big deal out of how many of his men Nate had killed just in that one day alone in order to illustrate how they weren't really all that different from each other. If it really is true that Nate gets shot at for hours (the Uncharted games normally take me about 10 or so hours to finish on average) and kills that many men in such a short span of time (even the best soldiers take a while to rack up kills in a war) then I find it amazing that he hasn't mentally broken down by now. Furthermore you would think these guys would stop being so persistent in killing Nate after he killed hundreds of their buddies, even going so far as to bring a freaking helicopter to try and kill him on a moving train as another guy pointed out already.
Gameplay abstraction. I would wager that Nate has to sleep, eat, drink, go to the loo, wash, bandage his cuts and grazes, change clothes, shoot up various antivenins, get immunised, get stuck in customs, fill out forms, get paroled, buy equipment, smuggle equipment and so on and so on and so forth throughout the dozen or so hours each that games take up in reality, but we don't see it because it would be boring. Similarly, he probably hasn't killed as many dudes as the gameplay would have us believe - it's just exaggerated for us, the players, to make it a challenge. Lazaravic is a bit of an anomaly in that the guy had his own goddamn army swarming after him as well being megalomaniacally obsessed with finding the Cintamani Stone (and a bit of a drama whore; why let Nate and Elena see Shambhala otherwise?), so I do believe he would really send helicopters and tanks after Nate just to kill him, but he's unusual. Gameplay rarely has a one-to-one relationship with what actually happens to the characters.
Possibly. It is an action adventure, and there's no rule saying it has to be totally realistic when there's a much more important rule of keeping things entertaining. Also, Raja's complaint was also against the Descendants wiping out his crew, and Raja's rivalry doesn't stop him trying to get Drake killed whenever possible. He only teams up with Drake when faced with a worse enemy.
Where do all these villains find such dedicated mooks? They continue trying to kill Drake long after any normal man would have stopped out of the sheer absurdity of everything else going on around. Uncharted 1 has the bad guys shooting at you with the presence of those descendants/zombies. Uncharted 2 has the bad guys continue to shoot at you as various buildings collapse, once again when monsters are present (7 feet tall superman with incredible muscle mass and strength), and with the presence of a damn helicopter shooting directly at you. Uncharted 3 has the bad guys shoot at you in the middle of a burning mansion, various damaged buildings, and for once the main bad guy himself sticks around even when Ubar is collapsing into the desert. Why are these guys so determined to kill one man?
Promises of riches, power, or threats from the Big Bad would be one explanation. Another would be that Nate has probably killed one more more of their buddies by that point.
Roman is implied to be a wealthy collector as well as a loan shark, and he discusses payment during one scene with Raja and Navarro. Raja's mainly in it for the gold, so his henchmen are probably after the same, and the mercenaries just do what Roman and Navarro tell them because they're hired muscle. As for Lazarevic, he has his own private militia, made up presumably of men who are either mercenaries or war criminals themselves. It's implied he keeps them in line through fear and threats, as he kills one for raiding supplies early on in the game.
When did Elena and Nate get married?
Presumeably between Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 3.
How is it that nobody has spotted the City of Pillars or Shambala prior to Drake figuring out their locations? I know both are in desolate, out of the way areas, but both are open to the sky and would have stood out against the lack of anything else around. All it would have taken is an aircraft to fly over and notice "That's an awfully big city considering there's not supposed to be anything in this area" to bring explorers.
That would all depend on where exactly the cities are, and whether or not they are near places with high air traffic. They are probably in out of the way areas that no one would have any reason to fly over and the entirety of the earth's surface isn't fully mapped out. Alternately, maybe it did happen and the pilots just weren't paying attention.