Hey guys! Like, oh my god! There's this one game! And it's like, AMAZING! It's about zombies! And people dying! And- Well, you know the rest. I'm sure there's not much to say about the game by now. I mean, everybody's either given it a perfect score and called it the newest gaming messiah, or called it unoriginal crap that reeks of tropes, because that's how our society reacts to anything that gains mainstream attention ever. But that's not going to stop me from posting this. Nope.
So, what'd I think about the game? Well, within the first ten minutes of the game, I felt kinda bad I didn't go out and buy it, and instead, settled for renting it over the weekend from Redbox. Part of that is because of some guilt I felt. I mean, when I bought my PS3, I made a list of titles I would definitely buy in order to justify the purchase of the console, right? And, well, The Last Of Us was definitely on that list. So, after keeping tabs on the game's development, hearing about it from everywhere, I finally had my hands on the disk. It was dark, quiet, and everything was perfect for stepping into this critically acclaimed survival-horror adventure. And, well, the story definitely kicked in fast, and I made my way through the prologue. Hooray. No infected in sight, and next up on the to-do list was go through the tutorial mission. You know, typical stuff. You get shown the ropes of common and recurring gameplay mechanics (Using ladders, staying away from spores [which I really hope doesn't need teaching], and using the quickturn), followed by the first combat encounter.
Hooray for violence!
And thus, I carried on, enjoying the little things that made the game feel much more real. Like, going partially deaf when being close to an explosion, and people ducking away and flinching realistically. Nothing particularly unique or innovative, but a nice touch that enhances immersion. The brutality of the fighting definitely deserves credit, and overall, I gotta say, the mo-cap is superbly done. It's dynamic and fluid, and although it may seem a bit awkward to praise something as crucial as movement, it definitely caught my attention. The characters move as one would in real life, and you can definitely get a feel of it when moving dumpsters and other heavy objects. However, most of that falls flat upon seeing the stealth mechanics in action . . .
I understand that although stealth is strongly encouraged, the game itself is not focused solely on that style, and perhaps is the reason why it's not as finely tuned as I felt it should've been. I felt discriminated and hindered upon noticing that although my companions could easily stand up and run past enemies, sometimes literally in front of them, and take cover in a very obvious position without raising any sort of alarm, I couldn't get away with that. I would get shot at just because I was barely in the corner of someone's field of vision. And, well, it's not a good idea to alienate the player from in-game mechanics now, is it? Oh, and while we're at it, can I nitpick a bit? Yes? Ok, I love the poses and movement of the characters and everything, but at least make hiding behind cover seem slightly believable. I don't want to have to roll my eyes every time I see a soldier walk by, and not notice my head popping out behind that box. And, to be fair, that's actually a common problem in a lot of games that feature some degree of stealth gameplay. Ghost Recon (you'd think special forces soldiers would have more muzzle awareness), Deus Ex, and even Metal Gear Solid is no exception to this, although to be fair with the latter, Snake did adjust his posture according to the cover available. See, it's small gimmicks like those that make the immersion more enjoyable, and the scene more believable . . . Not Ellie saying "Fuck" loudly in a dark room full of Clickers whenever I strangled something.
See what I mean? If the guard were to randomly turn to his left, he'd see Joel's big gruffy head bobbing about.
"Ok, we get it, TUT. You didn't like the game. Quit whining about it". Actually, I liked the game. I really did. But, maybe I just ordered something different, and got a different dish. It's not a bad dish at all, it's just not what I ordered. You know what I really would've liked? Does "New Mombasa" ring a bell? I know this will get a bit of flak, but I really would've liked The Last Of Us to have a bit more of Halo 3 ODST's style. Think about it. The Last Of Us is the story of a journey, where two different people must team up to get to their destination amidst both inhuman foes and our own barbaric nature, right? That sounds awfully linear, doesn't it? Well, what if we threw in ODST's navigation and travel aspect of gameplay. Have this uninviting city, vast fields, sacked towns, and perilous infrastructure, and all with different routes and paths for us to take, filled with hostiles, and scarce resources. I kinda wanted something like that.
When I think about it, ODST may've been one of the best "Survival-Horror" games I've played . . . I mean, let's face it, horror really isn't anywhere when it comes to that genre. And I find the "survival" aspects to be a lot more redeeming.
But it's not really a valid critique, seeing how something like that would rob the game of some of it's higher points, such as that marvelous character development and interaction that it has. Doing something like what I just mentioned would most likely make the game shorter, since bigger maps means more work, and there's only so much that can be done before mass production and retail. And well, I don't want to sacrifice those nice conversations between Joel and other characters during the calm before the storm in favor of my own ideas. No, I think I'll save those for something else . . . Anyways, as I was saying, those little talks are a nice touch, and really add to the sense of camaraderie that one should feel while taking on such a quest. A simple pressing of the "∆" button, and you get to hear a nice, quick tidbit about what's going on in the character's minds. I gotta say, I like that gimmick. Most people whine about cutscenes interfering with gameplay and all that, so I'm sure many would enjoy this feature. They're not only optional, but also somewhat easy to miss, so you have to keep your ears open for them. Pun intended.
That doesn't mean there aren't cutscenes with dialogue and stuff. And you can pause and skip them, of course. But really, this isn't the type of game to complain about cutscenes. There's definitely more to this story than just shotgun-on-zombie action. Hence the word "story", you know?
Now, onto one of the more important aspects of the game, the "Survival-Horror" aspect. I can't say it's terrifying, at all really, but I guess that's up to you to decide. However, I did love the survival aspect of the game. I think they nailed the "starving for supplies" aspect rather well in the long run, since there were various moments when I found myself hesitating to shoot just because I didn't want to be caught off-guard without ammo in the future. Combat wise, you'll always find a way to fight, which I think is a nice reflection towards real-life, since it's very easy to pick up a rock and bash someone's face in with it. At the same time, it's absolutely possible for you to get killed in action, especially when confronting Clickers.
Fuckin' Clickers . . .
So there. That's what I thought. It's a nice game, and I'll definitely recommend you pick it up and try it at least once if you own a PS3. As I said before, it's not necessarily what I ordered, but a nice dish nonetheless. And that's not a bad thing. Hell, that's how I came to love the Mongolian Beef plate they have over at one of my favorite restaurants.