The Last of Us

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pjbogart
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The Last of Us

Postby pjbogart » Mon Sep 28, 2015 11:53 pm

Well, better late than never, but I'd like to apologize for ridiculing "The Last of Us" as more of a movie than a video game. I'm not really backing off the assertion that it's more like a movie than a video game, I'm simply backing off the notion that there's something fundamentally wrong with that.

I really had no intention of ever returning to the "Last of Us". It came free with my PS4 so I wasn't financially invested and thus felt no real need to get my money's worth by slogging through the achievements (and I still don't, really). But I was struck by the number of people who seemed genuinely moved by TLOU and it really made me wonder if I approached the game with too little care for the characters. Spoilers ahead, but the game isn't exactly new, so I'll try to spoil without spoiling too much and that should be fine.

In "The Last of Us" you play a gruff, pragmatic, completely insensitive mid-50's male trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. The story has reasonably depth, but for the sake of brevity you're charged with delivering a fourteen year-old girl cross-country in an effort to save humanity. In my first play-through "Ellie" pretty much just annoyed the shit out of me and more than anything else I wanted to shoot her and transport her dead body to the people who cared about it. I could probably have stuffed it in a backpack if I had dismembered her first. I guess that makes me more like "Joel" than I care to admit.

Anyway, I finished LOTU and was impressed by the graphics but completely unimpressed by the fact that I pretty much just chased cut-scenes around until completion. Fans of zombie movies or games won't be amazed by the story, but it has a way of pulling at your emotions as you play. I recently saw a video of people reacting to the gameplay, first a group of seniors and then a group of teens and found it fascinating to see the emotion the game evoked from the players, which made me feel like A) an asshole or B) someone who simply didn't pay enough attention and missed the "money shots".

On my second playthrough I really payed attention to the story. I listened to the dialogue, read all of the notes I found and became pretty engrossed not just with the story, but with the characters as well. I'm not saying that I felt no emotion at all in my first playthrough, but when I really focused upon the story as opposed to treating it like a shoot-em-up video game, I found it really gripping. So gripping, in fact, that I'm not afraid to admit that I found myself teared up several times during my playthrough.

But what makes LOTU so amazing isn't simply the graphics or good story, it's the attention to detail and the realism that creeps into your game. Ellie is 14 year-old girl who looks suspiciously like Ellen Page. She's foul-mouthed, insolent and often-times quite irritating. But her personality grows on you and she starts to seem like an annoying kid that really IS worth defending. She scared me once by making some weird hissing sounds, which I was sure were coming from some monster, only to find out that she was trying to learn how to whistle. Occasionally she pulls out a joke book and tells terrible jokes and often wanders around humming, playing with the scenery or engaging me in conversation that any adult would understand is off limits. After a while, this collection of pixels really seems like a young girl, unable to find her own way and the only way she can survive is if you show some sympathy and help her.

If you blow through the game paying little attention to the dialogue and notes that you find scattered about the world, you might find "The Last of Us" to be a boring button mash with WAY too many cutscenes. But if you really make an effort to BE part of the game, it's a touching story that will make you laugh shortly after you cried. It's a game that even my mother could love, assuming that she got past the gore.

I picture Snoqueen playing this game and slowly evolving into a bloodthirsty beast, reveling in the moments when a 14 year-old girl utters the word "motherfucker" as she plants a bullet into some unfortunate soul's head. Because that's what survivor's do when they have no other choice.

snoqueen
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Re: The Last of Us

Postby snoqueen » Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:43 am

(Laughing here.) I'd have to buy a PS4 which isn't going to happen, but it does sound like a great game with more dimensions than some of the others. I'd probably enjoy it but the learning curve would be steep.

I always read your reviews and wish I was twelve years old.

In a more perfect world, I'd have been a game developer once I got bored with being an architect.

pjbogart
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Re: The Last of Us

Postby pjbogart » Tue Sep 29, 2015 12:19 pm

Here's a nice montage that doesn't do much justice to the more tender moments of the game, but lets you get to see Ellie under stress (and occasionally just fuckin' with ya).


uwstudent
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Re: The Last of Us

Postby uwstudent » Thu Oct 01, 2015 2:06 pm

Keep meaning to play this game. I REALLY need to get back into video games. 8)

pjbogart
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Re: The Last of Us

Postby pjbogart » Mon Oct 26, 2015 9:41 pm

I just finished The Last of Us on "grounded" and "grounded +", its hardest difficulty setting. It's kind of fun to ramp up the difficulty because each time you do the enemies hit harder and ammo/supplies become more scarce, forcing you to rethink your strategies and try to sneak through as much of the game as possible. I'm not going to lie, some parts were frustrating as hell, even for a seasoned gamer. According to the PSN trophies, only .6%, or about 1 in 200 players has finished the game on grounded+, so I guess that's something of an accomplishment. Then again, only 40% of players finished the game at all, which I find kind of amazing because it was a great game and it's pretty easy on the lower difficulties. But it was bundled with some systems, so perhaps there are people who own it and have never played it at all. And 40% isn't terrible... only 12.5% of players beat the true final boss in Bloodborne and only 18% finished it at all. That's awful...over 80% of people who paid $60 for a game gave up before finishing? Sheesh.

I usually platinum (do every achievement/trophy) in games that I buy and my nephew makes fun of me for it. He has literally dozens of games on his trophy list and I have nine (I gave my Xbox to my other nephew who went off to college because he had a crappy 4 gb version). Even with a quarter of the games, I have more trophies, though. I'm not sure if I'll platinum The Last of Us, though, because all I have left is multiplayer trophies and I despise pvp, especially shooter pvp. Too many trolls and twitchy teenagers. But I did all of the other trophies like collecting all of the items, listening to all of the conversations and suffering through all of Ellie's terrible jokes.

A few weeks and it's Fallout 4 time. I hope it's as good as anticipated, because I wasn't a huge fan of Fallout 3 and hardly touched the trophies.


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