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-WARNING: SPOILERS FOR The Last of Us FOLLOW. DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN'T PLAYED THE GAME, YET!-
Like many of you here on GIO, I'd been looking forward to The Last of Us for a while now. From the teasers Naughty Dog showed clue-ing into part of the game to the months leading up to release, it had been one of the games, along with others like BioShock Infinite, Ni No Kuni (which I'm currently playing), and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, that I was looking forward to playing the most this year. Well, although a little later than I'd hoped (which is usually the case when I play most games), I recently beat The Last of Us. Surprisingly, as he's a trophy hunter and usually takes his sweet a** time getting the most out a lot of the games he plays, my brother beat it before me, and has since been trying to eke out a few more trophies before moving on to another game. I figured why not get his thoughts on The Last of Us in the second edition of...
1. Every game has some flaws and The Last of Us is no different. Personally, I found enemies ignorance of the partner AI a little unfair, but a blessing in disguise, as had the enemy AI been able keep track of them in the more stealthier sections TLoU might've been close to unplayable. Also, while I'm glad that crafting was simple, sometimes I felt a little underwhelmed by it. So we get this out of the way ahead of time, what were the things you didn't like about The Last of Us?
BRO: Well, I'll start out by saying that I found the whole AI issue more funny than being problematic. As you've said, the game probably would have been a lot harder otherwise, though interesting to play I think. I think my biggest gripe with TLoU would be the gameplay. Now, I'm not saying it was bad, not at all, but I'll go more in depth with it on the next question. The only other problem I had with the game was the amount of time it took to actually start playing. The one time I played I was at the loading screen for 4 freakin' minutes, which is absolutely ridiculous.
2. In terms of gameplay, I was initially unimpressed with The Last of Us the first time I played it. It grew on me a lot after that first day though, and I would definitely say it feels a lot better than I remember any Uncharted being. What did you think of how the game played?
BRO: As I said above, I didn't think the gameplay was bad. I had a good time playing the game. The reason for my beef with it though is that it just reminded me too much of Uncharted. I mean, what should I expect, it's from the same studio. The thing is, TLoU is supposed to be a completely different game, different world, and the story definitely sets it apart from the Uncharted series. But when I wasn't watching the cut scenes and it came time to actually playing, it at times just felt like I was playing Uncharted instead of The Last of Us. It wasn't a deal breaker for me. As I've said, I did enjoy the gameplay. I just think it would've been better if they had made more tweaks with the game so it felt like I was playing TLoU instead of Uncharted.
3. I felt the violence in The Last of Us was used to great effect, as oftentimes I felt pretty uncomfortable with the more gruesome kills and at points in the game even felt bad for taking out some of the hunters. I know off-screen they probably did more horrendous things and hell, you even see some of the bad stuff they do, but I honestly felt they weren't much different than Joel or Ellie, ultimately only trying to survive in the f***** up world envisioned in the game. How did you feel about The Last of Us' ruthless approach to violence and at any point in the game did you feel similar to how I did?
BRO: I never felt uncomfortable with the violence but it did feel more realistic. When Joel would choke someone out, it did feel like he was actually choking the guy instead of just running through the motions and taking out people like it's no big deal. To me, the extra emphasis on the violence made the feeling of the characters trying to survive more genuine. Was it brutal? Hell yeah. But that's what it took for them to survive. That's my take on it.
4. As of this moment I'm not sure where I'd rank the story of The Last of Us. It's certainly great, but the thing I was more impressed with was the characters. Whether it was showing off the darker sides to Joel's personality, demonstrating that Ellie could hold her own in a bad situation, slowly evolving both characters, or meeting some of the people you find along the way, I felt the cast was one of the best parts of the game. What did you think of the characters in The Last of Us?
BRO: I thought the characters were incredible. Naughty Dog already showed they were great at this with the Uncharted series, but I felt they topped it with The Last of Us. The development between Joel and Ellie and all the other people you meet as you progress through the game is amazing to watch. It's probably the best in any game I've played. Hard to say much else.
5. (For those of you who didn't heed my spoiler warning earlier, now would be a good time to get out) Alrighty, time to talk about the game's conclusion. Honestly, I found a good chunk of the last section of The Last of Us quite conflicting. Prior to the ending getting set into motion, Joel asks Ellie if she really wants to go through with going to the Fireflies, and Ellie replies that she does, saying that everything they've gone through can't have been for nothing. Fast forward to the hospital section, and whether it was Marlene not asking Ellie if she was willing to die to produce a cure, or Joel pretty much going on a rampage, having decided he was getting Ellie out of there regardless of what she might have decided, I felt that both parties willingly ignored that it wasn't their decision in the first place. They took the decision out of Ellie's hands, when it should have been her place to choose her fate. Quite frankly, it's one of the things in the ending that's come to infuriate me the most, alongside what I felt was Joel's selfish motivations in the last act (which soured me on his character). Having discussed this already, I know you feel the same about certain aspects of the ending. Regardless, how do you feel about the way the game closed out?
BRO: I liked the ending but it definitely is one that's hard to be fully satisfied with. I think Ellie's choice WAS that they had to have done all this for something. She might not have known she would die, but by saying what she said, I think it's easy enough to know what her choice was or would have been.My opinion on Joel as a character hasn't changed. I still think he's cool as hell, but I do think his choice at the end was selfish. On one side it's great because you get to see how much he cares for Ellie, which is nice. At the same time, because he couldn't let one girl die he quite possibly caused the deaths of buttloads more people. I mean, who's to say that the cure would have been a success. If it didn't work then Ellie would've died for nothing. But there was still that chance, you know? Many people would be saved with that cure. All it would take was for Ellie to die, which obviously Joel couldn't reconcile with. Good ending, but one that keeps you thinking.
6. So overall, what did you think of The Last of Us?
BRO: Overall I'd say that it was an amazing game to have played. Gameplay left a little to be desired but just for the story and characters alone, I'd say it's a game you owe yourself to play.
Extra Question: I've seen a lot of people call TLoU the Game of the Year. Having played it, as great as it is, I'm not sure I would say the same and still think it's too early pick the best game this year anyway. What say you?
BRO: This is a tough one. If we're going by just how fun it was to play, then I'd without a doubt go with Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. I haven't had that much fun with a game since I played Vanquish. But if I were to think more seriously about the question, it'd probably be between The Last of Us and BioShock Infinite. They're both incredible and I think it'll take some time before I could actually say which between those two games I'd choose for Game of the Year. I don't think you could go wrong with either one though. Alright, thanks for your time, man.BRO: Word.
Was hoping to find a picture of when Joel and Ellie are watching the giraffes. Decided to settle for this instead.
And there's another one. Once again, I thank my brother for taking time out of his day to answer my questions. I hope to make BRO TALKS a more frequent feature, as I really like doing them.But enough about what me and my older brother think about The Last of Us. What was your opinion on the game?Take care and thanks for reading!