The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 11
I had kind of a lazy weekend and have a big day planned for
tomorrow, so tonight's blog might be kind of short and contain indiscriminate moments
of gibberish, especially whenever I stop to think about tomorrow. In order to
take my mind off it, and because I love playing video games, I've been playing
The Last of Us. And even when I'm not playing, I'm thinking about it...such an
(By the way, this is spoiler free, but I do talk about game
play a little bit)
There is an element found in The Last of Us, a very small
element for sure, but it's there. It's something many will have disregarded or
perhaps not even noticed. It doesn't really have anything to do with the story
or the game play, at least not really. Yet, despite being so insignificant...so
irrelevant...I can't help but appreciate the impact it has on helping to set the
tone of the game. At least for me.
If you haven't played the game or heard anybody else talking
about it, well then I'm sorry. For it is truly a remarkable game. The tone is
bleak. And not just any sort of bleak...perhaps the bleakest game you'll ever
play. Truth be told, I haven't finished the game yet, so I'm holding out hope
for a happy ending, even though I have a gnawing feeling I'll get anything but.
Up until the point where I am currently at, nothing good has really happened.
Well, unless you consider barely surviving something good. I guess that's
better than death. But truly, the game keeps punching you and kicking you and
beating you down scene after scene, leaving you feeling abandoned and wondering
if the pain and suffering will ever be worth it.
To help portray the sense of hopelessness you feel pretty
much through the entire game, the developers rely on a few different
techniques. There are scripted events where bad things happen; then there are the
extremely brutal death enactments you are forced to watch when you don't
survive the latest encounter with the bad guys (I don't know about you but I
try really hard keeping Joel and Ellie alive so I don't have to watch those
very often); of course there is the fact ammunition and supplies are scarce...scarce
doesn't even begin to describe the direness of the situation.
It reminds me of this scene from the Road Warrior...
So, this little element contributing to the tone of the game...the
bleakness and the hopelessness...sort of has to do with your efforts scrounging
for the scarce ammunition and supplies.
In The Last of Us, and other games of course, but perhaps
more prevalent in The Last of Us, you can search for supplies in all sorts of
places. This is often indicated with a green triangle symbol indicating you can
open desk drawers, file cabinets, metal lockers and all kinds of other storage
locations. You might find useful material in any of these places. Keyword =
I say might, because more times than not, whenever you
search a desk drawer, file cabinet, metal locker or other storage location, you
And why would you expect to find something. I mean, this is
a post-apocalyptic time, where other survivors have very likely ransacked every
square inch, looking for something useful - ammo, medicine, food, or materials
to craft into useable items.
It's this little element I can't help but feel really helps
immerse you into the desolate world of The Last of Us.
In so many instances, whether I'm fleeing the infected or
evading the bandits, I'm out of ammo (as in zero rounds for any of my weapons and
I'm resorting to picking up bricks and bottles); I'm out of health (as in one
little shred of a health bar left and I can't patch myself up)...and I'm out of
luck (as in every desk drawer, file cabinet, and metal locker turns up nothing).
The developers could've easily left this element out - if there
is nothing to find, then don't have the symbol appear. Yet, by having the symbols
appear, especially in these tense moments where I desperately need ammo or health...I can't help but feel just a glimmer of hope I'll find something
useful; a shred of optimism it will be exactly what I need...
And then...I feel the hopelessness again...when I find nothing,
which is usually what I find.
It's a small element, but a brilliant one.
Like I previously mentioned, other games have used this. If
I'm not mistaken, all of the Bioshock games used it. But unless you're
completely out of ammo or supplies and unless you're in a seemingly hopeless
situation, this fact would otherwise go unnoticed and matter little.
But in The
Last of Us, when your random search turns up nothing, time and time again...it truly makes you feel like you are among the last of us.
Good Games and Happy Hunting.