The lights are on
This was just what I needed.
It seems to be an ongoing trend for me these days, but the
only video games that I seem to be playing, and playing to completion might I
add, are these zombie/apocalyptic games, first with The Walking Dead, and now
with The Last of Us. You'd think I'd be tired of all things zombie by now, but
its works like this that just keep me enthralled, and with The Last of Us, I
experienced something far more than "just another zombie (fill in blank here)". I
experienced one of the best video games that I've ever played.
When it comes to video games nowadays, I at least need a good story
to keep me playing. I know that there are plenty of games out
there that have little to no story and are still a blast to play, and I'm not taking anything away from those
games. However, the games that, for me, leave a long, lasting impression are the
games that manage to not only tell me a story, but give me characters to
connect to, to care about.
As great of a game as this is, it's the characters of Joel
and Ellie that really sold the game for me. The dynamic of child and caretaker
in a harsh world has been done before, even recently as mentioned earlier. But it's
Joel and Ellie, and the relationship between the two, that really makes this
game special. Whether it's working together during a fight or listening and telling one another (bad) jokes, the relationship between the two is just
as organic as the characters themselves, and it's really something wonderful to
see, especially in a video game that consists of most of its moments not being quite as, well, "uplifting".
I still remember the
first gameplay that was shown, showcasing the teamwork between Joel and Ellie, with Ellie
playing distraction by throwing a brick at one of the human "hunters". When I
saw that, I knew that playing this was going to be something special. I also
knew watching that this was going to be an extremely brutal game in particular.
Others of said it before, and I'll reiterate it as well: The
gameplay can be gruesome.
I realize that as much as I can talk this game up, I know
that this game is not meant for everyone. I don't just mean it in the sense of how
violent the game is (although it certainly is violent, that's for sure). The
subject matter is dark, grim, and pretty depressing. I realize nowadays, the label on the box doesn't
matter as much as it used to. But for TLOU, this is truly a mature game. When
the game decides not to hold back, it doesn't hold back. It will "go there" at
certain points, and for some, it may be too much. I have to admit, there were
times when even I was taken aback to what I was seeing. But it's moments like
these that make the lighter moments, the moments filled with hope or some kind
of happiness, that much more special and memorable.
Being that this is more than likely Naughty Dog's last title
for the PlayStation 3, Naughty Dog really went "go big or go home" with the
graphical presentation of the game, and oh boy, does it show. This is without a
doubt one of the prettiest titles on not only the PS3, but in terms of overall
console gaming in general. This may be a post-apocalyptic game, but the environments
are just flat out gorgeous. Whether it's
the worn, aged buildings and cityscapes, covered in lush, vibrant green vinery,
or the vast mountain and riversides, this game just looks beautiful, and the
attention to every detail is stunning. Even the sewers look fantastic. And
trust me, everyone hates sewers in video games. Naughty Dog took a risk in
putting bleak game in such radiant settings, but they managed to pull it off
without sacrificing the tone of the game itself.
Although I still argue about calling a game like this a "game",
it is still a video game, and as such, I do need to at some point mention the
gameplay. This is a game made by the makers of Naughty Dog, and there will be
familiarity in how the game plays if you've ever played an Uncharted game. That
being said, features such as the simple, yet excellent crafting system, variety
of stealth and gun based gameplay, and violent nature of the game make it more
than just "Uncharted with a new, gory coat of paint".
Even with all the praise I give it, not every game is
perfect, and sadly, The Last of Us does have faults of its own (although thankfully,
most are only superficial. For the most part). As stated, this game uses every
bit of power that the PS3 will allow for. However, the PS3 is on it's last legs in terms of graphical quality, and it shows. Although the
game is very beautiful, going from CGI cinematic back to gameplay does show a
substantial dip in quality, and can take you out of the immersion sometimes,
especially with the occasional pop up texture here and there. Also, the hand to
hand combat, while smoother than Uncharted is still a little rough, especially
when a large horde is after you. I remember the times where I would try to
transition from one enemy to another, but where it would stay on that singular
enemy I was attacking until I stopped attacking. This got me killed many times,
especially when it came to fighting hordes that included Clickers, the instant
kill enemy of the game. Again, flaws are
few and far, but it should be mentioned.
With all of that being said, it was a bold move on the part
of Sony and Naughty Dog to release a game for the PlayStation 3 so close to the
release of the highly anticipated PlayStation 4. Although I can't wait to see
what Naughty Dog will bring to the table for the PS4, their (probable) last
game for the PS3 sends the last real year for the PS3 out into the sunset
properly, and leaves behind what many would consider one of the best games of
not only this year, but as many have claimed, this generation. Something I'm
more than happy to agree with.
No one has commented on this article.