The Last of Us
Before I even begin reviewing this game, I feel it is my duty – neigh, my obligation – to give you a bit of a preview of my thoughts going into it. The Last of Us (How to put this in a way that accurately portrays my experience with the game) The Last of Us is a cluster fuck of in-cohesive parts that on the surface make no sense, but together form an awe inspiring cohesive whole.
That being said, I am forced to consider this game from two perspectives, the first of which is story. This one is a no brainer. The Last of Us’ story, in my mind, gets a perfect ten. Perfect meaning no flaws, and I saw nothing that I could complain about in the seventeen hour tale I was told. The characters were engaging; you cared about what happened to them, you got angry when Joel was going to leave Ellie in someone else’s care, and you were revolted when the Fireflies were willing to sacrifice her life for the possibility of not a cure, but simply a vaccine.
Replay value, however, is very limited. After getting through the entirety of the story the first time through, I was not particularly inclined to return for another romp through the wastelands. The same could be argued for many a game, but overall there just wasn’t any real incentive to revisit this one. Sure, I could level Joel up more, but honestly, why? I got through the first time perfectly fine, and if you stealth kill well enough the whole way, the difficulty doesn’t ever increase in a significant fashion.
This, of course, is leading us into the second perspective – gameplay. To be perfectly honest, the gameplay itself was less than stellar. More often than not I found myself sighing at the fact that I had to endure another copy/paste fight with the same enemies over and over. Due to the fact I played through on normal, the fights usually ended up being stealth kill, stealth kill, stealth kill, shot gun. That was the entire formula. The story is enough to keep driving you through the tedious fights, but that’s all that keeps you going.
Enemies such as the Clickers and the Bloaters were different, but certainly not in a
refreshing way. If one got ahold of you, unless you specialized in being able to fend them off with a shiv, it was an instant death scenario. This led only to frustration and irritation, not a challenge. Meanwhile the friendly AI could behave with utter stupidity without any form of recourse. The more frantic fights weren’t particularly challenging either; if you stopped to explore and pick up all the extra crafting materials, you always had more than enough of just about everything to get you through, which really didn’t make me feel like it was a close call survival scenario. It made me remember playing any of the old PlayStation games, and wondering … Who the hell left ammo all over the place in an abandoned mansion that no one has entered in centuries? At one point, I found a case of shotgun shells in the drawer of a hospital wing. I suppose it makes sense in a sort of morbid way, but it still didn’t feel right or natural.
In any case, that brings me around to my summation of the game in both regards.
For gameplay, I give the game an 8. It wasn’t horrible; it was actually pretty damn good compared to all the other games that have been thrown out lately. I just feel like a little more time could have been spent making the fights more interesting and cohesive with the story, akin to the way they crafted the Uncharted series, being that The Last of Us is from the same developers. I was honestly surprised that Naughty Dog didn’t bring that same intense yet intuitive flow to the combat. When the action sequences of your game are only causing dull, stagnant puddles in what would be a swift flowing narrative, there’s a problem.
On the other hand, story gets a 10. You will be hard pressed to find a more compelling, more immersive story that has you checking the clock from your cubicle to see when the hell you can go home, lock the kids in the closet, and find out if Joel and Ellie survive the hardships continuously thrown at them. In this age of three new video games a week, this one has by FAR the best tale to tell you.
Both ratings considered, I believe The Last of Us is deserving of an overall 9 on the more broad gaming scale. I disagree with all the perfect tens being thrown around by all the larger game review sites, but then, I also don’t really care what IGN has to say.
Having played through and enjoyed it myself, this is my rating and my opinion, and if you’ve read this far … Then you can #dealwithit (that’s right, I’m bringing it back). I’m a harsh critic, and my mistress is a bitch.