The Last of Us review
Completely disregarding this as a The Last of Us review, a game so widely looked at as a must buy and must play title, just felt fitting. What could I possibly say that would change your mind? And I’d say a review that’s a good three weeks after the release date of one of the fastest selling PS3 titles wasn’t surprising anyone. So it brings me to my main point of context, why is The Last of Us revered so highly when it’s clearly not a “fun” game?
The secret to playing The Last of Us is gauging when your encounters begin and learning to embrace the “Restart Encounter”. Learn to love stealth and your ultimate failures as a human being. I don’t mean in the your physical form, I mean in your “in game” form as one of the many survivors of TLoU. In TLoU you’re incredibly outgunned, both by the infected and bandits. Naughty Dog also does nothing to help you in combat, combat is slow and inaccurate, despite Joel’s 20+ years of surviving, he’s still a slow and clumsy gun. So you’re a terrible shot, terribly outgunned and outnumbered, and supplies are scattered and limited. Sound like fun yet?
Of course it doesn’t sound fun, but that’s when the realization of how incredible the story and linear nature of The Last of Us really comes out. Survival isn’t fun, and if Naughty Dog was going to prove any kind of a point, it would be that I wouldn’t stand a chance in the apocalypse. So let’s try to prove the world wrong by surviving the shit out of a fungal viral infection.
The survival aspects of the game move it from an action adventure title into one of the best survival horror games since Silent Hill 2. My heart has never raced so hard and so fast in years. I have never been so afraid to move a character and make a decision since assassinating The Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3. And I couldn’t applaud Naughty Dog more for their pitch perfect performance on the horror aspects of TLoU. They balance the line of power and weakness of each protagonist very well, you never feel like Max Payne mowing through thousands of mindless grunts, and very rarely do you ever feel completely powerless. Although in the times when you’re feeling the weakest is when TLoU really shines.
Despite the aspects of being one helluva horror game, Naughty Dog somehow makes it look like some beautiful landscape portrait, albeit a portrait painted in the blood of thousands of innocents, a work of art nonetheless. It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Every locale introduces a unique threat. Vacant buildings are as creepy and terrifying as the inhabited ones. But you still can’t stop yourself from taking in the surreal landscapes around you no matter how in danger you life is. I think the only time I said FU to searching for supplies and taking in the sights was during a snow storm in the freakiest effing town since Silent Hill. Hell, might as well been named Silent Hill.
My point must be made, The Last of Us is not fun. It is a survival title more frightening than anyone could have imagined, with an ending that’s both beautiful and grim. But unlike the depressing and blood pressure problems inducing The Walking Dead, I can see myself taking a stab at some clickers a few more times. I can’t see myself pulling away from it’s entrancing scent, and I haven’t even tasted the multiplayer yet. I hope this was much more enticing than a traditional The Last of Us review.