So for the past month or so, the media of the gaming community has continued to rave about Naughty Dogs, The Last Of Us. With numerous awards including E3’S ‘Best Of E3’ and 1.3 Million sales in its first week proves this particular title to be a popular one.
I recently completed LOU, on Hard, and it certainly was a good game, enjoyable on many levels and some good scenes to keep the story alive. But my major gripe with this game is the hype surrounding it! Don’t get me wrong, it is a great game and I did enjoy playing it, but there are a few things that, for me, that didn’t quite make ‘Game of the Year.’
Before I had even picked the game up, I was intrigued by the whole ‘Caring For Ellie’ concept. The game was advertised to be centred around Ellie and her safety, the challenge was to check she wasn’t being attacked by a Clicker, or shot at by a bandit. This element originally seemed quite exciting, especially as it was meant to bring something new to gaming, and that was to develop genuine care for an NPC as the game progressed. Despite this, I found Ellie to be rarely in danger, even on Hard difficulty, and could actually walk right in front of enemies without them seeing her. At one point, she actually bumped into a bandit and he remained completely clueless. Admittedly, Ellie being spotted constantly wouldn’t have been a great game mechanic, but something should have been implemented for this not to look so stupid as once again, I found myself caring for only my own welfare. Ultimately, Ellie and her position in the field were irrelevant.
As a big fan of the Uncharted series, I was hoping that LOU was going to follow suit, yet bring something different to the table. Obviously the game is built using the same engine, with many of the same mechanics crossing over. The moving around and aiming was almost identical and even Drake appeared as the main character under his new alias, ‘Joel.’ For me, what made Uncharted were the characters and the way their relationships develop within the story. Witty puns and sarcastic comments from Drake really made the cut scenes enjoyable, and with the Indiana Jones foundations, a great storyline was born! The Last Of Us featured very much the same, but without a ‘Temple Of Doom.’ There was witty banter between characters and the story really did make you laugh and cry, but ultimately, with a spoiler alert (so don’t read the rest of this paragraph if you haven’t played yet!), the storyline was pretty pointless as in the end, the entire journey was for nothing. It could be argued that the game has been left open for a sequel, but with the proof in what they had already created, surely they could have thought up a better ending?
I like action packed games, I don’t like walking around doing nothing for too long and I especially hate stealth based titles. Games like Hitman and Splinter Cell make me cry with boredom as the thought of not being able to shoot someone causes veins to pop out of my head! Unfortunately, LOU was mainly stealth based, and although this may tie in with scarcity of weapons and ammo, I was disappointed not to have found much opportunity for a shoot out. Nothing would have pleased me more than to fire continuous machine gun mags into a horde of Runners, even just once, but instead I was reduced to popping heads with a sniper rifle, which admittedly was a good scene, just not as exciting as my preferred version.
As previously mentioned in my last LOU post, there aren’t enough zombies. For a world overrun with a zombie epidemic, I would have expected to see more, but unfortunately, the world seemed to be populated with more bandits than anything else, which even still didn’t provide many opportunities to have a good ol’ gun battle.
Even more surprisingly, after the opening sequence, the story jumps forward 20 years, and Joel doesn’t look any different! By now he should be easily late 50’s and actually only looks around 40, despite him looking 40, 20 years previous! But I suppose you can’t dwell on these things.
Overall, it is a good game, definitely worth a play and even though I’ve picked it to death, it probably still is one of the games of the year, I just don’t think it’s as good as the media make it out to be. The scenery and attention to detail is awesome, and the AI’s reaction to being shot is great! Sliding down walls and leaving a blood spatter is always a plus, but I think the Machine Gun came in too late. The ‘crafting’ mechanic was interesting and you had to utilize these sparingly to survive, but again, it would have been better to have a larger variety of materials and things to craft. The basics for an even greater game are there, it just needs a bit more of everything for the sequel.