“So Obe, where’ve you been lately? It’s been like, a week with only one update. The hell, bro?”
Well, to put it short, stuff to do, yknow? Anywho, at the beginning of last week I finally managed to get and beat Naughty Dog’s highly praised release, The Last of Us. Heralded as the best thing since sliced bread, I took all thoughts about this game with a grain of salt. Being one of the biggest releases so far in this year, I wanted to have my own genuine opinion on it, and now, I’m ready to share it with my readers. Don’t worry folks; I’ll keep it spoiler free for those who still haven’t been able to play it yet. I’ll touch on the generals, then take a big stab at it at the end, so let the review commence!
Before I go to the gameplay, I’ll comment on the production value; it’s nothing short of great, and maybe even awesome. Great graphics combined with the use of motion capturing make for a great visual experience, and the excellent voice acting tops it all off. Naughty Dog has outdone all of their previous work with The Last of Us, skyrocketing past both their previous works and other major releases of the past two years. It looks heavenly, even with my broken TV that doesn’t mesh shadows correctly at times. It might sounds a bit eager, but the level of detail that went into this game’s audio and visuals is nothing less than beyond expectations and I’m anxious to see what Naughty Dog can do on a next generation platform. Now, the gameplay on the other hand…
Anyone who’s familiar with me knows that aesthetics can only impress me so much. Video games are meant to be played. After all, what’s a video game without the game? A video. The Last of Us features a good mixture of stealth and action, with neither part overshadowing the other. The player is free to choose whether to sneak past enemies or mow them down with bullets, but at higher levels, stealthily sneaking past most enemies is almost a requirement, which may drive away people looking for more action than stealth. Overall, however, it’s engaging and rewarding, and I enjoyed the time I put into it. Multiplayer isn’t too bad either, so that’s a plus.
TLoU also features puzzles you must solve to progress, but sadly, the game falls EXTREMELY short here and has maybe three puzzle gimmicks repeatedly utilized, with the central theme being “Find X and bring it to Y.” The game also features some quick time events that I wasn’t a big fan of. Sure, there’s not a lot of quick time events (Also known as QTEs) overall, but they just so happened to be bound to actions that you use a lot, such as strangling a surprised enemy or countering a charging foe. It leads to a sense of stale repetition that overstays its welcome quite quickly, but I guess not everything can be perfect.
Speaking of perfect, The Last of Us has what many people believe to be a story equivalent of, well, sliced bread. Keeping in mind that I compare everything to sliced bread and that I need some new comparisons, I will state the harsh reality that the story is quite mediocre; however, I didn’t completely hate it, so where’s the appeal? Well, The Last of Us falls under the category of a story where the emphasis is in the journey, not the destination. From the beginning, it’s pretty easy to see how things will turn out in the end, but I was more interested in the series of events leading up to the end and how the main cast end up where they do. I will give the game that; it certainly had me playing for longer than I expected to see how the latest predicament turns out. I don’t see myself playing it over and over, however, as the gameplay bogs down the storytelling for me after one playthrough.
So, overall, did I like this game? Yeah, it’s pretty good. I liked it quite a bit. My only gripe is the people who claim this game to be perfection and innovative. For “The Citizen Kane of Gaming,” this game has glaring issues and the “innovation” is relatively nonexistent. The only “innovation” The Last of Us did was refining already existing mechanics, which isn’t innovation: it’s REFINEMENT. Excluding the painfully obvious paid reviews and blindly protective fanbase, and taking into account all of the flaws in this “magnum opus of video games,” I would say that this is still one of the better exclusives for the Playstation 3 and worth checking out. If I had to give it a 1 to 10, I’d say it’s a solid 8/10, or 19/24 if we put it onto the 24 perfect score context. If you have a PS3, pick it up sometime. You’ll find something about it to like.