* ** I’ve done my very best to keep this brief and Spoiler free ***
So I had previously wrote about my gaming dilemma. I was just in a bloody rut and the game to help get me out of it was The Last of Us. Well, its now complete and the verdict is in. Hmmmmm.
Ok so lets start with what I had to start with with this game .”Its one of the best games ever made” “How have you not played this game yet?” “Unbelievable, 10/10 there’s absolutely nothing in this game you will not like”. A brief summary there, not just from friends and family, but just everyone I had ever talked too who had played this game, not to mention pretty much every gaming review, magazine or website that talked about the game. It was clear to me this was a title that would be talked about for years, loved by millions adored by many hated by few. It’d be a very long time before we get another game of its magnitude.
Well, where do I stand with this so called masterpiece. Okay so straight from the off it was clear that this was going to be a game that told a story, a game that wasnt afraid to throw you in at the deepest end of the shit and just go “go for it”. I knew the story was going to be intense and deep and moving and I was not wrong. The opening sequence, the prologue if you like, was fantastic, I barely knew these bloody characters and immediaty I felt a great deal of sympathy for them, credit to the amazing voice acting once again from Troy Baker and Nolan North.
Starting into the actual nitty gritty gameplay, I first felt that control was just a little clunky for my liking, (I’m playing the remaster here on PS4 and would love to know if anyone had the same little ‘defects’ I did at times through this game) but one hour of play over me and I think I have it in me to ensure Joel makes it through the next couple of hours anyway.
*I’m also playing on the HARD difficulty, didn’t attempt SURVIVOR just yet.
Making my way through the direlect buildings and avoiding these ‘hunters’ and humans was first a very thrilling experience. My heart rate did most certainly rise upon meeting the Clickers for the first time too, man those things creep me out. But another hour or so into the story and I was beginning to notice a theme here.
Enter Building > Avoid Detection > Make way up or down (mostly up) through building > Exit building to large area > Prepare for encounter with human kind > End little segment with cutscene > Enter next building and Repeat.
Now I thought at first it wasn’t a big deal, I mean what did I expect really, based on this story what else could we really be doing. But when I found myself two thirds of the way through the ‘SUMMER’ act and having rinsed and repeated with this same method over and over, I began to get a little annoyed, no that’s unfair of me to say. Put it like this, I didn’t find it hard to put down the controller and switch off the console.
Eventually I ploughed through to the ‘FALL’ act which started quite slowly. There was the addition of several new weapons and set pieces if you like and by the end I found the story reaching some new heights and I eventually reached the beginning of the ‘WINTER’ segment and although the previous chapter ended somewhat brilliantly story-wise, I was honestly questioning whether or not that alone was enough to keep me playing. I took a three day break from the game entirely and during that time spoke to the guys about my initial feels with this game. Some part of the guys knew where I was coming from with my frustration, but I could tell that a very large piece f them were silently judging me (I know you were I can tell) so, off their enthusiasm for the game I returned to it the next day.
Winter was certainly a changing point in this game for me. The campaign took a nice change of pace indeed and suddenly didnt feel as repetitive as before. The addition of playing as Ellie was definitely the thing which kept up my interest. That and also wanting to find out just what the next ‘big moment’ in the campaign was. I was most definitely not dissappointed. Everything started to come together so nicely. Gameplay felt tighter. Pacing was much quicker. Combat suddenly felt more raw, and every weapon I swung I was almost willing it to inflict as much damage as possible. Repetitive elements were there yes, but not just as common as the chapters before. Now obviously I’ve been trying to keep this spoiler free, so I’ll just say, that ‘WINTER’ ending… F**KKK. Absolutely tremendous. Now we were picking up, now we were really enjoying this.
SPRING started just as I had expected and by this point, I was completely and utterly sucked into this plot. “The Joel and Ellie show”. I’ve seen my fair share of games which have these really awesome heartfelt moments, real raw emotion. But never before have I played a game where those emotions were being felt, when the characters were simply walking side by side. Everything they did and said, and in some cases what they didn’t do or say was just pulling me and my gaming soul deeper and deeper it was basic human interaction at its finest and it had me and I was loving every second of it.
Half way through this final chapter, the unique array of emotions coveyed was quite simply overwhelming at times. I knew I was drawing to a close with the story and I didnt like it, I was wishing I could just wait in these moments savouring every drop, but I had a job to do and this was one which I took very, very personally indeed.
So seven hours of gameplay and I had completed The Last of Us. Seven hours to some may seem like a little bit of a joke, but trust me, for a guy who is all about campaigns in video games, seven hours of a story this heartfelt and deep is absolute perfection. Obviously again, no spoilers, but I was relatively happy with the ending. I say relatively as normally it takes me to complete a game twice before I make up my full mind about it and at the time of writing this I am currently nearly one act through on SURVIVOR difficulty, but the game was good. Very good in places actually. Hampered in places by quite repetitive gameplay, it certainly makes up for it with a thrilling and heartfelt story. Combat is a little shakey to begin with but once you iron out the kinks, you’ll be savouring ever single headshot, every knee buckling blow, every fist smashing execution you perform.
Please remember though, that this is only my opinion, and who knows, this second play-through may just up my judgement of the game a little but for now, The Last of Us, you were a treat a times and a pain at others, I of course recommend you play this game just to witness how stories can be told well in video games and to experience one of the better games of this generation (and to all you who don’t find how people find emotion in games, just watch someone play this).
All in all 6/10. Which isn’t bad considering at one point I was ready to just give up. But don’t take my word for it, go play this game, and for those who have, I gladly welcome your opinions telling me how wrong I am and how my opinion counts for nothing.