I am the worst gamer for not completing games. There are many boxes that adorn my shelf untouched for months on end. Unfortunately Last Of Us was one of these games and I only made it to the Woods before I got distracted. Other titles came out that required my attention and DLC for my season passes came out that I simply had to play. But with the release of the Remastered edition on PS4, it has been my mission to get through it and not let any other game get in the way. (Of course as I write this I’m part of the way through Outlast and the remastered Oddworld game! Doh!)
I immediately regret not getting my butt in gear to finish this game because it is stunning. I don’t tend to fall for hype when games have so much to live up to. But now I have sat down to play and stream it without much interruption, I’ve found myself wanting to call in sick for work as it disrupts my gaming time. Based in a world torn apart by an infection and our protagonists Joel and Ellie are trying to get through the post apocalyptic cities avoiding the infected and the other survivors you come across. It’s got the emotional, cinematic moments which get you right into the heart of the story and it has the intense creepy parts where you’re sneaking around praying that you don’t have to fight the infected. It you like survival horror games, then you should enjoy this game as it requires a certain level of stealth and awareness to get to the end. But it might be a little too emotional for the hardcore gamers who crave full on gore and you might get annoyed with the CPU characters when they get in your way. These buggers love standing in doorways so you can’t get through… especially Ellie.
The mechanics of the game are very much of the style of recent games where quick time actions are key to getting out of a tight spot when you get grabbed. I don’t mind these so much as it’s preferable to just dying without putting up some kind of a fight. Sometimes you don’t get the option to fight for your life and watch yourself get your throat ripped out or your head squished depending on who you are facing. Triangle becomes your best friend for looting, opening doors, moving obstacles and grabbing a baddie for a stealth kill. If you are like me and remember how scarce supplies are in the game where you can go several encounters before finding 2 or 3 bullets for you 9mm pistol, you may prefer the sneaky option over the gun-ho approach. The only issue with that is that occasionally it can lead to a lengthy wait for a bad guy to wander in the right direction so you can take them out and when it comes to Clickers, melee is usually not the best option.
With your supplies, you have to plan ahead to make sure that you don’t waste that precious ammo. I’ve found that stealth has some benefits as it means you save the bullets and depending on your approach your molotovs, smoke and nail bombs are saved for those hairy situations. I didn’t use many of these tactical weapons until around about the middle of the game where you start to get overrun with enemies and the non-infected are putting a crimp on your day. You may also find that upgrading your melee weapons with some of your scavenged supplies gives you a little bit of a hard on when you manage to take someone out with one swing rather than using the bat in one go. Your pipes, bits of wood and baseball bats only last a few swings, but as you learn new skills and parts to upgrade them you start to feel like you could survive this thing. Don’t forget to pick up the letters, pendants and artifacts you come across as some of them are handy for finding out details about the area you are in and what happened there.
Nothing is as simple as it seems in the game. Just as you think you’ve caught a break someone shows up to spoil the fun and it leaves you constantly on edge and frantically holding on to R1 to listen to the whereabouts of the enemies around you. I have watched some streams where R1 is barely used, but if you watch my stream you’ll see that I will wait for a good minute or so to ascertain their route before moving forward. This is handy when surrounded in the dark by different kinds of enemy. Runners can still see so your flashlight will only draw their attention but if you pass too close to a Clicker, they’ll get you. It’s also great for setting your own traps as you can work out where to place the nail bomb for maximum effect and make sure it doesn’t go to waste. A great time for your keen listening ability to come into play is when you are in a spore heavy area and you can’t see a thing. This is actually one of the main issues I have with the game as it actually hurt my eyes to get through it. Although quite a realistic response as you wouldn’t be able to see very much in that situation, I found it difficult to look at the screen and work my way through without using R1 to guide me a little.
The story itself is pretty solid and very much a movie style scenario (so it’s no surprise there is talk of a film). Save the girl, save the world in the same way that Peter Petrelli is charged to save the cheerleader in the TV series Heroes. Ellie has a secret and Joel has to get her to safety in an attempt to find out if she holds the key to the survival of the people that are left alive. As with any tale such of this, nothing is straight forward and with constant obstacles at every turn it’s hard to see this one working out well. It’s a game that wrenches your heart right from the word go with the pretty crazy opening and as the game moves on Ellie tries to get Joel to open up about his past. I thought he would have warmed to her enough by 2/3rds of the way through to start giving a little more back but there’s a lot left unsaid between these two. You also realise how the things that we would be used to seeing on a daily basis in an ordinary world are completely new to Ellie. Experiencing the things she’s never seen before are a quiet reminder of what we would stand to lose if the ‘world ended’.
For those of you who haven’t played it yet, I would definitely recommend it. After not finishing it the first time around, I have found it difficult to leave the house for work because I’ve been so eager to get through it. I’m not saying I’m obsessed but I have debated calling in sick so I can play this game. I am aware that many people didn’t seem to think it lived up to the hype but I think it’s a great story and it’s challenging to work out how you’re going to get out alive and save your supplies along the way. I found myself getting annoyed when I had to use my ammo as you can never find any when you need it. Also, take advantage of the bow. I always forget to use it but when there are clickers around they are the best weapon for precision stealth. Overall, it is a fantastic game. The graphics are stunning and the story will keep you going. I’m sad that it had to end. But with the multiplayer and Left Behind DLC, you still get to keep on playing just that little bit longer.
I did stream a couple of bits of gameplay and below is a link to a particular section where I almost pooped my pants. Apologies for the quality, but our connection isn’t great and it skips a couple of times!