The Last Of Us: Between a Next-Gen and a Hard Place
Mark Gonzales / Apr 11th, 2013 1 Comment
The Last of Us represents what is the last hurrah and final breath of new titles to come out in the current generation. What has been shown so far alludes to the fact that the game is being lovingly crafted by Sony‘s Naughty Dog studio. The recent trailer really showcases what gamers can expect to experience once it comes out on Jun 14. The Last of Us is a beautiful game that will assuredly drain every last drop of performance from the PlayStation 3. But how this game will be received or how successful it is going to be is up to whether or not gamers can really get themselves behind this title in spite of the crazy year ahead.
Speaking of which. There are those pesky new consoles coming out soon that may crash the Last of Us’ party. E3 is going to happen literally right before it is released. While that may be a supreme position of publicity gesturing. It can come off as a footnote to a show dedicated to a console launch announcements for the holiday season. The shiny new tech and advanced new experiences can overshadow a solid project like the Last of Us. Of course, the severity of this is going to be in Sony’s hands and how well they dedicate floor space and marketing to the title. But the staggering shadow of the PS4 will be cast over the Last Of Us with or without the biggest booth.
Now, the one aspect of the Last of Us that is really quite difficult to wrap around is that it is a Survival/Apocalypse/Zombie/Horror game. While these decrepit overgrown tombs of the city are different than what is normally seen in the genre. It really is pretty much the same motifs. While Resident Evil has arguably gone far away from this type of setting, which seems to be diverging in every which way (Chris punching a boulder!), the popularity and exposure of zombies/infected is at an all time high. The Walking Dead, both AMC’s Series and Telltale Games‘ point and click adventure are imprinted in everyone’s mind. The angle of the Last of Us does differentiate in that they are not actually zombies and are more akin to rabies infected humans caused by a mutation from the Cordyceps fungus. However, gamers are still inundated with survival games like this and interest in playing these games has definitely waned. Dead Space 3 may have been a victim of this stigma and had less than stellar reception which ultimately led to Electronic Arts deminished faith in the brand.
It’s Not All Bad
One of the biggest and best reasons that one should consider buying the Last of Us is because it is a new IP. In an age when the number count of rehashed video games are reaching a ludicrous number, 20 some odd Madden games and 12 or so in the Call Of Duty franchise. A new title is refreshing and encouraging for gamers. Add in the fact that the talent behind the Last of Us is Naughty Dog, gives this title a strong base from which to stand on. While the wait for a Jak and Daxter title continues to agonize the faithful, the Uncharted series is solid and the Last of Us is likely going to receive the same polish and production value. Factor in a new story comprised of original ideas combined with a high level of talent is not a bad thing.
While the story of post apocalyptic survival is hardly original, the execution in Last of Us will be an interesting concept to watch unfold. Unsurprisingly, the story sets a seasoned veteran with a shady past alongside a plucky young girl and set out on a journey to escape a hostile ruined quarantine zone. Naughty Dog has been advertising the strength of their AI and the ability for players to approach each situation in different ways. Elle will not likely engage in combat on a regular basis but having her there will likely be like Elizabeth in Bioshock Infinite. Avoiding the trap of annoying escort missions is the perfect way to illustrate the engaging world and AI in the Last of Us. Gamers will be treated to a story of a man reclaiming his humanity and a girl losing hers.
This title may have come late to the party but it is going to end this current-gen party. While not directly related to the game itself. It is a very good push by Sony to have this title fresh in gamers’ minds for this big year in gaming. While Microsoft remains mum on its plans, Sony is making a strong case for gamers to board the blue ship this holiday season by assuring that they are dedicated to pushing out quality titles well into the twilight of the PS3. The Last of Us is a title that all will be watching this coming summer and for various reasons. It sits in between generations of consoles and is a high budget title. It is an outlier and a gamble to put out there when money hoarding for the PS4 is a likely prospect. As a byproduct of the big booths and flashy demos of the PS4 at E3, it will take away momentum from the game. However, as long as Naughty Dog delivers everything they have advertised and shown so far, then the Last Of Us can give us a world to look forward to not only in June, but into the future of the PS4 as well.
tags: naughty dog , opinion , playstation , ps3 , ps4 , Survival-Horror , the last of us , uncharted