The Last of Us: Now I Have to Buy a PS3
Rachel Gray / May 15th, 2013 4 Comments
Steadily it approaches…the June 14 release date for The Last of Us. The war between wallet and wants intensifies within me as I confront the realization that The Last of Us is a PlayStation 3 exclusive. I have not owned a PS3 in years. How could I have let this happen? I’m unemployed with no money to spare but I need this game, this survival action-adventure horror game set to deliver everything I have ever wanted in a game. I look at the calendar, I look at my bank account, I look in my heart. I have to buy a PS3.
Some may mock and laugh at my plight. Others may not understand why I would buy (or at the very least beg to borrow) an old console for only one game, especially with next generation consoles peeping over the horizon. But do they not understand? I am lamenting about the possibility of not experiencing The Last of Us: this upcoming, innovative video game with all my beloved elements beautifully crafted into one story! Perhaps my necessity to own a PS3 solely for The Last of Us can best be understood if we discuss just what this video game has to offer.
How Almost Everyone Dies
[adsense250itp]The Last of Us is an apropos title for this post-pandemic, post-apocalyptic video game (although I have affectionately nicknamed the game “Shroom Doom”). My generation loves end of the world scenarios. We love books, television shows, movies, and video games depicting the last fight for survival. However, perhaps we have seen too much? Perhaps we have exhausted the genre and have explored all possible world ending events. Naughty Dog thought otherwise and has delivered an interesting, realistic dooms day. In The Last of Us, the human race is faced with a fungal infection of epic proportions. A cordyceps-type fungi has been infecting individuals, spreading its spores, controlling and killing its hosts as it reclaims the planet. Cool, horrifying, totally believable, and totally Shroom Doom. The parasitic fungi delivers a gruesome invasion, deforming friends and family into creepy human-mushroom hybrids with an insatiable hunger for violence and death. The United States collapses into chaos and devastation. Buildings fall, roads congest, people either band together or kill each other, and the military sets up Draconian quarantine zones.
So where is the player in all of this? The player is playing rugged, beaten and bearded Joel. The player will trek Joel through the once-50-stated wasteland with limited supplies, limited hope, and a 14 year old girl named Ellie. The differences between the two protagonists is striking: Joel is an adult who lived in the pre-fungal infected world and Ellie was born about 6 years after the outbreak. There is a mysterious importance to Ellie that has drawn the attention of the military and it is Joel’s responsibility to get her to safety. Together Joel and Ellie will struggle to survive, playing at the gamer’s heartstrings as their personalities develop and relationship strengthens. The bond that grows between Ellie and Joel will be the success story for The Last of Us. The superb voice acting, character conversations, moral dilemmas, realistic violence, and the father-daughter relationship will all contribute to making the gamer feel connected and in sync with Ellie and Joel’s efforts. Better yet, although the gamer cannot play Ellie she seems to be a reliable, useful force for Joel instead of an inconvenience. For the player, Ellie and Joel will turn from mere characters to beloved friends.
How Not to Die Like Almost Everyone Else
Violence is valuable in this game and is not for the faint of heart. Gamers should be prepared to beat in heads with loose bricks, cut throats, or exercise other grisly methods necessary to live. This game is about survival whether it is against spooky mushroom men or other uninfected scavengers like Joel and Ellie. Enemies are intelligent and will weigh and pick strategies like the player. They will prey on weaknesses and react according to Joel and Ellie’s decisions. How the gamer combats enemies will be largely up to them. The Last of Us offers multiple methods for escape and defense whether the gamer prefers stealth to catch a bad guy unaware or charge in and shoot everyone in the head. The game leaves room for creativity, which may help temper the realistic violence and desperation with a sense of accomplishment. Improvising, exploring, scavenging, sneaking, and fighting are all major components that make for an attractive survival action-adventure horror game.
On top of being creative and engaging The Last of Us is also beautiful. The cinematics and graphics are smooth, elegant, and the developers have paid great attention to detail. Naughty Dog used motion capture so the movements of Ellie and Joel are fluid and heighten the game’s realism. The aesthetics of the game match the story; the flooding and overgrowth of plant life in cities lends well to the story’s foundation. Mushroom people are disgusting yet original, inciting fear in the player as spore sprouting fungus fiends charge the player. The voice acting is believable and seems to compliment the appearance of characters.
The Last of Us is bound to be an excellent, or at least incredibly fun video game. The more trailers I watch and screenshots I drool over, the more convinced I am that the mere mention of this game is spewing contagious spores in my mind and beckoning me to purchase a PS3. Sure, next generation consoles will come out and new games will rock gaming headlines, but I want and need to experience The Last of Us as one of the last stories before a new gaming era. For players who love the fear, despair, and resilience offered in post-apocalyptic games it is without question that Naughty Dog made The Last of Us for us. I will feel confident spending the last of my money on Shroom Doom and a PS3.
tags: naughty dog , opinion , ps3 , ps4 , sony , survival action , the last of us , uncharted