Published on August 30th, 2014 | by Thinkbad Monkey
Exploring the Hype – Fighting through The Last of Us
As an Xbox 360 gamer I never had the chance to play The Last of Us on the PS3. I think that it must have been a regret for many of us as the game started to get award after award with scores of 9’s and 10’s across the board. “Could this game really be as good as everyone says?” I asked myself while I went back to the 360 silently hating the fact that there was this amazing game that I couldn’t play. I think Sony understood that, and the fact I can now play The Last of Us on the PS4 gave me a great chance to finally see what all the fuss was about. Now, I’m not a fan of big reviews and me trying to piece together a review of The Last of Us would be almost pointless amongst the sea of others. The game is very good and I don’t feel that me giving it another 90 would help or be useful in anyway at all. Instead I want to look at the hype, and if I felt the same excitement playing this game as others. I also want to take the opportunity to say what I would change about the game. Lets face it, no game is perfect, is it?
So what do I think of the game…Well it was good, and looking back I can see that it is one of the best games that I have ever played, but I question how much that was down to story and how much was down to the ‘playing’ part. The hype around The Last of Us has definitely been centered on the characters of Joel and Ellie and they are special. There are very few games that make you feel so much for the characters. Without spoiling anything, by the end of the game I questioned myself about the decisions that certain characters made,asking could I have done that? It makes you realise how much this world has affected them as people, its enough to give me chills. The characters combined with the settings lived up to the hype for me, the environments are incredible and the whole thing comes together to create an atmosphere that makes you scared to go anywhere. Round most corners, you will suddenly be set upon by… well nothing most of the time, but that doesn’t stop you slowly walking around every bloody one ready to jump out of your seat. But what was limiting to me was the closed nature of the world. Now that may sound like a shock to many as in-fact the maps and environments are pretty vast. But upon hearing so much about this game I expected it to be a lot different. While you are taken through a relatively linear story, I did expect more of an open world to explore and try to find my own way around. At first the realisation that it was much more linear than I expected was annoying as I wanted that open world feel I had dreamed about. Later on in that game you get to experience more wow moments with the environment but I always like it when you get the sense of scale early on in a game, something that Tomb Raider did very well.
When I first started playing, I kept getting frustrated. Now, I am not too good at stealth games but this just seemed to be really hard. The enemies didn’t seem to react the way I wanted them to or as I expected them to. This didn’t seem to be part of the UI but it seemed to be buggy. Now I realise that this will be bias based on my experience and others would have enjoyed this game without any glitches but my experience seemed really buggy. There were a few times that throwing distractions had no effect at all and enemies would just see me for no reason! I really want to sit and watch someone else playing, just to see if it was just my game that reacted the way it did. It was such a shame as I felt I couldn’t play how I wanted, which impacted my initial reaction a lot. However, when you get past potential bugs and when you start to think of The Last of Us, not as a stealth game, but as a survival game, you don’t feel as bad about messing up. Think about it, what is your goal? Its not to get from A to B without being seen, its to get from A to B by surviving. If that survival means being sneaky then fair play, but if it is to go balls to the wall then embrace it, if you need to just run, then bloody run! Realising this did increase my enjoyment tenfold but I still can’t shake this feeling that the game for me, didn’t react the way it was supposed to.
These “bugs” sadly followed me onto the Left Behind DLC but it didn’t stop that from being very special. As far as DLC’s go it is very very good. One of my favourite moments in the main game was playing as Ellie for a short period so getting to explore her story line more while running around as the hardened girl was great. It was great that they also introduced some more gameplay elements to explore and to be honest, it felt more like I expected the whole game to be; a little less scary and a little more racy.
Overall, I think it does deserve the hype that it received. Its great to see a game and a studio so devoted to bringing the gamers an intense story that makes you scared, happy, emotional, angry and triumphant all in one gameplay – and I think that should be rewarded. It was concerning that I had a feeling that the game was buggy for as long as I did – but I’ll make an effort to look into this and figure out exactly what the issue was; I’m sure I’m going to play it again! So if you have made it all the way to the end of this ramble then I salute you and hope if you have not already played The Last of Us then you will find a way to do so. If nothing else, The Last of Us provides a fantastic story and atmosphere that sucks you in from the very start.