The Last of Us

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Sapientia

SeeD A-Class
Sep 26, 2013
601
168
#1
Because it needed to be made.
The more I think about it, the more TLOU becomes my favorite game of the year. The only thing I don't entirely like about the game is the sometimes lame AI, and the gameplay isn't the most inventive ever. Which can be okay, if it's fun. And it still is.

What do you think of Naughty Dog's latest? GOTY material (though that's all subjective, I suppose) or overrated?

Also, props to Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker for playing two of the most relatable and awesome characters I think I'll ever play in a video game.
 

APZonerunner

Network Boss-man
Administrator
UFFSite Veteran
Site Staff
Jul 25, 2013
1,147
927
29
Solihull, UK
www.rpgsite.net
#2
It's absolutely amazing story wise, and features some of the strongest character performances in any game ever, that's for sure. It's incredibly impressive, and really brave.

It isn't, however, GOTY material in my opinion. The gameplay side doesn't go far enough for it - the same mechanics are spread pretty thin, I feel.

What a story, though!
 
Sep 26, 2013
383
287
29
#3
This game blew my mind when I played it, just for the bold choices taken in the story and the unyielding characterization. I mean, without spoiling anything, it's easy to write a virtuous character. It's a true challenge to write a human character with flaws and actually stick to your guns through the whole story. I really admire that about The Last of Us, and it's why I'd nominate it for Game of the Year myself.

The gameplay is pretty familiar if you've played Uncharted, and I'd say that's great if you liked Uncharted. The crafting system was pretty cool and gave a good feeling of survival, but I do have to say that I felt there was something missing. I never got the feeling of surviving so much as I got the feeling of a third person shooter, and I think this is where the game's greatest failing lies.

So I guess, essentially, I agree with the above.
 

Sapientia

SeeD A-Class
Sep 26, 2013
601
168
#4
It's absolutely amazing story wise, and features some of the strongest character performances in any game ever, that's for sure. It's incredibly impressive, and really brave.

It isn't, however, GOTY material in my opinion. The gameplay side doesn't go far enough for it - the same mechanics are spread pretty thin, I feel.

What a story, though!
What did you guys think of the multiplayer? I haven't even tried it, but I've heard it's great. Then again, I'm not the biggest fan of the game's combat...
 

Fleur

Knight of Death
#5
I have to hand it to Naughty Dog for the execution, as opposed to ideas. The Last Of Us is by no means a game filled to the brim with innovative concepts and ideas, but it doesn't need to. Heck, if a lesser studio were to handle the game's development, I wager that there would be nothing notable about it, and we would all walk away from it, shrugging our shoulders at a forgetful drab of an experience. The game doesn't come packed with a drawer of new ideas, but it's not the disaggregate parts that matter. It's the whole; and how it has been woven together, that makes The Last Of Us what it is.

Naughty Dog has taken preexisting concepts and ideas and has run a mile with them; whatever initial impressions of yet ANOTHER "post-apocalyptic zombie survival action game" exist quickly dissipate soon enough. To take a concept(s) that has been done to death, but pouring such care and precision into it, with the strong galvanising catalyst of ND's way of storytelling, is to create a game that is surprisingly fresh because it's executed the art of storytelling so well. I think that's Naughty Dog's greatest achievement to date. Definitely the jewel in the crown of Sony's first-party developers, and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what they come up with next-gen.

Okay, yes. I did have my boyfriend there to collaborate with me on the game up until Pittsburgh, and I think it was after the hotel (ahahaha, I barely even realised that there was a Bloater down there. The true horrors down there were the Stalkers...) that I properly took lead, before borrowing the game and deciding to go at it alone to the end - at least on Normal difficulty. We may collaborate again for Survivor difficulty, if we're both available, but I think he made it clear that he wanted to try out for the platinum trophy himself. Oh well, it is his copy of the game. Multiplayer doesn't enthrall me, so I've no qualms about missing out on it. Going through the story at least once was more than good enough for me.

And honestly, what can I can say about that story? The Last Of Us is the prime case of where I revise where I demarcate the story and actual storytelling. The story alone may not be necessarily original in composition, but compounded with the storytelling and the character building, and it becomes something else.

I don't want a sequel to this game. Or at least, I don't want a direct sequel, and I'm slightly wary about the upcoming DLC. You can go explore other aspects of the game's world, from the Fireflies' perspective, or simply with a different cast of characters, but as far as I am concerned? Joel's and Ellie's story is pretty much done, and perfect as it is. Yes, it doesn't clearly wrap up the question of whether Ellie believes what Joel has told her, and how she may react to the truth; whether Joel has truly doomed the rest of what is left of humanity; what the future will be for the pair of them, but it absolutely does not need to.

The ending, as well as the rest of the game align very well with an analysis of the role and place of morality in the world of TLOU. We see when entering Pittsburgh, a particularly vicious gang luring "tourists" into a trap with a guy pretending to be hurt, deliberately trying to evoke an individual's sense of basic morality (help those in serious distress) and using it to try and exploit anything from Joel and Ellie. Despite Ellie's suggestion that they help, Joel doesn't fall for it, and decides to just ram the guy into the nearest building if he could, which alerts the player to the question of whether he had experienced or witnessed a similar occurrence in the past, and how that has affected his morality.

People have slammed Joel for his morality, or rather, a lack of them, when you realise that he tortures and coldly kills. No, no, no, Nathan Drake would be a better example of a monster, and I'm actually half-serious about this. Look at the mass murders he would have to go through with in his quests. Joel on the other hand, practically lives in a world where morality as a concept becomes worthless. No one takes the moral high ground, and players are able to sympathise with both sides. The people who have stayed alive have done so exactly because they were able to put their own needs and interests over those of others. It's entirely a Hobbesian world, where there is no effective order - sans the quarantine zones, but look how cuddly and friendly the authorities are there! - and it's every man for himself. We're all driven by rational and private interests, and the Fireflies present an alternative, utilitarian dimension to it. And where does that typically get you in TLOU's world? Messy street executions.

Yeah, Joel tortured someone. Pretty brutally. But let's contextualise it before he is immediately condemned. What did Joel want? Ellie. It's a bleak winter, he has a fatal wound, and by then, Ellie has more or less found a place in that same gaping wound of a father who had lost a daughter in a senseless act of violence. It was a mad scramble to find Ellie and get her back, and that was the thing driving him. Ellie's wellbeing is also his wellbeing. She becomes explicitly a part of his own ability to carry on surviving. Would you, in a scenario like that where general morality is warped, and man has become beast, do the same? Wouldn't you also find your ability of empathy with another human being who isn't Ellie to be significantly clouded and shoved to one side? It's the instinct of a parent, but exacerbated horrifically in the situation. I'm not convinced that we can fairly slam Joel as simply monstrous when despite the inhumanity of his actions, I was still able to empathise with him.

Does his rejection of the Fireflies' means to heal humanity - whether they would have truly been able to is of course, unknown, but that has a role in this moral question - for Ellie's wellbeing seem utterly selfish? Yes. Undeniably. Was it a monstrous thing to do? It's complicated. This is where TLOU's story truly shines. It shines when it comes to the question of morality, because players will have different perceptions and can take sides. It's good that people can be appalled at what Joel has done, because it cements him after all, as a grey character. He can dually the main hero AND the villain of the game, if you choose to see it that way. I acknowledge that he has done a cascade of things that are reprehensible, especially to a player who still lives in a world where society continues to exist and safeguards our basic morality, but unlike Nathan Drake's own mass murdering nature, I could understand Joel. I could understand why Joel did what he did in a world that would simply not allow collective compassion and general interests.

Rather than immoral, I would say that Joel is simply amoral. He had to be. That's the world. What did Bill say? He said that the Infected don't scare him as much as "real" people, because at least the Clickers and their ilk are predictable. Man on the other hand, appears to be even more bestial and dangerous than they, and the game consistently attempts to show that. Man is capable of redefining its capacity for cruelty and inventiveness to brutally attain what they seek.

I am admittedly slightly uncomfortable at the end with Joel outright lying to Ellie, even when Ellie resolutely asks Joel whether he is in actual fact telling the truth. Does he not trust Ellie with the truth? I suppose it can be justified, given Ellie's survival guilt and the clear indications that she would have happily wanted to give herself up for the betterment of mankind. Yet at the same time, I'm not too keen on taking away Ellie's agency and her ability to choose. Joel and Ellie are after all, a relationship more profound than simply father and (surrogate) child. Are they not after all, developed as partners in this race of life? Yet Ellie's seeming acceptance of Joel's lie makes me wonder whether she was in fact just painfully swallowing holed-up feelings of distrust and disbelief. It's where we've been at all game again. She follows his lead and we reconsider the nature of this partnership.

Definitely one of the best instances of storytelling in a video game, and two of some of the best executions of character building in a game. I'm not exaggerating when I say that Joel and Ellie are two of the most interesting characters in fiction I have seen in a long while. It's an astonishing turn from the three Uncharted games that ND have made before where Nate is - though never really painted so in the games themselves - a genuine psychopath. Nathan Drake is clearly painted as the adventurous, gung-ho good guy. He's the guy you're meant to love. The suave guy you want to succeed. Everyone in TLOU is damaged by their surroundings in some shape or form. The more you play Uncharted, the more disconnected you feel from the senseless mass murdering - and for what? Nate doesn't have to be around. As far as we are concerned, this is a civilian who is killing his way through swathes of men who were probably contracted by the main villain to do stuff because they perhaps just needed the job, in an attempt to stop some kind of supposed, vaguely-established threat that really, he has no actual evidence or proof of to make him judge, jury and executioner. The violence in TLOU works and is part of the characterisation.

For these very reasons, TLOU has easily supplanted the Uncharted games in terms of ND's efforts this generation. Easily a GOTY contender and very well deserving of its success. Even if most of the time I was hugely stressed out and tense when I was playing it. It isn't exactly a fun game. But it is an exhilarating experience.
 
Likes: Sapientia

Azuardo

Materia Hunter
Moderator
Sep 26, 2013
771
286
#6
I think you already know my feelings on this game :]

Of everything I played this year, I think this was easily my favourite. Ultimately, it probably comes a close second in my fave games on PS3, behind the Mass Effect Trilogy.

I passed it on to my brother and hope he'll find the time to play it at some point. I'll be needing it back when the single-player DLC arrives!
 
Likes: Sapientia

Sapientia

SeeD A-Class
Sep 26, 2013
601
168
#7
I have to hand it to Naughty Dog for the execution, as opposed to ideas. The Last Of Us is by no means a game filled to the brim with innovative concepts and ideas, but it doesn't need to. Heck, if a lesser studio were to handle the game's development, I wager that there would be nothing notable about it, and we would all walk away from it, shrugging our shoulders at a forgetful drab of an experience. The game doesn't come packed with a drawer of new ideas, but it's not the disaggregate parts that matter. It's the whole; and how it has been woven together, that makes The Last Of Us what it is.

Naughty Dog has taken preexisting concepts and ideas and has run a mile with them; whatever initial impressions of yet ANOTHER "post-apocalyptic zombie survival action game" exist quickly dissipate soon enough. To take a concept(s) that has been done to death, but pouring such care and precision into it, with the strong galvanising catalyst of ND's way of storytelling, is to create a game that is surprisingly fresh because it's executed the art of storytelling so well. I think that's Naughty Dog's greatest achievement to date. Definitely the jewel in the crown of Sony's first-party developers, and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what they come up with next-gen.

Okay, yes. I did have my boyfriend there to collaborate with me on the game up until Pittsburgh, and I think it was after the hotel (ahahaha, I barely even realised that there was a Bloater down there. The true horrors down there were the Stalkers...) that I properly took lead, before borrowing the game and deciding to go at it alone to the end - at least on Normal difficulty. We may collaborate again for Survivor difficulty, if we're both available, but I think he made it clear that he wanted to try out for the platinum trophy himself. Oh well, it is his copy of the game. Multiplayer doesn't enthrall me, so I've no qualms about missing out on it. Going through the story at least once was more than good enough for me.

And honestly, what can I can say about that story? The Last Of Us is the prime case of where I revise where I demarcate the story and actual storytelling. The story alone may not be necessarily original in composition, but compounded with the storytelling and the character building, and it becomes something else.

I don't want a sequel to this game. Or at least, I don't want a direct sequel, and I'm slightly wary about the upcoming DLC. You can go explore other aspects of the game's world, from the Fireflies' perspective, or simply with a different cast of characters, but as far as I am concerned? Joel's and Ellie's story is pretty much done, and perfect as it is. Yes, it doesn't clearly wrap up the question of whether Ellie believes what Joel has told her, and how she may react to the truth; whether Joel has truly doomed the rest of what is left of humanity; what the future will be for the pair of them, but it absolutely does not need to.

The ending, as well as the rest of the game align very well with an analysis of the role and place of morality in the world of TLOU. We see when entering Pittsburgh, a particularly vicious gang luring "tourists" into a trap with a guy pretending to be hurt, deliberately trying to evoke an individual's sense of basic morality (help those in serious distress) and using it to try and exploit anything from Joel and Ellie. Despite Ellie's suggestion that they help, Joel doesn't fall for it, and decides to just ram the guy into the nearest building if he could, which alerts the player to the question of whether he had experienced or witnessed a similar occurrence in the past, and how that has affected his morality.

People have slammed Joel for his morality, or rather, a lack of them, when you realise that he tortures and coldly kills. No, no, no, Nathan Drake would be a better example of a monster, and I'm actually half-serious about this. Look at the mass murders he would have to go through with in his quests. Joel on the other hand, practically lives in a world where morality as a concept becomes worthless. No one takes the moral high ground, and players are able to sympathise with both sides. The people who have stayed alive have done so exactly because they were able to put their own needs and interests over those of others. It's entirely a Hobbesian world, where there is no effective order - sans the quarantine zones, but look how cuddly and friendly the authorities are there! - and it's every man for himself. We're all driven by rational and private interests, and the Fireflies present an alternative, utilitarian dimension to it. And where does that typically get you in TLOU's world? Messy street executions.

Yeah, Joel tortured someone. Pretty brutally. But let's contextualise it before he is immediately condemned. What did Joel want? Ellie. It's a bleak winter, he has a fatal wound, and by then, Ellie has more or less found a place in that same gaping wound of a father who had lost a daughter in a senseless act of violence. It was a mad scramble to find Ellie and get her back, and that was the thing driving him. Ellie's wellbeing is also his wellbeing. She becomes explicitly a part of his own ability to carry on surviving. Would you, in a scenario like that where general morality is warped, and man has become beast, do the same? Wouldn't you also find your ability of empathy with another human being who isn't Ellie to be significantly clouded and shoved to one side? It's the instinct of a parent, but exacerbated horrifically in the situation. I'm not convinced that we can fairly slam Joel as simply monstrous when despite the inhumanity of his actions, I was still able to empathise with him.

Does his rejection of the Fireflies' means to heal humanity - whether they would have truly been able to is of course, unknown, but that has a role in this moral question - for Ellie's wellbeing seem utterly selfish? Yes. Undeniably. Was it a monstrous thing to do? It's complicated. This is where TLOU's story truly shines. It shines when it comes to the question of morality, because players will have different perceptions and can take sides. It's good that people can be appalled at what Joel has done, because it cements him after all, as a grey character. He can dually the main hero AND the villain of the game, if you choose to see it that way. I acknowledge that he has done a cascade of things that are reprehensible, especially to a player who still lives in a world where society continues to exist and safeguards our basic morality, but unlike Nathan Drake's own mass murdering nature, I could understand Joel. I could understand why Joel did what he did in a world that would simply not allow collective compassion and general interests.

Rather than immoral, I would say that Joel is simply amoral. He had to be. That's the world. What did Bill say? He said that the Infected don't scare him as much as "real" people, because at least the Clickers and their ilk are predictable. Man on the other hand, appears to be even more bestial and dangerous than they, and the game consistently attempts to show that. Man is capable of redefining its capacity for cruelty and inventiveness to brutally attain what they seek.

I am admittedly slightly uncomfortable at the end with Joel outright lying to Ellie, even when Ellie resolutely asks Joel whether he is in actual fact telling the truth. Does he not trust Ellie with the truth? I suppose it can be justified, given Ellie's survival guilt and the clear indications that she would have happily wanted to give herself up for the betterment of mankind. Yet at the same time, I'm not too keen on taking away Ellie's agency and her ability to choose. Joel and Ellie are after all, a relationship more profound than simply father and (surrogate) child. Are they not after all, developed as partners in this race of life? Yet Ellie's seeming acceptance of Joel's lie makes me wonder whether she was in fact just painfully swallowing holed-up feelings of distrust and disbelief. It's where we've been at all game again. She follows his lead and we reconsider the nature of this partnership.

Definitely one of the best instances of storytelling in a video game, and two of some of the best executions of character building in a game. I'm not exaggerating when I say that Joel and Ellie are two of the most interesting characters in fiction I have seen in a long while. It's an astonishing turn from the three Uncharted games that ND have made before where Nate is - though never really painted so in the games themselves - a genuine psychopath. Nathan Drake is clearly painted as the adventurous, gung-ho good guy. He's the guy you're meant to love. The suave guy you want to succeed. Everyone in TLOU is damaged by their surroundings in some shape or form. The more you play Uncharted, the more disconnected you feel from the senseless mass murdering - and for what? Nate doesn't have to be around. As far as we are concerned, this is a civilian who is killing his way through swathes of men who were probably contracted by the main villain to do stuff because they perhaps just needed the job, in an attempt to stop some kind of supposed, vaguely-established threat that really, he has no actual evidence or proof of to make him judge, jury and executioner. The violence in TLOU works and is part of the characterisation.

For these very reasons, TLOU has easily supplanted the Uncharted games in terms of ND's efforts this generation. Easily a GOTY contender and very well deserving of its success. Even if most of the time I was hugely stressed out and tense when I was playing it. It isn't exactly a fun game. But it is an exhilarating experience.
Your entire post deserves a medal, and it's exactly what I thought of the game.
 

Sapientia

SeeD A-Class
Sep 26, 2013
601
168
#9
Love the new story DLC teaser. Fucking hyped.

Can we assume that girl is
Ellie's friend, Riley, that died around the time that Ellie was bitten?

Anyways, more Ashley Johnson is awesome, I can't wait to play this. Looks like a sort of prequel episode, and if I'm wrong it's probably because I haven't been paying too much attention to the progress on the DLC so far. :(
 

Fleur

Knight of Death
#11
Hyped. Totally down for seeing
Ellie prior to being bitten, and the roots of her eventual survivor's guilt
, though we kind of already know what basically happens, or rather, what will happen, at the end. I was imagining someone more obscure. Maybe someone who was alluded to, but never physically in the game and unfamiliar enough for a dedicated DLC. Someone like Ish, from Pittsburgh.
 
Likes: Sapientia

Sapientia

SeeD A-Class
Sep 26, 2013
601
168
#14
The age difference is a big part of that, I think. I think, with Clementine being on her own in TWD Season 2 we'll get to see her step up and put those gun skills to use more often.

Other than that, getting TLOU DLC based off of that trailer?
 
May 26, 2014
685
194
#15
Just finished this last night. And holy shit. The ending.

My gut reaction was to be disappointed in Joel. But the more I thought about it and let it all sink in, the more I realized that I didn't - and in fact couldn't - blame him. I love Ellie's line, "It can't be for nothing". What she meant, of course, was that after journeying so far and overcoming so much, it would be a waste to just turn around and head back to Tommy's. But I think that the line also carries meaning for Joel. That after all he'd been through, both in the past year and 20 years ago, he couldn't let Ellie die. And then there's the final scene. I loved how it raised so many important questions. Did Joel do the right thing by lying? Did Ellie even believe him? And the beauty of it all is that there's really no right or wrong answer. It's all in how you perceive things.

Anyway, there's so much more to say about the little intricacies and underlying themes of this exceptional story that I don't even know how to begin to put it all into words. Suffice to say, I loved everything about it. My new favorite game.
 

yeah_93

Warrior of Light
Sep 27, 2013
1,635
600
Venezuela
#16
Just finished this last night. And holy shit. The ending.

My gut reaction was to be disappointed in Joel. But the more I thought about it and let it all sink in, the more I realized that I didn't - and in fact couldn't - blame him. I love Ellie's line, "It can't be for nothing". What she meant, of course, was that after journeying so far and overcoming so much, it would be a waste to just turn around and head back to Tommy's. But I think that the line also carries meaning for Joel. That after all he'd been through, both in the past year and 20 years ago, he couldn't let Ellie die. And then there's the final scene. I loved how it raised so many important questions. Did Joel do the right thing by lying? Did Ellie even believe him? And the beauty of it all is that there's really no right or wrong answer. It's all in how you perceive things.

Anyway, there's so much more to say about the little intricacies and underlying themes of this exceptional story that I don't even know how to begin to put it all into words. Suffice to say, I loved everything about it. My new favorite game.
Winter is one of the best sections in games. It doesn't get much better than that. Such a great experience. And I loved the ending.
 
May 26, 2014
685
194
#17
Winter was indeed amazing. It was great getting to
step into Ellie's shoes after having her as your partner for so long.

My favorite single part of the game, hands down, was
seeing the giraffes in Salt Lake City.
Such a beautiful moment.
 
Likes: Sapientia

yeah_93

Warrior of Light
Sep 27, 2013
1,635
600
Venezuela
#18
Winter was indeed amazing. It was great getting to
step into Ellie's shoes after having her as your partner for so long.

My favorite single part of the game, hands down, was
seeing the giraffes in Salt Lake City.
Such a beautiful moment.
The second one is an overrated moment for me. But whatever. If you can, try and play the DLC.
 
May 26, 2014
685
194
#19
Yeah, I'm definitely gonna play Left Behind. Gonna take a break for a while though. Let it all really sink in. I think I'll go back and get some of the collectibles I missed as well. I thought I got almost all of them on my first playthrough but it turns out I only got about 50%.