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112 comments

  • hester2 - August 23, 2013 9:21 p.m.

    This is super late (I just got around to beating the game) and I doubt anyone is reading this, but I take issue with the "Ellie is as weak as diluted water" line. I took that whole chapter a completely different way. This was a girl who had hunted and scavenged for the two of them for God knows how long, and then she runs into the bandits they had killed at the university. She's taken into captivity, and even behind bars, she puts up a fight. That's when things get real dark. It's made pretty clear that the lead bandit (can't remember his name) had intentions of raping her. As soon as she's about to get away, you're put back into the role of Joel, fighting to save Ellie. You think you're going to get there, but then...you're back in Ellie's shoes. You're being hunted by this guy who wanted to make you his "next pet" as his cronies called her. All of a sudden, you're thrust into Ellie's mindset. She thinks Joel is still out of commission. She's all alone. There's no one to save her. What does she do? She fights. She sneaks up behind the guy, stabs him, fights him off, runs and hides again, and then she goes after him again. She becomes the predator. Even after she thinks she's won, he attacks again. So she grabs that machete and annihilates his face. That's not weakness. That's every moment of fear, pain, and sorrow she's experienced throughout her life being taken out on a monster she can finally put a name to.
  • BladedFalcon - December 18, 2013 7:06 a.m.

    I don't think he was talking about mental or psychological weakness so much as he was referring to the fact that physically and in terms of experience, she IS still weak, something evidence by the fact that almost everything concerning Ellie when you play as her feels weaker or less effective when compared when you played as Joel, she has way less health, her proficiency with weapons is also lesser, and she's completely useless in a direct close quarter encounter unless she sneaks up to an enemy from behind. The point I believe David Houghton was trying to drive home here, is that in any other game, or a lesser story, the temporary loss of Joel would have made Ellie become a stronger person in every sense, rising up to the challenge and being more capable all around, inspired by her loss... Which is bollocks because as shown in The last of Us, the loss of Joel is nothing but a cause of trouble and grief for Ellie, which IS what happens in real life most of the time.
  • hester2 - December 18, 2013 10:06 a.m.

    Yeah, I reread the article today when they reposted it and was embarrassed when I saw my comment from a few months ago at the top. Apparently I sucked at reading comprehension that day.
  • Gamerjide - July 15, 2013 1:54 a.m.

    Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.
  • CitizenWolfie - July 5, 2013 8:56 a.m.

    Like a few others I feel a bit late commenting but I only finished it yesterday. While I agree with everything in this article, and I do love the game, I found I had a very difficult time of "getting into it." Normally I have no trouble playing a game and then discovering that five hours have passed by unnoticed as I'm really into it. But one thing absolutely killed the momentum for me: The day one autosave bug. Now I was super excited for this game. Easily my number one anticipated since LA Noire. And I was blown away by how powerful the prologue was, soaked up every bit of atmosphere in the first proper chapter and made a tense escape from the military. All in all I played for about 2 and a half hours before I took a break for lunch and the autosave bug hit. So I had to play through those 2 and a half hours all over again and it completely broke the illusion and immersion I had otherwise felt for the game. Even more so because I was pissed at ND for releasing such a big game with such a big bug. Anyway it took right up to about chapter 6 or 7 before I got back into it again but I could never quite shake the feeling of disappointment that if things hadn't gone wrong on day one I'd be completely in love with this game. As it stands, Telltale's The Walking Dead is the ONLY game that's completely and utterly engrossed me with its story and physically moved me upon its conclusion.
  • CitizenWolfie - July 5, 2013 9:18 a.m.

    Not that I'm saying TWD was the better game by the way, just that the story immersed me more. Both stories are equally personal in the sense that you're not saving the world, you're just trying to survive while trying to protect an unconventional companion. But in terms of the way those stories are told, Last of Us was definitely the more effective in using the medium of video games - such as the examples you gave in finding those little stories through collectables and in some cases, just visual clues. My favourite part was definitely piecing together Ish's story in the sewers and I'd love to play it in a spin-off or sequel.
  • rob619 - July 5, 2013 5:38 a.m.

    Great game, alot of effort has been made to it. However the ending, what was all that about? Ended just like that, out of nowhere. Then the titles rolled, could have been a better end
  • majamaki - July 1, 2013 12:41 p.m.

    Thanks for standing behind your statement and sharing a more in-depth perspective on what makes The Last of Us so successful and unlike any other game we've experienced. After reaching the end in 21 hours, I was profoundly moved by the game, not just the ending but the over arching story and world. I didn't want it to end. I ended up writing a post sharing my thoughts about the game at http://majamaki.com/2013/06/the-last-of-us/
  • tuna_ - June 26, 2013 11:58 p.m.

    The Last of Us might be one of the best games, not only played, but experienced. But I gotta say, this is one of the best reviews for a game I've ever read.
  • Jet - June 25, 2013 11:09 p.m.

    The last of US is one of the best games I've ever played
  • BladedFalcon - June 25, 2013 10:19 a.m.

    Okay, very late to the party here, but that's because I just finished the game yesterday. And holy fuck does this article get it right. As a lot of other people, I WAS excited about The last of Us, but somehow I couldn't stop thinking that it was made by the same people as uncharted, and thus, it probably wouldn't be as great or subversive as everyone was touting it would be. Both gameplay AND story-wise. Boy was I proven wrong. Without echoing all that Hooters said in the article. I just want to say that Naughty Dog has indeed created a masterpiece here. And without using super "plot-twists" like the Bioshock games often rely on. There's really no shocking plot-twists here, because everything that happens in the journey you take makes SENSE and goes with what you're going trough. But at the same time, it's not at all a predictable story. And THAT is what makes it amazing to me. Also, Houghton hit the nail on the head of why this game succeeds when most others fail. Games often tell or try tot ell larger than life stories, how what's going on around the character is bigger than him or anyone around. And this story is the other way around, and why I like it so much. It dares to go where most stories won't: Screw the world, screw humanity, what do I care about the rest of humanity if in the process I lose what's important to me? And funnily enough. I think this game's ending is the complete antithesis, and proof of all that's wrong about the Mass Effect 3 Ending. See, this ending wasn't a "happy" one either. And it didn't wrap up every single thing to be good. But it DID bring proper closure towards the characters we cared about in the story, and it explained all it needed to explain without leaving plotholes OR over-explaining everything like say, Bioshock infinite did.
  • gilgamesh310 - June 25, 2013 10:35 a.m.

    I agree with pretty much all that. I like how the game took the time to properly develop the relationship between Joel and Ellie too. They didn't just start off being antagonistic to one another and then immediately bond after one specific event. It was a gradual change in them growing to understand each other. The ending also came full circle with the intro in a profound way. Bioshock Infinite's story was a self indulgent journey into Ken Levine's bloated ego and little more.
  • BladedFalcon - June 25, 2013 11:34 a.m.

    Eh, I wouldn't be so harsh to Infinite's story because I DID like it. But it's not nearly as well crafted as this. Every part of the story here matters, everything has a purpose and an effect. There's no padding or meandering parts like in infinite. Another thing that I loved but hadn't mentioned before, is how they handled all of the side characters. I loved how they didn't at all submit to any known story conventions, and instead did with those characters what made the most sense. I remember when I first saw the trailer introducing Bill, that I compared him with Pigsie in Enslaved, and thought his story arc would go along the same path. But NOPE, Bill doesn't find redemption, he doesn't grow as a person. He just repaid a favor out of a sense of duty but nothing else, he was all about self survival, and as a result, he kept surviving. In most other games, Tess would have been the romantic interest built trough the entire game... Except here she's not, because, just like with Sam and Henry. The story teaches us that there ARE risks, and that if you embark in quests such as the one they took, sooner or later your luck IS gonna run out. And thus Tess, instead of being a romantic interest, becomes a cautionary tale and a catalyst to further motivate Joel along in a task he didn't want to get into in the first place. Best of all, I loved David and his gang. Just when the story had presented you the whole Pittsburgh Hunter gang as this savage, survival of the fittest and grown-ups only kind of band. They show you David's and makes you think it's the same... Except nope, he actually isn't a merciless bad guy, he DOES have women and children to care for. And suddenly, all the enemies you had killed up until that point don't feel as justifiable anymore.
  • gilgamesh310 - June 25, 2013 12:29 p.m.

    The way David was handled was excellent alright. There were several characters depicted as antagonists that weren't really bad people at all. They were just looking out for one another. Joel was far from the hero of the story. I liked that moral ambiguity a lot. I don't really have any complaints about the storytelling aspect of the game. There are several gameplay flaws that bare mentioning though. The AI of the guards is often inconsistent and poor for a start. Sometimes they won't notice you strangling people in front of them and yet other times they can spot you a mile away and everyone gets alerted. They also never notice your companions moving around which is a real immersion breaker. The puzzles in the game are fairly shit too. The game does enough right for me to consider it a great game though. Compared to how overrated the likes of Bioshock Infinite and Dishonored are, TLoU actually deserves at least some of its acclaim.
  • BladedFalcon - June 25, 2013 1:44 p.m.

    Eh, most of those gripes you mentioned are done for the benefit of the player though, the idea behind a strangle kill is that is silent, so in game terms, that applies even if an enemy is pretty close, besides, they WILL see you during the animation so it's not like you can just get away with it easily. I mean, honestly, sneaking behind people becomes pretty fucking tricky towards the end of the game, and without a few conceptions, it would be kinda ridiculous. Same thing with the AI partner. You say it breaks immersion, but otherwise, you would blame the AI and call it shitty every time it got spotted. The thing about getting spotted right away only happened to me a couple times, and i think it had to do mainly with the parts in which you faced hunters, those half fungi faced kind of infected that are supposed to be stalkers. And even then, you could almost always get away and hide because one of the things this game DOES right that most other stealth games don't, is that the enemies are aware of your last known location only, they won't automatically all come after you. Lastly, regarding the puzzles... Eh *shrugs* it's not meant to be a puzzle game :P those are there mainly to break up the action a little, and at least they fit within the context of the situation you're in. They're easy, but they aren't broken or frustrating at least. Sometimes, it feels to me like you feel obligated to nitpick every single possible flaw and overinflated when any overly acclaimed game comes out :P I mean, yes, all of these are flaws and most acknowledge they exist, but I feel they barely really matter considering that well, no game is fucking ever perfect.
  • gilgamesh310 - June 25, 2013 3:37 p.m.

    It's not really about the challenge though. It's about how immersion breaking it is. Human Revolution had that same problem. With regards to the companion AI, I reckon the game should have gave you the ability to command them so that they move when you tell them to or just move with you if you don't order them to stop. I actually agree about the enemies not being exactly aware of your location being a good thing. That is something it does better than most stealth games. However it's often extremely hard to sneak past areas with human enemies without being spotted at some stage, just like in Uncharted. It just gets frustrating at times that you can't do that. The puzzles just become fairly rote after a while. They're all almost identical to each other and feel very contrived. Why would ladders, raftboards and planks be conveniently lying around everywhere? I don't, but I do reckon people should acknowledge them more. People have called TLoU a perfect game. I do still think it's a great game anyway but some people still blow it out of proportion. There are also other games with more serious flaws that go ignored.
  • BladedFalcon - June 25, 2013 4:10 p.m.

    Yeah well, don't really know who has called it a perfect game, but no game is,a t least, not in my experience. I still think that the flaws they do have are pretty damn minor. Like the puzzles, sure, they are always the same, but they aren't found often enough to become annoying or repetitive to me. And well, regarding humans enemies and stealth, I honestly can't say for sure if all areas can be sneaked past if you want, since I honestly didn't try it that often. But I do know is perfectly possible, specially if you make good use of bricks and bottles ;)
  • gilgamesh310 - June 26, 2013 12:11 p.m.

    I also had the game glitch on me twice in the early stages. I couldn't be killed or kill the enemies in front of me. I had to reload my previous save in order to negate the effect and progress. The stealth seems to be designed in a way as to accommodate action at the same time. You can't sneak past enemies nearly as well as in a game like Splinter Cell, which is fully designed around stealth. There's hardly any games like that anymore.
  • BladedFalcon - June 26, 2013 1:15 p.m.

    ...Which that could be a good thing, depending on who you ask. Like myself for example :P Splinter Cell was an awfully boring game series to me. As for the glicthes *shrugs* as long as they weren't persistent or that common, it shouldn't really matter, I'd say.
  • gilgamesh310 - June 26, 2013 2:01 p.m.

    Splinter Cell 1-3 are great games. Stealth going extinct is not a good thing.
  • BladedFalcon - June 26, 2013 2:08 p.m.

    Disagree, played both the first and second one, found both of them boring as fuck, same with Double Agent. I don't disagree that strict stealth like that going extinct is a bad thing, because even if I don't enjoy them, I can understand there's people that do. That, and variety in games is NEVER a bad thing. Even if I personally do enjoy the direction stealth has been taking lately. Speaking about stealth, I'm playing TLOUS campaign again on survivor mode, the hardest difficulty, and one that straight up blocks your hearing sonar so stealth is reliant purely on your field of view. Anyway, to test myself, I decided to pass the two areas after Tess's death without being detected, I'm talking about where the capitol gets swarmed with cops. First area I passed it without even touching a single cop. Second area I went trough it undetected by only taking out two coups... out of 10. And this in less than 5 tries each. So stealth and proceeding undetected is more than entirely possible in this game, even in the hardest possible conditions ;)
  • gilgamesh310 - June 26, 2013 2:38 p.m.

    I just think the 'choice' aspect that most games currently give you is usually bullshit. That's one of the reasons why I didn't like Dishonored much. If you can just kill enemies if you're spotted it destroys the tension and makes the game too easy. I just started TLoU on survivor too. I haven't played much of it on that mode yet though. I'll see how it goes.

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