Musing: The Last of Us


Last of Us is a Zombie game.   I think.   Sometimes it forgets it is one, and takes the ‘Walking Dead’ phenomenon of ‘Human’s are the real threat’.   This isn’t a criticism per say, but it puts a negative slant on the game portion of it.   My focus will be the storytelling aspect of it.

Last of Us starts out raising a few red flags for the typical shooter tropes out there.   Without saying things in the way of spoilers it has something to do with motivations of the hero and the treatment of female characters in media and games.

If you trudge past that, this game has some good things going for it.

Last of us

“Joel! It’s one of those infected that can’t see us but have really good hearing… oh wait.”

Joel, the main character, gets bonus points for being older.   This is fairly unheard of in an action story.   Enough to make you appreciate their call to put him in the protagonist seat.  He’s a very unlikable fellow, as in, you would think twice about going out for a bear with this guy.   I say this carefully, because unlikable characters make for GOOD characters.

Ellie on the other hand is very likable.   Though she has a bit of a mouth on her for a ‘fourteen’ year old.   She strikes me as a bit younger than that but that is nitpicking.

You can’t help but wonder who’s the good guy or who’s the bad guy in last of us.   And unlike other Zombie / Alien / Oh crap Humanity is screwed stories.   You can’t help wonder if we’re better off vanishing into the sunset.   Humans I mean.   This game does little to express the whole ‘once humans are left with nothing they will rise to be better’ motif.   It’s just not there.

I would have very little problems with this game if it was a movie, novel or miniseries.   But the spore zombies (which are terrifying in their own right because they exist) are sort of background in this.   Every major encounter involves humans being human.   Or put simply,  Acting like assholes.

I suggest playing this if you’re a gamer, and if not looking into the storytelling through YouTube etc.  Just for how ‘real’ Joel and Ellie feel.   Right down to the flaws.


2 thoughts on “Musing: The Last of Us

  1. Hahaha, that caption was AMAZING. Gold star for you.

    I’m with you, though — for all the issues I have with the game (and there are a LOT, as you’ll soon see), I’m kind of impressed with a number of things the devs tossed in. I like the idea of playing as an older hero; there aren’t enough of those in games, and it could offer a fresh perspective. And yeah, I pretty much HAVE to second the thought of TLoU being a movie or series. There’s just no way for me to divorce the two, because the devs certainly didn’t want to even think about trying it.

    But to be frank, I walked away from the game disappointed. It’s not inherently awful, and I would ultimately recommend it to others, but there are just too many things that bug me about it. Way too many.

    But my — inevitably tome-sized — opinions aside…

    “Without saying things in the way of spoilers it has something to do with motivations of the hero and the treatment of female characters in media and games.”

    Hmmm. I think I have an idea of what you’re referring to…buuuuuuuuuut I think I’ll keep that to myself for now.

    Ha HAAAAAAAAAAAA! Storytelling.

    • Agreed. As a game it is disappointing. For those interested in a blunt ‘game’ critique: Fun combat marred by Anti-climatic encounters, addled by aimless wandering, and the game’s mechanics often ruin immersion.

      Not a bad game per say, but you will find yourself saying, this could be much much better.

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