The Last Of Us: What am I missing?

jackpipsam

SEGA fanboy
Jun 2, 2009
830
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I finished it and while I admit it was fantastic production-value wise, the game just got annoying in some parts.

Fighting dudes in the city felt like every other game on the market and being stuck in tunnels having to fight off waves of zombies (I don't care if the devs say they're not zombies, they bloody are) was something I have done stacks before.


The story was very good for game standards, however it really felt like it was dragging its feet before the end.
 

Casual Shinji

Should've gone before we left.
Legacy
Jul 18, 2009
17,911
2,292
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The biggest virtue of The Last of Us is that it stays true to itself right to the end. It sets up the characters and the scenario and never deviates from its course for the sake of entertainment.

It takes the familiar and shows it in a way we've not quite seen before. It's basically a road movie in game form. It's not about the global implications like nearly every other zombie/post-apocalypse story, but about the characters. Now this is a sales pitch most similar stories will have, but with TLoU it actually walks the walk. And this is something many people, even the fans, misunderstand about the ending... It's not what it means for the rest of the world, but what it means for Joel and Ellie and how it changes them.

Ofcourse a lot of what the game does has been done before, but it shows it from a fresh perspective and most importantly fills it with an incredible amount of subtext. We've seen the "lone wolf and cub" story many times before. However, TLoU takes it beyond the "old bitter man learns to love again", and takes it into a darker and sinister place. Same with the Hero/Damsel aspect of the game. And all of this is a natural progression of both Joel and Ellie as characters - It's not forced for the sake of a cheap twist or shock effect. Both of their character arcs come full circle in the end.

The environments, apart from being gorgeous, tell their own subplot of a world that isn't necessarily better of without mankind, but that simply doesn't care whether we're here or not. Throughout the game you see flora and fauna florishing everywhere like it always has been for billions of years, completely indifferent to our suffering. It's this indifference that grants these beautiful levels a tremendous sense of melancholy. Our entire existence is being whiped from the Earth, and the Earth doesn't give a shit and just continues being awesome.

The gameplay at face value is just your typical third-person action, but it's the little details that gives it its edge. The action has been discribed as 'brutal', but that's almost every violent game in a nutshell. The violence in TLoU is frank and earnest. It doesn't revel in it like God of War/Gears of War, yet it won't sugar coat it like Uncharted either. If I had to give an accurate comparison I'd say it's like the movie A History of Violence. It too has violence in it, and it's the kind that simultaneously excites and repels you. It fills you with this satisfying sensation of "survival of the fittest", yet immediately afterward has you feeling shocked about what has just occured. This happens constantly in TLoU when fighting other humans, as you bash their heads in with a pipe, see it burst open from a rifle shot, or have their arms splinter into bits from a close shotgun blast.

The action gameplay feels like a chore, and appropriately so. Nearly every enemy encounter feels like a struggle just to stay alive, and Joel never takes the violence he inflicts lightly by showing off with sick skillz or making quibs. This is the game staying true to itself and the character of Joel. He's a killer, but not a psychotic killer... yet. His optional dialoge with Ellie at the arcade machine illustrates this perfectly - You're playing a violent videogame with a character who doesn't like violent videogames.

Apart from that the guns you use don't feel efficient, they feel unstable and loud, like real guns. Getting shot will often knock you on your ass, and hearing someone firing a rifle at you from out of nowhere is unnerving to say the least.

And while the action is in essence the same third-person action we're used to, the limited resources force you to change weapons and attacks on the fly and it lends itself well for experimenting. Like throwing a bottle/brick to stun an enemy in order to one-hit kill them. Even your guns can be used to that effect. Or luring infected into a clutter with a bottle/brick and then hurling a molotov at them.

The game also breaks with conventions by not giving you regenerating health or a two weapon limit. And everything from healing, to crafting, to switching weapons from your backpack is done in real-time.

That doesn't mean the game doesn't have flaws though. The start in the quarantine zone is rather slow, the first enemy encounters are bland and uninspired for the tutorial's sake, and the real game doesn't begin till Ellie enters the scene.

Shivs for the purpose of shiving become pretty useless later in the game, since you want to keep them for "shiv doors" anyway, and since strangling non-Clicker enemies holds practically no penalty compared to shiving them. It lasts a bit longer, but that's it. There should've really been a better power balance between strangling and shiving. Strangling should've also been an activity where you hold the button to strangle, instead of just initiating it. This would've felt more involving, but more importantly would allow you to let go if another enemy started shooting at you. Now you just stand there like a chump watching the murder animation play itself out while some goon is blasting you.

Listen mode turns the stealth into a waiting game, taking away that frantic, heartpounding sensation of fucking up when getting spotted by an enemy you've overlooked and dealing with the consequent fall-out. Thankfully you can turn this off, but I'm certain most other players won't, which will help them get through the game easier, but denies them that feeling of hunting and being hunted by enemies you can't be sure of where they are.

The flamethrower takes away any tension the remaining infected encounters might have, since fire not only makes short work of them, but also stun-locks them, even the Bloaters. This weapon should've never been in the game, or just been gimped to take away the stunlock, though that would just make the weapon really unwieldy and frustrating.

The realistic grounded setting can sometimes be a double edged sword. Grabbing things like ladders and planks for crossing gaps feels natural for people trying to traverse collapsed structures and whatnot, but the repetitive nature of gameplay can swiftly reveal the shortcomings. Ellie and other A.I. partners feel individual in their actions and responses, but at the same time this can make them feel disconnected from the gameplay and the tension of the action.

But these are the kind of flaws most other games have. They can sometimes feel more previlant, because TLoU is trying to reach such heights - at which it succeeds the majority of the time - but it's definately nothing gamebreaking.

In the end this is simply one of the most engrosing games I've played in years. People can throw out little put downs like "Oscar bait" and critique the game for having impure gameplay cuz story and cutscenes, but if The Last of Us is the end result of that, then I say bring it on.
 

GoaThief

Reinventing the Spiel
Feb 2, 2012
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Rheinmetall said:
. What's the game's biggest virtue that it's worth a second play-through?
It was my GOTY before The Stanley Parable came along, and I don't feel like playing it through again.

Games don't need to have immediate replay value, there are of course a few exceptions particularly those with dynamic elements such as Left 4 Dead which do benefit from it however. In general I'd much prefer developers create an excellent single experience instead.
 

Maxtro

New member
Feb 13, 2011
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For me, it simply wasn't fun.

Way too much emphasis on stealth. So much so that getting through the game became a chore.

The gunplay was mediocre at best and hitting a moving target was really hard for some reason.

IMO it's more of a rental.
 

Hero of Lime

Staaay Fresh!
Jun 3, 2013
3,114
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I liked the game, but it's far from my GOTY at this point.

I feel like this game and others like Bioshock Infinite for example, try to make critics and players fall in love with the characters before we play the game. Maybe it's good marketing, but whenever there were promotions for these games, it was all about how great Joel and Ellie's relationship would be, or how great of an NPC partner Elizabeth was. It turns me off a bit, especially when it looks like they want to cover up any possible problems with the game because "we want you to love the character dynamic so much!" Mini rant over.

Again, I liked The Last of Us, but it was way too over-hyped by critics and the developers for me to appreciate it as much as they wanted me to.
 

Keiichi Morisato

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Nov 25, 2012
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for me it was a well told post apocalyptic game, and of course it will have a slow pace, that was deliberate and helped enhance the story. if you go in with the wrong mind set then you can't enjoy the game. to me the game is very much like the film called The Road, which was a very slow paced but well acted and well written film, that needed it's slow pace.
 

Nimcha

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Dec 6, 2010
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For me it's one of my favourite games ever. I like that the story is so simple. Just get to there from here. Nothing fancy or epic about it. Just a journey.

I like the slow pace a lot, it really builds tension for me. I think for a lot of people this sort of thing is hit or miss, and for me it hit all the right buttons.

For example, somebody mentioned it being a linear game besides making the surroundings seem like that's not the case. I actually really like that. To me, it makes the world seem larger than it actually is. Which, for me, helps immersion. For others that sort of thing may actually break it.
 

The Wykydtron

"Emotions are very important!"
Sep 23, 2010
5,458
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I would like the game if the entire universe was not so dark and gritty. The combat was decent, the enemy designs were good, Clickers were cool and so on.

Sure not every game has to be Persona 4 but every single person is a total misanthropic dickhead, admittedly that's the point but holy fuck it is so overbearing and unrelenting.

Are we supposed to like Joel? It's not going clever like Spec Ops: The Line where we're supposed to end up disliking the main character right? Joel could have gotten killed four/five hours into the game and I would be happy.

Oh and the thing with the small community with Ish would have been poignant and shit until you learn the only reason it got infected was because someone left a fucking DOOR open. What? No. I refuse to believe they would lose everything because "oh I forgot the most important thing lol XD"

But no, this is a Grimdark universe so hands tied.
 

bullet_sandw1ch

New member
Jun 3, 2011
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tippy2k2 said:
Well if you didn't like it, there's probably nothing about it that makes it worth a second play-through.

Personally, I adored the game. I loved the story arc. I loved the characters. I loved the voice actors. I loved the combat (though I do concede it's a bit generic). I loved the enemies. I loved the periods of violence followed by periods of nothing. I loved the bits of humor tossed in. I freaking loved The Last of Us.

Contrary to popular belief, it is OK for you to not like it.
it seems like you and i are the only two people on the damn Earth who dont have opinions that drastically change after a game's out for a month.
it comes out:OH LORD JESUS GAME OF CENTURY
one month later: Wow what a piece of shit i cant believe i liked it at all.
 

bullet_sandw1ch

New member
Jun 3, 2011
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The Wykydtron said:
I would like the game if the entire universe was not so dark and gritty. The combat was decent, the enemy designs were good, Clickers were cool and so on.

Sure not every game has to be Persona 4 but every single person is a total misanthropic dickhead, admittedly that's the point but holy fuck it is so overbearing and unrelenting.

Are we supposed to like Joel? It's not going clever like Spec Ops: The Line where we're supposed to end up disliking the main character right? Joel could have gotten killed four/five hours into the game and I would be happy.

Oh and the thing with the small community with Ish would have been poignant and shit until you learn the only reason it got infected was because someone left a fucking DOOR open. What? No. I refuse to believe they would lose everything because "oh I forgot the most important thing lol XD"

But no, this is a Grimdark universe so hands tied.
while i agree that it could of had a bit more cheeriness (the first 2 minutes of the intro is the only part that has anything close to a happy tone), its hard to avoid being dark and depressing when everyone that is outside a zone wants tor rape you, kill you, or eat you (not necessarily in that order), and everyone inside a zone is thinking about slaughtering your local military grunt because they just decide you can go hungry again for the fourth time this week, its justifiable that everyone is a massive tard.
 

Windcaler

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Nov 7, 2010
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The first time I played through the last of us I really liked it. The characterization was great, the setting was really good, and the story was really good. However the second time I started going through the game i think that "new game smell" wore off as I started realizing how uninspiring the gameplay felt. A lot of it felt like Alpha protocol in a different skin and the few mechanics that were more original like crafting felt far to linear. I never really liked that they used cutscenes to tell the story but it became even more annoying during the second playthrough. Ive always felt like they should take the bioshock approach to story telling and give full control to the player whenever possible

That said, its not a bad game by any means but I think it wows people so hard in the beginning that the flaws arent easily noticed till the second time through

As another note Im used to playing on a PC at 60-120 frames per second and because of that The last of us' felt extremely sluggish to me due to it being capped at 30 fps
 

Someone Depressing

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Jan 16, 2011
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You're not missing anything.

It's a bad game blown out of proportion, with claims like "it's artsy", "it's different", "it's emotional". It's none of these things.
 

Battenberg

Browncoat
Aug 16, 2012
550
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Rheinmetall said:
I played it and I have mixed feelings about this game. It has excellent graphics, face animations, voice over and all, but everything else seems questionable to me. Actual game-play, fighting with zombies and soldiers felt a bit like a chore, the pace of the game was really slow and the post apocalyptic scenario and story more or less predictable. I understand that it is considered by many as the game of the year and one of the best of the PS3 system. What's the game's biggest virtue that it's worth a second play-through?
To be honest if you didn't like it the first time I'm not sure how much more you'll get out of another playthrough. In terms of gameplay the only way to see any noticable difference would be by playing on the unlockable 'survival' difficulty level which is very true to its name, you don't get the acoustic vision ability, you deal less but take more damage, and items are very scarce. As far as finding something new to the story/ game world I don't know if there's any more to get. ND have famously put a lot of detail into the game so there may be some minor things you didn't see, otherwise if you do give it another play all I can think of is a realisation most people get during the game itself - Joel is essentially the villain of the game. No doubt you already clocked this but on the offchance you didn't it puts a different slant on the entire story knowing that he is not just a typical hero with a terrible past (as in many games) but that he actually let his emotional baggage get the better of him to the point that he can no longer be considered a good person.
 

Sigmund Av Volsung

Hella noided
Dec 11, 2009
2,999
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As Yahtzee rightfully said:

"The gaming equivalent of Oscar bait"

It's really not that amazing, and also too nihilistic at times(moments of levity are few and far between), so the effect of the ending can't be diminished somewhat if you're used to media toying with your emotions(see: Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad).
 

funkyjiveturkey

New member
Jan 18, 2013
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my whole reason for a second playthrough is to...

A: kill all the bads that i had trouble with beforehand with all of my upgraded weapons and stats from the previous playthrough

and B: to continue upgrading my stats and weapons to maximum so i can kill more people easier.

im kind of weird when it comes to upgrade systems in video games, my goal is just to max everything out and make things easier. collectible/secrets things seem to be the priority below that.
 

Headdrivehardscrew

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Aug 22, 2011
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That depends.

Like, say, Bioshock Infinite, I think Last of Us really shines on the hardest difficulty level. If you're not into that, there's really very little, if anything, that you could get out playing it again. Sell it on, gift it away. Let someone else experience it.
 

EHKOS

Madness to my Methods
Feb 28, 2010
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Nope that's pretty much ND in a nutshell these days. Ever since Jak III. Uncharted feels the same way, and TLoU is built on mostly the same engine, maybe a tweak here or there. But that's their formula now. Kinda sad, but at least it's better than a lot of other games out there.
 

Arslan Aladeen

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Oct 9, 2012
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My biggest problem with the Last of Us is when the game is 'cheating' you in gameplay sections in order to tell its story. Ellie has to snipe the last guy in one section of the game in a cutscene, and in order for that to happen, you have to be spotted. But if you manage to quietly kill everyone, the game will keep spawning enemies till your spotted. There's also areas of the game where enemies are moving towards you, even though they should by all rights have no idea where you are. And then there's the sniper rifle that apparently shoots itself in order to prevent you from killing the sniper early.