The Last Of Us Aims To Provide Gamers With Trouser-Soiling Atmosphere
When someone mentions that their dog had been digging five separate holes in their garden after having deliberately tried to find a lost treasure that will be destined to ruin the lives of its owners, or perhaps the game developing company: Naughty Dog, I immediately envision a swash-buckling adventure, starring a wise-cracking kleptomaniac and mass-murderer walking across a desert and hanging from a train that in itself is hanging from a cliff. Yes, I’m talking about the Uncharted series with all its awesome set-pieces.
I don’t necessarily think about a game set in an overgrown city with two survivors doing their best to stay alive while running from deformed and horrid-looking infected and a bunch of hobo, Tourettes syndrome-addled survivors that looks like they’ve been taken out of a Condemned game. Despite that, The Last Of Us has me very interested and, in my opinion, has the possibility to be excellent. Seriously now, Booker DeWitt is voicing the player character. What’s not to love?
Name: The Last Of Us
Players: 1 (multiplayer numbers unknown)
Developers: Naughty Dog
Publishers: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: 14 June, 2013
We have had so many examples lately that the world is clearly obsessed with the end of the Earth and the last desperate struggles of a few remaining folk, that you kind of start to wonder about the sanity of the entertainment industry. These situations have been portrayed so many times and I kind of started to feel like they should stop trying and make another Barney game, until I saw the very first trailer for The Last Of Us. The anticipation and need to feel creeped out increases with every new video released. Let’s take a look at the various known facts about the game and the grotesque infected beings.
The game begins in Boston and proceeds to progress through a clearly damaged ruin of civilization. Another known location is Pittsburgh where the beautiful and lush scenery awaits, complete with barbarous hordes.
Quarantine zones exist to keep the vegetation, scavengers and Infected from the few remaining survivors. The beginning of the game takes place in one of the last remaining quarantine zones. Strict military control is continuously present here and despite that, we will see rebels throughout the game with their own agenda towards survivors and the possibility of infection.
We kick off in Boston. 20 years after the infection started.
Joel, our protagonist and playable character, is tasked to sneak into the last remaining quarantine zone and sneak out a fourteen-year old teenager, Ellie, who somewhat resembles Ellen Page, but strangely isn’t voiced by her. The ones responsible for calling the shots regarding this escape is a rebel group named Firefly. Joel is accompanied by Tess, another character following the instructions of Firefly.
The escape attempt is successful until the military from the quarantine zone finds out about this escape and before long they are in pursuit of these three survivors and will probably do their best to ruin their day even further.
Joel’s original plan was to take Ellie to this group and then make a break for it. However, he promised a friend that he would take care of her. They tried to form their own area of safety after the escape, but that wasn’t meant to be. Their journey will take them West across the United Stated in a desperate attempt to rid them of the angry, gun-toting people. Joel and Ellie will work together to overcome the many, many obstacles and enemy encounters in their path. They will encounter the Infected, Military forces and people with a knack for hunting other folk as well as other survivors.
Why can we not live together peacefully?
Speaking of peaceful, let’s get on to the Infected.
Personally, I’m incredibly grateful that they tried to have an infected-type enemy without going about the usual zombie infection and resulting in them just being the well-known zombies and nothing else.
The infected in The Last of Us is divided into stages. The infection is based on the idea of a plant-like parasite burrowing into the individual’s brain and then slowly starts to grow.
Stage 1 Infected are also known as Runners. These guys are still “new” of “fresh” in regards to the infection process. They have their eyesight and are able to run and attack in packs.
As if current conditions weren’t bad enough, we have the Stage 3 Infected known as Clickers. These grotesque beings create an immensely tense atmosphere. Reason for this is that they cannot see and rely on incredible hair-raising noises they form with their tongues. It sounds truly nerve-wrecking. These Infected are rendered blind by the parasite inside their head that have had some time to grow and therefore started to grow out the person’s eyes and various orifices. Not a pretty picture, mind you.
Every Infected type will have their appropriate way to handle them in combat, but supplies are scarce and you won’t always have the items that would make for an easy situation. Which brings me to…
Games with survival elements alongside an inventory system have the tendency to break the feel or immersion with a bunch of menus bringing the flow to a complete halt. The Last Of Us seems to learn from those examples with an inventory system that will be fluid and items will be crafted without needless hassles. Items can be crafted, but without pausing the game and is I believe that this will intensify the mood even more.
Supplies are scattered throughout the world and will come in handy for multiple reasons. For example, you may use a pair of scissors and bindings to craft an item called a “Shiv”, which will grant you the opportunity to stealth kill a Clicker. These guys will definitely provide for harrowing encounters, of that I am fairly certain.
Molotov Cocktails can be crafted by combining alcohol and rags. Medical supplies can also be crafted by using similar items, resulting in you having to put thought into your choices and usage of your supplies.
Based on the gameplay footage I’ve watched I can see that there is already a huge amount of polished visuals and the fact that it is delivered by Naughty Dog, we won’t have to worry about not having our eyes treated by wondrous terrain.
From the lush environment of an overgrown city to the pitch-black and dreary interior filled with clicking horrors shambling around, we have a sense of desperation no matter what the area looks like. I’m sure we still have lots more to feast our eyes upon.
Suspected Selling Points
- A proper addition to the survival-genre that is definitely something a lot of gamers crave for
- Tense and nerve-wrecking combat with lots of options
- Beautiful visuals to help the immersion along
- The possibility of a truly useful and believable companion character that will grow on us. (In a non-Infected kind of way.)
- Thought of as just another zombie game
- The multiplayer component may turn out to be a completely unnecessary addition
Judging from articles and gameplay videos and my own personal excitement, I’m sure it’s safe to say that we may have another prime example to be proud to have gaming as a hobby. The different ways to handle a situation really has me looking forward to sneak around/battle the Infected and other enemies. Be sure to keep your gaze on this one, I will certainly do just that.