Wolf’s Wicked Words: Familiar Ideas, New Feel
They say that change is as good as a holiday. Who exactly they are, is a mystery. We may assume that it is some smart, intellectual group of old folk sitting in a room; puffing smoke inhaled through their pipes whilst scribbling down every philosophical and thought-provoking phrase that enters their minds. Be it about bread, walking along a forsaken road with withered grass blades poking out from the hardened soil, prostitution or in this case: change. Never running out of tobacco or alcoholic refreshments poured into spectacularly expensive glasses; never getting headaches, hangovers or fatigued hands from all the mesmerizing and now boiling-gray matter philosophies that are constantly pouring into their various minds.
The world is filled with these sayings and I must stop here with my personal thesis on a simple saying before I delve onto another train of thought till the point of how wisdom can be gained by growing a beard.
Change is a natural part of our world and some say that it is inevitable. Yes, new people enter the world and others leave it with or without intent. Change isn’t always as good as we might hope it to be, but sometimes not as bad as we expect it to turn out. Enough of my bantering about these heavy-hearted topics. We’re here to talk about games!
Change is a topic, don’t worry. It would’ve been weird to write that introduction and talk about why Mario can stomp on a Goomba, splintering its teeth and bruising its whole being without eventually cutting himself late at night due to guilt and then continue with the country’s economical infrastructure. So, without further ado…
I’ve been playing The Last Of Us over the past weekend and something really struck me. However, Joel’s face was repeatedly struck by Runners, Hunters and their choice of 2×4’s, pipes and baseball bats or his neck was repeatedly gnawed on by the menacing Clickers. (Who, by the way, are probably making for some of the most harrowing encounters.)
I haven’t played through the game in its entirety, but a few non-spoiler-infused thoughts emerged while playing.
According to my save, I’m 56% into the game and I may very well encounter even more hair-raising moments alongside a need for new pants, but from that time with the game, I noticed that almost all of the ideas within the game are ideas that we as gamers or entertainment-seekers are familiar with. That is not a bad thing. On the contrary, it just proved to me that you can take certain themes or ideas and truly make them feel fresh. I cannot say that would apply to any and all ideas, but I can confirm that infusing an already familiar idea with enough care and know-how, you will feel the difference.
In the preview for The Last of Us, I wrote that one of the potential pitfalls for the game is that it may be seen as just another zombie game, where you encounter Infected beings and Tourette’s syndrome-addled humans with enough provided weapons and ammunition for you to plough through them like a very enthusiastic squirrel making love with its favourite tree branch.
I’m really not going into the story or gameplay with detail, so you who has yet to play the game may let go of your pitchforks.
Humans struggling for survival: nothing new. Humans killing each other for something trivial in the name of survival: nothing new. Infected enemies: nothing new. Scarcity of ammunition: nothing new. Melee and gunplay combat used together: nothing new. Tension: nothing new.
All of these are well known ideas, but the execution of these all but new ideas is where the key lies. I’ve not read a single review about this game (due to various reasons), so if someone stated this already; my sincerest of apologies. It was the one aspect that really made me pause the game and wander around in my thoughts.
The Last of Us proves that games can be invigorated with familiar themes and ideas without it feeling as though it has been ripping off another game.
Go play it, you won’t be sorry. (Your trousers might be.)