Throwback Thursday: The Last of Us

Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
Developer: Naughty Dog | Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: June 2013 / July 2014

The 26th of September, 2013 marked the day the Cordyceps Infection reached a critical mass in The Last of Us. Over two years after players were plunged into Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic universe, how does the game hold up?

This article will discuss the original and the Remastered release of the game as though they are one.

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WHY IT WAS GREAT

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Single Player

The vast majority of gamers agree that The Last of Us almost perfectly nails what a single player experience should be in a video game. The world Naughty Dog has crafted is simply beautiful. The attention to detail given to everything the player can see in the game allows what would otherwise be an otherwise be an overused video game ‘trope’ to become a work of art. Players begin feel an emotional attachment to Joel and Ellie (two name just two of the characters) as the story progresses, something that in part is achieved by the (excellent) animation department at Naughty Dog. Every minute change of expression or emotion can be felt from the character, not only because of the changes visible on their face, but those across their entire body.

Not only is the game visually stunning, the audio in the game is almost breathtaking. One particular moment that comes to mind is one early on in the game: the player is able to send Joel inside of an abandoned truck, where the sound of rainfall changes, becoming more metallic as it bounces off the roof of the truck. This sort of sound design certainly isn’t new to gaming, but the of care Naughty Dog gives to even the most uninteresting of things makes The Last of Us just that little bit more believable

The story told by The Last of Us is near perfection. Though set in a post apocalyptic world, the game manages to avoid become yet another zombie survival title. The story — for the most part — only dabbles in the worldwide issues, instead choosing to focus on issues faced by characters in the own individual worlds as though nothing else matters. The tale told by Naughty Dog allows the player to connect and relate with almost every character in the game, feeling their emotion, morales, drives and sometimes their downright misery.

Multiplayer

To some the multiplayer aspect of the game was merely a tacked on mode with little thought put into it. To others the mode was a fresh new take on what multiplayer could be in a game. Factions pitted the two… factions… from the single player portion of the game against one another in a 4V4 tactical shoot out scenario, with three modes to choose from. What made the multiplayer so great was and still is how it differs from almost every other multiplayer title out there. Rather than the fast, run ’em and gun ’em style shooter, the Factions mode in The Last of Us is a slow, tactical shooter where really the only hope of survival is to stick together and pick off the enemy team.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

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On a personal level, The Last of Us really does live up to the hype. It deserves the praise and acclaim it still receives to this day and sits in the top few spots, if not the top spot of my all-time favourite games. Never before has a game made me feel genuine, heartfelt emotions towards a character, or shed tears when that happened. The game is so expertly and carefully crafted that it almost does nothing wrong.

 

The Last of Us is amazing and saying that doesn’t do it justice. We can only hope Naughty Dog will remain the Naughty Gods with the sequel to the game: There’s More of Us.

The Silent Hills Debacle

If you’ve been following the gaming news lately, it would be hard to ignore the whole issue with the recently announced / canceled “Silent Hills”. In between rumors, debates, and frustrations from both devs and fans alike, I think it’s easy to say that everyone is more than just a little disappointed by this fiasco, but with Kojima’s departure from Konami, we really couldn’t have expected any less.

It all started out with P.T, a mysterious demo that appeared on the PlayStation Store last year. Standing for “Playable Teaser”, P.T invoked some pretty intense (albeit lost) emotions of the horror genre in gaming. It was dark, twisted, and in all honesty horrifying. Soon after, videos players’ reactions to the demo surfaced all over the internet. It was an enormous sensation, and that “Silent Hills” logo at the end of the demo felt like the icing on the cake.

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Why it was important

It’s been a long time since we got a half decent Silent Hill game. Up until the fourth installment (i.e The Room), each game after the next has been pretty crap. Muddled by horrendous controls, pitiful scare moments, and inconsistency with inexperienced developing teams made everyone believe that the series was dead. The survival horror genre as a whole has been laying low over the years with the uprising of a more horror/action influenced community, so playing through something that stayed true to the elements of the genre was a breath of fresh air.

Hideo Kojima, the mastermind behind the epic Metal Gear series, combines his talents with those of Guillermo Del Toro, the film director with equal creative prowess known for his impact on the horror genre. These two gentlemen are some of the best in their fields, and their combined abilities created something meaningful and truly artistic. P.T was the testament of that, and Del Toro even said that his game would “seep with atmosphere”. If you’ve seen any of his movies or played any of Kojima’s games, then you could only imagine what the two of them could have created together.

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The outcry

When word was received that it was canceled, fans were (and still are), completely devastated. Hopes were high for this game that seemed like it would break boundaries in the gaming community. This upset fans so much that fans have created a petition  for the two devs to get together and create a new IP not attached to Konami. With over 10,000 signers (even Norman Reedus, the star of the game, signed it himself), we’ve still no word on whether or not a new Silent Hills IP could actually happen. While the odds look glum, there’s no harm in trying to fight back.

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Until next time, sink fetus.

The rumors

Following the cancellation announcement came the rumors. The biggest rumor of them all was that of Microsoft’s purchase of Silent Hill’s for billions of dollars, and that the removal of P.T from the PS Store was to eventually place it on the Xbox Live store. It’s pretty ridiculous from the start, but PlayStation owners were worried that they would now have to purchase an Xbox One to play their long awaited title. Thankfully, Microsoft devs debunked this rumor with an official announcement on Twitter;

 

Final Thoughts

Nothing can really express my disappointment with the developers. I understand that it couldn’t really be helped, but I don’t really care about the issues Konami and Kojima had. This game was for the fans. It should always be for the fans. Whatever conflicts they had should have been resolved for the common good, but due to stubbornness, we all lose. At this point, all we can do is hope for those involved to resolve their differences so we can get what we’ve been waiting so long for.

Bethesda announces Fallout 4

That’s right. Fallout 4. There is not much known at this time but we are to tune into Bethesda’s E3 Showcase on Sunday, June 14 at 7:00pm Pacific Time to see the world premiere of the game! Also, there’s this goosebumps giving trailer of in-game footage:

We are on the edges of our seats here at RL. Are you with us? More information coming, check back soon.

Ever wanted to see if you could survive on a dinosaur inhabited island?

That dream may be achievable with the release of ARK: Survival Evolved for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. This “survival shooter” will let players craft weapons, tame the island’s inhabitants and go from unarmed, naked dino-treats to fully-armed Rambo wannabes.

In addition, the game offers destructible environments as well as a full ecosystem for the creatures roaming around the landscape. The development team is shooting for 60 unique dinosaur species as well, giving players a wide range of challenges and opportunities. Early access is expected to begin June 2nd on Steam.

The PlayStation 4 version is also compatible with the forthcoming Morpheus virtual reality headset from Sony. Just try not to wet yourself as you’re running from a hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex.

As a kid who loved dinosaurs, I have to say this is one of those games on my “must-try” list. Hopefully the finished product will be as fun as the promotional materials make it look. What do you think?