Mar 2, 2014

The Last of Us: Escort Missions are Fun, guy!

I  finally decided to check The Last of Us. I've heard great things, I've heard horrible things, and some of them involve Ellen Page claiming that Naughty Dog ripped her off by making a dark haired Spunky Teenage girl with her hair on a ponytail. Which makes sense since Ellen Page is EVERY dark haired Spunky Teenage girl with her hair on a ponytail.  While we can't deny some similarities between Ellen Page and Ellie, Page's remarks seem like they were tools to promote the game where she appears. (Who got its share of controversy when people found a nude version of Ellen Page's character by using a debug mode on the game. Not accessible through normal means.) 
So, The Last of Us... So, you play as Joel, an average man who was hit hard by circumstances when the world ending outbreak began. 20 years later, he's a smuggler who is given a mission: Smuggle NOT ELLEN PAGE out of the City. So, yeah... This is an Escort Mission.

I'm having Flashbacks of MGS 2, MGS3, RE4, and Multiple GTA games. ESCORT MISSIONS SUCK ASS!! I HATE THEM, I HATE THEM, I HATE THEM!! There have been attempts to make them less incompetent, like Sheva Alomar on RE5, but that game really needs 2 human players... Luckily for me, The Last of Us has the most Competent AI Partners I've seen... When they're not being incompetent. (Though the enemy AI tends to ignore them a bit) Having Ellie walk around and knocking stuff next to Clickers may break some of the suspension of disbelief, but I'd rather have that than getting an unfair Game Over because of it. Most of your AI Partners (when armed) are VERY Helpful.(Their usefulness decreases on higher difficulties). Without giving away any Spoilers, this is a LONG Escort Mission.

I guess I better move on with the ratings: For games I use a 10-point system. Closer to 1 is bad and closer to 10 is good.

The Graphics for the game are pretty impressive. Though its still a bit obvious when the game switches from gameplay to cutscene. While Minimal, there a few graphics related hiccups here and there.

Music and sounds:
I gave you a sample of the music with the Title theme. The music is composed by Gustavo Santaolalla.(21 Grams, Babel, Brokeback Mountain) The Music blends well with the environments and is often soft and subtle. The voice acting for the game is actually pretty good. There's a few big names from the VA field doing additional voices in the game. Even Deadpool/Nathan Drake voices a character here.

As I mentioned before, the game is a huge escort mission on a post-pandemic world. That last part of the sentence is important, since the Survival Element (and a huge chunk of the story) relies on the whole Post-Pandemic world where resources are scarce. While you could fight your enemies with guns, the limited Ammo and the imposed Ammo capacity limit will make things harder for you to "go Rambo" on the enemies (infected and enemy humans.) Luckily you have melee weapons and stealth that you can use to take down enemies. There are a few elements reminiscent of platforming games and some "environmental" puzzles to solve... Something like Tomb Raider. I mentioned Stealth earlier, but I want to go a bit deeper on that theme. Stealth is used for two things: Avoid Enemies and Ammo-Saving Stealth Kills. The Action is interrupted by serene sections where you can explore and learn a bit more about the world, and have character interactions where you can see the bonds between them evolve. Also, those peaceful moments are the perfect chances to craft your items, reload weapons, etc.
Why? Because Reloading, Item Crafting, HEALING, Reading, etc. is done in real time. Crafting that Medikit in the middle of the battle to heal yourself will get you killed.


Controls are very responsive in game. I know you can tweak the analogs for aiming, but I rarely do that. I have a few issues with the whole accessing your weapons controls, but that's just me. Other than that, they're fine!

I've already given a little backdrop on the game when I began the review/rant. So, like I mentioned ta huge chunk of the story is about humanity coping with life after the "Fungal Invasion of the mutated Cordyceps". The other part of the story is related to the main characters and their struggles to fulfill the mission assigned to Joel.

Fun Factor:
Is the game fun? Yes. For those of you who like online play, there are a few modes that you can play, but I'm not a fan of online, so I can't help you there. Now the main game is fun, but I prefer the Quite peaceful moments of the game than the action packed sections. Mostly since I have to rely on the game's  "Listen Mode" (You crouch automatically and you can be aware of enemy movements even behind obstacles that obstruct your view.) One minor gripe that I have with the game is that some of the infected (Clickers and Bloaters have this insta-kill if they get close enough to you.) It can be pretty annoying at times. Your mileage may vary here. I'd say this game requires a "cool off" period between each full play-through.(from start to the ending)

Overall Score: 9.08

The game is great, although some people would find it more along the lines of a movie with some events with Actual interaction. It's a pretty solid game. Not Perfect, but pretty darn good!

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