Thursday, December 26, 2013

Raiden's The Last of Us Review

Finally getting around to writing this, and only a hand full of months late! I'm going to try to keep it to light spoilers (if any at all), that don't give away anything as far as story specifics goes. If you're still planning on playing the game and don't want any spoilers whatsoever, you may want to turn back now. You've been warned.

The Last of Us is amazing in every way. Naughty Dog was able to create characters in Joel and Ellie that you can really connect to, and you really root for. One thing I really enjoyed is the moral gray area you take in the game. Most of the time you play as the hero, fighting for justice, peace, etc, but in The Last of Us things are different. Don't get me wrong, you're not playing as the villains or anything, it's just not clear cut. The other people you're fighting against are just trying to survive, same as you (it reminds me of some of the other groups of humans that the main group encounters in the Walking Dead TV show.)

There are a few complaints I've heard about this game that I'd like to address. Similar to Tomb Raider 2013, one of the negative things someone mentioned to me is that "it relies too much on stealth." That can be true, but only if that's how you choose to play the game. Yes, there are areas that are designed in a way that makes you sneak around, but there are also others that are built to make you charge in, guns blazing. If you choose to play the entire game through using stealth tactics and don't want to try anything different, or lack the skill to have success without it, that's not the fault of the game, that's on you.

The big thing a lot of people dislike is the ending. Obviously, I'm not going to go into anything specific about how the game ended, but I will say this. The ending that said people seem to want completely contradicts everything that the entire game has built, and goes against what the characters would do or say. When Naughty Dog was still working on the game, they changed the ending from what those people want to what the final product was for that reason, and I wouldn't want it any other way. The only thing I didn't like about the ending was that it meant the game was over, and my journey through the post apocalyptic world with Joel and Ellie had come to an end (at least until the single player DLC is released, starring Ellie! Woo!). One amusing thing I found was an "alternate ending" where the actors ended up singing all of the lines in the final scene like it was some kind of Broadway show. It was really something to see.

The controls are very smooth, and the crafting system works very well. You're able to find limited amounts of stuff like rags, alcohol, bottles, etc, and have to determine what you want to make with those resources. You also have to do that in real time, so there's no pausing to craft something you need in the middle of battle. There is also a proper New Game+ mode, so you can take a powered up Joel through again if you want to (which I did).

The Last of Us is an amazing, emotional journey that shows both the best and the worst (mostly the worst) of human nature. Watching the bond between Joel and Ellie grow and develop is very satisfying, and felt real (most games aren't capable of making those things feel genuine). I can say without any doubt that The Last of Us is the best game of this generation, and the second best I've ever played.

Score: 10/10
Raiden's Top 100 Ranking: 2nd Place (after Final Fantasy VI, before Tomb Raider 2013)

Upcoming reviews: Pokemon X/Y, Phoenix Wright 5: Dual Destinies, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.

If there are any games on my top 100 you'd like to see a more detailed review on, or any games you know I've played that you'd like me to review, let me know! I unfortunately don't have time to pick up new games that aren't already on my short list, at least for the next year or two.

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