#1 Posted by HatKing (6064 posts) -

It's really hard for me to believe that I've been sitting on this one since June. I guess I kind of reevaluated a lot of things after Ryan's passing and quit playing things just for the sake of them being the latest and greatest. So when I wasn't really loving The Last of Us right off the bat, I decided to shelve it.

Now that it's been getting so much attention for being one of the best games of the year, and I've heard people use the phrase "that ending" more than a few times, I think I've developed a genuine curiosity. I put it in last night because I just want to know what happens, and so that I can safely listen to the Bombcast without it being spoiled.

Had a pretty positive return because Naughty Dog was smart enough to include a place to view all of the cinematics that you've unlocked. That really helped me brush up on the first few hours that I wasn't really looking to replay. Aside from the huge swathes of narrative beats that were in gameplay, this almost felt like watching a non-shitty version of The Walking Dead show.

Holy shit I had a hell of a time getting back into playing it though. I could not remember the controls or strategies for the life of me. And I ended up attempting this encounter that I had left off on about fifteen times before getting a handle on shanking motherfuckers. In retrospect, that 'trial by fire' might have been a pretty good way to brush up. It was a contained environment with a few 'clickers' that I could practice against. I'd rather botch that a few hundred times than fuck up some story heavy segment.

Having just played Beyond Two Souls, I can't get over how much she DOESN'T really look like Ellen Page. Kind of has that disposition though.

Eventually things came back. I might be playing even smarter than I had before because the encounters have been going by fairly smoothly, which I don't remember being the case back in June.

Strangely enough, I'm actually really enjoying myself. This has turned from a curiosity to see the ending, to me just wanting to play the game 'cause I kind of like it. Naughty Dog is great at telling stories, but at this point I'm concerned that this will be a story that's not really worth telling. With ubiquitous tropes like zombies - come on guys, let's face it, they're zombies - it's easy to fall back on tired ideas and not really say anything interesting, or do anything that hasn't been done better a million times before. We'll see though. I'm cautiously optimistic. I do like the characters more than I like the characters in most modern, zombie things.

Also, is it just me or is the bow kind of garbage? Enemies move about so much it's hard to line up a shot. Hopefully it gets better with upgrades. I'd hate for me to remember the 'Year Of The Bow' with a terrible bow.

#2 Edited by Party (113 posts) -

Dat Bow. No seriously, the bow changed the game for me. Once I discovered it was pretty much a one shot ranged silent kill, I pretty much bowed my way through all the stealth sections.

Also, good to hear you're giving it another shot. Yes, the zombie trope is tiring but I honestly think the game goes in some interesting new directions in spite of the setting.

#3 Posted by HistoryInRust (6380 posts) -

I've started and stopped this game some three times over now. I could probably recite the game's first two hours from memory. Have never managed to finish the game.

Honestly, I'm thinking about popping the game down to Easy and just barreling through.

#4 Edited by RonGalaxy (3263 posts) -

Trust me when I say it subverts almost every expectation that comes from the zombie genre. Just wait, you'll see

Edit: Also, I like being a gold user now! Im giving giant bomb way less money because of it, but I still like it :)

#5 Posted by Pezen (1657 posts) -

I remember really liking the bow eventually. In fact, I think the bow was one of, if not the one, most used weapon in the game. It's really versatile and in some areas really does give you a tactical advantage. I can't, however, really blame people for putting the game down though. If it wasn't for my buddy insisting I stick with the game until you get to spring, I probably would have put it in a "maybe play later" pile. After that I was really enjoying myself both story and gameplay wise. And the game, now that I think about it, had some of the most tense moments I've had last year in games due to some of the scenarios in that game. Especially with the more sparingly used infected.

Also, people's praise of the ending seems a bit bloated. Don't get me wrong, I thought the ending was somber and interesting, in a human kind of way. But I think the character arc of the people you follow (but Joel especially) is the one true thing I found greatly satisfying. Because from start to finish, once the game is done, you can look back on the game and have a real sense of how the characters change. Not so they are different people, but people that have adapted to their new situation.

But as many has pointed out, those first few hours really doesn't do the game a lot of good other than to make you go "This is supposed to be one of the best games this year?"

#6 Posted by Kidavenger (3610 posts) -

I tried to finish it this week after preordering it and playing non stop for 8 hours the day it came out then not able to spend any time with it for long enough that I forgot how to play it and I stopped in a very bad spot; this game is grim, and I'm finding it far too long at this point, I just want it to be done.

The bow is pretty good at taking out clickers that are just stationary, but it hasn't been of much use otherwise, it's good for what it is.

#7 Posted by Pr1mus (3959 posts) -

The bow definitely gets better with upgrades. It became my favorite weapon in the game.

#8 Edited by TobbRobb (4818 posts) -

@historyinrust: @party: I didn't fire the bow a single time, is it really a one hit kill? Only on headshots I assume?

And yeah, you should barrel through on easy. It's kinda fun if you play it as a shooter with a lot of flanking.

#9 Edited by believer258 (12103 posts) -

"That ending" does do something interesting. It's not an earth-shattering, genre-busting sort of thing, far from it, but it does do something interesting. Still, you're right in saying that large chunks of the story rely on well-tread ground.

As for the gameplay itself... I like parts of it a lot. Other parts, though, especially the Clicker sections, are downright bad as far as I'm concerned. Definitely worth playing through.

EDIT: Also the bow is super-useful when you haven't been noticed. If you can find a place to stand up and get a shot on somebody without being noticed, they'll die in only one hit and sometimes you can retrieve arrows. Once you've been noticed and you're fighting dudes, though, the bow becomes fairly useless.

#10 Edited by wjb (1689 posts) -

Yeah, once they changed Ellie's appearance, she did not look like Ellen Page anymore. Maybe if you squint, perhaps? The name "Ellie" didn't help, though.

I didn't get the whole "ripped off my likeness." Ellen Page does not have the young/petite/brunette look on lock.

#11 Posted by HatKing (6064 posts) -

@pezen: Yeah, this just seems to be one of those games that you have to push through before it clicks. I don't even think the beginning was particularly bad or boring or anything. It may have been more that I didn't really 'get it' until a few more hours in. Right now I'm in the part that was shown in that one trailer, the bit with the guys who ambush you. The way all the upgrades and scavenging come together with the combat and stealth are really making me enjoy playing this. I'm not sure what I didn't get before because this sort of stuff seems right up my alley, gameplay wise.

@historyinrust: That's exactly what I did. I was playing on normal, but I kind of just wanted to experience it without any pressure, so put it down to easy. It doesn't feel like a cakewalk or anything, I still feel like it really wants me to use the same strategies. But, it's not as punishing when something goes wrong and I have to shotgun six clickers in the face. It's actually making the whole experience a lot more pleasant. I'm not just in it for the story anymore, I'm actually having fun playing it.

@believer258: @pr1mus: @party: Oh man, guys. I assumed the bow was only effective with headshots. It sort of just clicked with me when I got through a firefight with it. Even in non-stealth situations it's useful because dudes won't know where you're firing from. Helps that I upgraded the draw speed. I really need to work on that weapon sway skill. I haven't put anything into it yet. Also, being able to retrieve some of the arrows make this damn thing invaluable when bullets are scarce.

#12 Posted by HatKing (6064 posts) -

@wjb: I don't think it's just her. The other day I was in a Best Buy and overheard a guy explain to his friend that he should buy Beyond Two Souls because "it's like this movie, but you can control shit, and it stars that girl from Last of Us." I feel like they didn't do themselves many favors having their trailer debut right along with the Beyond Two Souls stuff. I can't remember what she looked like in the original trailer, but I do remember them going and making her less Ellen Page-ish.

Not that I care either way, I kind of like Ellen Page.

#13 Posted by wjb (1689 posts) -

@hatking: I think the The Last of Us was introduced VGA 2011, and Beyond was at E3 six months later. It wasn't a problem until then, but yeah, the original Ellie looked a lot like Ellen Page. I just thought the whole thing was crazy when Beyond was announced -- as another PS3 exclusive. I don't know the timeline, but I would have imagined someone at Sony noticing the similarities before E3 2012.

So, yeah, you're right. It's possible Ellen Page was shown the original at one point and decided to make a comment regardless of whether or not she realized Naughty Dog switched, or she is secretly an egomaniac who thinks anyone with a young/petite/brunette resemblance looks like her (which I would find hilarious, for whatever reason).

And I like Ellen Page, too, but I felt she really squandered the Juno fame and hasn't really done anything since Inception except for a couple of unmemorable indie films no one watched. It's her career and all, but if I didn't play video games or was a lesbian (inside joke), I would have thought she dropped off the fucking planet.

I just didn't get the comments continuing to come from everyone even after Naughty Dog switched; almost as if some people totally disregarded the change. Ah well.

#14 Posted by jsnyder82 (762 posts) -

I feel bad that I haven't finished this yet. I've been stuck in the Ellie mission in the snow where you fend off zombies with that guy. I can't seem to get past it for some reason. So I haven't picked it back up for months.

#15 Posted by HatKing (6064 posts) -

@wjb: Yeah, now that you mention it, I haven't seen much of her recently other than Beyond Two Souls, Inception, and Super, if that even counts as recent. I'm kind of on the fence about James Gunn's movies, but Super was probably my favorite movie of his. The East looks pretty bad, but sometimes marketing for that sort of stuff is just shit and misleading, so maybe it's totally fine.

In all honesty, I would be surprised if she just hasn't seen The Last of Us since before release. She was probably told through a real life game of telephone that the main character looks 'just like you'. And she might have glanced at some outdated promo art. And I wouldn't be surprised if her comment, which I think was only a single Twitter post, was blown totally the fuck out of proportion as the media in this industry - and pretty much all industries - is wont to do.

But now I'm coming off like I'm defending her. And I'm not sure why. Frankly I haven't seen that many of her movies, but she is oddly charming.

#16 Posted by csl316 (9263 posts) -

I didn't use the bow til winter, and I wish I would have used it more.

#17 Edited by wjb (1689 posts) -

@hatking: No, you're fine. That was more or less what I was getting at with the Page comment. I felt bad because I did not want to assume -- for all we know, Ellen Page visits Kotaku or whatever regularly and is an avid gamer -- but whatever.

"Game of telephone" is a good phrase for it.

(And off-topic, but I really did not like Super)

#18 Posted by TheManWithNoPlan (5903 posts) -

From what I can tell they changed Ellie's appearance as to not look like Ellen page.

#19 Edited by tourgen (4542 posts) -

Molotovs and that hand-shotgun thing. Shivs for the shroomheads. Roll through the game.

Not a lot of variety. That holdout encounter with Ellie is pretty cool.

#20 Posted by Random45 (1265 posts) -

@party said:

Dat Bow. No seriously, the bow changed the game for me. Once I discovered it was pretty much a one shot ranged silent kill, I pretty much bowed my way through all the stealth sections.

Also, good to hear you're giving it another shot. Yes, the zombie trope is tiring but I honestly think the game goes in some interesting new directions in spite of the setting.

This is so freaking true. I didn't use the bow initially, but in the Winter chapter I realized how freaking good it was, and it was my weapon of choice for the rest of the game.

#21 Posted by HatKing (6064 posts) -

@tourgen: Huh, I kind of avoid using that mini shotgun thing for the most part. It was great in the sewer area, for close up shit when there was no other ammo about, but it's range ain't great and the clip capacity makes for some really unfortunate reloading in close quarters. But maybe that's just not my style. Also, I feel like the nail bomb is my get out of jail free card in most circumstances. I've cleared whole rooms with one well placed nail bomb. It's a noise maker and a proximity mine. It almost feels overpowered, but they're kind of limited.

@random45 said:

@party said:

Dat Bow. No seriously, the bow changed the game for me. Once I discovered it was pretty much a one shot ranged silent kill, I pretty much bowed my way through all the stealth sections.

Also, good to hear you're giving it another shot. Yes, the zombie trope is tiring but I honestly think the game goes in some interesting new directions in spite of the setting.

This is so freaking true. I didn't use the bow initially, but in the Winter chapter I realized how freaking good it was, and it was my weapon of choice for the rest of the game.

Yeah, I've sort of 'discovered' it during the campus mission, just before Winter. I have the draw speed upgraded all the way, and the distance upgraded a bit, and the damn thing is invaluable now. I do wish I could upgrade its power though. Nothing more frustrating than hitting a dude in the back of the neck and it not counting as a one shot kill, but then hitting his friend in the wrist and seeing him go down.

#22 Edited by xaLieNxGrEyx (2605 posts) -

@hatking said:

@wjb: I don't think it's just her. The other day I was in a Best Buy and overheard a guy explain to his friend that he should buy Beyond Two Souls because "it's like this movie, but you can control shit, and it stars that girl from Last of Us." I feel like they didn't do themselves many favors having their trailer debut right along with the Beyond Two Souls stuff. I can't remember what she looked like in the original trailer, but I do remember them going and making her less Ellen Page-ish.

Not that I care either way, I kind of like Ellen Page.

Everyone likes Ellen Page unless you're an asshole

#23 Edited by xaLieNxGrEyx (2605 posts) -

@tourgen said:

Molotovs and that hand-shotgun thing. Shivs for the shroomheads. Roll through the game.

Not a lot of variety. That holdout encounter with Ellie is pretty cool.

Not possible on a difficulty higher than normal, where the game is meant to be played.

#24 Posted by HatKing (6064 posts) -

Trust me when I say it subverts almost every expectation that comes from the zombie genre. Just wait, you'll see

I just finished it. I'm pretty happy with it. My biggest complaints have little or nothing to do with the narrative or any weird disconnects. At least none that have surfaced yet, I am fresh off the credits roll and sometimes that stuff takes time to process.

I'll spoiler block this next bit, I don't dive into specifics, but I don't want anybody to infer things.

My biggest gripe with zombie bullshit isn't that the major arcs tend to be similar, but that the process in which the arcs are developed and presented are all very similar. It's desensitizing to the human drama when you know exactly how things are going to play out. What I really like about The Last Of Us is, despite that some of the major beats are kind of predictable, the way they produce this stuff and resolve it is unique and interesting. This game doesn't focus on the zombie bullshit, and that's fantastic. The monsters aren't what's interesting about narratives based in these sorts of universes. It's the amplified human drama that exists because of the dire circumstances. And I think this game plays with that, probably better, than any other zombie game before it. And probably better than most zombie anything in the past decade.

#25 Edited by Persona3rocks (33 posts) -

I don't really get why everyone pins this game as just another zombie game. Because really, it isn't. This game is MUCH better than other supernatural shooters, such as COD Black Ops. It shouldn't even be in the same category. And technically, there are no zombies in the game. The people are just infected and therefore crazy (with fungus on their bodies). It's kind of like they have rabies.

Anyway, this game is a masterpiece. Most of my favorite games are Japanese rpg's and the like, but this game probably beats most of those games. You really should enjoy it, you just need to give it time for the story to pick up a little. And for me, the story picked up pretty quickly.

#26 Posted by HatKing (6064 posts) -

I don't really get why everyone pins this game as just another zombie game. Because really, it isn't. This game is MUCH better than other supernatural shooters, such as COD Black Ops. It shouldn't even be in the same category. And technically, there are no zombies in the game. The people are just infected and therefore crazy (with fungus on their bodies). It's kind of like they have rabies.

Anyway, this game is a masterpiece. Most of my favorite games are Japanese rpg's and the like, but this game probably beats most of those games. You really should enjoy it, you just need to give it time for the story to pick up a little. And for me, the story picked up pretty quickly.

Fictionally speaking, the infected serve the same purpose as zombies. This is a zombie fiction as much as 28 Days Later is. By traditional definition, they're not zombies, I guess. But, when we say that, we're getting into semantic arguments about fictional things. Which is one step removed from the already pointless debating of actual semantics. It's like all those people who freaked out about the vampires sparkling in Twilight. Sure it's dumb, but you guys do realize vampires aren't real things, right? It's not like some fungal civil rights group is going to get pissed we're calling them zombies.

I do totally agree that the infected do play only an peripheral role in the game's narrative. As much as say, the nuclear war plays a role in Fallout. It's essentially a device to create the environment that, and I mentioned this earlier, amplifies the human aspect.

And I absolutely did enjoy it. It might be the biggest turn-around I've had in games. I had no interest in playing it, I even dreaded putting it back in earlier this week. In fact, the only reason I did was so that I didn't have it spoiled when I finally listened to the GOTY podcasts. Then, after about an hour of getting my bearings, I was committed all the way. I was dreading the fast approaching ending. I feel like I took my time with it, probably close to 18 or 20 hours, and I didn't want to see it end. I'm glad it did, because that was a fantastic fucking ending. I miss it though. Not sure I want to play it again, it's so emotionally draining.

#27 Posted by ericdrum (405 posts) -

I've been playing once a week and am just past the section where Joel, Ellie and Frank (I think his name is) are outside the high school and you encounter a bunch of runners while you are looking for car parts. I am having a good time with the story and am interested in progressing it further. Where I feel like I still get majorly frustrated though is where I am playing really stealthy, something happens (at some points feels triggered, but maybe I'm just being spotted) to alert the zombies, so I decide to roll with the combat and try and fight my way out. As soon as I have to use my gun, everything feels so janky to me. I can't aim (I've only upgraded that skill one out of two) or move when I have 3 plus zombies just tearing at me. Something about the controls (which I can tell are done this way on purpose) just isn't clicking with me. I'm still not quitting as I have to finish just to see where I stand on the final outcome of this game that seems to be loved by most who play it. I'm going to resume this weekend, when I'm not tired from work and most alert and give the game it's due. It's just been weird because I should be loving the game as it's up my alley and I really do like ND as a developer. I just find myself having to talk myself into playing which is odd for me.

#28 Edited by Marcsman (3262 posts) -

I just finished this game last week. I put it off for like 4 months.

#29 Edited by erhard (436 posts) -

The bow is the best weapon in the game. It's a silent one‐shot weapon. It's absolutely necessary on hard/survivor.