Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,
She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Be warned I will talk about The Last of Us in this post, if you wish not to be spoiled please move on. There are a lot of problems I've had with the Uncharted series. The games had dumb enemies, and despite the sheer amount of effort/money poured into them but the first game felt like the game equivalent of Matthew McConaughey's Sahara, second & third Nicolas Cage's National Treasure when they were clearly going for Raiders of the Lost Ark. Hardly generation defining as many people put them, but let me not keep kicking the horse. Don't get me wrong, I thought the games were good, just not great. Despite how much money is poured into those, it doesn't make up for how boring it is to press up to climb a cliff-face or how B-movie esque their stories were. Firstly, The Last of Us on the other hand is without a doubt better as a game to play than both the Uncharted games. Naughty Dog has riddled The Last of Us with a plethora of systems by expanding greatly on what Uncharted did well & creating altogether new ones for this game. From the awkward aiming mechanic, to the crafting to the stealth, all are vast improvements over its predecessors. While it still suffers from dumb enemies that seem to plague Naughty Dog games this generation, at least this time it had more actual game too it. That said the game did suffer from problems, namely leap in logic the game had you jump through. Your implicit goal was protecting this little girl with all my being, but she always seemed to be running into me awkwardly. She was invisible to enemies & immune to all harm it seems. This happened early on due to the cramp city dwellings, where bad pathfinding would have her constantly run in front of you and cling to the same bit of cover as yourself. But, as the game opened up with larger environments & often times had you playing as Ellie or Joel solo altogether there was less opportunities for bad AI partner pathfinding.
Secondly, and most importantly, Naughty Dog crafted a superior story than anything else they've put out. The Last of Us is telling the story of the villain from beginning to end but it's more than just that. I quoted Macbeth at the beginning of this post because throughout the game, Joel reminded me of a various characters the Compson family in William Faulkner's great novel The Sound and the Fury. There's something beautifully arrogant and domineering to their specific brands of southern chivalry both Joel & the Compson family express toward the equally selfish and blindness of the innocents that are important to them. It was Ellie's unrealistic expectation that Joel would deliver her to the fireflies to save humanity from the blight which drove Joel to eventually commit villainy. In that end we see that we've been playing as the villain the entire time and you get to see how truly barbaric and unyielding chivalry actually is. If only Ellie knew the truth, she would be devastated to know what Joel had done. But that's her critical error, she expects Joel to operate on the same level of innocence as her.
Joel's life is his survival, it is a motion that is concerned with what drives all men:
What time Joel has to devote to morality he must take by force from the motion of which he is a part. He must eventually choose between good or evil, but only because his moral conscience demands that from him in order that he can continue enduring and surviving. His moral conscience is his curse he had to accept in order to gain the right to dream.
Naughty Dog has constructed a tragedy unlike any other I've played in recent memory. While so many games try to create a power fantasy, The Last of Us is swimming upstream in the opposite direction trying to deliver a game where the protagonist is trying to regain his innocence.
What did you think of The Last of Us? I'm interested to hear your thoughts.