I have bought a lot of video games; what I haven’t done is beat a lot of video games. For whatever reason, I’ve decided to go back and give some of these games another shot: this is the Backlog.
This Week’s Game: The Last of Us.
I remember being very excited to finally play The Last of Us after having followed its development with great interest. I played the game for a little while (long enough to meet Ellie) and then… stopped. I remember not being a fan of the gunplay and enjoying the stealthy bits, and I remember thinking the game looked incredible. I remember that I played it probably twice and then set it aside for roughly a year; clearly I was not as enthusiastic about the actual game as I was about following its development.
It was the Quick Look of the remastered edition of The Last of Us that reminded me that yes, this was a game that I owned, a game that seemed pretty interesting, and a game that I wanted to take another crack at. So I sat down, popped the disc in, and loaded up my saved game.
And then I waited. And waited. And… waited some more? As it turns out, the load time for The Last of Us borders on the ridiculous. I spent an eternity staring at nothing but swirling cordyceps spores. After enough time had passed, a little percentage appeared in the corner of the screen, but it was only around 50% and it sure didn’t move very fast.
Once the game finally loaded, Joel was soon doing the “ok, so what are the controls again” dance on-screen. Once we had agreed which button did what, it was off to the races, by which I mean I got shot to death in the sewers by the military police a few times before finally meeting the stars of the game, Clickers, in a dilapidated office building. Sneaking through, killing various fungal adversaries and scavenging office supplies, I could definitely see why The Last of Us made it to the top of so many Game of the Year lists.
I made it to the capitol building in Boston, some stuff happened, the plot moved forward, and I was back to getting shot by a bunch of military police (I did, however, throw a Molotov into a bunch of them and burn about 5 at once, which was neat and made me wish that my PS3 had the same recording functionality as my Xbox One. That’d be a clip worth sharing). At that point, I had enough of my own bitter failure and turned off the game. I didn’t play it for the rest of the week.
I had a good time playing, but I definitely remembered why I stopped playing: the gunplay in the game just doesn’t feel great at all. I don’t have a whole lot of experience with Naughty Dog’s stuff (Uncharted being the only other I have played), but I don’t like the way they do gunplay, and there has been more of it than I would care for. On the other hand, there’s something about shanking a Clicker that just feels right, the story is absolutely fascinating, and the game itself is drop-dead gorgeous. I do not regret going back and booting this game up again.
So the final question is, of course, will I keep playing? I think that if nothing else, The Last of Us is going to take up residence in my PS3 for a while, which means that if the system turns on, that’s the game I’ll be playing. It certainly hasn’t grabbed me enough to pull me away from other games that I’m currently playing, so it’ll probably be a game played intermittently. I think that I’ll probably beat it before I move on to any other PS3 games, though. I think it’s worth at least that much. I’ll let you know if I manage to actually beat the game.