The Average Gamer

The Last of Us Thoughts

The Last of Us - Molotov Throw
I’m 59% of the way through The Last Of Us, according to the savegame stats. I’ve been there a week now and I have no desire to go back. This isn’t a world I want to be in. This isn’t a world that I enjoy. It’s a series of corridors in which, sometimes, developers Naughty Dog allow me to do something, provided I do it in the way they wish me to.

I understand that Naughty Dog games are supposed to be linear. I understand that you’re supposed to just sit back and enjoy the ride but my god, the first third of this game was excruciating. 3 hours of slowly walking around interspersed with the occasional combat arena in which you’re told to approach it with stealth, or a molotov, or some other developer-mandated way. Try forging your own story and more often than not, you’re rewarded with insta-death. In the meantime, your companion will quite happily clomp his or her boots all over the place, attracting no attention whatsoever.

The non-combat areas are even worse. Is carting a plank around the side of a building supposed to make me feel like I’ve solved a puzzle? Are the silences supposed to evoke tension? Mostly they evoke boredom.

I used to explore every nook and cranny, searching for ammo or notes or those collectible Firefly pendants. Not because I wanted them. Mostly because there was nothing else to do there. Eventually I gave up because there’s only so much slow-running around empty environments that I can take.

Ellie and Joel’s relationship right now is ridiculous. He’s been surviving 20 years and yet he refuses to give Ellie a gun despite the fact that

  1. He has 5 guns and it takes him forever to load and switch between them; and
  2. She’s clearly well-equipped to handle one.

Given that keeping her alive is supposed to be his top priority, you’d think he’d at least let her have a shiv or a pipe or something.

The Last of US - Ellie BowI also find it jarring the way Naughty Dog have tried to jam current social issues into the game. Ellie sees a poster of an actress from before the apocalypse and says “She’s so skinny,” as if Tess and Marlene were any bigger. As if, in a post-clicker world there’s an abundance of food and rotisserie rat is available on every corner.

I hear there’s an Autumn section that’s amazing. I hear the ending is simply phenomenal. I guess I should really play it some more. I’m not sure I can be bothered.