Stupid Game Review: The Last of Us

| December 26th, 2013

Overall I loved this game.  The story was engaging and the game play was fun.  I liked the mechanic of being able to sneak when you wanted to and just kill everyone in sight otherwise.

The story: I loved this story up until the end. But I’ll get to that later. The opening scene with the little girl is fantastic. I played that part a really long time ago, so I don’t remember it well.  But I remember being instantly immersed in the story. Naughty Dog does story well in general, but I think The Last of Us is their best yet.  The game had great characters, male and female and even passed the Bechdel test.

Spoiler
The ending.  Ellie and Joel finally make it to the Fireflies and of course they want to kill Ellie to do tests on her brain.  I think everyone who has ever seen a movie with a widespread virus as it’s main villain knows that the only way to find a cure is to kill the person who is immune.  It’s for the greater good and all that.  But I was hoping it would be Ellie’s choice.  The writers decided to keep Ellie alive in the end because of Joel’s inability to forgive himself about his daughter.  Joel lies to Ellie and Ellie believes him. Joel lies to Ellie for himself.  The last gesture in the game is him being selfish.  Ok, so Joel’s character didn’t grow.  Turns out he is the same guy he has been throughout the game.  Only now he loves Ellie as a daughter.

So feminism time, is just another example of a woman not being able to control what she does with her body? The man had to have it his way and the woman is once again powerless to decide for herself.  She is only 13 or something, but it is her body.  Let her decide you selfish jerk.

Hopefully!  Hopefully, there is a silver lining to this ending.  My dream here, and really the only way for this ending not to become just another act by the patriarchy, is if this was just a great way to open the game up to a sequel. A sequel where Ellie finds out Joel is a liar and goes off by her extremely capable self to help the world.  If I get to play Ellie as a grown woman for an entire sequel, my feminist ails will be cured.  Please Naughty Dog, do this!

The game itself: I loved the game.  The world and maps were built really well.  All throughout the game you have the feeling, “Am I going the right way?” which I think gives you a sense of agency that corresponds to how the PC would be currently feeling.  Why would Joel know exactly where to go? Also the crafting is fun and extremely important.  The notes you find were one of my favorite parts of the game.  I think this is important for any game.  They were always really interesting and I stopped to read every one I found. This leads me to the finding of stuff in general.  This part kinda sucked.  Or, I just really sucked at it.  I didn’t want to stray too far from the story, and that was imperative to find all the gears and tools.  I was hoping to upgrade more.  Also there were barely any trophies.

The whole game mechanic of “I can tell where everyone is by ‘listening'” didn’t really make sense.  Is was incredibly useful, but story-wise it didn’t make sense at all for Joel to have that power.  I think Ellie having it made more sense because I could see it being an effect of the infection.  I mean that’s how clickers worked right?

My favorite part of the entire game was when you played as Ellie.  (I’m not marking this as a spoiler because by now everyone should know you play as Ellie at some point in the game.) This probably does not come as a shock to anyone that knows me.  One thing I like to do is talk about how I prefer to play as a female character.  I say this a lot and it’s true but this is only part of the reason I like playing as Ellie.  I loved the deer chase. I loved how stepping on branches and jostling trees scared the deer away.  I would love a game entirely like this and I hate, *hate*, killing animals in game (or in irl for that matter).  So this was big for me.  Since it was for survival I gave it a pass.  I will never play a “hunting for fun” game.

So I will continue to purchase and play Naughty Dog’s games. They are quality and seem to be getting better.  I hope to play a female protagonist one day though.

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