Impressions of The Last of Us
For the past few weeks there has been quite a bit of excitement around the next exclusive game coming to the Playstation 3. To make things even more exciting the game is developed by the same company that made Uncharted, which is one of the highest selling franchises on the Playstation 3 so of course this new title will be met with high expectations. Last night, The Last of Us debuted it's first trailer showing off the overall look of the game. The first shot was simply of what seemed to be a forest landscape which then quickly went inside a decrepit apartment where we see a girl carefully walking around only to be alarmed by a noise upstairs. She quietly walks up the stairs as she takes a knife out from her back pocket. She peaks into a room and sees an older man fighting another survivor of whatever has destroyed our once great nation. The older man bests the survivor in a fight, and as he recovers he orders the girl to search his body. She finds ammunition in his pockets that she pockets. We are then shown a quick shot of what we assume is the infected running quickly. The two survivors that we assume are our heroes of this tale hear the hastened footsteps and hide. The older man takes out his side arm as he hides behind cover and cocks his weapon. He grimaces as the gun makes a bit too much noise, he quickly comes out of cover to see one of the infected right in the doorway. He tries to fight it off and is helped by the girl when she stabs it in the back of the neck. It struggles backward and the older man fires a round into it's ugly head. The two run out of the apartment complex and we are treated to a beautiful shot of a once beautiful city that is now unkempt. Streets are filled with empty cars, buildings have grass growing on their sides. It is a shot that resembles I Am Legend, but the dread that is felt in the shot is very apparent which goes hand in hand with the way this game is meant to do to it's player.
I don't think I can say enough about the engine that Naughty Dog runs it's game off of. Uncharted is one of the most beautiful games I have ever seen, and just from this trailer I'd say it's right up there to. The character models are incredibly detailed and the environments are rich in color and detail. At quick glance I did think the little girl in the trailer was Ellen Page from Juno and Inception. This game's main difference may just be in the character models, some times in Uncharted 3, the characters seemed a bit off, it may just be a simple matter that the game was developed with 3D capabilities. Granted, this trailer was most likely a cinematic in the game, the facial expressions between the characters were beautiful. I don't know these characters but I felt for them and that was my initial draw into the Uncharted series that Naughty Dog seems to have now perfected in The Last of Us.
One of the most intriguing aspects of this debut trailer is the fact that I almost think of the infected as an afterthought. I find myself more intrigued to know the relationship between the two main characters who Sony released the names of shortly after the debut trailer. The older man is Joel, who Sony describes as a ruthless survivor and the girl is named Ellie who is said to be wise beyond her years. Those kind of descriptions of this characters make me think of the two characters from the Uncharted series. Nathan Drake having his shoes filled by Ellie for her being wise beyond her years and judging by the trailer she is incredibly resourceful. Victor Sullivan is having his shoes filled by this Joel character. Sully in the Uncharted series was a mentor/father figure for Drake, and it seems that way with Joel and Ellie. Now I don't look at that as a bad thing because you are forced to throw these characters in a terrible situation that is incredibly bleak. The overwhelming feel of dread is felt throughout the entire trailer, and you can even sense that feeling through the characters.
Some would assume that these infected monsters are zombies. At quick glance I thought the same, but I'm not going to be to quick to say that for sure they are zombies. There has been plenty of speculation on the Internet that these infected monsters and that the world has gone to hell due to a plaque that plants a virus in your brain. Whatever has happened to the infected it clearly has altered them, their heads are not human looking at all, and they have heightened senses. They were able to hear the click when Joel cocked his gun and they seemed to have been able to move at faster speeds.
The real enemy of the game seems to be the human condition. More often then not I think it is more likely that throughout the game you will be fighting other survivors that are not as well adjusted as our two heroes. It is widely understood that when things go bad in the masses humans will not act with rational thought and for the most part they will make things worse. The first trailer this game released, showed just that. The trailer featured riots, police brutality and so forth. You even hear a voice over, presumably Joel, wishing that everything would go back to the way it was before, almost as if he was wishing to sit back enjoy a beer as he watches the game on Sundays. He wants everything to return to that, instead of everyone fighting each other just to survive this horrible situation they find themselves in.
I'm sure more will be known about this game when E3 rolls around in June-July time, and I personally cannot wait. I can't speak enough on behalf of Naughty Dog's titan that is Uncharted, and this game looks just as good. Now if we could only get a release date, that would be much appreciated. Other than that, keep making great games Naughty Dog.