Joel and Ellie up close

Hands-On With The Last Of Us


 

The Last of Us, it’s a game that has been hyped for the last week and a half as the ‘game of year’ and even ‘game of the generation’.  Yet for all the hype, I’ve yet to see what all the fuss is about.  After three hours in this is what I’ve experienced.

The ’10’ is in The Story

Story, characters, and atmosphere…this is where the game shines.  I’ve never said this about a game, but I’d rather watch The Last of Us instead of play it.  The intro sequence is better than most the games of this generation.  The environment reminds of Fallout– crafted with detail to make you feel like the world has ended.  While some people will complain about the way the game makes them feel, I enjoy it. When I encountered the clickers for the first time I didn’t speak…matter of fact I was mad at the characters for talking.  I didn’t want them to give away my position.

We’ve Yet To Overcome Stealth

We all know the problem with stealth games.  As soon as you are caught, the magic is over.  The same can be said for this game.  Like the Arkham games before it, Joel is equipped with ‘stealth-vision’.  According to the story Joel has trained his ears to hear where people are.  This means that you can “see” through walls.  I’m still torn on my feelings for this feature.  On the one hand I have to use it, if I want to Joel to be a stealth based character.  However, I’m finding myself tied to the mechanic which takes me out of the atmosphere.  It’s a gift and a curse, but the problems don’t happen until you get caught…

Joel Wants To Be Nathan Drake

Joel on the street

So The Last of Us let’s you choose between stealth and going in guns blazing.  I’ve yet to find the latter appropriate for any situation.  Rarely have I encountered a situation where I had the upper hand.  I’m usually out-manned and out-gunned.  I think I need to dial up the sensitivity for aiming because the default settings seem a little too slow.  Which brings me to the second issue…combat isn’t fun.  I’ve found myself stumbling around the controls when I’m caught.  The revolver shoots too slow, and guns take too long to reload.  It’s a frustrating experience that is compounded by various enemy types.

Bad Camera and One Hit Kills

This game suffers from bad camera work.  There are times when I sneak up on any enemy and want to strangle them outside of the view of others. However, it isn’t a smooth as you would think as I have to spin the camera around to find where am I going.  Some times I think I am headed in one direction when in actuality I’m heading somewhere else.  It reminds me of the old Resident Evil games.  The camera angles really show their weakness in group settings.

Joel fighting a clicker
The clicker…bane of my existence

I’m currently stuck in a section of the game where different enemy types are rushing my character.  Depending on the way I am running or attacking, certain characters will disappear from view.  Only to return dealing major damage or starting a button mashing QTE.  Speaking of camera, the worse offender is the clicker.  I’m against a character with a one hit kill.  It’s so easy to lose track of a clicker for them to suddenly creep up and bite you.  And there isn’t any defense against them.  If they catch you it’s game over, which sucks.

A Silver Lining

This is one of those games where story and environment are going to have to carry the game mechanics across the finish line.  I’ve already been in two frustrating situation where I almost put the controller down for good.  The first is when Joel is hanging upside down and must defend himself.  The second I’ve mentioned before.  I’m on my way to get car parts and Joel and company are ambushed by the infected.  The only thing keeping me going are the characters and the story.  Hopefully things will change as I continue playing. I may have to put the game on easy mode, turn up the aim sensitivity, or both.  It’s still a fun game, but I can see where Naughty Dog tried to marry Uncharted with Arkham City. So far it hasn’t really worked, but you never know.

Current Score: 8/10

Published by

Charles M.

Avid gamer, writer, and budding web dev

9 thoughts on “Hands-On With The Last Of Us”

  1. You can upgrade a skill that allows you to shank a clicker once he grabs you. Doesn’t necessarily kill him, but you live.

    Camera angles aren’t the greatest like you mentioned. Especially when you’re fighting. My suggestion would be to run away during a fight if you feel uncomfy with them and readjust.

    My biggest issue with the game is that none of the enemies who have guns, drop ammo. Really?! The bow and arrow is pretty useless.

    I would give it an 8.5. I really like the story and acting.

    1. Wait you can upgrade the shank to defend from clickers?! Okay I’m going to work on that upgrade. I can understand the ammo drops. I originally thought the stealth kills would cause people to drop the unused ammo, but I guess I’m wrong. I’m really debating switching to easy mode so I can just focus on the story.

      1. Yup. It’s one of the pill upgrades. Think it’s 75 pills. Honestly…I may swich to easy too. The gameplay is the weakest part of the game.

      2. Seems like devs havent figured out how to blend these cinematic experiences with proper gameplay. It’s a shame we have to say the one thing that should be the best(gameplay) is the weakest link

  2. I don’t think its fair to compare it to Uncharted, even though its a natural comparison b/c of the devs. Uncharted is clearly an action title, and gunplay is paramount. This is more of a survival title, which makes the slower aiming appropriate as EVERY shot needs to count. (Clumsy movement and slow aiming is par for the course for those style games. Think more Resident Evil or Dead Space.) The game def wants you to rely on stealth with straight forward combat as a last resort. The first time I died, I got a pop up telling me to run away, hide, and re-engage after as opposed to trying to turn it into Gears of Joel or whatever. lol.

    COMPLETELY agree that the intro was fascinating.

    1. I thought the “stealth” aspect was weak. There were some areas where it was frustratingly difficult where I said “fuck it” and popped up with my shotgun.

    2. When I played I had a completely different message. I was told I could sneak around or go in guns blazing. And while uncharted is an action title you can see the influence in the combat. I’m having issues with the shift between wealth and combat. But I will take your advice and Bruce and try with the run and regroup tactic

  3. The reload speed and carry load can be upgraded on pistols, among other upgrades. Listen Mode can be disabled and even upgraded up to three levels for a longer distance. If there are a gang of hunters, you can easily distract them by throwing a brick/bottle. If they are scattered, usually one nearby the shattered brick/bottle will walk towards it giving you a chance to stealth kill him. Timing is critical in this game and patience too; I would just stay crouched behind cover and study the hunters/infected for a couple minutes to see a pattern of where they would go to and pause. The tunnel chapter with those bloaters/clickers was very rewarding when using stealth.

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