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    jp's The Last of Us (PS3)

    [October 20, 2015 06:40:29 PM]
    Finished!

    I really enjoyed the game, but I can't say that I really enjoyed the ending. Yes, Joel does bad things - but I'm ok with that. What I didn't enjoy about the ending is that I feel that it pushed things as far as it could have. Let me go back a bit...

    Before the ending there's an entire arc where Joel and Ellie are separated and there's some humans hunting them down. One of these is an older man who tries to convince Ellie to join them AND also calls them out for having murdered people from their group.

    I thought, wow, that's really powerful! It made me reflect on what Joel and Ellie had been doing so far and it made me question a lot of their actions (basically kill everyone they come across - though in all cases they had been attacked first). I thought that would be really interesting to explore - what if the old man was being honest and Joel and Ellie had in fact killed a whole bunch of their people?

    I feel like Naughty Dog copped out on this at the end - it turns out the people chasing them are "evil" (cannibals) so there's sort of an implicit legitimization of their actions that felt a bit...weak. I think it would have made it more interesting if Joel and Ellie had simply escaped - leaving that an open question/issue.

    So, I'm primed to think of Joel as a bit of a psychopath (and perhaps Ellie as well, but she's definitely a victim of her circumstances?)...and we get to Salt Lake City and the end of the game.

    Joel essentially goes on a rampage and kills everyone to save Ellie because it turns out that getting the cure requires that she die. While I didn't feel good about Joel's actions (and having to carry them out), I guess they make sense...or are justifiable.

    ...and then the game ends on what I felt was a "happy ending". Ellie's alive , Joel's alive, they make their way back to his brother's camp. And...more importantly, Joel lies to Ellie about what happened in Salt Lake and Ellie believes him.

    I feel like they could have done a lot more to make the ending less neat and tidy and, perhaps, more reflexive of Joel and Ellie's journey together. For example...

    a. Make it super clear from the final scene that Ellie isn't sure whether to believe Joel or not... (leaves lots of things open and to discuss)

    b. Show Joel reflecting on what he's done to protect Ellie (maybe feel a bit conflicted?)

    c. Leave something open so the player can reflect on whether it was all worth it or not?

    I don't know...I felt a little bit let down....

    But... I still really enjoyed the game.
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    [October 4, 2015 09:52:44 AM]
    I've hit the 80% completion mark and I'm really surprised by a few things. Really surprised.

    Generally speaking videogames rarely include depictions of graphic violence where kids are the perpetrators or victims. In most cases of violent videogames kids are either non-existent or somehow immune. While I can think of a few examples where this is not the case, it's quite unusual.

    So, I raised my eyebrows the other day when the young black kid "turned" (and was then shot by his brother/cousin(?). This wasn't unusual and while it was sudden and violent it reminded me more of Walking Dead Season 1 (the game) when Duck(?) turns out to have been bitten and ends up dying as well. That was sad, and it wasn't sudden. And it was unusual, but fine. Great even, in the sense of making the game more meaningful, etc.

    So, Last of Us was doing something similar, and that was fine. Now, however, I've been playing as Ellie (because Joel is wounded and needs to recover) and wow, I've been kind of shocked by how violent she is (when stabbing/killing human enemies). Ellie is obviously no sweet innocent child but seeing her clamber up behind a man and stab him repeatedly in the neck with a switchblade isn't something I'm quite accustomed to. It kind of drives the point home more deeply - this is a post-apocalyptic setting and we're not in Kansas anymore.

    I've also started to wonder a bit about all the killing of other humans that happens. Ellie met an old man who, as far as I could tell, was from a settlement that had suffered tremendous losses at Joel and Ellie's hands. It kind of drew the point home that maybe killing shouldn't be the go-to option? (as opposed to knocking them out or otherwise disabling them temporarily).

    I wonder if that will come up later on and be a part of the story or not... Right now Ellie is simply running away (and leaving a trail of bodies in her wake).
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    [September 13, 2015 05:04:27 PM]
    Played a bit more last night. I'm about 40% done, at least according to the saved game data. In terms of the story, I was recently ambushed going into Pittsburgh by a bunch of humans. Beat them off and I'm in the middle of a "situation" where I'm skulking around trying to pick off more humans - there's lots more than I expected!

    I've also realized that I really suck at the combat - I can't aim to save my life. This isn't good! I did notice a few things I thought were cool:

    1. Missed arrow shots often (always?) result in an arrow stuck somewhere that you can go and recover. Neat!

    2. When Ellie (or other characters follow you) you often get into a situation where, when you turn around, they're suddenly in your way. It leads to a funny "dance" of sorts as they backpedal and try to get out of your way. It looks really awkward, but I'm surprised that it does work (in that they get out of your way)

    3. The NPCs, as far as I can tell, have never screwed up something. For example, alerting an enemy to our presence. It's a small design thing but it really does help because I would really be annoyed if I got killed because Ellie wandered into view of a clicker or something.

    4. I now understand why having multiple holsters is a good idea. Switching weapons without them takes a long time (and you die)
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    [September 7, 2015 06:25:46 PM]
    Wow, this game REALLY looks great. I've been having fun so far though the going has been a bit slow. I'm really taking the dire warnings I've heard about running out of supplies/ammo and so on very seriously. So, I've probably been too conservative. On the other hand, an unfortunate run-in with some soldiers left me really depleted. So, who knows?

    I've already left the city with Ellie and Tess. I was curious when Tess would die/leave/etc. and...hey, it's already happened!

    I'm really enjoying looking around all the different environments and so on. The game reminds me a lot of "Enslaved" - which was also beautiful. I do find it a bit hard to believe that it's been 20 years since the outbreak. This makes sense for the story and so on, but I guess I wonder about the state of things after 20 years of people scavenging and so on.

    Still, definitely worth playing. So far my only problem has been an end-of-are trigger that didn't work. I was supposed to boost Tess up so she could lower a ladder but it didn't work. I saved and reloaded and it worked fine. Thankfully I didn't have to take out all the infected and clickers in the area again!
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    Status

    jp's The Last of Us (PS3)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 5 September, 2015

    GameLog closed on: Tuesday 20 October, 2015

    Opinion
    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    Yup. Definitely worth playing.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

    Related Links

    See jp's page

    See info on The Last of Us

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