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    dkirschner's The Last of Us Remastered (PS4)

    [March 1, 2023 04:22:36 PM]
    I embarked on a grand experiment that I stupidly didn't document. I played The Last of Us for the first time as I watched the show, playing the game through the upcoming TV episode, then watching the episode that covered what I just played, then playing the game through the next TV episode, etc. It was a really neat way to experience the story that privileged playing the game over watching the show. I didn't read about either, and was fascinated by how the writers adapted the game for TV, the choices they made to include, remove, and change content. Some episodes were very similar to the game, others had some pretty big differences, and others (episode 3) were almost entirely new. One thing I've noticed is the effort to add more diversity to the show. It spends an entire episode telling a same-sex love story that is barely mentioned in the game. Sam is deaf and ASL is featured. Both homosexuality and deafness are represented very positively, and add unique perspectives to the world. I especially liked the episode with Sam because Ellie jumps right in to learning some ASL as she and Sam befriend one another. Joel's daughter is mixed instead of White and Joel and his brother may be Hispanic (the actors are), but race and ethnicity aren't played up like sexuality and deafness are, I think because there is no "performance" of race or ethnicity here. People just look different. It was still noticeable inclusion.

    The show removed what would have been more purely gameplay, nearly all the scenes involving combat or stealth. This makes sense, as watching Joel and Ellie slowly make their way through an infested building for 30 minutes wouldn't make for good TV. But when narrative was embedded in gameplay, removing the more purely gameplay elements also tended to remove or simplify narrative. I'm thinking specifically of the episode that condensed Wyoming and Utah. This was a whole lot of game time in a 60-minute episode! Since they didn't show Ellie stealing the horse from the town in Wyoming, then they couldn't establish the bandit organization there. Joel and Tommy never followed her, never killed a horde of men. No known bandits were therefore looking for them at the university, and when they killed the bandits in the university, there was no bandit organization that was pissed off about it (there were four bandits in the show, but dozens in the game). Therefore, later on, no one came after them because they killed men at the university. Joel and Ellie don't discover the reason why the Fireflies left the university. Another thing that is always neat is when the show uses game dialogue verbatim, and even more neat when it's used verbatim but in a different scene (e.g., "your answer better be the same as your wife's" in the show, but spoken to a bandit in the game, "your answer better be the same as his"). This scene is also an example of Joel being more complex in the show. He's much more violent in the game, and struggles more in the show with age and all the (metaphorical) weight he carries. This makes him more likeable to me. Perhaps my favorite thing that the show changed is actually showing Mortal Kombat II though. That was one of my favorite scenes.

    So yeah, I've thought a lot about comparing game and show. How was it to play the game, though? I loved it. 10 years later, the remastered version looks and feels great. It's harder than I thought, a little more emphasis on survival (scavenging and crafting resources), and a main character who is a badass but who is fighting infected that are very much a threat. I died a whole lot. You have basic guns for most of the game, knives that you craft and that have limited durability, and melee weapons like bats, axes, and pipes. You can also craft molotovs and nail bombs, which are very useful, and you can throw bottles and bricks to distract infected. The combat and stealth are straightforward, and I mostly enjoyed them for the tension, because like I said, the infected WILL kill you if you make a wrong move. Human enemies are not nearly as threatening and can be like shooting ducks in a gallery. Joel has some sort of special hearing power that lets him see where enemies are through walls. Using this, you can often stealth through areas without killing many infected. There were also light puzzling areas that generally involve finding boards or ladders to traverse gaps or reach heights. These segments were also, obviously, removed from the show. It is amusing to watch the TV show and imagine, as in the most recent episode, Ellie and Riley searching for boards to place across gaps between roofs instead of just jumping across them.

    I'm definitely looking forward to continuing to watch the show, as well as playing The Last of Us 2!
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    dkirschner's The Last of Us Remastered (PS4)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Wednesday 8 February, 2023

    GameLog closed on: Sunday 26 February, 2023

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Engaging and immersive zombie/plague story. --------- Excellent game, and neat to watch the show at the same time.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

    Related Links

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